Amala Beauty combines the best of two worlds that still seldom converge in beauty products: eco and luxe. My criteria? Whole plant ingredients, none of the dirty dozen, and display-worthy recycled packaging. Better still, the line is largely used in spas devoted well-being rather than stores that turn a blind eye to greenwashing.
That’s a big difference from when designer Stella McCartney launched her CARE line a few years back, as the first organic beauty line “suitable for the prestige aisle.” McCartney’s claims couldn’t stand up to scrutiny, and CARE became synonymous with label trickery. The PETA-member’s packaging flaunted “100 percent actives” on the front of the product, but closer inspection revealed that the actives made up a varying percentage of the contents, anywhere from 50-something to 80 percent. (Read the back label, ladies!)
Ute Leube, who founded Amala almost three years ago, is a German aromatherapist whose green-beauty pedigree comes from creating the high-quality Primavera line of essential oils, and working with organic farms for 20-plus years that supply her fair-trade ingredients.
Thanks to her Rolodex, I can interpret Amala’s ingredient list. Most are in Latin, the lingua franca of botanicals, which is a great sign. (In most cases the English name follows in parenthesis.) A note on the back label offers further transparency—100 percent of the plant ingredients are produced by organic farming, and these comprise 86 percent of the total ingredients in my Detoxifying Body Butter. (Water, the first ingredient, isn’t farmed. Nor is tocopherol, or vitamin E, which here serves as a preservative with skin-care benefits.)
You might have spied Amala in Barneys, one of the city’s best sources for eco-luxe beauty. But it’s now offered at the Mandarin Oriental Spa, a measure of its high-end spa status, in a holistic 80-minute Warmth & Wellness treatment (it costs $305-$315; $20 of which goes to the New York Central Park Conservancy). The treatment’s body polish, clay wrap, and 40-minute massage all tap Amala’s newest Detoxify body-care range, which stars myrtle leaf, a nourishing purifier seemingly made for helping skin through a NYC winter, when skin gets especially dry and lackluster.
The Detoxify products also come sans terrific therapist in the Amala Detoxify Spa Valise sampler. In either instance, you can feel good about the fact that Amala means “most pure” in Sanskrit, and that the product label proves it’s not in name only.
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