organic

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!

Imbibing, Naturally

By John, CN Grocery Buyer and The Naturalist Contributor

"What's that?" you may be asking. "How could the place where I purchase my vitamins and protein shakes help me get drunk?" Well, dear readers, although Cambridge Naturals will always be here for you when you're in need of a cleanse or detox, we're more than happy to help you creatively re-tox as well! Booze in careful moderation* may have some medicinal value, and its functions as a social lubricant and stress reliever have been documented since the poems of antiquity.

But antiquity is not what we're here to talk about. The world of the mixed drink has changed dramatically in the last decade, and Cambridge Naturals is stocked to the rafters with ingredients which can bring your next party to the vanguard of the craft cocktail revolution!

What follows are not a couple, not a few, but five different drinks showcasing a wide variety of items for sale in our store. It could have been a dozen! The possibilities really are limitless. Come find me in person at the store for the low-down on some of my extra-secret concoctions or to let me know what you've come up with.

THE HOT HONEY PALOMA

  • 4 oz Grapefruit flavor Spindrift sparkling water
  • 2 oz Organic Mezcal or Tequila*
  • 1 tablespoon Mike's Hot Honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Sprig of Mint

Stir the liquor, honey, and lime juice well, then pour in the Spindrift and enjoy!

THE SAPPY CHAMELEON

  • 1 oz Feronia Forests Mission Maple Syrup
  • 1 oz Overproof Rum*
  • 8 oz Chameleon Cold Brew

Combine and mix ingredients in a glass, stir, and serve!

THE CHAI ORANGE HONEY OLD FASHIONED

  • 3 tablespoons Boston Chai Party Homemade Chai Spices
  • 8 oz Organic Bourbon*
  • 8 tsp Puremiel Orange Blossom Honey
  • Urban Moonshine Citrus Bitters
  • Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

(recipe makes 4 cocktails)

First, put the chai spices in a sachet and infuse the bourbon for a few hours. Then mix 2 oz of the infused bourbon, 2 teaspoons honey, and 3 dashes of the bitters with some ice in a shaker and shake it all up. Pour over an old fashioned glass with ice and top with a splash of sparkling water.

THE GINGER CACAO BOMB

  • 1 1/2 oz Repurposed Pod Cacao Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Organic Gin*
  • 1/4 oz Old Friends Farm Ginger Syrup
  • a dash of Urban Moonshine Original Bitters
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice, shake, pour over ice, and bottoms up!

THE CAMBRIDGE NATURALS BLOODY MARY

  • 2 Tablespoons Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Hosta Hill hot sauce
  • 3oz Organic Vodka*
  • 6oz Mucho Gazpacho (Original)
  • Mix in a glass with ice and your choice of garnish, line the rim with Maldon's smoked sea salt!

That's all for now! Cheers! Slainte! Probst! Kampai! Salud! See you next time!

*Please drink responsibly. Any of these cocktails can be made without alcohol and enjoyed immensely!

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!

Use Your Noodle!

By John B, CN Grocery Buyer & Blog Contributor

Ever since centuries back, way before Marco Polo could even conceive of his famous visit to China, the noodle has existed in an endless array of delicious flavors and textures and varieties. From crunchy to slippery, from blindingly spicy to fragrant and floral, a person could probably enjoy a different noodle dish every night for a year without exhausting their options or succumbing to boredom. Our grocery department has a couple of excellent new noodle products in stock, so I figured it would be a great time to share some suggestions with you on how to make them sparkle! Just remember: the three recipes I'm sharing with you today are but a few shades of a few colors of the rainbow of noodly delights, and I hope you'll come into Cambridge Naturals sometime, find me in person and tell me all the creative ways you're using our products to create that perfect slurp!

Let's start with Italian: Our Semolina Artisan Pastas are a delicious and high-end treat, and put any 99-cent-a-box grocery store macaroni to shame. Paired with some of our seafood and vegetable options, they make for a heck of a meal. Cook 3/4 pound of the Semolina noodle of your choosing. Roughly chop a cup of our Matiz Artichoke Hearts, 3/4 cup parsley, and 1/2 cup our Cambridge Naturals Brand Organic Almonds. Add them to the pasta along with half a cup of our Wild Planet Sardines in Olive Oil, some pecorino cheese, our Salt & Olive Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Now dig in! It's like a Mediterranean flavor explosion, contained entirely within your kitchen!

Another delicious recent addition to the store are a pair of wonderful gluten-free noodle options from King Soba. They come in two flavors. much love to the Pumpkin, Ginger & Rice, but it is my opinion that this recipe works better with the Sweet Potato & Buckwheat. First, make a marinade of soy sauce, our Bragg's Apple Vinegar, garlic, and some of the ginger powder and chili flakes from our bulk section. Marinate two packages of our delicious Fungi Ally Shiitake Mushrooms for at least a half an hour. Cook the mushrooms (along with all the marinade) with a cup or two of spinach and the cooking oil of your choosing. We always have many excellent options in stock. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packaging, drain them. and add them to the pan with the mushrooms, spinach, and perhaps a splash of soy sauce. Let those flavors meld for a few minutes and you've got a yummy vegan meal without too much effort!

Another popular noodle here at Cambridge Naturals are the Lotus Foods Gluten Free Ramen. I've blogged some recipes using these in the past, so let's do something a bit different here today: Ramen burger buns! Looking for a new and delicious gluten-free way to enjoy your burger (or veggie burger)? Simmer 2 packages of Lotus Foods ramen, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Rinse them with cold water. Beat two of our Handsome Farm Pasture Raised Eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper and stir the noodles in until evenly coated. Divide the noodles into six small bowls, place a sheet of plastic directly over the noodles and stack another bowl on top to flatten them, then refrigerate about 20 minutes. Heat up a skillet with some oil. Invert each bowl, careful to preserve the ramen's "bun" shape. Fry them without moving the noodles for about three minutes, flip them, and fry and additional three minutes. Should be crispy on one side and slightly softer on the other. Plate crispy side up and pile high with your sandwich fillings. You'll never look at ramen the same way again!

So there you have it, a few ways (outside of our cognitive supplements) in which Cambridge Naturals can help you use your noodle! Bon apetit!

Monthly Muse: Tripp & Emily Nichols

Photo courtesy Emily Nichols  .

Photo courtesy Emily Nichols.

Since we left you to find your own muses throughout the holiday season, we decided to bring readers a double hitter this month! What better way to celebrate the start of a new year than by celebrating a power couple that shares small, local products every day? Tripp and Emily Nichols are the creators of Small Batch Daily, an Instagram account sharing a curated collection of American made artisanal food products. From salad dressing and jam to coffee and chocolate, it’s easy to find a new favorite or three by simply scrolling their feed and commenting “sold!” But their love of food and involvement in the industry began long before Instagram started. Read on to learn more about out January Muses!

What is your favorite place or thing to do in the Boston area (together or apart)?

There are many but a favorite go-to activity when friends are visiting is hitting up Sofra Bakery and strolling through Mt. Auburn Cemetery. The food at Sofra is unlike anything around and so, so good. Get the mezze plate with crick cracks no matter what you do. And Mt. Auburn is the perfect place to work up an appetite or walk it off. Sometimes people think it's odd when you suggest visiting a cemetery but it's wonderful. There are miles of walking trails, the landscaping is gorgeous, and from Washington tower there are phenomenal views of the city.

White + Navy Everyday Napkin by The Everyday Co. Photo courtesy  Small Batch Foods .

White + Navy Everyday Napkin by The Everyday Co. Photo courtesy Small Batch Foods.

What is the last book you couldn’t put down?

Do cookbooks count? Tripp just got me the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook and that's what's currently on my bedside table. It was published in 1987 and definitely has an Ina Garten vibe. In the non-food department I'm absolutely loving Jessica Klein's 'You'll Grow Out of It'. She's a writer for Inside Amy Schumer.

You’re both very involved in food and nutrition, how did that passion grow?

We both grew up in central Massachusetts in apple country and always loved all the seasonal food traditions we have here in New England. After college we each made our way to food through different paths. Tripp did a few stints on Alaskan salmon and crab fishing boats before moving on to the gourmet cheese world at Formaggio Kitchen where he worked for 8 years. Most recently he's traded cheese for beer and now works as Outreach Director for Mystic Brewery. After college I went on to Tufts to do a master's in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition. Since completing that degree I've worked at Tufts in childhood obesity prevention.

We love following the Small Batch Daily instagram account! What inspired you to start this company?

It was absolutely inspired by all the makers we met through Tripp's work in the cheese world. We met dozens of folks who'd quit their 9-5 to make jams, honey, chocolate, cookies, cheese, butter, etc. Many of them became our friends and I began experimenting a bit with helping to promote their products on the food blog I was writing at the time. When that was successful we had the idea to try and more regularly showcase small-batch products and hopefully introduce them to a larger audience.

Photo courtesy   Small Batch Foods  .

Photo courtesy Small Batch Foods.

Photo courtesy   Small Batch Foods  .

Photo courtesy Small Batch Foods.

What are some of the highlights of running a company together from your home? Have there been any unforeseen or humorous struggles to that venture?

It has been so much fun! The biggest highlight has been all the new makers we've met and connections that have been forged as a result. Makers learn about us on Instagram or through other makers and reach out. Those are always the most exciting emails to get. As for unforeseen struggles, sure things always pop up. We rely on Instagram which is always changing its algorithm but it keeps us on our toes.

As a couple that works together, do you have any tips for balancing work and home?

It's nothing special but just carving out specific time for work and setting it down when that time runs out. Otherwise it just bleeds into every part of your day.

Last but not least, what are each of your top 3 favorite Cambridge Naturals products?

This is an easy one:

  1. Counter Culture coffee! I love that Cambridge Naturals carries such excellent coffee. It's my go-to spot to find new brews.
  2. Caleb introduced Tripp to the John Masters Hair Texturizer. It's awesome stuff and I admit I even use it once in awhile too.
  3. Palo Santo incense. Emily and Caleb first introduced us to this wood you can burn as incense and it's divine. I love burning it at home especially around this time of year as winter sets in.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us, Emily and Tripp! To see more, follow @smallbatchdaily on instagram!

Why Organic?

Our friends and fellow INFRA members at Good Earth Natural Foods in California designed this BEAUTIFUL infographic describing the many benefits of organic - for everything from human and animal health to water and soil quality to biodiversity and climate change. If you've ever wondered "why choose organic?" click below to see more!

Partners in Wellness: Vitality Works

You've probably seen our Cambridge Naturals Brand herbal tinctures around the store - we carry a wide selection of affordable, high quality single herb and herbal blend CN tinctures, as well as some dried herb capsules and over 30 essential oils, to meet our customers' growing need and passion for herbal remedies. These herbal tinctures are manufactured for us for us by Vitality Works in Alberquerque, New Mexico, led by founder and award winning herbalist Mitch Coven.  For over three decades, Vitality Works has striven to provide leading edge medicinal supplements of the highest quality, purity and potency. They offer an unmatched expertise in direct sourcing of botanicals, and their meticulous attention to detail and consistency of the manufacturing process has given them an impeccable reputation for quality. We are proud to work with Vitality Works on our Cambridge Naturals Brand herbal products! Below is our interview with Craig from VW:

Partners in Wellness: Interview with Cristina Ciccone from Gaia

Gaia Herbs is one of our top herbal supplements suppliers - and we've worked with them for decades. They manufacture high quality liquid tinctures and liquid phytocaps as well as dried herb extract capsules. Much of the raw material comes from their amazingly gorgeous organic farm in Brevard, NC - as well as organic farms in Italy and Costa Rica. Their "Meet Your Herbs" platform puts transparency right at your finger tips - just use the QR code on the bottle to discover exactly where and how the extracted herbs in your bottle were grown and processed.

Cristina Ciccone, our Gaia representative, is one of our favorite reps to work with! She is incredibly dedicated to her work and a self proclaimed "herbal nerd" - we've come to her with many complex questions about herbal medicine over the years and she always responds with a thoughtful, detailed answer. In honor of Partners in Wellness week, we've asked Cristina to answer a few questions about her work with Gaia: