I was born in the Midwest, where I spent most of my life hanging out in corn fields and saying things like "pop" and "you betchya." Post-college, following a stint in South Korea where I did the ESL thing, I decided I needed a serious change of scenery, so I looked westward.
I transplanted my farm-girl self to the great Sonoran desert, and even though I only planned to stay for a year, I'm still here six years later, earning myself the endearing title of "desert rat."
The need for a dry, desert climate, and the love for a beautiful desert landscape must run in my family, because I have two sets of Indiana-native aunts and uncles who've moved to Phoenix, as well, and my grandparents snowbird here from December through April.
In any case, I truly to love the desert. I love the cacti (as dangerous as they are on a walk back home after a beer or two), I love the giant hug of heat in the summer (hello endless 100+ degrees days), I love the insane weather (nice to meet you, haboobs and monsoons), and I love the lack of humidity (so does my hair). That love extends to the many gifts desert plant life provides. So let's talk about some of them.
Shea Terra Argan & Berbere Fig Hydra-Toning Serum
Shea Terra is one of my favorite places to source oils, creams and serums because they use high-quality ingredients and the prices are super-reasonable. This Hyrda-Toning Serum contains both argan oil and berbere fig. Berbere fig, also referred to as prickly pear, is an edible fruit that grows on a paddle cactus. I have a giant one in my front yard, though I've never been successful at harvesting my own fruit from it.
In any case, prickly pear oil has a lightweight consistency, a big dose of vitamin E, and helps smooth skin, hydrate it, and even out your complexion. I like that this serum is combined with potent argan oil, but Shea Terra also sells pure berbere fig oil for $48.
SNP 90% Cactus Soothing Gel
While the desert gets a bad rap for being super-dry (fact), the cacti are plump and juicy thanks to their water-retention skills. As you know, aloe vera is fantastic for soothing irritated and burnt skin, and it's also a nice hydrating ingredient.
This product is from SNP and I needed it because look how cute. It smells fresh, watery and clean and has a very thin, slightly gel-ish texture.
Agave Oil Treatment
I have been using this Agave oil treatment for years on my hair, and it is a magical blend of agave, safflower and miscellaneous botanicals. I went without for about six months and used other products, but I missed the scent and the texture and the way it protected my hair, so I had to re-purchase.
Please buy this oil — you will thank me. Also, please say thank you to agave for giving you tequila.
Juniper Ridge Death Valley Incense
I'm throwing this Juniper Ridge Death Valley incense in this roundup for fun. It's $12 for 20 sticks and it's one of my favorite incense scents I've come across to date (and I am usually pretty picky). It smells like "desert campfire" smoke, cinnamon and "woodstove," and is crafted from plants, tree sap, wood and a bamboo stick.
100% Organic Wild Toogga Desert Date Oil
I was pleased to find this Desert Date Oil in my La Ritzy box this month. Desert date oil, sometimes called dattier du desert, has been used as a skin-nourishing, anti-aging oil for years. And by years, I mean old enough to be found in Egyptian tombs. In addition to growing in Africa, the desert date (found in palm trees), also grows in the Southwest and Southern California. In fact, on the drive from Phoenix to San Diego, you can stop in Dateland to get a date shake and other date memorabilia.
Turrku Tamborine Cleanser with Desert Lime
This cleanser, by Yurrku, contains caviar limes, lemon aspen, and desert limes. I wanted to include it in this roundup for several reasons. First, it's a really nice cleanser that smells citrus-y and fresh. Definitely a wake-me-up in the morning. Second, even though these limes are sourced from Australia, I want people to know that Phoenix is a wonderland of citrus. I love winter here because of all the citrus blossoms, and the abundance of limes, lemons and grapefruit set out by neighbors who have too much.
Have you ever visited the desert? Lived in it? Bathed in its ingredients?