Category - Reviews

Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power
Slather Botanicals – Plant Based Product for Happy Skin
An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert

Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty

For thousands of years, plants have always been one of the main sources of ingredients for beauty products and skincare rituals. Siblings Shiva and Kayvon Tavakoli harnessed their Persian roots to create the ultimate hair elixir- Joon’s Saffron Hair Oil. This oil was actually featured in Allure Magazine as one of the “Best Hair Oils of 2017.”

It all started when the duo spent their summers with their grandparents in Iran. Shiva recalls, “My grandpa was a businessman that exported exotic Persian spices, such as saffron. My grandmother used these same spices and herbs in not only her cooking, but also her beauty rituals. This is where we learned about our culture and also along with it, the deep DIY, natural remedies from anything from hair loss to stomachaches.”

Shiva and Kayvon also have the fundamentals of the beauty industry in their blood. “After my father received his PH.D. in chemical engineering, he moved to Houston to work in the oil and gas industry, which he did for several years. Eventually, he began itching to start his own business. When there was a salon that was up for sale, he decided to buy it. It became one of the top salons in Houston. From that one salon, he began his chain. He owned over 150 salons at one point. As he was expanding his salons, he decided he was unhappy with the quality of hair care products that were available, so he decided to start his own haircare laboratory. He ended up selling his salon empire, but he kept the laboratory, which is where we still private label and make our own hair care products, including Joon. My brother and I worked in both the salons and the laboratory.”

Their hair oil has since been a hit with all hair types, and has been featured in numerous publications. “Our line is universal, and our saffron hair elixir works on many different hair types. I also want to highlight a diverse group of people who generally have been shut out of the mainstream beauty conversation. They tend to be Middle Eastern, South Asian, Hispanic, Black, and it goes on. I think no matter where you come from, and who you are, it’s important to be true to yourself. There is something to learn from every culture,” Shiva explained. “We make cruelty-free products and use non-toxic ingredients. Besides the obvious fact that non-toxic ingredients are better for everyone, the line was also inspired by Persian culture. Persians use a lot of plant-based remedies in their beauty rituals. I wanted to create safe products that are also in line with my Persian background…I have never heard of a Persian inspired hair care line prior to Joon. The Persian ingredients, such as the saffron (actually floating in the bottle), are not commonly used ingredients in beauty. You will be seeing a lot of new ingredients in our upcoming products that have a lot of benefits for the hair.”

I’ve personally used this product mainly after I’ve washed my hair, or sometimes in the mornings when I feel that my hair needs a refresher. I love that it’s cruelty-free, so I can feel good about putting it in my hair. I rub the remaining oil into my hands, and it also makes a great smelling moisturizer. Other ingredients in the product are rose and pistachio. Pistachio is known to help nourish and moisturize bouncy and smooth hair, while rose is known to help with hair repair.

“It’s a pretty versatile product. You can use the Saffron Hair Elixir on both dry or damp hair. Put a few drops into your hands, rub it together to evenly distribute the product, and then apply it to your hair length and ends. You can even use it before and after styling, and also as an overnight treatment.” Shiva also goes on to recommend that you wash your hair with lukewarm or cold water, as hot water can dry out hair and make it more brittle, as well as weaken the roots.

“We are about to work on creating our next product. I always want to get input from the Joonies before I create anything new. If you want to be a part of our product creation, or just keep up with the latest hair tips and launches, you can always go on our website, and join our Joon email list. Or follow us @joonhaircare.”

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty




Slather Botanicals – Plant Based Product for Happy Skin

Natural body scrubs by Slather Botanicals

Slather Botanicals is also another reason why I absolutely LOVE going natural, in terms of skin care. I originally discovered the brand on Instagram, but then actually tried the plant-based product while I was vending at a handmade market a couple years ago. As I was sampling the moisturizing location and toner on my face, I immediately noticed a difference in how my skin felt. It was literally like butter; so smooth and soft. It was a game-changer, and I’ve used Slather as a part of my skincare regimen ever since. I actually look forward to shower time, when I can slather on the CLEANSE facial cleanser and Mint Ice Scrub. I also use the moisturizer, and it keeps my face soft for several days.

Chelsea Cavender is the brains behind this wonderful brand. The chemist by trade has always had an interest in science and plants, thus leading her to pursue a degree in Plant Biology. After college, she worked for a large skin care company, where she learned a lot about different ingredients and product formulations that went from a concept to a reality.

Her aha moment came while she was making mainly tanning lotions. It really wasn’t something she was into, let alone, wear herself. So she decided to break away and go into business for herself, with a focus on natural, plant-based skincare products that she would wear and would want to share with the world. Thus, Slather Botanicals was born. All the products are 85%-95%+ organic content and 100% non-GMO. She makes everything in small batches, with meaningful packaging, as the blue bottles represent the concept that water is the world’s most treasured resource. $1 from every retail item sold goes to Lifewater, which helps provide clean water to families across the world.

When asked about her favorite products from the line…”REFRESH toning mist – a relaxing treat for your skin that is full of plant extracts to soothe, nourish, and prevent blemishes. You can use it as a face/body mist and refresher throughout the day after bathing, exercise, etc. I love it on over sunned (or sunburned) skin—put in the fridge for an extra cooling treat in the Summer. BRIGHTEN antioxidant eye cream – so light and silky, soaks right into the skin to calm tired eyes and give the eye area a little extra TLC. You can also use after reading or being on the computer a lot to stimulate micro-circulation and relieve fatigue in the eye area. BALANCE clay facial mask – beneficial for all skin types, even really sensitive or acne-prone skin. Gentle, but effective…helps exfoliate, detoxify, and smooth. I really love the earthy smell of Holy Basil, Sandalwood, and just a hint of Lavender.”

Helpful skin care tips that she recommends… “Wash your face every day, and follow with a moisturizer to nourish the skin and provide a protective layer against the elements. We are all so busy that it is easy to forget or not feel like cleansing your face, but it is so important to remove impurities and environmental pollutants and recharge the skin so it can be its glowing best. Also, exfoliating! Using an exfoliant scrub or mask at least once a week does wonders…feels awesome, sloughs off dry and dull skin, deposits vitamins and minerals, and stimulates cell turnover and growth for healthy and happy skin.”

Slather Botanicals is available online, or at The Care Cottage at Babymoon Inn, as well as A Market Off Mill. Chelsea also posts local events and pop-ups that she’ll be attending on the website.

“Our skin care products are for everyone! All products are vegan, gluten-free, sensitive skin friendly, and pregnancy and nursing safe. If you are allergic/sensitive or simply don’t like certain ingredients, or would like custom products tailored to your specific skin type and goals, we love doing custom formulations. We can work together to create products you love using and have great skin results.”

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare


An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert

Cloth & Flame, desert dinner, Phoenix, desert

I had first heard about the Cloth & Flame desert dinners when I met Matt Cooley and Olivia Laux during Phoestivus 2016. The duo come from two different backgrounds. Olivia worked in chemical engineering; while Matt worked in tourism in Alaska, and worked wholesale for an ice cream shop in Oregon.

Cloth & Flame was born on the premise of encouraging community, and inspiring people into helping protect the Sonoran Desert and wilderness areas here in Arizona. According to the website, “We pay to lease land for our dinners, so areas that might otherwise be developed can act instead as a source of income for the landowner. We also give 10% of every dinners’ proceeds to great coalitions that work to preserve migratory routes and wild places in our inimitable state.”

They had first included the dinners along with their balloon tours, but as of December 31st 2016, they branched out to also just do the dinners. “We just realized that more could be done with it. It’s just stunning out there and so many people in our community never have the chance to really spend time in the desert, or just don’t know where to begin. We started collaborating with local chefs and artisans, and realized that others are inspired by the desert too, and the rest is history,” Matt further explained. 

I had the chance to experience this magical desert bespoke, alfresco-style meal recently, and was just so impressed at the whole concept. I arrived that their North Phoenix office, which was the official meet-up point. After a brief introduction, and what to expect, we were loaded into two vans and drove to the destination.

About a half-hour later, we arrived in the heart of the desert; away from the city and freeways. The long community-style wooden table and benches were set up amongst the saguaros and cholla. The table was set with desert florals, china, and silverware. It was like a bohemian fairytale.

We started out with a cocktail hour, accompanied with an appetizer. While most everyone had the ceviche, myself and a couple other vegetarians had the kimchi “crackers” and guacamole. It was actually really good! It had just enough spice for a small kick, but the guacamole leveled it out with just the right amount of flavor.

 Kimchi and guacamole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Kimchi “Crackers” and Guacamole


After cocktail hour, we all gathered at the table, where Matt and Olivia introduced themselves and told us about the company. We then feasted on the first course. My vegetarian version was the Charred Spring Pea Toast. Again, didn’t disappoint. I definitely could’ve eaten more than one of those.

Charred Spring Pea Toast, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Spring Pea Toast

Next up was the pozole. Again, I had the meatless version. Mushrooms floated in this amazing broth, that had somewhat of a spicy kick. The cabbage and lime were added as extra flavor. Definitely one of those dishes that I could eat over and over.

Vegetable Pozole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Vegetable Pozole

The main entree for me was the Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, and Spring Vegetables. I really loved the flavor of the charred cauliflower, which I also mixed in with the kimchi potato salad, making for an effortless flavorful combination.

Charred cauliflower, kimchi potato salad, spring vegetables, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, Spring Vegetables

Our last course was dessert. We had the Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon. Goodness, what a great way to end an evening in the desert.

Pistachio pound cake, citrus, mint meringues, and citrus sabayon, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon

I want to personally thank (and e-hug) the following people that made that night possible and inspiring: Chefs Brent Kille and Donny Hawk from Okra and The Gladly respectively. The Cloth & Flame team: Olivia Laux and Matt Cooley- Co-Owners, Alana Tivnan- Events and Growth Manager,  Holly Ruggerio- Director of Operations, and Derek Christensen- Head Chef.

Be sure to also follow Cloth & Flame on Facebook and Instagram.

Copyright © 2013. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.