Eco, at least when it comes to beauty, often equates to products that leave much to be desired as far as aesthetics are concerned and stink to high heaven once you slather them on. I’ve never been into the “natural” scent that normally consists of a combination of patchouli and some rare botanical handpicked from a far-flung field. I’m all for saving the planet and minimizing my carbon footprint, but as an eighties child who was raised on synthetics (my diet consisted of Lucky Charms and I doused myself in cucumber melon body spritz), it’s difficult to make the switch to good-for-you (and the planet) ingredients and packaging. In this week’s Style Hunter, I round up the ten green and gorgeous finds that are helping me make the transition. Click here to discover my new stripped-down essentials.
In 1850 in the Austrian Valley, Susanne Kaufmann’s great-great-grandparents opened the Hotel Post Bezau, which thrived happily for more than a century as a place to undergo “la cure” (i.e., a doctor-supervised health break via massages, water therapy, and good old-fashioned mountain air). In 2003, when Kaufmann expanded by adding a spa with the requisite beauty treatments, she knew one thing: The products would have to match the natural, alpine-clean, and health-promoting ethos that made the hotel so successful.
An intensive search for a beauty partner that fit her rigorous criteria of no chemicals, no preservatives, and no color amalgamators turned up nothing, so she decided to create her own range. To realize her goal, she called upon a neighboring farmer to pitch in. “Hotel Post Bezau has always sourced regionally—our menu came from local produce, and the materials for the hotel as well, so we knew we wanted to stick to that spirit and maintain the Austrian authenticity,” explained Kaufmann. “We called on our neighbor Ingo Metzler, a farmer who was making cheese but who also started his own cosmetics line from alpine ingredients, and we decided to collaborate.”
To create the formulas, they literally foraged through meadows and fields of the Bregenz Forest, plucking a myriad of plant-based ingredients such as rosemary, marigold flower, broccoli seed, yarrow, chamomile, thyme, and sage. Then, along with dermatologist Seppl Waldner, they combined them with energy-rich oils like rosehip seed and cuckoo flower, resulting in a series of products that are both restorative and curative. Not only is aging addressed, but also everyday problems like eczema, psoriasis, and even a stiff neck. An added bonus: The sleek and modern packaging make the bottles and jars pretty enough to keep out on your bathroom counter.
So it comes as no surprise that people started noticing them outside of the Austrian hills. 10 Corso Como and Greenwich Village’s Aedes de Venustas, as well as a host of well-edited shops around the globe, are stockists. Up next for the burgeoning brand? A cellulite “peeling” cream—and early next week, an edit of their line will launch on Net-a-Porter.
There are certain beauty products that I am, to put it plainly, a total sucker for every single time I can get my hands on them: single-serve treatment masks. Red—particularly orangey-red—lipstick. Facial spritzes of every ilk. And anything that smells remotely like coconut (I buy it by the tub at Whole Foods). So the fact that my first introduction to Dr Jackson’s—the line of resolutely natural skincare products created by British pharmacognosist Dr. Simon Jackson and available now at Net-a-Porter—came via a little something called Coconut Melt was, needless to say, a very good thing. The jar of 100 percent organic coconut oil stays solid at room temperature, but, as the name implies, melts at your fingertips. Slathered on dry complexions before bed, as a lip balm, or as a cuticle or hair treatment, it is wondrous. The same is true for the other products in Jackson’s carefully curated line, all which abide by the same overarching philosophies: always natural and ethical, never tested on animals, avoiding the use of endangered plant species, and supporting a carbon offset program and indigenous populations. For the latter, Jackson himself travels the world over to source star natural ingredients like baobab, marula, and kigelia. It is for kigelia, a tree whose extracts and fruit have been discovered to treat a host of skin issues from eczema to acne to sun spots, that Jackson travels to a small community in the Zambezi region of Africa’s Rift Valley to find. Here, Jackson shares images from his latest expedition there in January.
“An example of one of the villages that only farms tobacco, an alien species—a monoculture that cannot be eaten but provides an income to the rural community—something we are trying to stop. [Our goal] is to provide indigenous plants that are sustainable and do not need costly herbicides and pesticides, and have a less detrimental impact on the landscape.”
“Just a few of the specimens of indigenous plants gathered on our Botanical Safari 2014.”
Dr. Jackson on the wettest day ever, during the rainy season, planting indigenous kigelia seedlings.
“One of the many curing barns for crops like tobacco—note the tree stumps. All the indigenous trees are cut down for miles around to provide wood for curing the crops.”
“Some of the volunteers from this year’s tree planting program. We gave out solar-powered flashlights as gifts for help with the tree planting.”
“This is Stella. She is one of the rural community farmers who is planting indigenous trees in her small holding—and such a character!”
“Stella explains what she is doing on her small lot of land. She has over 3,000 tomato plants that she grows and sells in the local market. She makes enough tomatoes to sell for $1, so that’s $3,000 in one crop; she has already put three of her sons through college.”
“The finished planted trees. One day we will be able to harvest the fruit to put in our skin creams.”
If I was ever going to repeat something, especially in a row, it wouldn’t be a juice cleanse. (Consecutive slices of pizza or glasses of champagne? Absolutely.) That’s why I left the detoxing up to our hard-core social media editor, Rachel Walgrove, who doubled up on Suja’s three-day program. (I like to think that she did a round for me.) While all of our editors bit the dust after a day or two, she was still sipping. Here, her thoughts on coming clean (twice):
During fashion month, it’s nearly impossible to maintain any sort of structured schedule—sleep and diet included. When shows end in New York and I’m cranking out content stateside while functioning on a CET time zone, I welcome any and all immune-boosting suggestions. And when desperate times call for last-minute measures, I find myself supplementing extra drops of B12 with quadruple shots of espresso. In a moment of weakness, I even tried caffeinated chocolate (FYI, it’s not nearly as good as it sounds). Truth be told, when it comes to maintaining (or resetting) my system, I prefer the natural route. Enter Suja, a California-based cold-pressed juice company that had been on my radar since the bottles popped up in my Instagram feed. Eager to give it a go, and pressed for adequate mealtimes, I doubled up on the three-day Suja Fresh Start pack and began a six-day foray into digestive rest. (Note: Suja recommends one-, three-, or five-day routines.) The most notable difference between Suja Fresh Start and similar programs is the selection of juices: The three green beverages (Glow, Fiji, and Green Supreme) are broken up by carrot-orange (Fuel) and beet-carrot (Purify) concoctions, until concluding the day with the usual nut-milk-based dessert substitute (Vanilla Cloud). Maybe it was my eagerness for dinnertime, but Green Supreme tasted so good, I found myself replicating the apple-kale-lemon concoction post-cleanse. Six days later, my energy levels were up and caffeine-induced crashes were a thing of the past (though I admittedly surrendered to my black coffee addiction four days in). Despite clashing claims over cleansing, I can happily attest that the occasional just-juice routine resets the system—and the second time really is the charm.
See sujajuice.com for more information
With New York’s glacial temperatures and perpetual snowfall (set to resume on Thursday), we’ve been logging plenty of hibernation hours, hiding out in our apartment reading through a stack of books, getting hooked on True Detective, and, of course, testing many a beauty product. The five that have been adopted into our regular rotation this month happen to all—bonus!—be entirely au naturel.
Tata Harper Love Potion
The mix of ten essential oils (jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, violet leaf, and frankincense, among them), all known for their aphrodisiac potential, is designed, as the name implies, to attract love. Not to mention reduce anxiety and boost self-confidence. While all that is yet to be seen, what we can report is that the aromatic blend is warm and lovely on the skin, so even if it doesn’t attract any new suitors, it’s easy to fall for.
Lulu Organics Hair Oil
Fans of this Brooklyn brand’s amazing talc-free hair powder can, at long last, add another Lulu product to their beauty trove. Its new paraben-free hair oil—a nourishing blend of argan, horsetail, olive, and apricot kernel oils—is a must for thirsty and curly hair (not to mention it smells divine, courtesy of lavender, clary sage, and rosemary). Dab on a few drops after washing or on dry hair, and style (or don’t) as usual.
Available soon at luluorganicsnyc.com
Kat Burki Beauty Elixir in Rose Peony
We will never, ever (really, ever) tire of a face spritz—in the summer months it’s the perfect beachfront or poolside refresher, and in the winter it offers some soothing relief for skin dried out by moisture-zapping indoor heating. Kat Burki’s version combines hydrating aloe vera and brightening raw grapefruit seeds, and the rose and peony scent is lush and pretty.
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
Lucas Papaw acolytes will be quickly and easily wooed by this dense and nourishing Bite Beauty treatment (it may be called a mask, but rest assured, you won’t want to take it off) formulated with jojoba oil, agave, natural olive fruit, and vanilla extract. It managed to almost immediately eradicate some serious cold-weather-born lip cracks, and the matte gray paint-tube-esque packaging is elegant in an understated sort of way.
Pacifica Eye Pencils
We always love a swipe of eyeliner on our inner rims, but occasionally they can prove irritating for sensitive types. Pacifica’s new eye pencils have jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. Plus, they glide on with zero irritation. We’re particularly fond of Fringe (a chestnut brown) and Gun Metal (a shimmery gray).