Living Well With Daron Hope
Daron Hope is the radiant beauty behind the holistic skin care line EarthTonics and the EarthTonics Spa in Ojai, California. Her skincare formulations blend plants and herbs to create pure, organic formulas that nourish, nurture, and heal the skin from the outside in. Daron is a true alchemist, fusing elements of energy with nature to bring forth the most divine creations. Her spa is a sanctuary space that is dedicated to wholistic beauty rituals and wellness offerings, combining ancient healing wisdom with the latest discoveries in the field of skin health.
Today, Daron shares her approach to skin health, the wellness practices that keep her radiant, and some simple tools for energy healing. Get inspired with this grounded and honest share.
What initially drew you to skincare, botanicals & holistic healing?
Botanicals, alchemy, and all that white-witchiness… these are all things that fascinated me from a very young age. I was lucky to grow up with a lot of outdoor time, lots of play-time, and my imagination was always stirred by the idea of making healing potions.
I’ve never had “easy” skin… when I was a teenager I struggled quite a bit with breakouts and skin sensitivity. There were points in time when I really waged war on my skin with what I thought were the “strongest” products out there… but I was missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
When I was about 18, I discovered Taoist Yoga, and this was my initiation into truly understanding the holistic nature of health. The Taoist practice is based on Traditional Tibetan and Chinese Medicine, so in practicing I was learning about the 5 Elements inherent in all things, about the concepts of Yin and Yang. I started to see my overall health and specifically the health of my skin from a new perspective. I saw that within my self-care there was an imbalance of Yang energy, the masculine energy, that wants to “do all the things” to “fix myself” and use whatever means necessary to do it. But Beauty, true Beauty, is about allowing the Light and Truth of who you are shine and attending to the self with love and gentle healing intention. It’s inherently an aspect of the Feminine, so I consciously began to cultivate more Yin in my life…. slowing down, resting, acknowledging and accepting my insecurities and practicing self-love.
I realized that when there were imbalances in my life, my body reflected that to me in my skin. These “problems” that I loathed so much were actually sweet messages from my body, trying to call attention to areas that needed my love and presence, places in myself I’d been ignoring. The skin speaks to us on behalf of all that is unseen. It’s a built-in map, a tool that we can use to divine so much about what is going on inside— physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
As my intentions shifted and the revelations unfolded, I felt called to start working with plant medicine. In the vein of self-love, I tossed out every product I had that contained harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrance, and preservatives. Why should I be anointing myself with anything other than the pure gifts provided by Mother Nature? Why can’t every ingredient in my skincare be working for me, rather than compromising my health? That’s when EarthTonics was born.
What wellness practices keep you looking & feeling your best?
For me, my wellness practices have everything to do with getting out of my head and into my body. #1 for me is dance. I freakin’ love to dance. It’s my favorite form of energy work, and its also the best physical workout ever. I love free-dance, dancing in community and dancing my yoga practice.
And obviously, using my products is a huge piece of my self-care. Whether I take just a few minutes or a whole hour to practice a beauty ritual, it makes an enormous difference in my skin and my outlook. I try my best to attend to myself with the same kindness and intention that I do my clients. For whatever reason it’s often easier, especially for those of us in the healing arts, to work on others than it is ourselves. I ask myself, “if one of my clients came to me with X amount of time, what would I do for them?” Sometimes finding the presence and patience for my own self-care is a meditative act in and of itself. But I will tell you from personal experience that daily facial massage with pure, amazing products WILL completely transform your face.
Last, I think it’s vitally important to laugh hysterically on a regular basis, so I like to surround myself with people that share my sense of humor and silliness. I’m not sure when self-care got so self-serious… that shit is not sustainable!
What are your favorite foods for the skin?
I get a lot of inspiration for my formulations from superfoods and herbs that can be taken internally. Some of my favorites..
Mushrooms— Not only are they delicious, but they’re also incredibly healing for the body both internally and externally. On both accounts, they have amazing anti-inflammatory qualities that help keep the skin calm and balanced. Their the best ally I have found for healing discoloration in the skin. They have a unique ability to hone in on damaged tissue and detoxify the skin. They’re nothing short of miraculous. In 6 months my Immortelle Mushroom Mylk has radically changed my skin, and my clients are reporting the same!
Chia— Along with many of my clients, I’ve had a lifelong struggle with staying properly hydrated. Sometimes after a busy day, I realize that I’ve only had maybe a single glass of water all day— it’s bonkers! Proper hydration will transform your skin, and one of my favorite hacks for this is soaking chia in water, with sometimes a touch of juice for flavor. When soaked, chia holds water like a sponge, so that when the liquid moves through your digestive tract, it does so slowly, and your body is able to absorb much more hydration this way. I fell so nourished and satisfied by these delicious drinks, and I can see the difference in my skin. Lately, I’ve been formulating some topical products with chia— stay tuned for these in 2019!
Celery and Greens— Veggies like these are cooling to the system and support our liver, the organ in our bodies that is responsible for processing toxins that enter our system. Whatever the liver can’t handle will be handled by our other detox organ, the skin. The more we can support our liver, the more balanced and glowing our skin will be. Celery, either whole or juiced, is proving to be a particularly helpful food for healing redness, rosacea, and eczema. Plus it’s convenient and delicious!
Your approach to skincare is incredibly nourishing & restorative. What elements do you feel are most supportive to radiant skin health?
You’re right, my approach is all about nourishment. Similar to what I described above in my own journey, often self-care comes in as a reaction to a “problem” we face. We see something we don’t like— a zit, a wrinkle, puffiness around the eyes— and our immediate reaction is to fight back. This is a reflection of our culture’s reactionary approach to healthcare.
I believe in constantly feeding the skin with nutrients from whole plant sources. Just like our greater bodies, when we give the skin the building blocks it needs, in a form that is actually bio-available and usable to our bodies, we’re providing the necessary elements for resilience, health, and vitality. We can do this both internally and externally.
I also believe that real healing happens when our bodies have an opportunity to truly relax, and our nervous systems can quiet and settle. Stress is a huge issue in our culture. There is constant pressure to always be “doing.” It takes courage and strength to hold space for relaxation! This paradox was the impetus behind opening the EarthTonics Spa, my skincare sanctuary where we embrace all things Yin. It’s a place for people to come relax, receive and be nourished.
How do you integrate energy healing into your practice & what are a few simple ways women can practice at home?
Through my skin care practice, I have begun to see everything as energy, as frequency. Literally, everything has a vibration, and this is measurable by science. Our bodies are like tuning forks, and we can attune ourselves to a more coherent optimal frequency using a number of modalities— herbs, sound therapy, color therapy, and more state-of-the-art therapies such as frequency-specific microcurrent. (Check out my website for details).
I also have integrated Kansa therapy into my practice. In India, Kansa is known as “the healing metal.” It is a blend of bronze that is high in copper, which makes it highly conducive to our body’s natural bio-electricity, so when it touches the skin it draws your inherent life force (chi energy) to that place to bring blood flow and liquefy crystallized cellular metabolic waste. At the Spa, we offer Kansa Bronze Facials and Full-Body Massages, which are hypnotic and incredibly restorative, but these are also tools that can be used at home. They’re available on our website, EarthTonicsSkincare.com.
I will also offer a simple technique that is a foundational practice from my Taoist Yoga training. It’s a simple, easy practice that you can do in as little as 5 minutes, designed to keep the energy flowing through the many meridians of the body… Taoists believe that energy gets stuck and stagnates in the joints of the body (think elbows, knees, ankles, anywhere that bends!) and this is where dis-ease and pain can show up. The practice is to simply roll through all the joints, starting with the neck and ending with toes. Just make circular motions through each joint, perhaps 3 in one direction and then (this is key!) go the other direction too.
Here’s a list so you don’t miss anything:
-Neckroll the head in circles three times in both directions
-Fingers -articulate through all the digits— we hold so much tension here!
-Spine- do some wormy body rolls to get energy moving through the spine
-Hips— big hip circles, 3 in each direction
-Ankles- I like to squat down with my feet together to roll through my ankles
-Toes- stretch them out and scrunch them!
Now tell me you don’t feel a million times better?!
Tell us a bit about the kansa & gua sha tools you use in your treatments.
I described them a bit above, but allow me to go into a bit more detail…
I find Kansa to be particularly effective for draining lymph and stimulating collagen in the skin. When I use these tools on a client’s face, I move away from the midline of the face, and this helps to drain fluid and lymph that has become stagnant. It helps reduce puffiness, and it also helps to remove excess “pitta” from the body (heat, inflammation, redness). As this naturally conductive metal passes over the skin, it gently bends the connective tissue, which stimulates fibroblasts of natural collagen. Over time, this plumps the skin and also increases product penetration.
There are different shaped tools that I use… we offer rounded “wands” and gua sha tools. The wands are great to use with any EarthTonics moisturizer and offer a slightly gentler sensation, great for relaxing circular motions to open the many marma points that can be found on the face.
In Chinese, “gua sha” means scraping, and our heart-shaped gua sha tool is used in a scraping motion over the skin. I find it particularly effective for relaxing tension in the fascia, and they’re also great for travel. You can use these on the face, but they’re also handy to use on the arms and hands. If you’re on the computer or texting a lot, there can be a lot of energy that stagnates in the hands. I like to brush the energy off and keep it moving between clients with the gua sha tool.
What are your favorite ways to unplug?
I love being in Nature, so it’s really as simple as taking a walk sometimes, and dunking my head under a waterfall if I’m lucky enough to find one. The ocean is also a restorative place I like to commune with Nature. Luckily in Ojai, we have a lot of beautiful options.
I also started learning ukulele this year! I really wanted a hobby that could replace my Instagram scrolling habit… it’s become one of my favorite ways to chill out! Feels like a good exercise for my brain too :-)
What keeps your heart open?
Hmm… Practice? I constantly have to bring myself back to my heart. Practicing gratitude, practicing being in the present moment. Staying in my heart center is a lifelong pursuit. I’m learning the importance of knowing my core values, what I stand for, and aligning my life and my service to support those things.
I would also be bereft not to mention that I have the most magnificent man in my life, who keeps me grounded and nourished with unconditional love, laughs and music. He’s a daily reminder of the beauty that shows up when you keep your heart open.
3 women who have inspired your life & work
My mama! She’s the most compassionate, independent, down-to-earth, natural beauty. She loves to help people. She’s a badass.
My Aunt Cynthia has also been a hugely influential and loving force in my life. She’s provided a lot of insight and reflection over the years and has helped me distill through all her fascinating esoteric means what it is that really matters to me. She’s the one who introduced me to yoga, suggested I start dancing more, and on more than one occasion encouraged me to re-frame my goals rather than give up.
Honestly, I feel like every single woman I have had on my treatment bed has collectively and dramatically inspired my life and work. It’s been a fascinating and beautiful process to watch thematic waves of what women are going through collectively present themselves in the different lives and times of the women who come to see me at the EarthTonics Spa. Each offers their insights and help me to see that we are all on the same path of ascension. I have been blessed with the wisest and most soulful clientele ever.
A few of your favorite books or other sources of inspiration
All of Paul Selig’s books (I am the Word, The Book of Truth, The Book of Freedom) have been absolutely life-changing for me. I love listening to them on Audible.
For anyone interested in learning more about herbs, anything by Michael or Leslie Tierra is a great way to start. They write very digestible, accessible texts with great information, and they are pioneers in the herbal industry.
Currently, I’m reading Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinkner. It was recommended by a few friends and is an incredible read right now given the state of the world that’s presented on mainstream media, Facebook, etc. Pinkner argues that humanity is actually in a drastically better place than ever before in history, and urges his readers to embrace the pillars of the Enlightenment movement: science, reason, humanism, and progress. It’s like a breath of fresh air and has given me a lot of hope (and I’m only, like, 50 pages in!).
As an offering to the community, readers can take 10% off with code RADIANTSKIN at EarthTonics