6 Artisanal Beauty Brands Grown in Northern California
Grapes that make great wine aren't the only things growing in Napa and Northern California.
Natural beauty brands are now tapping the skin-benefiting ingredients grown in the stellar agricultural region to create luxe botanical products you'll want to get your hands on (and then slather on your skin).
"A single farmers market visit can inspire a new product," says Laurel Shaffer, founder of Laurel Whole Plant Organics. "There are so many farmers here dedicated to organic and sustainable practices—we're surrounded by so much results-delivering plant medicine."
We surveyed the landscape to bring you these five top-shelf natural beauty brands now blooming in the area—from Sausalito to Napa. —Jamie McKillop
(Photo: Laurel Whole Plant Organics)
Based in Sausalito, Laurel Whole Plant Organics specializes in sumptuous 100-percent-organic oils, serums, and balms. "The ingredients we are surrounded by really put a unique stamp on our formulas, since we have to outsource for so little," Shaffer says. Think plants like anti-aging horsetail and hydrating borage.
(Photo: Laurel Whole Plant Organics)
San Francisco-based Earth Tu Face was "inspired by Alice Waters and the farm-to-table food movement she pioneered at Chez Panisse," says co-founder and herbalist Sarah Buscho. It's an apothecary-style brand that's already beloved by cool natural-beauty lovers as far away as the East Coast, but it's very much influenced by Northern California terrain and culture. "Working with plants that grow around us connects us to the land where we are from and to people who've employed these plants before us," Buscho adds. Proof is in Earth Tu's synthetic-free serums, salts, and salves that exude purity and quality with ingredients like calendula, rose hips, and olive oil.
(Photo: Hilary Knight)
Hilary Glass created indie brand Napa Organics using the crops her family grew in the Napa Valley for four generations—namely apricots, prunes, walnuts, grapes, olives, and almonds. "The ingredients I use in the products are all our crops and ones I began using on my own skin and hair at an early age," she explains. The star ingredient of her line is plum kernel oil, which is incredibly rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and smells deliciously sweet.
(Photo: Napa Organics)
Founder April Gargiulo is, you guessed it, the daughter of winemakers (her family owns Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa). "If we don’t start with quality raw materials and honor them through our wine-making process, then we would fall short every time," she says. "This same approach is how we measure our formulation process at Vintner’s Daughter." The company currently only makes one item, a multi-correctional serum made with grapeseed oil (of course) and 21 other botanical ingredients like dandelion, nettle, and alfalfa. Bonus? Two percent of sales goes to charities committed to ending violence against women.
(Photo: Vintner's Daughter)
"Farm-to-face" skin-care line Sumbody, made in Sebastopol, is an incredibly extensive spa and skin-care line with three locations in the Bay Area. All the products, from sugar scrubs to eye creams, use local ingredients. "I know the farmers where we get all our honey, bee pollen, and wax," says founder Deborah Burns, who also wrote the green beauty book, Look Great, Live Green. "I've been in the fields with the goats that produce our goat milk. I pick up the lavender, calendula, and other herbs from a local farm... Because I personally source everything else that goes into our products, I know the quality and growing methods of each ingredient." That's what we call beautiful business practices.
As a cancer survivor, True Nature Botanicals founder Hillary Peterson is not interested in using or creating skin-care products that aren't totally safe and healthy. "The most effective skin-care products and the most luxurious perfumes do not need to be made with toxins," she says. "What is most important in both cases is to use an abundance of the very best ingredients." To that end, she focuses on carefully sourcing quality botanicals for all of her products—from acne-fighting exfoliating cleanser to anti-aging face oil. Some, like organic grapeseed oil from the Napa Valley and sea kelp from the Mendocino Coast, come from close to the company headquarters in Mill Valley.
(Photo: True Nature Botanicals)
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