Local Skin and Hair Care Expert Admits
Deena Falconi doesn’t look dirty. To the contrary, her skin glows with health and her voluminous tresses are pinned in a shiny bundle atop her handsome head. I’ve met Deena several times at parties and events and I know that she’s the owner of Falcon’s Formulations, a highly regarded herbal body care company, and author of Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair. I’ve seen her handcrafted products for sale for over 15 years—this is a woman whose reputation precedes her.
This time Deena’s teaching a holiday workshop for the Stone Ridge Public Library. She’s promised to show a roomful of adult students how to make luscious skin care products from kitchen-cabinet ingredients. She’s talked at length about the chemistry of different types of oils, fats, waxes, herbs, and other ingredients and how they affect human skin. She’s shared formulas for scrubs and emollients. And now and again she’s hinted about her own beauty regimen.
Finally, she spills it. “I never wash my face!” she laughs. “And I haven’t shampooed my hair in 10 years!” There’s an audible gasp from the room. She goes on to share what keeps her hair and skin vibrant with health. Soaps and washes are very drying, Deena patiently explains. Her favorite facial treatment is honey, rinsed with plain water, and she keeps her hair clean by working a tiny amount of oil from the roots upward and brushing it through, rinsing with water only if necessary.
It turns out that Deena is ahead of the pack on this issue. Just last month the New York Times ran a front-page article in their ultra-trendy Sunday Styles section entitled “The Great Unwashed.” According to the Times, people are showering and bathing less, fewer people are wearing conventional underarm deodorant, and yes, many are shampooing less.
As Deena points out, your body produces custom-made oils to keep your skin and hair healthy—why lather yourself up to remove them and then replace them with commercially purchased petroleum products that are less effective? Well, when you look at it that way, it makes sense. If a magazine factoid I recently read that reducing your shower by two minutes saves a gallon of water is true, imagine how much would be saved if a shower was skipped completely. And, full disclosure, I discovered years ago that showering every day in the winter turned my own skin into a human version of a dust bunny. So, without listening to any experts or trend reports, I reduced my showers to a couple a week, and slathered on as much Lubriderm as my skin would absorb without my clothes sticking (And never told anyone.).
But that was before Deena taught us how to make the creamiest lotion I’ve ever felt, from almond oil, beeswax, water, and a tiny amount of scented essential oil. She carefully warmed ingredients in a bain marie (aka double boiler) and poured them into a food processor. After turning it on she explained how oils and water, naturally repellent, would eventually emulsify and combine. As we listened the gurgling, whirring sound suddenly shifted an octave lower with the phase change of the contents. When she opened the lid we saw the transformation we had heard—what started out looking like the contents of a lava light now looked like whipped cream and smelled as yummy. Students filled small containers and passed them as Deena reminded us that the natural ingredients are more perishable than synthetic ones so be sure to use the cream within a few months. But this cream is so nice, I know mine will be gone before the week’s end—and then my food processor will be whirring.
Falcon’s Formulations can be purchased at High Falls Food Co-op, Sunflower Natural Food Market in Woodstock, or from Deena directly by calling 845-687-8938 (ask for a catalog for a complete list). Her book, which contains hundreds of formulas, is available through bookstores, Amazon, and Deena. Information about her workshops on natural body care can be found at www.wildearthprograms.org.
Maria Reidelbach is an artist, author, and proprietress of Homegrown Mini-Golf on Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson, Accord, New York. She only looks dirty after tending the gardens.