Saving Face: Say Goodbye to Dry Skin, Naturally

Hydrosols and nourishing face oils for healthy, glowing skinWinter in Wisconsin.   There’s so much to love!  But let’s face it —  cold temperatures, brisk winds and dry inside air all reek havoc on our skin.  You can easily come in from a day of snowshoeing or shoveling only to look in the mirror and find a face that’s red, chapped and cracked.

Our skin’s natural protection is its acid mantle, a thin layer of oil and perspiration produced by the skin’s sweat and sebaceous glands.   When this layer becomes unbalanced, the skin is weakened.  Enter one of our very favorite ways to restore supple skin, mimicking nature’s own perfect method:

organic plant hydrosol + organic plant oil

What are hydrosols?

Hydrosols are plant-infused waters that remain following the steam distillation of a plant’s essential oils.  Rich in antioxidants, hydrosols are excellent facial tonics, playing an important role in protecting the skin from free radicals and pollution.   They hydrate the skin and help restore a healthy pH, all while smelling divine!  Each plant hydrosol has its own aroma and therapeutic characteristics.  For example, lavender  is calming and soothing; rose otto restores emotional balance and calms redness, while lemon balm dissipates stress, lifts the spirits and softens the complexion.  At Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop, we carry a large assortment of organic hydrosols from Pranarom and Evan Healy.

Use:   Spritz your gently cleaned face a few times with the hydrosol of your choice.  Then, combine a few pumps of oil (see below) and a few sprays of hydrosol in the palm of your hand; blend together.  Massage face and neck gently with the mixture.  Any remaining product can be worked into your hands or into the ends of your hair (winter hats give our hair quite a beating!).  Hydrosols can also be used on their own throughout the day, offering their healing benefits to skin, hair and spirit.

What are organic plant oils, and how do I use them?

For millennia, oils have been the secret to healthy and beautiful skin for people throughout the world.  Not all oils are produced equally, though. It’s essential that, when selecting oils to put on your skin (your body’s largest organ), you look for certified organic oils (cold pressed or CO2 extracted) from reputable companies.   Many botanical oils are particularly suited for our skin and it’s different needs.  They can be used “straight,” infused with other plant matter (such as antioxidant-rich carrot root or healing calendula), or blended with essential oils.

Essential oils are different from pressed plant oils.  Rather than pressing, essential oils are obtained from steam distillation, which extracts and concentrates the volatile oils of an aromatic plant.  Though molecularly distinct from pressed oils, essential oils are lipophiles and mix easily with pressed oils (called carrier oils when mixed).  Often, essential oils of various plants are combined with a carrier plant oil (as they are in many of our products) to offer a more complex healing profile .


Here are a few popular plant oils and their uses:

Argan Oil — Widely used by Berber women to protect and revitalize hair, skin and nails.  Rich in antioxidants, Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, and vitamin E.  Absorbs quickly.  Known for its ability to soften fine lines, promote elasticity and moisturize.  Excellent for dry, chapped or mature skin.

Rosehip Seed Oil —  Used for centuries to treat scarred and burned skin.  Rich in vitamin A and essential fatty acids.  Regenerates and strengthens cell membranes, fades hyper-pigmentation, minimizes and softens scars, smooths fine lines and wrinkles.  Soothes dry skin.

Jojoba Oil — Also known as “Inka Gold,” jojoba is actually a liquid plant wax.  Absorbs easily.  Softens and moisturizes dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin.  Rich in iodine, it fights harmful bacteria, accelerates healing, and is frequently used for acne and razor burn.

Some of our favorite face oils products:

Evan Healy:
Rosehip Facial Treatment Serum — Blue formula contains blue chamomile, lavender and immortel to sooth sensitive, irritated, oily or delicate skin.  Use Rose formula with rose geranium and carrot seed to regenerate dry, devitalized skin.
Argan Intensive Facial Serum  — Features sandalwood, jasmine and frankincense, this argan oil is produced by a small, self-governed Berber Women’s Co-Operatives of Morocco.
Pomegranate Repair Serum — A combination of sea buckthorn, pomegranate and rosehip seed oil deeply nourish and restore damaged, delicate or dehydrated skin.

Rosehip Seed Oil – Nourishing, restorative, clarifying and brightening. The astringent quality of rosehip oil enables it to deeply penetrate the skin, carrying along with it vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Argan Oil – Deeply moisturizing and quickly absorbed.  Excellent for face, hair and body, this larger bottle is reasonably priced and suitable to use as-is or to mix with essential oils that suit your needs.

We’re fans of Acure’s single-ingredient oils, and we love their sweet packaging … white, glass pump bottles.  Try their Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil and Marula Oil (cold-pressed from the seed of the African marula fruit, it is lightweight, easy to absorb, and rich in antioxidants and omega fats).

All Badger Face oils contain jojoba oil and complex combinations of fruit, seed and essential oils.  Look for Damascus Rose (for dry/delicate skin), Seabuckthorn (for normal/dry skin), Argan (for all skin types), and Unscented (for sensitive skin).

Living Earth Herbs
Beautiful Skin Oil  —  An excellent, affordable blend of calendula-infused jojoba oil and oils of carrot seed, lavender, helichrysum, rose, sandalwood and rose geranium.  A staff favorite.

Need a visual?  Here’s a great video by Evan Healy on how to use hydrosols and facial oils to heal and nourish your skin!


What’s in YOUR Smoothie?

green smoothie with superfoodsSmoothies are … personal!   Everyone has their favorite go-to recipes depending on their tastes and health goals.   Easy to digest and quick to prepare, smoothies are a great option for snacks or meals on the go.    With a few add-ins, a run-of-the-mill drink can become a tasty, superfood powerhouse that can get you through a big chunk of your day with energy, focus and drive.

Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop carry a wide variety of ingredients to up your smoothie game.   From collagen, whey and vegetable protein powders, to nutritional oils to herbs that give you that extra edge, our high-quality products have been carefully selected to make sure that you’re getting only the best for your one-and-only body.   Vegan and gluten-free options are available.

Take a look at some of our favorite smoothie add-ins, and choose a few to try yourself.  Brands available at Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop are listed in bold.  Most can be found at both locations, but call to verify if there is a specific item you’d like to have right away.

SEEDS (by NOW and Barlean’s)
Hemp –  high in protein, good source of essential fatty acids
Flax    –  high in omega 3s and lignans
Chia   –  high in calcium and phosphorus, easy to digest without being ground

SUPERFOODS, HERBS & SPICES  – Provide concentrated antioxidants, polyphenols and a variety of nutrients.

  • Morninga – Bitter, pungent, warming.  High in antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory.
    (Kuli Kuli powder)
  • Baobab – Slightly sour.  Rich source of vitamin C.
    (Allafia powder)
  • Mushrooms –  Can boost energy and immune function.  Excellent source of prebiotics.
    (OM powders, Host Defense capsules and liquids.  Both brands have many varieties.)
  • Spirulina – High in protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and chlorophyll
    (Pure Planet, NOW and bulk powders)
  • Chlorophyll detoxifier, deoderizer, nutrient-rich, improves digestion
    (Sunny Green and Herbs, Etc. liquid and capsules)
  • Maca Powder – supports energy and stamina, balances hormones
    (Gaia, HerbPharm, and bulk)
  • Beet Powder –  rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, calcium, iron and other nutrients
  • Tart Cherry  rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, including melatonin
    (Eclectic powder, PurePlanet and Dynamic Health liquid)
  • Nettle Leaf  – high in minerals and other nutrients, anti-inflammatory.
    (Eclectic powder, bulk dried leaves)
  • Ginger –  good for digestion, anti-inflammatory.  Try using a chunk of fresh ginger if you have it.
    (HerbPharm tincture)
  • Turmeric anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuro-protective, aids digestion
    (MegaFoods Daily Turmeric, bulk powder)
  • Blueberry Concentrate – antioxidant, supports healthy vision
    (Herbalist & Alchemist)
  • Powdered Greens – excellent source of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, rich in antioxidants and carotenoids.
    (blends by Barlene’s, Eclectic, Garden of Life, Vibrant Health and Natural Factors)

PROTEIN POWDERS – most come in chocolate, vanilla and unflavored

  • Whey Protein – cow- and goat- derived  (Tera’s, Natural Factors, NOW)
  • Egg White Protein  (NOW)
  • Vegetable-based Protein  (Garden of Life, Nature’s Plus, Vega One, Tera’s)
  • Rice Protein – vanilla and chocolate (NutriBiotic)
  • Hemp Protein (Manitoba Harvest)
  • Grassfed Beef & Egg Protein  (PaleoPro)
  • Collagen (PaleoPro, Nordic Naturals)


  • MCT oil  (Bulletproof, NOW)
  • Flax Oil  (Barlean’s)
  • Coconut Oil  (Dr. Bronner’s)



The combinations are endless, but here’s a basic recipe:

  1. Base: 8-10 oz. organic milk (dairy or non-dairy), coconut water,  kefir or yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  2. Healthy fat: 1 T MCT oil, coconut oil or flax oil
  3. Protein: 1-2 scoops of protein powder
  4. Antioxidants:  2 cups of berries (can be frozen), leafy greens or a combo.
  5. Additions:  herbs, nuts and seeds — try a few, based on what you want and need for your health goals

Blend all until smooth.  Keep in mind that a room-temperature smoothie can be easier to digest than an icy cold one, especially if you have digestive struggles or are feeling unwell.   If you don’t have an electric blender, choose powders and liquids rather than whole fruits and veggies.   Shake well in covered mason jar or one of the great smoothie shakers available at both of our locations.



Community Pharmacy Job Openings | We’re Hiring!

Cooperative job alert!
We are currently accepting applications until Thursday, September 28th for two current job openings: Pharmacy Technician and Retail Sales Worker. If you desire working in an upbeat, fast-paced cooperative located in the heart of Downtown Madison we would love to hear from you!

Pharmacy Technician:

This position requires the ability to coordinate efficiently with both pharmacists and technicians while providing excellent customer service. Applicants must have previous technician experience, be detail oriented, and excel at communicating and receiving direction.

Retail Sales Worker:
This position requires excellent communication and customer service skills. Preferred candidates will possess nutritional/herbal knowledge and have retail or cooperative business experience.

If working in a unique, cooperative business sounds desirable to you, visit us to pick up an application or download one here.

These positions average 35 hours per week with a starting wage of $11.50 plus benefits. Spanish speakers are strongly encouraged to apply!

About Community Pharmacy:
We are a worker’s cooperative committed to helping you become the healthiest you. Along with a prescription pharmacy, we provide our community with vitamins, herbs, homeopathic remedies and natural body care products. Community Pharmacy was founded on the principle that information and choice are crucial in making sound health decisions.

Our pharmacists and educated staff are here to help ensure you find the right products for your specific needs. We constantly strive to be the natural alternative to this increasingly chemical world. We support small, local businesses and buy from companies that prioritize sustainability over maximizing profits. If you’re looking for food-based vitamins, herbs from certified organic farms or skin care without synthetic ingredients or fragrances, we are just the store you’re looking for.

Announcing Senior Wednesdays | Community Pharmacy


With today’s changing retail environment, including the growth of online shopping and scaled-back reimbursements from insurance companies, we find we need to change and adapt in order to continue to be here for the community we so value.   Your support during past months of fiscal challenge has been both helpful and heartening.  Still, we need to do more.

We will continue to offer a 10%  discount for seniors age 60 and over, but rather than the daily discount we have offered  for the past many years, this special discount will be offered each Wednesday of the week beginning January 4th, 2016.   Our hope is that this scaled-back program will still allow our loyal and valued senior customers to meet their daily needs, while helping to sustain Community Pharmacy for years to come.

We’re proud to have served the community for 44 years, and we’re working hard to ensure that we can be here to serve for at least 44 more!   Our loyal customers are at the heart of all we do.

– The Workers of Community Pharmacy

Pick Your Thrifty | The New Punch Card That Saves You Money

If you have visited us within the last month, chances are you have heard we are replacing our long-running discount day, Thrifty Thursday, with the “Pick Your Thrifty Punch Card” program. Your convenience is important to us, therefore we hope to make our discount day easier for everyone. With this card, you decide when to take advantage of your once-a-month 15% discount. Here is how you can receive your punch card, and how it can be applied:

Pick Your Thrifty Punch-Card Program

1.) Pick up your card from either Community Pharmacy location on October, 27th (formerly Thrifty Thursday)
2.) Use your card one day each month and we will take 15% off all of your regularly priced, nonprescription items
3.) Your discount card is good at both stores
4.) It’s as easy as that! Now pick your day to save!