Whether it’s our entrepreneurial spirit, bio-tech industry, or ingredient-driven ethos, the Bay Area is enjoying a boom in natural beauty brands. Now, wellness devotees can get as fastidious about what they slather on as what they eat. In our June Best of SF issue, we featured three such companies—Tatcha, Juice Beauty, and Marie Veronique—recognized in the biz not only for their eco efforts, but for gorgeous formulations and eye-opening results. But why stop there? Here are the best of the rest...ten local health- and Earth-minded companies making our favorite cult-followed potions and lotions.
Earth Tu Face Skin Stick, $34
What farmers are to the food world, herbalists are to natural beauty. Meet San Rafael gardeners and rising stars Sarah Buscho and Marina Storm, who founded Earth Tu Face: An organic, plant-based skincare and bath and body line. In a short time, they’ve attracted a fiercely loyal following of beauty editors and celebrities (Vogue, W, Into the Gloss and Alicia Silverstone, just to name a few). Their fuss-free applications, like the take-anywhere Skin Stick, a salve that hydrates and features geranium to fade scars, plus their cool modern graphics, and food-grade ingredients, are most certainly not your garden variety beauty.
Waxelene Flip-Top Squeeze Tube, $5
Petroleum jelly is a makeup artist’s secret weapon—the ultimate beauty multi-tasker for priming lips, hydrating cracked skin, removing makeup, and even fending off blisters. Now there’s an organic, non-synthetic version from San Rafael company Waxelene. It creates the same waterproof barrier with organic non-GMO soy oil and natural beeswax, and is infused with vitamin E and organic rosemary. The result is an alternative to harsh chemicals that lets your skin breathe, and quickly absorbs.
Everyone Face for Every Day Cleanse, $10, Tone, $10, Moisturize, $10, Exfoliate, $10, and Remove, $7
It’s been a busy year for EO Products, a natural, essentials-oil based personal care line founded in 1995. Last fall, they opened a freestanding boutique in Mill Valley; in April, they expanded their line of soaps and best-selling hand sanitizers to facial skin care. The new brand is called Everyone, and you’ll find the same budget-friendly prices, plant-based ingredients, and good enough to eat scents like coconut + lemon and citrus + mint.
Sequoia Beauty Vitamin C Repair Mask, $42
All eleven plants in the proprietary blend of this treatment from San Rafael-based Sequoia Beauty were lovingly sourced from local organic farms, then processed by hand in the lab, steeped for two-plus months, and hand-pressed. You can feel the love in the tightening sensation of this brightening vitamin C mask, ideal for sun-damaged skin and proven to restore collagen.
100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, $19
Vegan beauty company 100% Pure, headquartered in San Jose, has a collection of makeup and skincare that eliminates the bad stuff (cheap, synthetic fillers and synthetic fragrances), while packing their formulas with vitamins and antioxidants. In the case of their cult-followed eye cream, as seen on Dr. Oz, it’s enriched with anti-inflammatory green tea and de-puffing and brightening coffee. With astounding clinical tests, 97% of users saw reduced puffiness and 87% of them also said it reduced the look of dark circles—consider this your cuppa joe for tired peepers.
Juniper Ridge Big Sur Cabin Spray, $65
Visitors of Big Sur often say it is the closest they’ve gotten to finding religion. We are equally ecstatic about Juniper Ridge’s room spray, billed as “Big Sur in a bottle” by the Oakland-based fragrance house–the only one in the world producing 100% plant-based scents. Made of bark, moss, and mushroom found and harvested while hiking on location, spritz your bedroom for pure Pacific Coast manna.
International Orange ANOINT Body Oil, $45, BATHE Bath Soak, $75, ENRICH Body Lotion, $44
If you think skincare rituals are an extension of wellness (we do!), hit up International Orange next time you’re in Pac Heights. In 2006, the yoga studio and spa launched a seven-product body care system, featuring organic, wild-crafted, and biodynamically farmed ingredients and aroma therapeutic essential oils. And when IO set their minds on something, they do it right. The nose and formulator behind the line was none other than Julie Elliot, founder of cult-beauty label In Fiore. The collection’s all-time bestseller is the deodorant. It is a blend of antibacterial lavender flower, immune-boosting Echinacea root, and antioxidant comfrey leaf. While other natural deodorants might leave you high and the very opposite of dry, this one is refreshingly different—trust us!
Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum, $98
As anti-aging goes, retinol is a silver bullet ingredient. It vanishes wrinkles. The only downside is it can also irritate sensitive skin. Enter Algenist, the skincare arm of Solayzme, a South San Francisco biotech firm exploring microalgae as an alternative fuel source. In their experiments, scientists discovered microalgae’s miraculous regenerative properties, and formulated alguronic acid, an active ingredient proven to increase cell regeneration. Paired with retinol, it’s safe to use everyday and results are lightening fast. 91% of users saw tightened skin within ten days.
Aftelier Ancient Resins Body Oil & Hair Elixir, $40
Leonard Cohen is an odd choice of beauty spokesmodel, but you can’t deny the singer/songwriter legend has a gorgeous head of hair. It’s kept lustrous and deliciously scented by Mandy Aftel’s hair elixir, which she created just for him, and which he uses everyday. Aftel, a Berkeley artisanal perfumer, has had other strange bedfellows, most notably Coi’s chef, Daniel Patterson, with whom she co-wrote a book on essential oils in food and fragrance. But we digress. This groovy hair fragrance that smells of frankincense and poplar buds is spiritual, profound, and something we would rally around.
LAFACE Laboratories Cellular Regeneration Cream, $300
The launch of SF-based skincare line LAFACE last year has the haute hippy set rejoicing. The brand is featured on five-star spa menus at Carmel Valley Ranch and Meadowood. Like its founder, Lisa Alexander, a former model and current lifestyle entrepreneur, the collection has an outstanding pedigree. The crystal-looking packaging is in sapphire blue and so royally luxe. Ingredients like plant-derived stem cells are certified organic and expensive to attain (the professional-grade vitamin C in the cream is $800 an ounce)—all which goes to explain the equally prestigious price tags.