The summer winds are just about to blow on in! Woo-hoo!
As we gear up for more time in the great outdoors, our focus shifts to keeping our little rays of sunshine safe.
Summer staple numero uno: Sunscreen, of course.
But how do we know which way to go when it comes to choosing the best, safest and most effective sun protection? What SPF do we need? Do the all-natural kinds really work? Are the conventional (read: chemical) ones really that harmful?
We asked the sunny folks at MelanSol 100% Natural Skincare to shine the light on what we need to know to ensure our families are safe and sound all season long.
AVOIDING THE DANGERS
Ready to feel like a natural woman?
Then you’ll be singing the praises of AcornBodyCare.com.
Founded and run by Marie Swan Black, a beauty biz veteran, AcornBodyCare.com scours the marketplace for the latest and greatest in organic skincare and bath and body.
The result is a best-of beauty shop that delivers on the gorgeous, inside and out.
Here, Marie talks about how her industry has evolved since she opened her first skin care office in 1998, the beauty of self-transformation and why organic is a must.
THE FAMILY GROOVE: Why did you start Acorn Body Care?
Marie Swan Black: I opened my first skin care office in Portland in 1998 out of my passion for helping people with their skin concerns.
MSB: This is three-fold answer. 1.) The word acorn is indicative of personal transformation. I often include a quote in my emails that sums it up by Thomas Mann, “Genius can be bounded in a nut shell and yet embrace the whole fullness of life.” 2.) James Hillman’s book, The Soul’s Code, discusses his Acorn Theory at length. It is about growing into your own personal mythology. 3.) It also has personal significance for me since the main tree in my back yard as a child was a mighty oak. I used to play with my dog and watch her chase the squirrels eating the acorns.
TFG: You’ve been in the online organic beauty business for 11 years now. How has the industry evolved?
MSB: There has been significant growth in cosmeceutical approaches to advanced delivery systems for antioxidants, peptides and cutting-edge ingredients that have only just begun to spill over into the organic market. There is also a lot more competition with huge sellers with thousands of products on their sites. Many of these are owned by very large household brands that would love to shut down smaller, family owned companies. Competing with these giants is daunting, which is why I must be completely confident with the product lines I carry.
MSB: My business changes as I find new things of interest. Customers help greatly when they let me know what they are looking for and what is effective for them. I stock products that have the best benefit for my customers.
TFG: Why is organic skin care a must?
MSB: We are exposed to so many chemicals in our lives. Skin is the largest organ on our bodies and it needs to remain healthy in order to protect us. When I first became an esthetician in 1996 we were not allowed to say that products “penetrate” the skin. Now science tells us that skin is indeed a porous membrane. It simply makes no sense to douse ourselves with more chemicals than we are already exposed to. These chemicals are in 99% of all grocery, drug and department store “skin care” products available.
TFG: What lines or products are you loving right now?
MSB: I love all the brands on the website. We absolutely do not sell what we would not recommend to our loved ones, including our grandmothers, children, and best friends!
TFG: Tell us about Acorn Organica Esthetics, your skin care treatment center.
MSB: I opened this treatment center in the summer of 2010. I chose a location that is closer to my house, across from a leading natural foods store and in a loft of what used to be a bank. I chose the space for its size and industrial-like feel, of which I have always been a fan. I changed the name from Acorn Body Care, my last clinic that was in NW Portland from 1998 to 2009, to reflect the focus on organics and skin care.
MSB: I know that my customers look to my site to help them narrow the seemingly endless sea of so-called “natural” products. We help make what can be a profoundly confusing process of selection easier since we have hands on experience with our featured lines. We take the guesswork out of buying organic and natural skin care products. I also love knowing that I have changed some people’s lives for the better.
TFG: What exciting things are on the horizon?
MSB: I am very excited about a handful of products that I am developing at the moment. I will also be launching a second website with a niche that I won’t disclose just yet. Stay tuned . . .
For more natural beauty, go to www.AcornBodyCare.com.
One of the coolest things to come from the Internet (well, you know, other than revolutions and Justin Bieber) is the democratization of women-owned businesses.
Women helping women (whether by patronizing each others’ businesses, carving new pathways in niche industries, succeeding in new and enlightened ways or just providing new products, new ideas, inspiration and need-to-know-now information) is really the final stage of feminism—and it is glorious to witness.
And, as an aside, it’s pretty dang special to be a part of it all.
Jeanne Kissman is one such woman in business. She’s inspiring women to take better care of themselves—sans chemicals, thank you very much—and serving as a shining example of following and living in one’s own bliss. Her passion for her Plum Hill, a line of all-natural body care products that she started in 2005 by accident (got to love that green light theory of the universe: when things are right they just go, go, go!), is palpable.
Here, she talks about the wonder of watching her beloved line go from being used by her friends to being featured at the 82nd Academy Awards’ gifting event, her favorite Plum Hill product and the new ones she’s recently launched (FYI: Do not miss the Tamanu Oil—it’s like magic!).
THE FAMILY GROOVE: Why did you start your business?
Jeanne Kissman: Plum Hill was never intended to be a business—just a hobby. I made products solely based on the need for relieving dry skin for family, friends, co-workers and myself. In May of 2005, as demand grew for a product that was effective and affordable so did the business concept for Plum Hill. Coming from a pacific climate then to Salt Lake City, UT, and ending up in Eagle, ID, I wanted a product that really worked and that wasn’t outrageously expensive. After years of research, trial and error and tons of individual feedback sixyears later Plum Hill has grown leaps and bounds from being featured at the 82nd Academy Awards to a TV spotlight and magazine articles.
TFG: Tell us about the name.
JK: I have always loved the color eggplant, and at the time our family was living in an old remodeled farmhouse on a hill at the time it just seemed like the perfect name. Eggplant and sage are Plum Hill’s signature colors.
JK: Being your own kind of beautiful for me is that you have to feel and look beautiful not only on the outside but on the inside as well, it is YOU that counts. Through Plum Hill products, I try to empower people to feel better about themselves by providing a product they feel good about using everyday.
TFG: Your body care line is all-natural, paraben- and cruelty-free. Why is it so important to choose natural skincare?
JK: Why add ingredients that don’t need to be there to be effective. Just remember what you put on your skin absorbs into your body. I personally don’t use products that have ingredients that I can’t pronounce. I also believe it is important to know what you are putting on your body as well as in your body.
TFG: What’s your favorite product in your line?
JK: That’s a tough one. Every product in my line I formulated to the needs and request of customers for dry skin. I would say every single product in my line is my favorite, but one product that I can’t live without is the Sugar Body Scrub.
TFG: What’s your proudest moment as a business owner?
JK: I have a couple proud moments. The first being when my customers come up to me say “thank you” for making such a fantastic product that really works. Then, of course, it was when Plum Hill was featured at the 82nd Academy Awards last year. Getting to know and help Cloris Leachman, Gil Marinin (from Dancing with the Stars) and models from Dolce and Gabbana find the right skin care product from my line, was a very proud moment for Plum Hill.
TFG: What’s new for 2011?
JK: This year, 2011, is going to be great year for Plum Hill. The first being that the prices will remain the same. Plum Hill launched three new products in 2010, including our 100% Pure Tamanu Oil, our Nourishing Body Crèmes. After returing from the 82nd Academy Awards, we added the same gift set that the celebrities received. It’s a great way to try our products.
Here we are spending a ton of money each week at Whole Foods to eat only organic foods, banning plastic bottles from our lives, canceling conventional pest control services, wedding out any chemmed-up weed killer, recycling up a storm, replacing conventional light bulbs with LEDs, etc. etc.—so why have so many of us not totally greened our skincare.
Skin, your biggest organ, is the first line of defense against, well, against just about everything so why do we continue to flood it with harmful chemicals? (And by the way, a site that you must bookmark and visit is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.)
All of the above is why are have—and are very proud of—the Green Beauty & Skincare section in our Shop TFG. Seriously folks, it’s a new year and it’s time to green your beauty routine.
Enter: Sultry Naturals.
This all-natural skincare site takes beauty back to the basics by using vegetable oils (not animal fats), high quality essential oils to scent their products and botanicals, minerals, spices and clays to color their products.
No junk, no hidden ingredients, no green washing here—just good old transparent green. Check out their ingredients here.
Members of the Handcrafted Soapmaker’s Guild and American Botanical Council, Sultry Naturals offers its handmade soaps (natural, organic and baby), body oil, body lotion and more.
With the goal of really helping you love the skin you’re in by helping you care for it with only the best Mother-Nature-made products and, at the same time, protecting Mother Nature herself, Sultry Naturals is taking bath and body to a whole new (and much more meaningful) level of beautiful.
To green your (self) cleaning routine, go to www.sultrynaturals.com.