BEAUTY GURU MARSHA MASON
Theater and film star, Marsha Mason, is known the world over for her award winning acting roles, appearing in such films as The Goodbye Girl and Cinderella Liberty. But did you know that Ms. Mason is also a committed organic farmer and creator of a wellness and bath-and-body line called Resting in the River? From her home and farm in Abiquiu, New Mexico, Ms. Mason has grown certified organic herbs since the late 1990s; herbs that are the key ingredients in her line of products. Today, Ms. Mason splits her time between New York and New Mexico, and was recently seen starring in the Westport Country Playhouse production of The Circle. To learn more about her life as a farmer and developer of healing skin products, please read on.
How did you transition from acting to developing Resting in the River?
I transitioned from acting to farming by the seat of my pants! I learned as I went along, going to soil fertility conferences through Acres, USA. My education continued by reading many articles, being taught by Permaculturist Scott Pittman and Bill Mollison, joining the NMOCC (New Mexico Organic Commodities Commission) and becoming chairperson of same and working with Bolivian and Peruvian growers, and educating myself on Bio-Dynamic farming principles espoused by Rudolf Steiner (creator of the Waldorf Schools) and others. And sending my growers to workshops and symposiums.
Why should beauty consumers choose organic bath-and-body products, and what ingredients do you refuse to include in your products and why?
Shoppers should read all labels carefully. Skin is the largest organ of the body and as such absorbs any and all substances we put on it. Therefore, parabens are a no-no and other metals as well. Reds in lipstick contain metals, and most body products have chemicals in them that can be detrimental to the well being of our skin. There is research being done on all this but mostly in Europe and not yet fully supported in the US especially by large companies. The consumer is the driving force in the market so it is important to know what you are using and if it is beneficial or potentially dangerous. For example, when a woman is pregnant doctors suggest that they don’t use chemical coloring on their hair. Why? Because the scalp absorbs the chemicals. The skin does the same. More and more, our children are showing intolerance to environmental products. Estrogen analogues in dairy products for example are creating early menses in young girls and the early development of breasts. So with the skin being the largest organ of the body it is important what we are putting on it and what our bodies are absorbing and what we can slough off and what we can’t. Education is key. Read all labels carefully. The largest ingredients are the first few on the label.
What is the most unusual ingredient in your product line and what benefits does it offer? What is your best-selling product and what makes it special?
The most unusual ingredient we use is our signature herb – Spilanthese. There are two types – Oleracea and Accmilla, which is a South American herb flower that we grow on the farm. It was called “the toothache herb” by the Indians. It is anti-bacterial and can be used topically. It is a wonderful herb and I first used it in a tincture for my throat when I went to London to do a play and I put it in the first product we made, our Inten-salve. My hands were getting pretty beat up from planting and harvesting so I asked Mitch Covan of Vitality Works to make up a salve for me with Spilanthese that would heal my hands quickly. The formula is the basis for our Body Butter and Lotion and Body Wash and Spilanthese is in all our wellness spray tinctures as well. We have wonderful testimonials regarding the efficacy of our salve on cuts, sutures, and skin ailments and rashes. Children respond well who have skin sensitivity and the Body Butter and Lotion have the same formula base, just a different delivery product. The Body Butter is our largest selling item. All the products are unscented due to many people having allergies to essential oils and perfumes. And men like our product due to it being unscented.
What are your top three tips for maintaining a youthful complexion?
My top three tips for maintaining a youthful complexion are:
a.) Get plenty of rest! Even a 20 minute power nap can do wonders.
b.) Drink plenty of water.
c.) Meditate. Even 15 to 20 minutes is great.
d.) Breathe deeply when walking.
e.) Watch your alcoholic intake.
f.) Smile and remember you are not alone. We are all connected, we are all one.
g.) Listen to your body. Pay attention to it. And put pure potions and lotions on your skin. Well, that’s more than three but certainly do-able and not necessarily in any specific order.
What are your future plans for Resting in the River?
Well, I try to live in the present fully and smilingly. We are putting the Body Butter in a tube for easy traveling and have increased our Hydration Mist to a 2 oz size. And hopefully we are expanding our market to include the East Coast and the Mid-West. We are on-line and in Health Stores like Pharmaca, Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and independent stores as well. We are small but mighty and growing!