Beauty Practice: What is Cacao?

Cacao is a beanlike seed and raw form  of cocoa, cocoa butter, coconut oil and chocolate. The harvesting and exporting of cacao is one of the leading industries in DR.


Why do we love Cacao?

–      It works as an anti-aging food, and is loaded with essential minerals to even skin tone and soften the skin.

–      When cacao is made into cocoa butter it melts deliciously at body temperature making it easy to absorb and deliver the nutrients to skin.

–      Countries like Africa and DR use Cocoa butter instead of department store brands.

–      Cacao has more anti-oxidants than red wine or green tea.

–      It works against cellulite and is highly powerful antioxidant against free radicals

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Philippines Coconut Beauty Story

They call it the secret to Filipino natural beauty. In the Philippines, coconut milk and oil are nature’s best traditional ingredients for personal care.

“Buco”, local name of coconut in the Philippines is derived from 16th century Portuguese and Spanish cocos.


Filipino women chew grated coconut meat on a daily basis. The fresh coconut milk that seeps out from the pulp can also be used as skin scrub and hair conditioner. This is the secret of the young-looking, wrinkle-free skin and the thick,silky hair of Filipinos. The coconut granules are also extracted and scrubbed all over the body and feet as a cleanser.


It is said that a young Filipino woman in the country side is only ready for marriage when she can make coconut oil successfully. It is prepared in clay pots and slowly cooked over charcoal heat, stirring the mixture until it turns clear as oil. Once cooled, the oil is stored in bottles and then sometimes mixed with herbs. Philippine virgin coconut oil keeps the skin moisturized and protects it against the constant exposure to the tropical sun.


Coconut oil has been called “ the healthiest oil in the world”.


Coconut Benefits:

  • Removes dead cells while nourishing the skin
  • Beautifies and protects the skin from UV rays.
  • Moisturizes the body
  • Removes dark spots
  • Softens the skin
  • Strengthens protein cellular structure
  • Loaded with calcium,iron,vitamin c, and electrolytes

It promotes healthy skin, nails and hair. It has been proven that it provides relief from kidney disease, and heart disease as well.


Nautilus is a product line that adds coconuts benefits to all things beauty including scrubs, face masks and soaps that are all handmade in the Philippines.

These are some of the beauty discoveries I recently found in Boracay: a white, sandy island in the Philippines.


Written by Artists Moxie Stephanie Flor Edited by Karen Mowls

Ecuadors Volcanic Mud

On my recent trip to South America I discovered the locals way to beauty. Inspired by their sacred land they turn to nature for all their beauty needs.

In Banos, Ecuador I booked an appointment at the El Refugio Spa which offers the “bano de barro” (mud bath). The 40-minute therapy works by applying medicinal clay from the Amazon in a circular motion all over the body.


Volcanic Mud also known as medicinal clay has been used for thousand of years:

  • improves the appearance of skin texture
  • prevents wrinkles, stretch marks, age spots and dryness
  • natural exfoliator that clears the skin of acne problems & rosacea
  • nourishing to the body


The clay is created when volcanic ash is mixed with water. It contains a combination of minerals that include sodium, magnesium, and potassium.Mud has been used for thousand of years in civilizations that surround active volcanoes throughout Central and South America.


Light brown in color, I couldn’t wait to apply the mud to my body. There I was, covered in mud from head to toe taking selfies for the perfect Facebook shot. The most awkward part was the drying process, which comprised of me dancing to Zumba videos in front of my attendant. I’m not a shy woman, but a half-naked mud dance was a little out of my comfort zone. I did enjoy a good laugh when the attendant started laughing and dancing along with me. It was a great experience and a must when traveling to Ecuador.

ATWBeauty-Ecuadormud1Written by Stephanie Flor Edited by Karen Mowls Photos by Stephanie Flor