New York’s locavore, all-natural beauty scene is way past its infancy—with labels like Kahina Giving Beauty and RMS having paved the way—and it’s now possible to fill almost every beauty need with a product from a five-borough brand.
From natural fragrance and cream deodorants made in Brooklyn to Manhattan sulfate-free shampoos to Queens-crafted body butters, we’ve curated the city’s top homegrown products made with safe, natural ingredients—and a generous pinch of New York cool. —Randi Eichenbaum and Lisa Elaine Held
This small-batch vegan apothecary’s face wash uses plant oils, castile soap, and wild-harvested witch hazel to remove makeup, cleanse, and fight blemishes—without stripping away your skin’s natural moisture.
Plus, all of the indie brand’s products come in eco glass bottles and the labels are decorated with geometric patterns and illustrations of animals doing weirdly adorable things. This one: a cat and a rabbit giving each other a high five.
The tagline of this Gwyneth Paltrow-approved local line formally known as Sprout Wellness is “no-frills skin care,” and founder Adina Grigore formulates each product to be gentle enough for the most sensitive skin, with less than five ingredients. The moisturizing face cream has just three: shea butter, incredibly nourishing coconut oil, and olive oil.
A super popular vendor at the Brooklyn Flea, Apotheke makes gorgeous soy candles in delicious scents, and these nourishing soaps made from coconut oil, in exotic scents like basil spearmint and lime with pink sea salt. For a gentle scrub, they blend grapefruit with oatmeal; for skin detoxing, try the charcoal. They’re all naturally amazing.
Body moisturizer: Flo+Theo Body Butter, $28
Rego Park, Queens
Nigerian-born sisters Mayowa and Ebony Ajiboye are putting Queens on the artisan beauty map with their recently-launched vegan skin-care line. A standout in the line? Their uber moisturizing Body Butters—made with cocoa and shea butters, coconut oil, and essential oils, which really deliver when it comes to silky-smooth skin. They come in invigorating scents that wake up the senses, like Lemon Orchard and Orange Harvest.
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
Facial oils are a must in the medicine cabinets of the skin-care savviest. And the sink-right-in moisture of Jiva-Apoha’s luxe blends fit right in. The Ayurveda-inspired oils crafted by founder Angela Shore do all kinds of things—balancing, energizing, healing, and more. She’ll even make you a personalized oil that suits your skin and unique beauty constitution.
Soaps, bath salts, and uber-moisturizing lip balms that are handmade by founder Rachel Winard come in pretty (and, of course, recycled) packaging for your own personal-care pleasure, and make great gifts. But what she’s best known for is her all-natural, vegan, aluminum-free cream deodorant. Beauty editors—of both the natural-leaning and mainstream variety—swear by the thick paste, which you rub on with your fingers, and keeps you stink-free even through spin class.
The India-born, New York-raised herbalist and holistic aesthetician Anit Hora’s healing salve is the all-in-one product you’ll want to have in your bag at all times. Available in original and vegan formulas, the salve—made with calendula, olive oil, and lavender—works just as well as a blister treatment as it does as an under-eye balm.
There’s medical cred behind the foot-focused label Southern Hospitality, since it was created by Georgia-born podiatrist. And with sandal season fast approaching, we couldn’t think of a better set of products to put our feet in the, er, hands of. The sugar scrubs, made with coconut flakes and essential oils, come in scent blends like honeysuckle orange and mint julep, and act as both cleanser and heel-softening exfoliant.
SkinnySkinny founder Clara Williams’ chemical-free, cornstarch-derived dry shampoo, which is a post-workout, blowout-prolonging must, is available in a variety of scents like rose and grapefruit, and comes in sweet, whimsical packaging. You dispense it over your scalp like a salt shaker, and it comes in small gym-bag-friendly sizes ($9), too.
Gramercy Park, Manhattan
The star ingredient in this super-luxe hair care line comes from rahua nut oils sourced in Ecuador. They’re transformed into products that will leave your locks nothing short of lustrous, where stylist and colorist Fabian Lliguin mixes it with other strand-saving natural ingredients like fortifying quinoa and hydrating aloe.
Editorial stylist and hair-care guru Mordechai Alvow custom blends hair colors and essential oils for clients in his downtown “beauty kitchen” (AKA salon), but you can benefit from his natural-leaning sensibility at home, too. And while his hairspray doesn’t have the glamour (or CFCs) of a big, final aerosol flourish, it will make your strands stay put without harming you, or the ozone, with chemicals.
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Fragrance is one of the sneakiest mainstream beauty ingredients around, but graphic designer Casey Coyle’s perfumes are made from good-for-you essential oils. They’re just strong enough and come in light, citrus-y tones for day or woodsy scents for evening. The bottles, made with local, artisanal wooden tops, are just as lovely.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Former model and rocker Theo Kogan is a makeup artist for TV and runway shows, so she knows her stuff when it comes to products. Her own lip glosses are made with moisturizing oils and butters, and this long-lasting, peachy pink is the perfect go-to gloss to have within reach.
Annie Pham formulates her iridescent nail polishes without any of the bad stuff like toluene or formaldehyde, and since her ingredients include essential oils like lavender and sage, your hands smell more like a holistic spa than a nail salon after polishing. Plus, Pham creates unique color schemes—think vampy hues with glitter overlays—that are made for trendsetting city women.
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