Heliotrope San Francisco

A Rose by any other name, Part Two

One day while walking in the forest, the Greek goddess Chloris came upon the body of a wood nymph. She felt saddened that such a beautiful creature had died. She transformed her body into a flower and breathed life into her new form. She called out to her husband, Zephyrus the west wind, to blow the clouds away and allow the Sun of Apollo to shine on the flower. Aphrodite then bestowed her gift, Beauty. Dionysus, the god of wine and intoxication gave the new flower a nectar which imparts an intoxicating aroma. The three Graces gave the bloom the gifts of joy, charm and splendor. They all agreed that it was a spectacular flower and called it the blossom “The Queen of Flowers.“ Aphrodite named the bloom Rose and dedicated it to her son Eros, the god of love.

rosa damascena single bloom


People have been making Rosewater for centuries. The process has remained much the same over time, and was first developed in Persia around 1200 BCE. Several thousand years later, in about 1582, Rose essential oil was discovered at the wedding feast of the Emperor Djihanguyr to princess Nour-Djihan. Canals were dug and filled with rosewater. As the day grew warmer, an oily film appeared on the top of the water. The oil contained the strong scent of roses, and it was immediately recognized as desirable. Soon the essential oil, Attar, was produced during the same process as the Rosewater.

The Damask Rose is one of the types of Roses used to produce both Rosewater and Rose Essential oil. The flowers must be picked before sunrise, as the sun causes the release of fragrance. The petals are crushed slightly and they are steamed in copper stills to release their essence - volatile therapeutic properties - into the water. It takes many pounds of petals to produce an ounce of the essential oil, which is drawn off. The Rosewater is captured drop by drop. Rosewater and the essential oil both contain the healing properties of the flower.

We’ve talked about all of the healing benefits found in Rosehips. As you might imagine, Rose Petals also have many of the same healing properties. Science has found that the very scent of roses soothes the nerves and relieves tension. Roses have over 400 chemical constituents and science is still doing research into the benefits of the Rose.  

rosa damascena double bloom


An especially powerful aspect of Rose oil is that it increases skin permeability. When used in skin care products Rose Oil opens the skin and causes it to absorb more nutrients and healing chemicals.


Rose has anti-microbial properties which helps the skin heal from issues like acne and blemishes. The antimicrobial component - Citral - is also essential for vitamin A synthesis.  Rose oil is an astringent which tones and lifts the skin and decreases the appearance of wrinkles. The component Cicatrisant helps to fade scars and blemishes. Eugenol acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells, and promote the growth of new cells. On top of all of this, Rose contains an aromatic compound that is also in chocolate. The compound may act as an aphrodisiac by activating the pleasure centers in the brain, and it also relieves tension.


Two of our favorite eye treatments harness the power of Rose. Rosewater & Vitamins Eye Lift Cream has both Rosewater and Rose essential oil, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients to rejuvenate the sensitive skin near the eyes. Our Chamomile & Lupine Reparative Eye Gel is a lighter formula that soothes and reduces puffiness as its healing properties get to work.


Bring the power of antioxidants to your cleansing routine with our Rose & Ginseng Cream Cleanser. Rosewater decreases the appearance of wrinkles and tackles blemishes and reduces discoloration. Your skin will look brighter and more clear!


Our Aromatherapy Spray Mist for Body & Home can be customized with two of our popular essential oil blends. Seductive Blend combines the scent of Rose with Clove and Vanilla for a bewitching fragrance. Rejuvenating Blend combines Damask Rose and Ylang Ylang in an energizing fragrance.


These are but a few of our many products that bring the ancient beauty and benefits of Rose in your daily routine.


Written by Jen Bator — January 16, 2017

A rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet. Part One

Wars, romance, currency, symbols of love and beauty - roses have been lauded by poets and given as tokens of affection for centuries.

Rosa canina

There is fossil evidence that roses existed 35 million years ago. I can guarantee that these fossils do not smell as sweet as the rose we know and love today! Roses, in all varieties, have been used by almost every culture as a remedy for thousands of years. Roses grow in the wild throughout the northern hemisphere, including in North Africa.

As with many plants, our ancestors found uses for every part of the plant - leaves, buds, petals, hips - each with it’s own unique benefits. The rose was first cultivated most likely in China, 5,000 years ago. At the height of their empire, the Romans imported Roses from Persia. It is believed that in the late 1700s cultivated roses were first brought from China into European gardens.

In this post, we’ll start our Rosey conversation with Rose Hips.

Rosehips are the small fruit that develops behind the blossom. When the petals fall, the Rose Hip matures, becomes larger and changes from green to a deep orange or red. Most people don’t think of this bulb as a fruit, but it can be eaten (avoid the seeds!) or used in recipes for syrups and jellies.
Rosehips on rose bush

Rosehips were eaten as a sour fruit for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It wasn’t until the Second World War that they were recognized as rich source of Vitamin C. Citrus was in short supply during the war, and the British made a Vitamin C rich syrup and used as a nutritional supplement from 500 tons of Rosehips. 

Rosehip seed extract is a powerful concentration of vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, and hydrating essential fatty acids. As noted above, Rosehips are especially rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells and promote the growth of new cells.

You may be familiar with Retinol, another name for vitamin A1. Retinol reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Rosehips are the only vegetable that contain Retinol! All other vegetable forms contain beta-carotene, which is an important precursor to Retinol. In addition, the small size of the vitamin A molecule allows it to penetrate deep into your skin bringing with it hydration and healing.

Enjoy the smoothing power of Retinol in your nightly routine with Enzyme & Rosehip Nighttime Face Serum. Our special formula combines the powerful hydrating and antioxident properties of Rosehips with other healing botanicals to combat free radicals and encourage new healthy cells to form.

In combination with oils, in our Frankincense & Rose Geranium Oil Serum, the antioxidents in Rosehip seed extract bring soothing relief to irritated skin. The oils nourish and moisturize inflamed skin while the antioxidants work to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate the skin at a cellular level.

Just like our face, our scalp and hair are exposed to toxins from pollution and stress. Inflammation and dryness can appear in the form of dandruff and itchiness. Soothe the scalp with our Lemon & Olive Scalp Treatment. Your hair will benefit as the skin cells are nourished and strengthened.


Written by Jen Bator — January 09, 2017

Often overlooked, Grape Seeds deserve the spotlight

For thousands of years, people in European countries have used different parts of the grape plant for a long list of skin and health ailments such as eye disorders, inflammation, and digestive issues. Throughout time, people have crushed Grape Seeds to extract the oil and used this oil on their skin and as an internal tonic.

In the 20th century, science confirmed that the ancients were right to extol the benefits of wine and Vitis Vinifera. Components of the plant - fruit, leaves, sap, stems, seeds - each contain a broad range of benefits when used internally and externally. Lucky for us, about 40 years ago we found a way to utilize the richest part of the plant - the seeds.

Grape Seed Extract is a by-product of the wine industry. As grapes are mashed, the skin and seeds are removed and are processed separately. The seeds are crushed to extract the oil. The extracted oil is used in skin care and health products. A great example of making use of all portions of the plant rather than letting something go to waste!

Grape Seeds have been studied extensively, and biochemists have confirmed the assertions that Grape Seed is beneficial on many fronts. As a matter of fact, with each new study they discover more benefits!

Grape Seeds are high in antioxidants - vitamins C and E among others. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells and promote the growth of new cells. Vitamins C and E bind with the free-radicals and help expel them from the body.  When applied to the skin before sun exposure, the antioxidants in Grape Seed Extract improve the protection of sunscreen. The vitamin E in Grape Seed Extract reduces the appearance of wrinkles because it helps skin cells retain moisture. A component of Grape Seed Extract - resveratrol - is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. I could go on and on about the benefits of this small seed!

It may be too late for some of us, but Grape Seed Extract has been found to promote the growth of new hair. We can't promise that our Lemon & Olive Oil Scalp Treatment will cure baldness, but we can say that it will nourish and strengthen the skin cells of the scalp which will lead to healthier hair.

Our Clay & Herbal Extract Detox Mask utilizes the antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of Grape Seed extract.

Our Shea Butter & Pomegranate Face Cream combines Grape Seed extract's antioxidant and nourishing properties to protect delicate skin of the face and reduce the signs of aging.

Go ahead and enjoy that glass of wine, or skip the wine and try one of our many products rich in Grape Seed Oil!

Written by Jen Bator — January 02, 2017

Peppermint: not just for tea and candy

The word mint comes from Minthé, originally the name a river nymph from Greek mythology. Minthé caught the eye of Hades, the powerful god of the underworld. As often happened in mythology, Hades' jealous wife, Persephone, transformed the nymph into the water loving plant we know and love today. 

Peppermint, mentha piperita, is most commonly known as a culinary ingredient. The oil is used to flavor toothpaste, candy and gum. It makes a delicious soothing tea and is always popular in cocktails.

In skin care, mentha  piperita soothes dry, itchy, or irritated skin. It also has skin conditioning properties, and is a popular ingredient in body moisturizers. In our rich and healing Sunflower and Shea Butter Foot Treatment, Mentha Piperita, the menthol contained in the oil, provides a cooling and tingling kick. Menthol also has antibacterial properties.

Most people enjoy the pleasant fragrance of peppermint; when used as a fragrance ingredient, Mentha Piperita may give you more energy and make you feel more alert, while it simultaneously works to ease your tension. You can harness the aromatherapy power of Peppermint to reinvigorate and calm by adding the single oil or one of our blends - Grounding, Energizing, or Relieving - to any of our unscented products. Many people feel that the scent of peppermint helps them to concentrate! Take the power of Peppermint with you in the Grounding and Relieving Aromatherapy Roll-On Oil.

Written by Jen Bator — December 21, 2016

All-Natural Essential Oils vs Synthetic Perfume Oils

By Luna, our summer intern!

Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants that have healing properties. This is very often called aromatherapy, which is a holistic treatment seeking to improve physical, mental, and emotional health. Fragrance oils and essential oils are very different and really not comparable.

Fragrance (or "perfume") oils are synthetic, they are manmade and they try to duplicate the aroma that essential oils do. Essential oils have tons of benefits that perfume oils don't. One of the negatives of synthetic fragrance oils is the scent they duplicate does not have the therapeutic properties that essential oils do. For example one drop of lavender perfume oil does that have the natural benefits as a drop of lavender essential oil does.

One important difference is that many people are allergic to perfume oils; this is one of the reasons why Heliotrope products have no perfumes added (you can always add many of the essential oils on offer). Also, perfume oils dry out skin - and shouldn't be in your moisturizers!

A great NEW way to enjoy essential oils is Heliotrope's Roll-on Aromatherapy Oils. We use pure, undiluted oils and use jojoba oil as a great "carrier oil." Using our convenient roll-on glass vial makes it easy to apply & store in pocket or pocketbook.roll-on

Jojoba oil is extracted from simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seeds. This oil is beneficial to many things, including controlling oily skin. Because jojoba oil is the closest thing to human sebum (sebum is the oil that your skin creates on its own), it's very important to skin health. Jojoba oil also has anti-inflammatory benefits, and has vitamins A and E.

One mysterious quality of jojoba is that is never goes bad. Most every natural (vegetable-based) oil will eventually turn rancid. But not jojoba! Therefore, this oil doesn't have any preservatives - an added bonus!

Thanks, Luna!

Written by Heliotrope San Francisco — July 18, 2016

Introducing Luna, our Summer Intern

In Luna's own words -

My first day at Heliotrope was a really good day for me. My supervisor Jonathan has been great with me. Yesterday since I'm not really familiar with things around the store yet, it was mostly an introduction for me about what I'm going to be doing while I'm working here and what things were open for me to do.

Jonathan yesterday let me go through Heliotrope's social media such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. While I was going through those, I was getting a taste of the image he wants to set for his line of natural skincare. Just on my first day, I've seen how Jonathan really cares about his products and how they are presented and how his expectations for himself are high. He wants to make sure his customers get what they want and that they are pleased with the product.

Heliotrope is an amazing line of skincare products that are natural and locally made. They are also fragrance free, which is a huge plus because other brands that contain perfume usually tend to irritate your skin. Heliotrope's goal is for your skin to look and feel great. Two of Jonathan's favorite are serums: one is called "Cucumber & Botanical Healing Serum," which combines soothing aloe and hydrating cucumber to tackle dry , tight, irritated skin; his other favorite is the "Frankincense & Rose Geranium Oil Serum," which helps balance and tone oily skin, soothe blemishes and help relieve dryness and irritation.

All ingredients are natural, and will not make your skin dry or very oily - it will balance it for your skin to feel and look great.


- Luna is a student in the San Francisco Unified School District, and her summer internship is sponsored by SFMade and JVS.

Written by Heliotrope San Francisco — July 18, 2016

Sage It Ain't So!

Clary Sage, also known as just clary or salvia scalier, is a medicinal herb and essential oil. You can find this in some areas of northern Africa, central Asia, and even the northern Mediterranean. 

This essential oil is has a strong scent, it’s also used in aromatherapy to help with anxiety, fear, and insomnia. It can also help relieve cramping and stomach aches. It's extremely soothing and relaxing. It's also perfect for skin care as it is an anti-inflammatory.



You can find clary sage in these products:




Written by Gaby Mendoza — March 05, 2016

That's Vetiver For You

Vetiver, AKA Chrysopogon zizanioides, is one of the most soothing scents out there. With its smooth, musky, and earthy smell, vetiver is an oil that calms skin and is also anti-inflammatory. A word a lot of people use to describe vetiver is sedative, due to its calming attributes. When people think about smelling earthy tones in general, most immediately feel at ease and relaxed, it’s a psychological effect vetiver has inherently created.



Vetiver is a grass unlike most grasses- it's roots grow downward. Vetiver comes from India, but can be produced from all over the world. It was first made to prevent erosion and stabilize soil, and now is also being used for skin and hair, and health benefits.



Check out vetiver in these products:




Written by Gaby Mendoza — July 20, 2015


Neroli is an oil that comes from the distillation of a flower from a bitter-orange tree (called a Neroli in Italy). So it's a floral, but it's related to a citrus. Its fragrance relieves stress and relaxes. The smell has also been known for its sensual effects; it's considered an aphrodisiac (by those that believe in such things). Neroli is used to help heal skin, it heals broken capillaries, regenerates skin, and helps promote elasticity. 

Also known as Citrus aurantium subsp. amara or Bigaradia, Neroli is also one of the safest extracts there is, it's nontoxic, non-irritating, and nonsensetizing, which is why it's great in products for skin. We're able to put neroli oil in nearly all of our products so you can have the added benefits even if neroli is not an ingredient!

Its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-redness properties make it a natural for skin care products meant for the face. 

You can find neroli in these products:




Written by Gaby Mendoza — August 04, 2015

Purple Mangosteen

Purple Mangosteen is one of the cutest fruits we've ever seen! It's a small white fruit inside of a red/purple shell that grows on trees. It's primarily grown in Southeast Asia, in countries such as China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. They're not usually sold in other countries, so consider yourself lucky and stock up if you spot purple mangosteen in the fruit section at your grocery store.

Purple Mangosteen is full of antioxidants and contains a ton of vitamin C, and it does wonders for skin. Only the white part of the fruit is consumed and is primarily used in skin/hair products. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to treat acne and soothes scars, burns, etc. It can be used as a topical medication as well, since it can treat skin infections and wounds. 

You can find purple mangosteen in this product:


Written by Gaby Mendoza — August 05, 2015

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