In the last year I’ve come across some really cool natural beauty products – some through Wild Beauty, and some through people I work with. So how could I not share? Most of these companies are run by one or two people. Some of them have international fair trade as part of their business plan. But what they all share is an emphasis on craft, on ingredients, and a newcomer’s fresh belief that it’s the product that matters, not just the packaging and the marketing.
With all the drama from Occupy Wall Street (not to mention Occupy Walmart) it’s easy to forget that trade is an intimately human activity, and that the exchange of goods and services is just that. When it’s all scaled down from the uber-marketing campaigns, what we really want is good products from good people. So here, in no particular order, are some gift ideas from cool indie companies I’ve come across:
Dolly Moo Body Love Sandalwood Spice Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub
Made with love from selectively chosen organic and natural ingredients, Dolly Moo’s scrubs promise to love your body. Sisters Amy and Nicci hand make their body products and lip balms, and have been selling these handcrafted products at holiday fairs in the New York metro area.
The scrub is a mix of Dead Sea, Himalayan Pink, and Dendritic salts, each with their own texture. And the fragrance is a spicy, warming addition to the experience.
Dolly Moo Body Love Sandalwood Spice Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub – $20.00 at DollyMoo.com.
Kahina Giving Beauty Travel Basics Set
Named for a famous Berber queen and prophetess who reigned in Morocco around 700 A.D., Kahina Giving Beauty is a luxurious way of taking care of yourself and the people who create your products. 25% of the profits go directly to the indigenous women of Morocco who harvest and produce the highly antioxidant Argan Oil these products are based on.
Not only that, the products themselves are fully natural and organic, rich in essential oils and active ingredients. And the packaging is gorgeous and fully recyclable, making for a beautiful gift.
Kahina Giving Beauty Travel Basics Set: $85.00 at Bergdorf Goodman.
RMS Beauty Essentials Set
Created by makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty brings an absolutely pure, organic ingredient consciousness to color cosmetics. Creating products that are actually good for the skin, Rose-Marie wants to shift the emphasis in color cosmetics away from chemicals that can build up in the body through daily exposure, to cosmetics that actually help heal and protect the skin.
But that’s not the best part. Rose-Marie has a color sense honed from working behind the scenes with some of the best in the business. (I know – I used to assist her back in the day!) So these colors are custom designed to enhance the beauty of natural skintones. The RMS Beauty Essentials Gift Set comes in four colorways, from subtle to dramatic.
RMS Beauty Essentials Set: $150.00 at Spirit Beauty Lounge.
Handmade Soaps from Beyond the Picket Fence
Gwen Neucall of Middletown, New York, started making soaps with her mother, feeding a newfound interest in aromatherapy. Using only therapeutic grade essential oils, she creates all-natural bath and body products with a physical or psychological purpose, such as the Working Woman’s line, designed to calm nerves after a hard day.
With scents such as Jamaican(with local roasted coffee grounds!), Herb Garden and Lavender Allspice, these soaps are both sustainable and sensually unique. (And if you want to see how she does it, here is a video of her process).
Handmade soaps from Beyond the Picket Fence 3 for $13.50 at Beyond the Picket Fence.
African Moringa Miracle Oil
Ever since founder Camilla Barungi gave me a bottle of this oil, it’s been a go-to for simple, effective hydration. Non-greasy, with a light, nutty smell, this sustainably produced organic oil has antibacterial, anti-pollutant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
Sales of this oil also help create more sustainable economies for the tribal communities in Uganda and Rwanda who grow and process it.
This is the pure, unfragranced oil, no fillers, and perfect for the beauty minimalist or frequent traveler in your life.
African Moringa Miracle Oil $32.50 at AfricanMoringa.com.
Nontoxique Cuticle & Nail Balm and Restore Day Crème
I was introduced to Nontoxique by manicurist-to-the-stars TracyLee at a photoshoot this year. Nontoxique is a hand and foot care line made from 100% active, pure plant ingredients. Their tag line is “because your hands and feet do all the work” – and in our business that is certainly true!
I’ve been a loyal fan of the Cuticle & Nail Balm ever since, and the Restore Day Crème is a richly hydrating, moisture surge-type cream. Nontoxique products aren’t in many salons yet, but the emphasis on fantastic ingredients makes finding them worth the effort.
Nontoxique Cuticle & Nail Balm and Restore Day Crème, $18.50-24.00, available at select salons and at Luxe by TracyLee.