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Gentle Strength Face Mask

“When I was first exploring natural body care and food, I had a favorite store I would visit in Tempe, Arizona, called Gentle Strength Co-op,” professional curandera Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz writes. “It was more than a ‘health food’ store—it was a space for those in our community who shared similar ideas and goals to meet and support one another during a time when American diets were shifting and beauty standards were far from natural. It was where I learned about the macrobiotic diet and tried wheatgrass juice. The high oxygen content of chlorophyll in wheatgrass makes it superior in helping deliver more oxygen to our blood. Touted as a powerful detoxifier, when taken internally, wheatgrass offers over 100 elements that are essential for vital health! When applied to our skin, it can help with the effects of premature aging due to its potent antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.”

This recipe and others like it can be found in “This Arizona Curandera Changed the Way We Think About Our Wellness Routine,” from the 2022 Wellness Issue.

Gentle Strength Mask

Excerpted from Earth Medicines: Ancestral Wisdom, Healing Recipes, and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera by Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz (Roost Books, 2021). Photographs by Nicky Hedayatzadeh.
 ½ small avocado, peeled
 2 tbsp aloe vera gel, either purchased or made following directions at right
 1 tsp honey
 1 tsp powdered wheatgrass

Using a fork, mash the avocado in a small bowl until smooth.


Add the remaining ingredients and mix well using a small spoon.


To use the mask, apply to a clean face using your fingertips and leave on the skin for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry. Store any remaining mask in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


To Make Your Own Aloe Gel: “You can find fresh aloe vera leaves at most Mexican grocery stores,” Ruiz writes in Earth Medicines. “To prepare the aloe vera gel, first trim the base and the top of the leaf. Drain the aloin (yellow substance) from the leaf by placing it in an upright container or in your kitchen sink for about 10 minutes. You will see the aloin ooze out from the bottom. Although it is not toxic, it has a strong bitter flavor. After 10 minutes, place the aloe vera with the flat side down on a cutting board and slice off the spiny sides. Using a vegetable peeler or small paring knife, remove the bright-green layer. Use a spoon to remove the gel or slide your knife under the gel to carefully release it from the other side. You can now cut your gel into small pieces and refrigerate.”