A Healer’s Call to Skincare

Creating Dora's Apothecary has been a wild ride. Quite honestly, I never set out to create a skincare company. I was called to create Dora's.

A few years back when I was in grad school, I attended a higher education conference, and the keynote speaker was Cheo Torres, who is the VP of Student Affairs at the University of New Mexico. To my surprise, his presentation focused on Curanderismo, and how the ways of the ancestors can help us to heal ourselves.

This was around 2006 and at that time there was very little information on our lineage of shamanism, and I had a million questions for him. Along with being the VP of Student Affairs, Cheo has published several books as well as created the first Curanderismo program on a college campus: Traditional Medicine Without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico. I took his card, bought all of his books, went home and put the program on my someday bucket list.

After grad school, I worked in higher education, specializing in career counseling. I also did a stint in recruiting and HR before I deciding to branch out and start my own coaching practice. This is when I started looking at the UNM program again. I now had the time and flexibility to go to New Mexico for a few weeks and take the class.

The week before I flew to New Mexico, my dad called and told me he had a premonition that I was going to meet someone in the class that was going to help me on my path.

It was during the second week of class that I met the person my dad forecast I was going to meet. During a community healing day, curandera/os from the community donated their time to give students a first-hand experience of the various healing modalities. At this point in my spiritual journey, I had an inkling of what I was here to do, but it was still pretty foggy. My client conversations had started to morph into bigger spiritual questions, vs. focusing specifically on work and career. I could tell there was a collective shift happening in regard to where my clients were at. And my inner guidance during my meditations started to become more pronounced.


I was matched up with Greg Whitfield, a curandero from the Albuquerque community.


He performed a traditional limpia on me, and when he finished, he said, "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't force them to drink." This immediately gave me chills because this was a message that I was consistently receiving in meditation. I so badly wanted my clients to take action toward their true desires, and occasionally I would get frustrated. This was always a gentle reminder from my guides that everyone is on their own path and ultimately, we are all responsible for our own journey. I knew at that instant that he was the connection my dad had spoken about. We exchanged contact information and he suggested that I come to a class his mentor was teaching later in the week.

I met his mentor, Michael Guzzio later that week, and set up a limpia and a temezcal for the following day. That night at 11:11pm, I was awakened to a voice saying "listo". I thought I was just imagining things. But then the voice spoke again and said "trabaho". I immediately shot up in bed. Ready for the work. I knew right away it was the grandmothers. And looking back, this is when my gifts really started to open up. They also told me that my cousin Dora was a full curandera and that I needed to help her find a teacher, but that is a whole other story…

The second week of the class is when I was downloaded the idea for Dora's. It was another direct message from the grandmothers.

The product line was to work in three ways:

  1. To provide an all-natural skincare product that is beneficial for the physical body, as well as the energetic body.

  2. A vehicle to educate people on the contributions of our ancient ancestors and the beautiful healing practice of Curanderismo. And

  3. To monetarily make it possible for more people to attend the UNM program and learn how to heal themselves.

As soon as I got home, we registered our domain and my mom and I started working on recipes.

One day I was in a local Mexican market, looking for nopal and they had just received a shipment of beauty products from Mexico. Among them was this strange oil with a picture of a tree on it. I asked the owner what it was, and she said it was some kind of tree bark called Tepezcohuite but she didn't know what it was used for. When I got home, I googled Tepezcohuite and was shocked to see that the Aztecs and Mayans used it to treat all sorts of skin conditions, including acne, anti-aging, and first-degree burns. (Link to the ingredient page & picture of Tepez)

I immediately got a download that this was our main ingredient.


One person who was instrumental in getting Dora's off the ground was our model and web designer, Darlene Valencia. Looking back, I know the grandmothers sent her to us. Thank you, Darlene!! We couldn’t have done it without you.


Another person who was instrumental in this journey is Samantha Blossom, who attuned me to Reiki. During a body talk session we were discussing Dora's and she asked me what ingredients we were using, and I started to tell her about all of our amazing ingredients and how each product was infused with rose quartz. And she stopped me and said, "But what are you energetically infusing into the products?"

I always knew we would reiki each product, but she helped me to think outside of the box, and to see how we could infuse our products with more love and intention. Which is how Dora's mantras were born. Each product is reikied and infused with these sentiments:

Live well. Be happy. Give back. Know your truth. Heal yourself.

After several recipe changes, and some flops, everything just sort of fell into place. And now here we are. Like I said it has been a wild ride.

We hope you enjoy these products as much as we enjoy making them.

With love and gratitude, from our family to yours.

Martha & Helen