Body Care

Beauty Uniform: Julia Teren of Thesis Beauty

 Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty

Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty

By Mary, The Naturalist Contributor & Body Care Buyer

Reading the label of a skincare product is like reading a nutrition label, except worse. There’s an ingredient list, common allergies, there are chemicals I know I want to avoid, chemicals that sound like I should avoid them but are really just a fancy name for Vitamin E which I don’t want to avoid, and there are ingredients I covet. There are oils we all know and love (Jojoba! Rosehip!) and oils we didn’t know about before we saw them bottled and prepared on the shelf (Moringa!). Then there are 4 different kinds of the same oil and 3 different moisturizers claiming to target sensitive skin. It reminds me of the first time I moved out of my parents house and had a panic attack, standing in the middle of the bread aisle at a supermarket in West Hollywood, overwhelmed at 18 years old by the sheer amount of options I had and wondering whether I should even be eating bread anyway.

Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty and self proclaimed Beauty Purist, has created a line of incredibly pure and effective skin care while making sure labels are easy for consumers to digest. I discovered Thesis like many of you probably did: while longingly searching for non toxic skin care that actually worked. Thesis also became my first realization that skincare could be the next local food movement. By choosing Thesis I’m supporting a local family owned business that uses premium organic ingredients without charging me a premium price. By supporting Thesis, I’m helping grow the rich community of makers, artists, and healers that call New England their home.

Below, Julia shares her own experience with discovering pure beauty and how Thesis came to be.

Thesis is a local favorite among Cambridge Naturalists, what was the first product you created as a brand that led to the growth of the company?

First of all, we are so proud to be part of the awesome Camberville community and Cambridge Naturals and grateful for all the unbelievable support we are getting! Thank you so much!
The first product I came up with after months and months of extensive research was the serum Lullaby for Dry Skin. At the time I was struggling with skin dryness exacerbated by living in an urban area such as Los Angeles. The weirdest thing was that my skin was dry, but still breaking out. At times it would actually swing in the opposite direction and produce crazy amounts of sebum while still feeling awfully dehydrated, flaking, and just looked embarrassing. Nothing I got in stores (and at the time I was dead set on going organic and natural) could fix this, no matter the price. So it was my priority to make something soothing and moisturizing for the face first to alleviate dryness, clear flaking, and stop breakouts. Countless hours were spent to come up with this truly balanced, nutritious formula that was light, moisturizing, and smelling great.

They say you have to spend at least 10,000 hours to master a skill, I think I paid my dues beyond that. In the meantime I was also trying to formulate a good cream because my shins were so dry and itchy I was scratching myself to tears. Dozens of failed experiments later, a silky Lavender cream was born. Those two were my saviors and the formulas have experienced minimal changes since their debut because they were so successful.

 Julia and Serge

Julia and Serge

How has Thesis changed since those beginnings?

Well, it's been a journey. We started back in 2009. We had a different name and very much homemade packaging, and the bottles and jars were blue. I had to master Photoshop and photography skills from scratch in order to come up with professional-looking labels. In fact, I had to re-design them at least 3 times. But from the very beginning, and to this day, we have been focusing on eco-friendly packaging, mostly glass with sun-protective qualities. So on the surface, the design has changed, but our organic-vegan-eco ethos is firmly rooted in all we do.

I love the term “beauty purist.” It sums up those of us searching for nontoxic and sustainable skincare products perfectly. When/how did you first become a self proclaimed “beauty purist?”
I think I have this perfectionist mentality where everything has to be done to the highest standards or it's not worth doing at all. So I can relate to how frustrating it can be to read skincare label. Say, as a beauty purist, you want to find a product that would be organic, vegan, and simple. What you find instead: asterisks on the labels with exceptions, or in-brackets explanations with the "derived from" theme, or with free-from list of ingredients while the ingredient panel would be plagued with a lot of other chemicals. So when I started Thesis I decided it must be the best or what's the point in wasting ingredients.

What’s your daily skincare routine? Does this change with the seasons or while traveling?

That is a very good question. My friend just asked me yesterday: "Which products in your line do you use?" and I replied "All of them!" - that's because I developed them originally to tackle my own skin issues. In summer, when it's hot and steamy my dry skin behaves more like combo type, so I use products intended for oily/combo skin to curb excessive sebum production and control pores. As heat subsides and we step into cooler, dryer months my skin swings back to its normal, dry self, so I begin to swap one product after another to gradually revert back to the dry skin routine. But regardless of the season, I am trying to be good about following simple steps: #1 Removing makeup, if necessary. I really only wear mineral mascara and occasionally mineral eye shadows. Lately I got obsessed with super bright lipsticks, so those may require makeup remover for sure. #2 Cleansing. I love Tender as Petals for its mildness, and it's also just very slightly scrubby and gives me a gentle massage. #3 Moisturizing - it's everything for me. The one thing that I can't forget while traveling or under any other circumstances is a moisturizer. #4 Scrubs and masks - whenever the life of a busy mom permits. I sometimes apply a mask even just for 5-10 minutes before little hands start knocking on the bathroom door, but it already makes me feel better, taken care of, and the skin is certainly very happy even with this effort. I am grateful that this routine liberated me from camouflaging my skin with foundations because there is usually nothing to camouflage anymore.

 The Thesis Beauty Team (including Bjorn)!

The Thesis Beauty Team (including Bjorn)!

What has inspired or continues to inspire your beauty uniform?

The raw movement. Several years ago I got inspired by bloggers and recipe books describing raw, living foods - the dishes on those photographs looked better than what they were called to substitute! To that end, I feel like organizing my kitchen better played a very important role in improving cooking habits and transitioning to raw.


I try to apply raw principles to my skincare formulas as well - most ingredients are raw, unprocessed and food grade. It also made me look deeper into supplements and vitamins, so now I only use raw, organic vitamins, live probiotics, unprocessed proteins, etc. Raw and organic ingredients provide maximum benefit to the skin and the body which has been confirmed by a number of studies. I can attest to that with my own experience. I also used to get enough sleep, but with when our son came I haven't slept in probably 2 years. I attribute my energy and complexion to the beauty uniform that I am trying to uphold as best I can.

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring beauty purists, what would it be?

Reading labels and understanding ingredients is essential, so it pretty much boils down to educating yourself about what should and shouldn't be on your plate, in your lotion, in your laundry, etc. Another aspect of it is the perceived beauty standard touted explicitly or subliminally by media, movies etc - they are forced upon us. Also at play are our inner unresolved issues, complexes that prevent us from loving and accepting ourselves as we deserve. I strongly believe that healthy is beautiful - the rest is passing trend.

Do you have a favorite Thesis product or one that is particularly special to you?

Serum for Dry Skin is my favorite moisturizer. It helped me normalize my skin, transition to a purist routine, and eventually drop camouflaging with everyday makeup.

Thank you so much for sharing your Beauty Uniform with us, Julia! For updates from Thesis follow them on instagram @thesisbeauty

Not just a number: Introducing Plain Jane Beauty

By Caitlin, CN Body Care Lead

In a world cluttered with toxic cosmetics, it’s no wonder that choosing the right foundation can be such a daunting task. Making the switch to safer can seem like a lifestyle overhaul, especially when you’ve been (as so many of us have!) bowing at the feet of conventional cosmetics for years. At Cambridge Naturals, we understand the need for clean cosmetics that actually work, and most importantly, we understand the urgency of partnering with inclusive beauty and body care brands that offer a variety of styles and shades - suiting the needs of all of our diverse customer base, not just a small selection.

Being a ‘green’ and sustainable business is more than just paper recycling, car pooling and water conservation. Those things matter too, however, it also includes fostering business relationships with like-minded vendors and manufacturers; sustainable ingredient sourcing, product packaging; fair labor practices and social and economic responsibility.
— Lake Louise, Founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Our latest partner in the Body Care Department is Plain Jane Beauty - a champion in inclusive and clean cosmetic formulation. Formulated by certified makeup artist, Lake Louise, Plain Jane Beauty offers 17 shades of liquid foundation from ivory to ebony - and we carry every one of them! Lake Louise tasked herself with creating a cosmetic line that had foundations for all shades without compromising the health of your skin or the performance of her products. With fabulous foundation names like “I am Exquisite”, “I am Magnificent”, "I am Brilliant" and “I am Radiant”, Plain Jane Beauty affirms your lifestyle choices, your power of choice, and your strength and beauty.

 Lake Louise Ziwa, founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Lake Louise Ziwa, founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Plain Jane Beauty’s liquid mineral foundations blend aesthetics with ethics. Using natural mineral pigments, certified organic ingredients and plant oils such as frankincense, neem and calendula, your skin will be fully nourished without feeling greasy or clogged!

Not only is Plain Jane Beauty making strides with cosmetics, but they’re making strides as a “green” business. Lake Louise says “being a ‘green’ and sustainable business is more than just paper recycling, car pooling and water conservation. Those things matter too, however, it also includes fostering business relationships with like-minded vendors and manufacturers; sustainable ingredient sourcing, product packaging; fair labor practices and social and economic responsibility.” Plain Jane Beauty uses fair trade coffee, cocoa powder and shea butter, certified organic ingredients whenever possible, and makes a conscious effort with eco-friendly packaging and promotion. Plain Jane Beauty reuses shipping packaging and boxes, prints all marketing materials locally and on recycled paper and uses vegetable-based inks. We are excited to offer this brand in store, and we know you’ll be excited by this wide range of colors, too!

We highly value our partnership with Plain Jane Beauty, and we welcome you to come try out their products with us! Please ask our Body Care team for a sample to try out! We are happy to help you find the shade that best suits you!

The Father's Day Gift Guide

It's time to celebrate dad! If you're having trouble finding the perfect gift, Caitlin has rounded up some of our favorite clean and effective body care and lifestyle products to show dad some love:

Brothers Artisan Oil “The Wash”

Charlestown, MA based Brothers Artisan Oil delivers quality cleansing for face, body and hair all wrapped into one! Tea Tree and Charcoal for those long days that need washing away and Blood Orange, Lemon and Lavender for a nice, relaxing weekend wash to relish in.

LEAP Organics Lip Balms

Hyper-local brand LEAP Organics will have your father figure moisturizing their lips in style! Eucalyptus Mint, Lavender and Citrus flavors all feature fantastic artwork of animals in need of our help! When you buy LEAP Organics, you’re supporting local and supporting LEAP’s charitable partner, 1% for the Planet, which receives 1% of LEAP purchases. The earth will thank you!

A Wild Soap Bar Timber and Coal Soaps

These chunks of soap stack perfectly on any surface, and lather incredibly well! If your dad is looking for that powerful, grounding signature scent, look no further! Handcrafted in small batches, A Wild Soap Bar’s Jory Hanus “celebrates the average hardworking American whose hands helped build this great nation, providing a nostalgic look back at a simpler, more honest time”. Worth a wash!

Badger Basic Shave Kit

Fellow local B Corp, Badger, is dedicated to taking care of parents and their children offering the babies at work program and partially subsidized, reasonably priced childcare. Something else Badger is doing for parents is providing the perfect self care products. With the Basic Shave Kit, dad will be enjoying his “me time”, too!

EnviroCare Combs  

Made in the USA from 100% recycled material, GMO and BPA-Free - what’s not to love?! We love EnviroCare because they’re a family-owned business that’s been around for over 40 years, just like Cambridge Naturals! Gifting EnviroCare Combs this Father’s Day not only will make your dad’s hair happy, but it will support an environmentally conscious family-owned business, too!

Maika Travel Kits

Want to ditch the idea of one-time use gift wrapping this Father’s Day? Put your dad’s gifts in these great travel cases by Maika! Printed on recycled canvas with eco-friendly inks, these are sure to be something your father will feel great about using over and over again!

Roses for Mother's Day

Fresh flowers will only last a few days, so consider giving your mom one of these long-lasting gifts infused with the gorgeous scents of rose essential oils!

Badger Damascus Rose Beauty Balm is luscious treat for anyone's skin. Made thoughtfully in New Hampshire, Badger uses 100% Natural and Certified Organic ingredients to keep your mom's skin happy while wishing her a happy Mother's day!

Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream Light gives your skin the most perfect lightweight protection without being overprotective - if you know what we mean :) Gift the wonderful woman in your life with this day cream, and she will be set for the seasons to come.

evanhealy Rose Petal Facial Tonic Hydrosoul is a staff favorite, a customer favorite and the skin's favorite. Roses are said to be a symbol of unconditional love and empathy, making this the ultimate gift for your unconditionally loving mother figures!

Little Seed Farm Geranium Rose Soap Bar is carefully crafted with real rose petals to beautifully polish the skin. Made by a family in Tennessee, you can be assured that love is an added ingredient in this bar!

Thesis Rose Garden Bath Salt this lovely local product is 2 gifts in one! Not only are you gifting this gorgeous glass filled with luxurious bath salts, you're giving the gift of self care! Any mama would appreciate some "me time" with Thesis Beauty!

And lastly, if she really loves roses...

Global Goods Partner Felt Flowers are the perfect way to give your mother figure flowers this Mother's Day! Made with Fair Trade felted wool, these flowers come with a bendable wire stem and require no water or food to stay pretty forever!

Introducing: Vapour Beauty

By Caitlin, CN Body Care Lead

Today, we are introducing Vapour Organic Beauty to our customers at Cambridge Naturals. We invite you to explore and enjoy the latest clean cosmetic brand to grace our Body Care Department.

Vapour 2.png

Vapour Beauty comes to us from the hearts and minds of Krysia Boinis, Kristine Kehely and Eric Sakas. Together, the team (based in Taos, New Mexico) brings their expertise in entrepreneurship, fine art and a taste for high quality performance to present you Vapour Organic Beauty.

Crafting a line of clean beauty care products that fit the team’s standards meant leaving the unnecessary, often toxic filler ingredients behind, and advancing the future of beauty. Vapour is an innovative skincare and cosmetic hybrid that marries exquisite herbs and oils in a waterless base. Adding the fine art experience of Kehely, Vapour launched with a wide range of carefully chosen colors to achieve beauty lit from within.

Vapour Beauty has quickly become an award-winning leader in sustainable, non-toxic beauty and pure performance products! Rest assured that Vapour has done the work for you when it comes to ingredients, sourcing and responsibility, receiving Champion Safety Status by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Vapour is:

  • 100% Natural
  • 70% Organic
  • Cruelty Free
  • Made in USA
  • Made with Solar and Wind Power
  • Made with Recyclable Packaging

Want to make the jump into Vapour, but want to perfect your shade choice first? Use Vapour’s Free Shade Consultation tool. Here, you can upload a photo of yourself, evaluate your skin type, the climate you live in and list your current foundation brand and shade. In return, Vapour’s Beauty Experts will recommend your best options based on your answers. Now, that is innovation! Our body care team is also happy to assist you at the store, where we have all shades of their fantastic foundation (both liquid and sticks) available for you to try in person.

Please join us in celebrating the launch of Vapour Beauty by stopping by our Body Care Department and exploring these fabulous products. We have lots to celebrate as a store, as a local and global community and as crusaders for non-toxic beauty! Welcome, Vapour Organic Beauty to Cambridge Naturals!

The Naturalist Guide to Facial Moisturizers with SPF

Wishing for sunny weather but loathe the idea of slathering sunscreen onto your face? Loathe no more! Cambridge Naturals has got you and your face covered this summer season. Browse our variety of natural facial moisturizers containing SPF, and learn to love protecting your skin all year long!

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream, SPF 30

Our most luxurious regenerating moisturizer and broad spectrum sunscreen. Herb and oil based, lightweight matte finish protection matched with non-nano zinc.
Recommended Skin Types: All skin types, including oily and acne-prone.

 

Ursa Major, Daily Defense Lotion, SPF 18

Locally made in Vermont, Ursa Major hydrates and delivers nutrients to the skin all while blocking the sun’s rays. Ursa Major tells us to think of the Daily Defense Lotion as a “high-tech natural moisturizer, anti-ager and sunscreen in one - a forceful blend of science and nature.” The lotion goes on perfectly over a serum or the Ursa Major Face Balm.
Recommended Skin Types: Normal/Dry skin expecting sun exposure

 
 

100% Pure Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer, SPF 30

This lightweight, vegan and oil-free product will offer your skin sun protection while giving you the hydrating benefits of a moisturizer. Green Tea is this product’s highlighted ingredient which helps to soothe and calm your skin - perfect for summer.
Recommended Skin Types: Best for oily skin.

 

Andalou Naturals Benefit Balm, Natural Tint, SPF 30 (Age Defying Line)

Andalou Naturals’ Benefit Balm in Natural Tint contains anti-aging ingredients such as resveratrol and CoQ10 which help to protect and energize your skin. This product can be used alone or under makeup. Offering a tint, the Benefit Balm can add a nice glow to your skincare routine!
Recommended Skin Types: Best for dry/very dry skin.

 

Andalou Naturals Benefit Balm, Sheer Tint, SPF 30 (Brightening Line)

Andalou Naturals’ Benefit Balm in Sheer Tint contains skin brightening ingredient Vitamin C. Paired with mineral ingredients, this balm provides broad spectrum protection and offers a beautiful, sheer tint when applied to the skin.
Recommended Skin Types: Normal/Combination Skin

Andalou Naturals Benefit Balm, Untinted, SPF 30 (Clear Skin Line)

Andalou Naturals’ Untinted Benefit Balm is wonderful for those looking for a moisturizer with SPF and no colored tint. Containing argan oil and fruit stem cell complex, this product will help to keep your skin hydrated while combatting the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. This product helps mattify any excess oil, reducing shine on the skin.
Recommended Skin Types: Oily/Overactive Skin

 

Andalou Naturals Color Correcting Creams in Sheer Nude and Sheer Tan, SPF 30 (Sensitive Line)

These color correcting moisturizers offer beautiful coverage and protection! Using rose stem cells, these products deliver sun protection and soft, sheer coverage while keeping the skin hydrated and looking fresh.
Recommended Skin Types: Sensitive/Dry Skin

 

For a little more protection, consider these staff and customer favorites for face-friendly sunscreens:

 

Evanhealy’s Sheer Tint Sun Stick, SPF 30

Rich in raspberry seed oil, argan oil and shea butter, evanhealy’s brand new Sheer Tint Sun Stick is the perfect product for on-the-go sun protection! Only the size of a lip balm, you can toss this in your bag or in your pocket for sun relief all day. Bonus: this sun stick has the scent of a creamsicle and will be the sweetest addition to your suncare routine!
Recommended Skin Types: All Skin Types

 

Badger Rose Tinted Face Sunscreen, SPF 25

Made with Damascus Rose, Chamomile and Lavender, you can forget about any flashbacks to that sunblock smell you might be relating to your childhood. Badger has created this facial sunscreen to offer you SPF protection while nourishing and nurturing your skin. The Rose Tinted Sunscreen is so lightweight that it has been lab approved to be non-comedogenic -- it won’t clog your pores!
Recommended Skin Types: All skin types/Sensitive Skin
 

*All brands listed use non-nano zinc, and contain 0 chemical sunscreens.

Marching into Wellness: The Clay Chronicles

By Caitlin, CN Body Care Lead

When I think about a product that has changed my life, I think about evanhealy’s Clay Mask Kit. A tasting of masking products and shimmering gold paper, it’s as if you’re getting a glimpse of the glowing skin you’re about to call your own. For me, nothing has beat the blend of Evan’s clays with a hydrosoul and the dedicated time to preparing and painting on a mask. This is truly basking in the art of self-care.

Before I began masking with pure clays, there were the days of mint julep masking. A squeeze tube of unnecessary ingredients that would somehow “refresh” my face. Thinking back, how could I possibly be restoring life to my skin if I was simply smearing on a paste of preservatives? I did not want to preserve the state of my skin, I wanted to purify it!

Flash forward past unconscious consumerism and wrecking my skin with the college lifestyle and to a curious time where I relentlessly researched ingredients and products. That time is now.

With countless options available for facial care, I find it incredibly important to listen to our bodies and find what works best for us. If you’re looking for the right clay to add to your skin regime, consider these clay options for masking:

Pascalite Clay

Pascalite Clay was accidentally discovered in the 1930s by Emile Pascale. After Pascale’s chapped hands became covered in a white substance, he cleaned his hands, realizing the chapped condition improved after a single application.

Pascalite Clay is a bentonite/montmorillonite clay that does not swell when mixed with a liquid, unlike other bentonite clays. Pascalite has yet to be discovered in any other area of the world and is exclusive to the high vortex area of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. This clay has a strong energy level that is powerful, yet gentle for all skin types. Pascalite Clay is hand-mined in the summer and then solar-dried throughout the winter.

Fuller’s Earth Clay

Fuller’s Earth Clay is best known for its skin-lightening properties and its ability to absorb oils. Commercially, this clay has been most commonly used to clean up oil spills in auto shops, to clean sheep's wool before sale and used in cat litters. Because of its wild success commercially, cosmetically, Fuller’s Earth Clay is the way to go for those with oily skin! Mountain Rose Herbs suggests combining Bentonite Clay and Fuller’s Earth Clay for best results. Fuller’s Earth Clay is quarry-mined from naturally occurring deposits and is untreated.

Rhassoul Clay

Our Rhassoul Clay is composed of deposits from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Rhassoul blends beautifully with water for easy preparation and application. At first, Rhassoul appears to be a soap-like rock before it becomes a powder. To achieve the powdered state, the clay is sundried and untreated. After micronization, Rhassoul becomes extremely soft to the touch. Rhassoul is higher in silica and magnesium than other clays, which makes this clay a great option for any skin type!

French Green Clay

French Green Clay is an extremely absorbent clay composed of small molecules that lovingly absorb oils and impurities from the skin. French Green Clay is a great spot treatment mask for the occasional breakout or the perfect option for a weekly full facial masking experience. French Green Clay has a stunning, earthy green tone that is the result of decomposed plant matter and iron oxides. Mountain Rose Herbs’ French Green Clay is untreated and quarry-mined from naturally occurring deposits in France.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin Clay is also known as White Cosmetic Clay. Kaolin is an extremely lightweight clay with natural absorbing properties and is the most common clay additive among skincare products. Kaolin Clay is the best clay for those with sensitive skin because of its ability to gently cleanse and exfoliate while stimulating circulation. While some clays absorb oils from the skin, Kaolin does not, which makes this the ideal clay for those with drier skin. Our Kaolin Clay is quarry-mined from naturally occurring deposits, water-washed and unrefined with an off-white appearance while dry, and a brown tone when wet.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is also known as Montmorillonite Clay and is a naturally occurring, weathered and aged volcanic ash from the United States. If you’re in need of a serious clay mask that you can really feel, Bentonite is the way to go. As Bentonite dries, you can feel your face tighten and pulsate. Bentonite is great as a full body pack if you’re really looking to heavily detox your skin. Once mined from the earth, Bentonite must be dried of any moisture and is baked in the sun. After drying, the clay is pulverized by hydraulic crushers. Bentonite Clay becomes activated when mixed with liquid, producing an electric charge. When mixing a mask, you’ll notice Bentonite Clay particles clinging to the liquid, swelling spreading across the surface. This powerful, electrically-charged mixture makes for a powerful detoxifying clay mask!

**Clay Mask Kit along with evanhealy’s other products sold in store.
** All clays mentioned can be purchased in the Bulk Section!

Beauty Uniform: Tom Groves

By Mary, CN Body Care Buyer + The Naturalist Contributor

I discovered the benefits of herbal medicine and green juice during a few formative years in Los Angeles, land of the macrobiotic diet and home to soul cycle devotees. My skin was glowing and my moods were balanced, all without harsh chemicals or prescriptions. It’s what led me all the way back to New England to work towards a degree in Nutrition. I didn’t expect a passion for food based medicine to lead to cleaning out my makeup bag and bathroom cabinet, but you can’t un-know all the things your skin is absorbing every day.

We live in a society that has unrealistic beauty standards and the skin care and cosmetic industry certainly targets women more than men. But we all have skin that needs love and attention regardless of gender. So this month I decided to get a different perspective on skin care.

Tom Groves, co-founder of Heart Grown Wild, had a similar indirect introduction to natural skincare. His background in wildlife biology and botany has given the line of organic, plant-based, skin and hair care products an edge on what often feels like a saturated market.

Below, Tom shares more about his background, his work with Heart Grown Wild, as well his own favorite skin care rituals.

 

You have a background in wildlife biology, has co-founding Heart Grown Wild and working with plants in the context of beauty and body care changed anything about the way you interact with or study plants in your research?

I was academically trained as a wildlife biologist. I was introduced to botany through a professor at Framingham State University and eventually through the conservation department of the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS). My work with NEWFS began as a volunteer experience and continued as a conservation fellow. Generally, we performed rare, threatened and endangered species surveys, seed collections, habitat restoration and educational offerings for the public. This work was taxonomically species based. It was common to be carrying around 3 or 4 books for species identification in the wild. The knowledge of botanical diversity I learned while with NEWFS has given Heart Grown Wild a unique perspective on product constituents, habitat conservation, and sustainability. Currently, I work for a forestry company which allows me to be out in the woods on a daily basis. For Heart Grown Wild to provide a quality product, it was invaluable to be able to knowingly select particular plants for wild harvesting and product inclusion.

When/how did you first become interested in using more natural beauty/body care products?

My wife Lena had the most impact on my interest in plants for skin care. Like most guys, I was reluctant to be anything but a “shower and go” guy. It began with the In the Trees body oil which originally was a beard oil Lena formulated for me that piqued my interest in using plants as products. The beard oil was liked so much we decided to change its categorization to body oil. The scent is really why it’s a best seller. The facial expression on people makes my day every time, when they inhale dank conifer base oil mixed with just a hint of orange and patchouli. It’s made with wild-harvested red spruce and balsam fir tips, and our own home distilled spruce/fir essential oil. It’s something special. This was the first product that I used on a regular basis. It clicked for me when I realized that I had a specialized set of skills for helping Lena to create skin, hair and body products that were honestly unique, creative and rooted in Vermont. (See what I did there?)

Herbal skin and hair care products also just made sense to me – why use products that artificially scented or chemically based when I could use products that I know are entirely plant based and have low levels of essential oils. Through the process of making our own essential oils and hydrosols, Lena and I learned the amount of plant material to make 10 drops of essential oil was quite a bit. We try to impart this knowledge to our customers that essential oils should be used in sparing quantities due to their potency and for sustainability reasons. In today’s market it’s difficult to really know where our products are coming from. Our skin is the largest organ, so making products that Lena, myself, and our customers could rely on to be good on so many levels was a big part of what we wanted our business to be.

What’s your daily skincare routine? Does this change with the seasons?

I use three products consistently at the moment. I begin my day with a shower and post-shower I start with a spritz of the Tree Song toner, which is another more masculine scented product, made with our own black birch infused witch hazel and black birch hydrosol – an invigorating way to begin the day. I use a dime sized amount of In The Trees around my shoulders, with a little on my beard, and a dime size amount of Sol Nectar hair serum I run through my hair before I comb it. I don’t use a mask on a regular basis, but I do try these products when Lena formulates them and they are quite the experience. I haven’t quite crossed into that level of skin care as part of my routine yet, but who knows…

How do your self care or body care rituals change while traveling?

Prior to my introduction into Heart Grown Wild and plant-based skin care I had no skin care routine. Since the beginning of my use of skin care/body care products, the biggest change to me when traveling is that I actually take skin care products on the plane. Lena and I recently traveled to North Carolina and we were able to take all of our individual products through the security checks in our carry-ons. I never check a bag and I like to travel light. This made continuing my daily routine, which I’ve come to love, easy to take with me.

What has inspired or continues to inspire your beauty uniform?

The thing that has inspired me and continues to inspire me in regard to my beauty uniform is Heart Grown Wild products and the use of more and more Vermont grown herbaceous and woody plants, whether that be from a farm or the wild. I also am excited about the substitution of related non-native species of plants for sustainably, locally grown, or wild-harvested plant based products. In my free time I’m researching the evolutionary connection between related genera of evolutionarily divergent plants in an attempt to find comparable skin care compounds that could be present in Vermont’s native plants which could be used in skincare products. At the moment I’m looking into a substitution for the Mediterranean native, Helichrysum italicum, for a New England native, commonly called Pearly Everlasting or Anaphalis margaritacea. I’m also looking into using Populus grandidentata and Populus tremuloides extract, commonly known as big-tooth and quaking aspen, as a natural skin care product preservative. Very exciting!

Tree Song .png

When do you feel most yourself?

I feel the most like myself when I’m traipsing through the woods hunting for plants I’ve never seen in the wild.

Last but certainly not least, do you have a favorite Heart Grown Wild product?

This might be the most difficult question. I’d have to say for an overall score, where the criteria was simplicity, improvement to my life, and it’s botanical cool factor, is the Birch Wisdom body oil. Betula lenta was historically used by native and early settlers to treat headaches and fevers and eventually it was used to make salicylic acid for aspirin. Many New Englanders are familiar with chewing a twig as a child and the sweet, minty taste. What many New Englanders don’t know is that black birch can be tapped like maple trees and the sap can then be brewed into birch beer, although authentic birch beer is difficult to find these days. During the early 1900s this species was pushed to the brink of scarcity for the extraction of methyl salicylate for flavoring of soaps, chewing gum and sodas. When it was possible to create the compound synthetically, the harvesting of the species dropped off and the species rebounded. Black birch will likely be the tree of the future here in Vermont. It proves to not have sap as sweet as sugar maples, or to grow as tall and stout as a red oak, and it is surely not as straight grained as the white pine, but it does show resistance to disease, warming climate, and out competes thick, regeneration-killing fern. The Birch Wisdom body oil for me mixes resilient botanical qualities, native wisdom and childlike nostalgia together to create the feeling I love each time I put it on.

Thank you so much for sharing your beauty uniform with us, Tom! And look out for Tom’s wife, Lena, who will be featured as this month’s Muse! To learn more about Heart Grown Wild you can come visit us at Cambridge Naturals to try the line yourself in store, or follow them on instagram (@heartgrownwild)

 

Beauty Uniform: Emily Cunningham of True Moringa

By Mary, CN Body Care Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor

If there’s one thing I can’t live without it’s oils. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m not. Be it olive oil on all of my food, argan oil on tired hair, or rosehip oil on my face, I require lots of this silky goodness. Even more so during the harsh New England winter, when the wind off the Charles wants to whip away all the moisture on my face with each harsh gust.

Earlier this month, I interviewed Emily Cunningham, co-founder of True Moringa, an award-winning clean beauty brand powered by cold-pressed moringa oil. Moringa oil can penetrate very deep into the skin to support moisture retention and strengthen hair health.

True Moringa works directly with over 2300 farming families in Ghana to increase incomes by 10x, and has planted over 270,000 trees to prevent deforestation and malnutrition. Read on to learn more about Emily’s beauty rituals and the start of this amazing company.

How did you first become interested in using more natural beauty/body care products?

My co-founder Kwami Williams and I first learned about the moringa tree when we traveled to Brong-Ahafo, Ghana in 2012 through a program at MIT called D-Lab. NGOs had encouraged farmers to plant the moringa tree for its nutritional value (gram-for-gram, the dried leaves have more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more protein than eggs!). However, there wasn't really an economic incentive to cultivate the tree, so communities were losing interest. I studied development economics, and my co-founder Kwami had studied aerospace engineering, and together with the farming families in the community we worked to turn the oil seeds (rich in antioxidants and moisturizing fatty acids) into an all-purpose hair and skincare oil that we could introduce to the global market. To be honest, we didn't know much about the world of natural beauty and body care until then! Once I was back in the states learning more about the industry and the properties of natural oils and natural ingredients, I learned how harmful common beauty and body care products can be, and how backward our thinking is about oils. It completely transformed my skincare routine.

What’s your daily skincare routine? Does this change with the seasons?

I try to keep it fairly simple - I wash my face with True Moringa Simplicity All-Purpose Facial & Body Oil (no soap or cleanser) and apply a few extra drops of oil to seal in moisture before patting my face dry. My skin tends to stay the same throughout the seasons, but many of our customers will apply our oil more frequently to drier skin and add our toners to their facial routines in warmer weather.  

Do you wear makeup?

Almost never!

How do you typically style your hair?

I have curly hair, so I usually just wash it and let it air dry. I love Alaffia shampoo and Deva Curl Conditioner followed by (surprise!) moringa oil.

Do you have a nighttime routine?

I keep the same facial care routine at night, but when I have time for extra long showers, I love Organic Bath Co's Drenched Body Butter after shaving!

How do your self care and beauty rituals change while traveling?

The great thing about a dry natural oil like moringa is its versatility - I bring a 2oz bottle of moringa oil with me while traveling and it serves as my facial cleanser, moisturizer, hair conditioner, cuticle oil, and makeup remover.  

 Emily and her business partner Kwami Williams

Emily and her business partner Kwami Williams

What has inspired or continues to inspire your beauty uniform?

Simplicity and being kind to my hair and skin! I try to keep both moisturized and healthy to prevent premature aging.

When do you feel most beautiful?

When I'm well-rested and have been consistently exercising and drinking water! We tend to underestimate the importance of all of those things in our skincare routines.

What are your top three Cambridge Naturals products?

I love Ajiri Tea - for the taste, the amazing packaging and the social mission, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap (the structure of their company is a huge inspiration), and our sister brand Minga Food's Peppermint Moringa Tea!

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your beauty uniform with us! For more, follow @truemoringa on instagram.

 

Saving face this season!

Oh JOY! That time of year for blustery cold winds, forced air heat, and crackly dry skin. Our glowing, plump summer skin says, "see ya" and turns into a red, raw, peeling, angry version of its former glorious self. But fear not, there is a solution! Below, our top five picks for making it through the winter with skin like a baby's butt.

 Photo by Diane Arbus via Pinterest

Photo by Diane Arbus via Pinterest

1. Start your day with Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer by evanhealy

For years, this has been our absolute go-to for an intensely moisturizing day cream. Full of rich and restorative shea butter, antioxidant seabuckthorn & carrot seed oils, and softening argan oil (all sourced sustainably from Evan's partners around the world), this cream is deeply moisturizing and yet won't leave your skin feeling greasy or sticky. We suggest pairing with one of evanhealy's Hydrosouls - the woodsy, uplifting smells of the Doug Fir Hydrosoul will remind you of why winter is still pretty magical. For extra deep nourishment, apply one of Evan's serums along with the Hydrosoul before using the Day Moisturizer. Your face will thank you!

2. End your evening with Nourish Nightbalm by Organic Bath Co

The ingredients in this deeply protective balm read like a recipe: organic shea butter, mango butter, organic jojoba oil, organic rosehip oil, organic prickly pear seed oil, organic tamanu oil, green coffee oil. It's perfect for soothing and restoring chapped winter skin while you sleep - the ingredients literally melt onto your skin as you apply! Formulated by locals Gianne and Jay Doherty, the Nourish Nightbalm has quickly become a staff favorite - a nighttime ritual we truly crave! Pair with Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator for deeply hydrated skin.

3. Exfoliate once a week with Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator

This is a dual action exfoliator that our staff are absolutely obsessed with - seriously, it will make your skin feel like a baby's butt! Powerful organic & wild crafted fruit and herbal enzymes and tiny walnut shell particles (no nasty plastic beads here!) work to gently slough off dead skin cells, leaving beautifully renewed, refreshed skin ready to absorb the moisture it deeply needs.

4. Nourish your whole body with Little Seed Farm's Body Oils

Our skin CRAVES oils - those water-based lotions just don't do the trick! This non-greasy, organic hemp seed body oil (available in four light and delightful essential oil-based scents) will easily penetrate your skin's surface layer, allowing it to seal moisture and nutrients within! We suggest applying right after a shower while your skin is still damp (and can more easily absorb the oils). For an extra deep dose of moisture, massage Organic Bath Company's Drenched Body Butter into those super dry, rough patches of skin.

5. Save your skin from deep within!

Especially in wintertime, we take a lot of supplements to support our skin. Megafood's Hair Skin & Nails Multi is designed with all of the necessary vitamin building blocks for hair skin and nails, and also contains a supportive herbal blend. Making your own skin-supportive herbal infusions at home is also easy and inexpensive! Check out our bulk herbs section for ideas - we recommend nettles and oatstraw steeped overnight for the minerals your skin deeply craves. And, last but certainly not least, drink water!! 8-10 cups a day of room temperature or even warm water (a splash of lemon adds a dose of alkalinity) goes a long way towards keeping your skin glowing, plump, and gorgeous even as the winter winds whistle on by. Springtime is just around the corner! Right?