A Skin Care Guide for Even the Manliest Man

A good friend of mine, tired of being told he looks well…tired,  decided to try his wife’s under eye oil.  People noticed a difference.  This guy is a beer drinking, football watching, work boot wearing man who decided it was time to start caring how he looked and it actually made him feel better about himself.  I’m not saying everyone needs an extensive skin care routine that includes under eye oil but I am saying that understanding your skin type and using something that is not a bar soap to clean your face will benefit you in the long run. Paying attention to your skin will cause it to be less irritated when you shave, make you look younger, and you’ll have an even tone (less breakouts, dry spots or oily areas).

Your Skin

Here’s the deal— your skin is made up of sebaceous glands that produce a protective oil called sebum. Not surprisingly, you have the most sebaceous glands on your back, forehead and chin and none of these glands on the palms of your hands or  the soles of your feet. For your skin to be healthy, you need to maintain healthy levels of sebum.

But what’s healthy? We all know that skin types vary between dry, oily and those lucky ones who have normal skin. What we may not know is the reasoning behind this is partly due to acids found in the skin’s oils. Sebum has, among other things, two types of acids; oleic and linoleic acid. Skin’s natural sebum is high in oleic acid. Oily and acne prone skin is shown to have low levels of linoleic acids. The good news is that there are oils out there that can mimic the skin’s natural sebum, and that contain high levels of linoleic or oleic acid depending on what you need for your skin type.


The first step in good skin care is to wash your face.  Don’t deny it, you skip this step all the time.  Bar soaps dry out your skin and are usually not safe as they contain toxic chemicals like triclosan, DEA, parabens and even formaldehyde.  I would recommend a clarifying face wash like this one from La Roche (available at CVS) which is fragrance and preservative free and ranked safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  If you shave, I’d recommend a preservative free shave oil that softens skin leaving less irritation like the one we sell at Hanu.   Sunflower oil’s deeply nourishing makeup of oleic acid, linoleic acid, carotenoids and vitamins A, D, and E work to condition the skin without leaving an oily sheen. Argan oil, contains vitamin E, essential fatty acids, carotenes and squalene which allow it to heal damaged skin while protecting from signs of aging and combating free radicals. Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins A, B and E which lock in moisture while helping to sooth skin irritations. The combination of sage and frankincense essential oils will sooth the skin while providing a great shave.




Beard oils are all the rave these days.  If you grow a beard, I’d recommend Hanu beard oil.  This oil consists of several oils combined to make this lightweight blend that will make your beard and skin underneath hydrated and conditioned. The kukui nut tree is the official tree of Hawaii and has been used by natives for thousands of years for it’s soothing and healing properties.   Argan oil contains vitamin E, essential fatty acids, carotenes and squalene which condition your hair and moisturize the skin underneath. Almond oil is high in vitamins A, B, and E and is known for it’s ability to relieve dry and irritated skin and maintain healthy moisture levels.  Fresh ginger, rosemary and oakwood absolute are used in combination to make a spicy, deep scent.



Last, after shaving or applying a beard oil, you should moisturize your face.  Argan oil contains vitamin E, essential fatty acids, carotenes and squalene which allow it to heal damaged skin while protecting from signs of aging and combating free radicals. The combination of sandalwood, carrot, turmeric and frankincense provide more antiaging and skin restorative properties while facilitating blood circulation and detoxification just below the surface of the skin.  If you’re really motivated, you could try Hanu’s under eye oil which, amongst other ingredients has coffee in it to give your eyes some pep.



Even if you’ve never done it before, now is the time to start paying attention to your skin.  Those sebaceous glands are going to behave like they want to behave but you can use products that work to combat dry or oily skin and improve normal skin.  There are plenty of skin care gimmicks out there so don’t be fooled by the products that contain harmful chemicals.  Be conscious about what you’re putting on your skin.

Skin Care Tips and Tricks

You’re running here and there, so tired at night that you barely have the energy to drink a much-needed glass of wine and your skin care routine is rushed or skipped entirely. I get it. I usually choose wine too. I was trying to find a quote to inspire you but when you Google “keeping your head high and your neck strong” (you’ll see where I’m going with that later in the post), pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles and large horses come up.  So, <insert inspirational quote here>  and instead here’s some skincare hints I’ve found to save you some time and your skin from the daily grind.


Natural Makeup Remover

Use organic coconut oil (the emulsified kind you get in a jar from the grocery store) to take off makeup at night. Just use your fingers and a Kleenex to wipe the coconut oil on your eyes and face. You only need a little bit and your makeup will come off easily.


To Wash or Not to Wash?

If you have dry to normal skin, don’t wash face in the morning, just use warm water and a microfiber cloth to gently exfoliate and then apply your favorite skin oil. Here are some more details.


Night time: Wash and dry your face with a product that does not contain alcohol. Consider using an oil based product or a clarifying product. I like this one. After cleansing your face, use an alcohol-free toner on your face. Moisturize your face, neck and under eye area. Use Hanu facial oil and you’ll have the added benefit of aromatherapy as you fall asleep, breathing in all the relaxing essential oils in the blends.


Day time: Only wash the areas that you feel are oily. If your skin is dry or normal, just wet it and use a microfiber cloth to gently exfoliate with warm water. I really like these microfiber cloths. Next, use an alcohol-free toner like Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner (they have rose, lavender and cucumber!) on your face. Moisturize your face and neck using Hanu Facial Oil and put on Hanu Eye Oil.


Use Your Face Oil as a Face Mask

Hanu’s Facial Oils, whichever one is your favorite, work great as face masks. Just apply the oil liberally before entering the shower and leave it on your face for your entire shower. Use a clean microfiber cloth to remove the oil once you’re done. Presto, the combination of the carrier oils, essential oils and the steam will have given your skin a deep, pore-penetrating, moisturizing face mask.


Protect Your Face’s Natural Oil Content

I’m sure you’ve heard this before so this is just a reminder— don’t sit with your hands propping up your head.  It’s heavy, I know but read back to my blog post about the skin’s sebaceous glands here and you’ll remember you need to protect the skin’s natural oil content and keep harmful bacteria away.  By putting your hands all over your face (especially the chin area where you have the most sebaceous glands), you are asking for a breakout.


Tea Tree Essential Oil; Don’t Leave Home Without It

Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil is one of only two essential oils (the other one is Lavender) that you can apply directly to your skin without diluting it in a carrier oil. I’ve got to be honest with you, it doesn’t smell as heavenly as lavender but its antiseptic properties are well worth enduring the smell. Tea Tree possesses a high germicidal value and can penetrate pus (sorry for the gross factor but this is a must know) and by mixing with it, the pus liquifies and sloughs off leaving a healthy surface (credit book: 375 Essential Oils by Jeanne Rose). You can use this oil directly on blemishes, cuts and scrapes, and bug bites. If your skin breaks out, use Tea Tree oil directly on them immediately. You can get organic tea tree oil from my favorite essential oil company Mountain Rose Herbs. Make sure you’re only buying organic essential oils!

Hanu Launch Party

This past Thursday night we at Hanu Skin Care were lucky enough to have a launch party hosted for us by local boutique owner Phuni Kim Meston at Karma in Newton Centre.  The event was a huge success as it was attended by friends and family as well as some people new to Hanu.


Founder of Hanu Skin Care, Karen Burzdak talks about why she started Hanu.


Read my blog post on Conscious Cosmetics if you want to know more about my journey to start Hanu. It all begins with my anxieties around the products that are currently out there. Did you know that over 1,300 chemicals in skin care products have been banned in Europe and that the FDA has only banned 11 in the USA?  It’s time to start being conscious about what we’re putting on our skin, and this launch party was about spreading that word.

Owner of Karma, Phuni Kim Meston


Phuni has been a good friend of mine and encouraged me to start making skin care products. I figure if such a wise woman likes my products then other people will like my products too.  I can’t thank Phuni and Tenzin enough for being so supportive of me through the process of launching my company.

Karma Store Manager, Tenzin Norzin

Karma Store Manager, Tenzin Norzin


Our launch party was very humbling because we realized how many wonderful people we have in our life. The people who have supported us through the process of bringing up a company are the ones who we will always remember. I thank them immensely and appreciate them more then words.


Family and Friends. Some Old and Some New

Family, Friends and some Old and Some New





Conscious Cosmetics

Conscious Cosmetics

Ever since I got rid of “fragrance” in my skin care routine, I have emotional and physical reactions anytime I’m around it. Emotionally, I miss it. Physically, I sneeze. The emotional reaction is clear to me—I miss the musky scent achievable with synthetic perfumery. The physical side is my body now reacting to something I haven’t been exposed to in a long time. I used the same perfume and the same moisturizer for the last, well, as long as I can remember. It makes me sad that I can’t wear my perfume anymore. But, what makes me more sad (or mad really) is that the FDA considers “fragrance” to be a trade secret, one that manufacturers aren’t required to disclose on their labeling or anywhere else. I put the word “fragrance” in quotes because when you see it listed as an ingredient in your products it is not necessarily just one ingredient and it could be a wide range of different chemicals. The skin care industry doesn’t mandate that products are certified with the FDA, “fragrance” is a host of undisclosed ingredients— I feel like there are a lot of secrets going on in the cosmetics industry and I don’t like it one bit.


My Journey

I started creating skin care products because of my desire to create safe products for myself and for my family and I believe that adding “fragrance” to a product is just one way we are putting ourselves at risk. Once I started reading labels and using the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database to look up ingredients in products this became even more apparent to me. The database explains each ingredient in a particular product and calls out any harmful side effects each ingredient has.


What I read really scared me, I stopped using artificial facial products altogether and started using coconut oil mixed with frankincense essential oil. That’s it. It seemed safe enough to me. Frankincense had been used for centuries to treat all forms of skin ailments and coconut oil had recently been touted as the “cure-all, everything” oil. I felt great, my skin looked great. I was prepared to climb up a tree and start boycotting more things—toothpaste in favor of coconut oil, shampoo (ok, I haven’t tried the no-poo thing yet but I’m sure I will someday!). I realize I was being a little extreme here, but at the time it’s how I felt. Don’t worry, I have since researched products and found what I consider to be safe products for my family. I did enjoy the feeling of the oils on my skin though so I decided to continue making my own facial products.


I took some time to start researching oils and I became even more excited about the flexibility I’d have with ingredients I could put on my skin for different ailments. There are oils that can treat everything from aging skin to varicose veins and inflammation. There are oils that can moisturize, provide astringent properties, and balance uneven skin tone. I started buying oils, mixing them together and trying them on my face and neck.


Creating Facial Oils

Sometime after I started wearing my own oil mixture someone asked me about my complexion and when I told them what I had been doing they mentioned I should start a company. At first when I broached the subject with my friends they got excited about it for me. And for themselves— because what inevitably happened was they started telling me about their ailments. I immediately started dreaming about how I could fix them! Things got a little crazy at this point and I started mixing formulas for every ailment that came across my path.


Focus and Aromatherapy

When you decide to start a company and consult and pay for a lawyer, things start to get real. First, you just spent a lot of money for someone to tell you where to sign (oh, and all the things you should be worried about). My coffee-charged, super excited, all-or-nothing self needed to focus. So I started to hone in on what people really needed for a few products, readying the formulas and using many of my friends and family as testers.


I started taking basic aromatherapy classes, clinical aromatherapy classes and learning everything I could about formulating and mixing oils. One of the interesting things I learned was that your sense of smell bypasses the cerebral cortex, the intellectual part of the brain, and goes directly to the limbic system – the part of the brain that perceives smells and processes memories and instincts. This is one of the reasons why I now know that my old perfume will always give me an emotional response. I have so many personal memories stored up for this scent, but I also know wearing it is not worth putting on “fragrance”.


Eyes Wide Open

I want to know what’s in the products I put on my own skin. I really want to know what’s in the products I put on my two little girls’ skin. What all this means is now that I’ve been making oil based products for awhile it just seems like common sense to me that if the skincare industry doesn’t want you to know what’s in their products, then you definitely don’t want to put it on your body.  Let’s all join together and be sure we understand about what we put on our entire bodies — Conscious Cosmetics for all!