Christy Whitney-Matz, Founder of pAra Botanica
If you adore the idea of intersecting beauty and medicine, you’ll love pAra Botanica, a reiki infused, holistic and small batch skin care line, made with a deep love and respect for Mama Earth. To tap into the powers of holistic wellness, the line offer products created with true intentionality. From using gems and smoke during the production process, to bringing small batch, farm-to-table skin care to your beauty cabinet, this potent, 99% organic and divinely-inspired line is disrupting the beauty world by fusing its products with magic.
We spoke with the founder of pAra Botanica, Christy Whitney-Matz, on the inspiration behind the brand.
What inspired you to start pAra?
About 12 years ago a voice within began calling me to work in the healing arts. My husband’s brother had recently passed away from a heartbreaking battle with cancer, which put a fire in me to infuse wellness into every crack and crevice of our lives. I dove deeply into self-study, became an avid researcher of herbs and was led to work with the gift of hands-on healing through the study and attunement of Shamanic Reiki. Gradually all of these gifts came together as pAra.
It’s incredible that you’re a reiki healer. How does this influence the magic in your products?
It impacts them greatly. The infusion of healing intention into the potions enhances their abilities, specifically for whom they arrive to. The healing in each bottle offers more than what science can tell us about each plant. It is a subtle and unseen energy healing that is present, alive, loving and intelligent.
This energy knows what its recipients need. It may be something on an emotional or spiritual level. It may be physical, or it may be both. I just want to note that physical illnesses are the outcome of a blockage of the emotional, spiritual, and energy bodies. So a healing of your subtle energy body is one of the best things we can receive.
How do you source your ingredients?
We source from local small herb farmers as much as possible. These farmers harvest their herbs at the peak of their medicinal potency, they practice walking gently on mama earth, and are very much aligned with our ethos.
One of our newest producers is from the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing us with St. Johns Wort, comfrey and plantain. They are wild harvesters that gather herbs based on the phases of the moon, season, and weather. And they take great care not to harvest exotic or endangered plant species. I just love finding those who put forth that effort. It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t pay well, but it is meaningful and lends them great joy in knowing they are in sync with natural rhythms in addition to our responsibility to care for the beautiful home we’ve been given.
“Our line is 99% organic or wild-crafted. Equally important to us is the energy surrounding the creation of our potions. We infuse each potion with healing life force energy and approach our production practices with love and reverence.”
Of course, we’ve got to ask about hydration and water. What role does this play in your beauty routine?
There are a lot of organic skin care lines popping up with facial and body oils and balms — and they are fantastic. The main thing, though, is that these oils and balms need to be applied with some water in order to seep deeper into the epidermal layers. This is because they are waterless products.
However, you don’t want so much water that your skin is left dry. Ever notice how mainstream lotions often don’t really hydrate the skin? That’s because there is too much water and not enough oil in the product; they are often only 10-20% oil. It’s all about getting the ratio right for your skin. We need a little water to combine with the oil. Without any water, the oil tends to sit on the surface of the skin, leaving us greasy and not plumped under the surface layers.
For example, in our line the Immortal Serum is a water-based hyaluronic acid and vitamin-infused serum that was created to blend with the Immortal Oil to help it absorb below the surface and also to offer the versatility to adjust the water-to-oil ratio depending on the skin’s needs during fluctuations in seasons.
And, when using our facial masks and Deva Polisher, water is of the essence so to speak. Our Nenekti and Coca Kesara masks should be blended with enough water to form a thick soup or thin pudding, not a paste. They should be easy to paint on, gliding over the skin. Keeping the mask hydrated while it’s on keeps the plant medicines active. I suggest blending Nenekti and Coca Kesara with our Soma Repair Mask and also misting your face with water every few minutes to keep the mask from drying to a crisp.
You might be wondering why we didn’t just include the water in the masks. There is good reason for this. Dry masks keep the medicinal herbs fresher for much longer and allow us not to have to use a heavy chemical preservative in the mask. Water mixed with dry herbs and clays creates a breeding ground for bacteria if left to sit over a few weeks in a jar, and is especially problematic with the masks we dip our fingers into, then we’ve got the bacteria on our hands growing in the jar.
I also want our clientele to have the versatility in blending a mask to their needs. Our powder masks can be blended with the Immortal oil, Serum, the Chanda Tonic Mist, balms, and the Soma Raw Honey Mask depending on the clients need for hydration and repair.
All of pAra’s products are made without synthetic fragrance, color and preservatives, and free of Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates, Petrochemicals, PEG's, BHA, Phenoxyethanol or any ingredient tested on animals or animal-derived (with the exception of honey and beeswax).
You just launched a new mask. Can you tell us a little about it?
Sure! Our new mask is the Coca Kesara Mask. She is formulated for a boost of brightening, antioxidant and firming action. Her base is super antioxidant raw organic cocoa powder, gentle kaolin clay, brightening acerola cherry and camu camu, firming fennel, anti-aging reishi, and collagen reweaving gotu kola and comfrey.
She pairs beautifully with Soma Raw Honey Mask to create a pliable and healing mask that will leave you radiant and with more youthful firm skin. Her scent is that of a cocoa dipped fresh cherry. And she is not a super tightening/harsh mask when dry, I chose to use kaolin clay in this blend so that she could be used by drier, mature skins. But again, try not to let her dry out! Keep that mister bottle handy so she stays active and pliable. If you can smile with your mask on and there is no pulling action on the skin, this is good!
From the packaging to the ingredients you choose, walk us through how you make product choices. Why is it important to you that pAra is a sustainable company?
Because our planet is at a breaking point. She can’t handle any more of our conveniently-created garbage piles. As much as humanly possible, we use recyclable (forever) glass bottles (plastics can only be recycled a few times and then they sit in the ocean). We also chose compostable boxes that can literally be used under mulch to keep weeds at bay in the garden.
And as I mentioned earlier, we are very thoughtful in our ingredient sourcing and go to lengths to bring in herbs from earth conscious harvesters. I also love that just about all whom we source from give back a portion of their revenue to earth activist nonprofits.
In our production space it’s really important to me that the energy surrounding what we do is filled with ease, lightness of being, and healing intention. Energy transfers — whether we realize it or not. So I bring in only assistants who understand this and offer beautiful energy to our space. It makes for quite the joyful working environment. And I know it positively impacts each bottle we ship out.
If you’re interested in learning more about pAra Botanica, you can find out more here