A group of Nourish Organic's best selling products
Brand Reviews

Nourish Organics | Why This Company was Ahead of the Curve and Fave Products

Nourish Organic Table of Contents

Nourish Organic Quick Facts | The brand’s stance on ingredients, eco-friendliness and ethical commitments

Mom and Pop Start It Up | Nourish Organic’s humble beginnings

Rob Robilliard Steps In and Marsha Brady Gets Involved | A beauty veteran shakes things up

Formulation and Final Thoughts | Mainstay carrier oils, additives, and wrapping it up

Best of Nourish Organic | Products and Reviews

Nourish Organic Quick Facts

Ingredients | Gluten Free, Vegan, Certified Organic by the USDA, No parabens, No phthalates, No sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes or silicones, No propylene glycol, mineral oils, synthetic dyes, triclosan, EDTA or aluminum. No artificial fragrances or preservatives.

Eco-friendly | Recyclable and packaging is at least 25% post-consumer recycled

Ethical | Cruelty Free, Supports the Women’s Center, Association for the Blind, City Rescue Mission, Meals on Wheels, and others.

EWG | 1-4 on 14 products

The Good Guide | 5.5 on 40 products

Mom and Pop Start it Up

Nourish Organic is located in Beaver Falls, PA as the original owners wanted to be near family. A picture of Beaver Falls.
Nourish Organic is located in Beaver Falls, PA as the original owners wanted to be near family.

This is the story of a mom and pop business that was way ahead of its time, a marketing exec who saw potential and a Brady’s Bunch’s Marsha Marsha Marsha.

Founders Lynn and Tom Betz founded Nourish Organics as Sensibility Soaps in 1996.

Originally the company manufactured products for others in a small facility that they expanded with a $175,000 from the Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development.

“It was [a] nontraditional loan for us, but it worked out. The Betzes were organic before organic was cool. They were well ahead of the curve.”
Bob Rice, vice president of the Beaver County Agency

Red Barn on a field, symbolizing Nourish Organic's commitment to USDA certified organic standards.
Nourish Organics was the first beauty company to receive USDA Certified status and complies to strict organic standards.

They lived in the facility while they ran they business, and oversaw all aspects of its production. They were already including organic ingredients when ever they could, and in 2003, they made the then unprecedented step of certifying the production processes with the USDA.

The USDA requires companies to comply with the below requirements before they are allowed to label their products organic.
100% Organic all ingredients are organic.

Organic means that 95% of ingredients must be organic.

Made with Organic ingredients means that 70% of ingredients must be organic.

They were the first beauty company to do so which paved the way for the launch of their own brand Nourish Organics in 2005.

By 2011, they had over 400 certified organic formulas. The business had grown and caught Rob Robilliard’s eye.

Rob Robilliard Steps In and Marsha Brady Gets Involved

Rob Robilliard is a beauty and consumer products veteran that describes himself as having "Beauty in his blood." A stint at L'Oreal is in his resume. Makeup brushes.
Rob Robilliard is a beauty and consumer products veteran that describes himself as having “Beauty in his blood.” A stint at L’Oreal is in his resume.

Rob Robilliard describes himself as having “beauty in his blood”.

His resume includes a long history of working with consumer brands. He was CEO of Living Proof for 4 years, and had stints at Ben and Jerry’s and L’Oreal.

In 2011, he and a group of investers became interested n Nourish Organics. He tried a few formulations and realized that this was the next thing he wanted to do.

Together with a group of investors, he bought the business and started a revamp.

Rob wanted products that looked professional and polished or, in his words, "Not crunchy." A picture of a cosmetics and fragrance counter.
Rob wanted products that looked professional and polished or, in his words, “Not crunchy.”

He instituted a brand redesign with pretty, brighter colors and a new logo and name. He wanted it to be more feminine because most natural products “don’t look pretty, they look crunchy.”

(Funny how most new brands call their precursors crunchy…it seems to be a common description of the older all-natural space. I first heard it from Naturopathica founder Barbara Close.)

Along with the new investors came celebrity couple Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, better known as Marsha Brady.

The company hadn’t been looking for celebrity endorsers but an investor knew someone from the couple’s staff. She tried the samples and loved them and decided to become an investor alongside her husband.

Formulation and Final Thoughts

Nourish Organics uses a lot of very popular mainstay oils.

You’ll often find coconut, jojoba, shea butter sunflower and sesame. The benefits of these oils to skin has mostly been backed up by science. [ 1 ]

Plant Oils Skin Barrier Repair Anti Bacterial Anti Inflammatory Antioxidant Wound Healing Skin Aging Skin Cancer
Sunflower Y ? Y ? Maybe ? Yes
Coconut Y Y Y Y Y Y ?
Safflower ? ? Y ? ? ? ?
Jojoba Y Maybe Y Y Y Y ?
Shea Maybe ? Y Y ? ? ?
Sesame Maybe ? Y Y ? Y Y

Of course, when you deal with natural oils variations occur as things as disparate as time of harvest and maturity will have an effect on the actual product. Even the mode of preparation – i.e. steam distilled vs cold pressed – has an effect.

Along with the oils are some things like guar gum, xantham gum, tocopherol, botanical extracts, and SD Alcohol 38B. There is also natural fragrance.

Here’s where label scrutiny only takes you so far.

There is a myriad of ways things can be processed. Extracts can be placed in any carrier with some preservatives. Natural fragrance should really be broken down into its myriad components.

The company has banned chemicals of concern and is USDA certified. Chemical in a bottle.
The company has banned chemicals of concern and is USDA certified.

Still, these are relatively minor complaints and the certified USDA seal provides some protection, despite not being perfect.

In addition, the company bans chemicals of concern such as parabens, sulfates, pthaltes and synthetic dyes and fragrances among others. This is borne out by the ingredient list for the products that I checked.

As I’ve gone through more and more brands, I see who is really doing what’s possible within the limitations imposed by natural ingredients.

This is not a bad brand at all.

Best of Nourish Organic | Products and Reviews

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Footnote:

[ 1 ] Tzu-Kai Lin, Zhong L. , Santiago J. 2017, ‘Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Pubmed. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29280987 [Accessed on: Jan 16, 2018]

 

Wall lined with Naturopathica Products
Brand Reviews

Best Naturopathica Products | How Naturpathica’s Wellness Perspective Began and My Favorite Products

Naturopathica Table of Contents

Naturopathica Quick Facts | Naturopathica’s commitment regarding ingredients, the environment, ethics, and EWG and Good Guide Standing

I’ve just come from the Spa | How Naturopathica was Part of the Wellness Movement

Naturopathica Starts Simply | How Barbara Close Started Naturopathica

There’s Value in the Traditional, Too | How Traditional Remedies and Modern Medicine Compliment Each Other

Nature Plus Science | Science Still has a Place in Naturopathica’s Modern Formulations

Best Naturopathica Products | Products and Reviews

Naturopathica Quick Facts

Ingredients | Ecocert certified with 50% minimum natural ingredients; Free from Petroleum-derived products; Free from Synthetic polymers sunscreens, fragrances, colors; Free from Aluminum Zirconium and Silicone; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds and Hydroquinone; Free from Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, BHA, BHT; Free from SLS, SLES, ALES, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Octoxynols; Free from 1,4-dioxane, Ethoxylated compounds, Nitrosamines, Animal Ingredients

Eco-Friendly | Glass bottles, 70% post-consumer recycled plastic, 100% post-consumer recycled boxes

Ethical | Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty Free, American Botanical Council, the Green Spa and other non-profits in their area

The Good Guide | Not rated

EWG | 1-5

 

I’ve just come from the spa

Spa towels with lighted candles.
Barbara founded her East Hampton spa with the belief that holistic medicine or wellness should be part of our daily lives.

 

Naturopathica’s founder Barbara Close was well ahead of the current mainstream trend of holistic living when she founded her East Hampton spa in 1995.

Wellness and natural then was ‘sort of nut-and-granola back then’, she says, of the slightly hippie connotations that went with healthy living.

Still, the former social worker turned aromatherapist aesthetician persevered.

She founded Naturopathica’s East Hampton spa and lined the shelves with herbal tinctures and balms.

Not everybody got it.

People would try the herbal tinctures and say, “Ooh, these taste bitter,” and that would be the end of that.

Empty apothecary bottles used for holding tinctures and infusions.
Barbara Close lined the walls of her East Hampton spa with tinctures, infusions and herbal remedies.

But for every person who didn’t understand it, there were others who did.

Heidi Klum and Betsy Johnson became fans. Cousin and actress Glenn Close enjoys Ylang Ylang’s calming Bath Oil.

And in 1995, Martha Stewart booked a treatment out of the blue. Close and three assistants prepped frantically, tidying up and spraying the rooms to “make sure they smelled good”. It worked. She liked it so much that carried their $65 travel kit in her catalogue.

Today, Naturopathica’s an established brand carried in over 300 sites. In addition, they have a pretty solid reputation and people rate their products highly.

Naturopathica Starts Simply

Naturopathica Founder Barbara Close
Naturopathica Founder Barbara Close

 

Close hadn’t always wanted to be in the homeopathic business.

As the daughter of a D.C. estate lawyer and a home maker, she initially went into social work.

However, she soon found social work draining.

“It was hard not to feel depleted at the end of the day,” she says. She found stress relief in massages and she eventually decided to make it her career.

To ensure she had the right tools, she went back to school. She studied meditation, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and massage at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts.

Wellness isn’t a trend for Naturopathica. It’s an empowered approach to self-care.

Barbara Close

Eventually, she set up shop in Manhattan in 1991. Her spa followed four years later and she created the Naturopathica product line with $75,000 in capital and two investors.

A field of sunflowers grown at a farm. Barbara Close grew some herbs for her products at her family's Virginia farm.
Some of the herbs Naturopathica used were grown at her family’s 550 acre farm in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Originally, some herbs for the products were grown at her family’s 550 acre farm in Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Products were blended at a former auto-body shop. People used stop by asking for an oil change before they realized that the oil being sold was a different type altogether.

Soon, the Naturopathica line expanded to other spas across the country. It is now widely available and is online, in spas, and in several high-end stores.

And recently, going back to her roots, Close opened a new Naturopathica spa in NY’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Juice smoothie with two open kiwis against the glass. One wall of her new NY Chelsea location is a vitality bar lined with tonics and juice blends.
One wall of her new NY Chelsea location is a vitality bar lined with tonics and juice blends.

While it has 6 treatment and massage rooms, it also incorporates other areas that reflect Close’s perspective on total health. One wall has an herbal remedy section with botanical cures and essential oils. Another has a vitality bar with health smoothies. And of course, the best Naturopathica products are everywhere.

It’s a place for total health, which is exactly how Close thinks about what she does.

Our spa was never about beauty and pampering. My real passion is the wellness industry. My real inspiration for the Naturopathica spa was the old European apothecary, where people come in and learn to blend treatments and that whole aspect of curing yourself with natural therapies.

Barbara Close

There’s Value in the Traditional, Too

Barbara believes their value in old-time remedies. The inside of a traditional drugstore or apothecary with walls lines with jars.
Barbara believes their value in old-time remedies.

 

Close believes that we need to bring back the kitchen apothecary.

The kitchen used to be the apothecary. In the home, there used to be a sense of nurturing. We need to bring back and embrace that.

Barbara Close

There are a lot of traditional cures that have fallen by the wayside in modern life. For centuries, people used natural methods to relieve common complaints and address health issues. They were forgotten for many years, but Naturopathica believes they can be used alongside Western medicine.

Traditional medicine bottles with herbs and plant based cures.
Close believes that traditional medicine should be used in addition to modern medicine.

In America, we have lost that whole ancestral knowledge of how to use these ancient healing arts because of the rise of antibiotics and quick fixes.

Barbara Close

However, she doesn’t eschew modern medicine and science. She will go to a doctor when she is sick and she understands what medicine has to offer.

It is just that she believes that there is value in the old remedies that were used for centuries. Cures that were handed down in a family for common aches and pains can help, and preventive care and maintenance in between doctor’s visits is also important.

Nature Plus Science

Naturopathica serum beside a beaker with a flower, symbolizing how Naturopathica takes the best of science and nature.
Naturopathica takes the best of science and nature.

 

I started in the natural space because I believe in clean beauty. I was looking for safer, less irritating ingredients and gentler alternatives.

What I don’t mean is to throw out the scientific cupboard.

I firmly believe science should be incorporated in every product. We’ve got to find things that work and are safer for us, and that’s what Naturopathica tries to do.

New-ingredient technology is constantly emerging, allowing us to push the envelope with formulas that have more powerful ingredients, such as peptides, stem cells, and retinols, but in clean, non-toxic formulas.

Barbara Close

It’s definitely got the organic credentials though. Certified by Ecocert, several products have gone through rigorous assessment to ensure providence.

 

And the EWG ratings speak to a generally safe ingredient selection. I’m generally seeing a group of ingredients that are in the 1-2 range. Ingredients that rank higher are retinol and botanical extracts.

Naturopathica believes in a balanced scientific and natural approach and uses scientific research to create their formulations.
Naturopathica believes in a balanced scientific and natural approach.

Also, the formulations stick to things that work. You’ve got xylitol and glycerin tackling skin dryness in the Aloe Cleansing Gel. You’ve got Vitamin E and Vitamin C working together in the Vitamin C Revitalizing Lotion, which is great. Vitamin A and E reinforce each other and help ingredients penetrate into skin.

I do have a few complaints. I’m firmly against jar packaging and even fragrances from essential oils, and would love to see less of each in the Naturopathica line.

However, Naturopathica is a great line. It’s got a very balanced approach to skincare by taking scientific knowledge and laboratory ingredients and pairing them with really lovely natural items.

Best of Naturopathica | Products and Reviews

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Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay Group
Brand Reviews

Herbivore Botanicals is an Earnest Company with Truly All-Natural Products

Herbivore Botanicals Quick Facts

Ingredients | Free from Synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum; Natural; Vegan;

Eco-Friendly | Glass bottles

Ethical | Cruelty Free

The Good Guide | Not Rated

EWG | Not Rated

Herbivore Botanicals Table of Contents

A Husband Brings his Wife a Present | How Julia started it all from a simple soap making kit

Julia’s Soap and Alex’ Skin | How the brands natural focus came about

And it is Beautiful | Their beautiful packaging took some time to make

Herbivore Gets Really Big Really Fast and Alex and Julia Learn About Business | The founders learn about business

The Dynamic Duo Still Make Time for Each Other | Managing work and life and why I love Herbivore

 Best of Herbivore Botanicals | Products and Reviews

A Husband Brings his Wife a Present

Handmade soap with ingredients and bottles beside it.
Herbivore started from a handmade soap kit given by Alex to Julia.

I fall in love with brands.

I sometimes also fall in love with their products, but I always fall in love with the founders for their pluck, their fearlessness, and their sheer tenacity.

And I did the same with Herbivore Botanicals because they have a lovely story.

A husband brings home a soap making kit as a gift for his wife who promptly falls into the soap making lifestyle.

Incidentally, she’s also recently quit her job so she’s got lots of time to devote to her new hobby.

She makes soap. She makes so much soap that she starts to sell it on Etsy.

The Etsy shop explodes and soon they are everywhere.

It’s such a simple story but as anyone who has ever started a business knows, it’s never just that easy.

Julia’s Soap and Alex’ Skin

Herbivore Botanicals Founders Alex and Julia
Herbivore Botanicals Founders Alex and Julia

In the creation of a product line that marries tangible results to sensorial luxury, we hope to inspire women to appreciate the beauty of their own skin as well as the bounty of nature’s unparalleled remedies.

Herbivore Botanicals philosophy is mainly all natural because they believe that what worked for them will work for you.

Julia Wills – the wife in this story – produced her first bars of soap and tried them out on her husband.

Alex – the gift-bearing husband – had something like psoriasis or eczema that the doctors couldn’t figure out.

Julia’s product cleared it.

Their bars of soap are still handmade, only now it is Julia father who makes them all by hand.  In 2016, he made 50,000 bars of soap by himself.

From then on, the focus of the brand was set pretty much on natural ingredients. They have mainly stuck to that. They will occasionally add something to preserve or to make a product more useable, but this is really a very natural brand.

A picture of the Blue Tansy Flower in a field
A picture of the Blue Tansy Flower via Max Pixel

Case in point – Blue Tansy provides the beautiful blue hue of the Blue Tansy Mask while the powdered Indigo adds the purple to Moon Fruit.

No artificial color here at all.

Just a little segway – I know that many people are currently into the all-natural craze so as to avoid potentially toxic ingredients.

My personal stance is that all-natural products can’t hurt.

Still, I’d prefer not to throw out everything science has accomplished. There are some synthetics that are non-irritating and I think we should take the best of both.

What’s more important to me is that the products work and that the brand doesn’t mislead their customers, so that the customer always gets exactly what they’re looking for.

Herbivore is pretty straightforward in their philosophy and pretty true to it. I checked their ingredients for some of their products and they are pretty true to their message.

This is a pretty honest brand.

This I love.

And it is Beautiful

Herbivore Botanical Product Group Ultimate Skincare Collection with current packaging that took a year to refine.
Herbivore Botanical Product Group Ultimate Skincare Collection with current packaging that took a year to refine.

There are some aesthetics that take getting used to (hello Drunk Elephant, we’re good but your neon is a bit startling).

Herbivore’s is instantly ’grammable –  but it took a while to get there.

You might say, hey, it’s just a couple of lines and very plain font. Still, it took a year to fine tune.

It recalls vintage luxury purfumes with its glass bottles but manages to stay in the here and now with beautifully minimalist packaging.

Packaging Inspiration came from vintage perfume bottles.
Packaging Inspiration came from vintage perfume bottles.

As if they have just received a well curated treasure chest.

Alex Kummerow, on how people feel when they get their orders.

It wasn’t always that way.

In 2011, Herbivore Botanicals was lost among other makers on Etsy with an aesthetic that included twine, washi tape and craft paper.

But after being picked up by Urban Outfitters, they realized that they needed to reflect quality but still communicate their natural oriented focus.

And the packaging clearly does that.

The clean outside manages to echo the clean inside, and it makes people feel like they’ve just received a gift.

Herbivore Gets Really Big Really Fast and Alex and Julia Learn About Business

A picture of a Sephora store with the door open.
Big retailers including Sephora started knocking on their door.

A year after being sold online, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie decided to stock them on their shelves.

And a few years later, Sephora told them they’d love to stock it. Target also called.

But they couldn’t supply both. They were still a closely held and managed company. They had neither the people nor the infrastructure to serve such large volumes.

So, they postponed Target.

The company has grown really organically. If they can’t handle the volume they won’t. If they don’t have the capital then they are willing to grow the company a bit slower.

Cardboard Boxes ready for shipping in a warehouse with a skylight.
Cardboard Boxes Ready for Shipping via Max Pixel.

The founders had to learn a lot about running a business.

We started from nothing and the founders were not necessarily in business. I think the brand has been lucky, we overcame many challenges. We don’t have a laboratory, everything is handmade, we are a very small company and starting in the field of business is a challenge, it’s really not easy.

The first year was tough. They were managing and producing everything mostly themselves. They eventually hired two close friends to give themselves time to simply relax.

Still, they’ve managed to make it in over 500 doors. Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Credo and Goop all carry them and they’re looking at expanding into Europe.

The Dynamic Duo Still Make Time for Each Other

In addition to managing a business, they learned to adjust to each other as business partners.

This is where some husband and wife partnerships go up in flames (Remember Sonny and Cher?).

I like Alex’ advice.

Respect each other’s roles in the business and understand that you have built the business together and it needs the two of you equally. Take trips together when possible – it seems like that provides the best separation from work and I know it really allows Julia and me to forget we are business partners for a few days and just be happy in love.

I also really like this brand.

What comes across is its earnestness.

This is a brand that checks out.

A small herb garden against a red wooden wall.
Herbivore believes all-natural ingredients are the way to go.

Their philosophy makes it all the way down to their ingredients. (I’ve checked).

Their founders really do seem to believe in what they are doing.

There’s a lot of transparency and less marketing hyperbole going on – this seems to be a brand that’s pretty straight with you.

It’s clever, it’s cute, and it’s honest. I love.

Best of Herbivore Botanicals | Products and Reviews

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A collage of Acure's products displayed at the local Wholefoods.
Brand Reviews

Acure wants to put Curoxidants, Plant Stem Cells and Chorella Growth Factor in Everything

Acure Table of Contents

Acure Brand Review Quick Facts | Company commitment to ingredients, the environment, ethics, and its EWG and Good Guide Standing

Let’s Begin with a Mystery | How the company started

Yes, You Can Afford Them | Amazingly affordable price points

Cornerstone Ingredients are Everywhere | Miracle ingredients Acure wants you to have

Curoxidant | Acure’s proprietary blend of 5 super antioxidant fighting ingredients

Plant Stem Cells | Why Acure believes that Plant Stem Cells can save your skin and the world

Chorella Growth Factor | Why Chorella Growth Factor is in so many of the company’s products

What’s my Verdict? | My personal take on Acure

Best of Acure | Products and Reviews

Acure Brand Review Quick Facts

Ingredients | Vegan, Sulfate Free, Paraben Free, Phthalate Free, Mineral Oil Free, DEA Free, Formaldehyde Free, Petrolatum Free, Paraffin Free

Eco-friendly | Carbon neutral through using renewable energy and planting 20,000 trees; Products are 100% biodegradable; cardboard cartons are Rainforest Alliance Certified; and bottles are recycled HDPE, PET or glass; 70% post-consumer recycled materials

Ethical | Cruelty Free, Profits from lip balm are donated to breast cancer research, Trees for the Future plants one tree for each body lotion sold, and Water.org receives 10 cents for every hair care sale.

Good Guide | 6.9 on 44 products

EWG | 1-3 rating

 

Let’s Begin with a Mystery

A nutcracker with several walnuts, symbolizing how difficult it is to information on how Acure started and its founders unless you dig really deep.
Acure’s a tough nut to crack

Let me be honest – Acure is a tough nut to crack.

It’s surprisingly difficult to find information on the beginnings of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida based company. In addition, there is very little information on the founders themselves.

What I have managed to find out is that Kristy and Jon Guerra are a husband and wife team who founded Acure together, after Kristy’s grandmother had a protracted 10-year bout with cancer.

It seems their backgrounds are perfect for it.

Jon has 17 years of experience in product development and in formulation. Kristy, on the other hand, has worked in digital marketing, graphic design and brand strategy for a leading marketing firm in New York.

These backgrounds made the transition from observer to participant possible. While watching her grandmother struggle, Kristy wondered why products couldn’t be formulated that were effective, safe and good for you and the planet.

She founded Acure shortly after.

They started with skin care and planned to launch a hair care line at the same time. However, hair care is a bit more difficult to formulate and it took them a year after their skin care line launch to finally feel comfortable enough to introduce hair care products to the market.

I’d have to say they succeeded – several of their hair care products are now their best-sellers.

Yes, You Can Afford Them

A group of Acure's products with their abstract geometric logo in different colors on the bottles.
A group of Acure’s products with their abstract geometric logo in different colors on the bottles.

Unlike a lot of natural cosmetics and toiletries products out there in the market, you can actually afford Acure.

Acure’s best-selling Ultra Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner set is $16.99. Their wildly popular Acure Day is $10.43 and Night Cream is $13.99.

I’m honestly mystified as to how they are able to do this, especially with their $9.99 Acure Argan oil. The company says that it is cold-pressed and the product is USDA certified. The only ingredient as Argan kernel oil so it is pure – and still, it is such as steal at $9.99. Apparently, this commitment to affordability is part of the company’s mission.

We are committed to the creation of formulas that are as healthy and natural as possible without sacrificing efficacy, but also staying affordable so that everyone can have access to healthy, effective personal care, not just someone who can afford an $80 moisturiser.

Amy Halman, President and Formulator

These are also chock full of antioxidant ingredients to help repair and protect skin. Additionally, many products are packaged in plastic tubes to reduce contamination and preserve potency.

And I’m still getting over my sticker shock – in a good way.

Cornerstone Ingredients Are Everywhere

 

Cosmetic ingredients from plants such as Plant Stem Cells, Chorella and anti-oxidants with Curoxidant.
Acure prides itself on adding Plant Stem Cells, Chorella and anti-oxidants through their Curoxidant blend.

Do you know what plant stem cells are? Or the Chorella Growth Factor or Curoxidants?

I don’t either, but Acure quickly introduces you to them. I’ve got to admit – I think some of their bigger claims are marketing.

I know of a few good things that work.

Retinols are extremely effective anti-aging drugs that come with their own downsides. Niacinamide is a good option although slower in action. Additionally, there are many essential oils and herbs that are very potent. However, getting all these ingredients to the right level for actual skin benefit and understanding their interactions can be a little bit complicated.

While the company doesn’t add these ingredients, what they do use are ingredients that they claim are effective. Curoxidant, Plant Stem Cells and Chorella Growth Factor are all supposed to have wonder benefits for the skin.

The company seems to be on the right track in terms of what they add to products. Thousands of people talk about Acure as effective and I’ve tried some of their stuff – they didn’t cause me any problems at all.

Curoxidant

Baskets full of antioxidant Acai berries.
Baskets full of antioxidant Acai berries.

You don’t know what a curoxident is.

I didn’t either, but that’s because it’s a proprietary blend developed by Acure of 5 organic super fruits and herbs. There are some familiar and famous names here.

Acai, blackberry, Rosehips, Pomegranate and Rooibos are high in various vitamins and are really good anti-oxidants.

You know Acai for its traditional medicinal use and ability to fight infections but it’s also a great source of omega fatty acids. Blackberry and Rosehips are high in Vitamin C while Pomegranate and Rooibos have really good anti-inflammatory properties.

Acure’s added tons of anti-oxidants to their line and I love that. We all know their essential in fighting off those pesky free radicals, and I personally err on the more the better.

Plant Stem Cells

Close up of a Plant's Leaf
Plant Stem Cells are a cornerstone ingredient

As closely as I can figure it, Plant Stems cells seem to be similar to human stem cells as they contain all the possibilities of the plant.

Plant Stem Cells are “universal cells” that contain all of the beneficial markers that a specific plant carries. That basically means it is a single cell that contains the power of the whole body of the plant, not just the flower, the root, the leaf or the bulb, for 1000 times the potency of a common plant extract!

Amy Halman, President and Co-formulator

You’ll find that they put this everywhere, as they do with Chorella Growth Factor.

Chorella Growth Factor

A spoon full of Chlorella over a filled bowl.
A spoon full of Chlorella by Philipp Alexander August 29, 2015 CC BY2.0

Chorella Growth Factor (CGF) has made its way into a lot of products but I’ve never read up on it. It’s pretty interesting.

CGF halts elastin fibers from breakdown and protects collagen. Acure also reports that it encourages cellular growth and repair and has anti-aging benefits.

Co-founder Jon Guerra studied it in wound site healing in Amsterdam with several scientists. He came away so impressed that he started incorporating it into a lot of their lines.

You’ll find it in their CGF Oil Free Serum their Gotu Kola Stem Cell + 1% Chlorella Day Cream. You’ll also find it in their Brightening Facial Scrub Sea Kelp + Chlorella Growth Factor and a ton of other stuff in their line.

What’s my Verdict?

A girl thinking about what decision to make.
Whats my verdict on Acure products?

You’ve got to admit these prices are ridiculously good.

This is an affordable line that is really packs it in in terms of good anti-oxidant fighting additives. In addition, their packaging is stellar – it keeps their formulas at maximum potency and preserves against spoilage.

I would still like to see the scientific studies that prove the effectivity of the ingredients they have chosen. I am not familiar with them but iff they do half of what they are supposed to, that’s amazing.

Thousands of people love Acure. It’s affordable enough for most and its focus in the hot natural space ensures interest, if not commitment. Also, I’d have to say I do admire their mission statement:

ACURE is founded on sustainable principles and economical price points to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice your health for beautiful skin and hair.

Amy Halman, President and Co-formulator.

So, I’m tentatively optimistic. I’ll keep buying their products and testing them. I’m honestly curious to see what else these guys come up with.

Best of Acure | Products and Reviews

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Aesop's organized and beautiful product display
Brand Reviews

Aesop’s Meticulously Made Products

Aesop Beauty Quick Facts

Ingredients | No colourants, mineral oils, silicones, parabens or pearlising agents; No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Parabens; No animal derived ingredients

Eco-Friendly | None specified

Ethical | Cruelty Free

Good Guide | Not Rated

EWG | Not Rated

Aesop is like finding buried treasure

Aesop is a brand that is often introduced through a personal recommendation.

I found out about it through my brother who instantly exclaimed, “I love Aesop!” He in turn found out about it from a friend while countless others discovered it from a mother, brother, sister, acquaintance.

Why?

Well, Aesop doesn’t advertise.

Yes, it’s true. A beauty brand actually exists that doesn’t use celebrity endorsers, self-promote in magazines or any of the traditional forms of advertising.

Instead, how people discover Aesop is akin to stumbling upon buried treasure: there it is, perfect and amazing, a discovery all your own.

At least, that’s how I felt when I walked into their Houston branch in the wake of my brother, spellbound and mesmerized and half in love already.

Aesop’s meticulously made products marry the best of science and nature

For you to understand why Aesop inspires such a feeling among their clients, you’ve got to understand the absolute meticulousness of their product development and design.

There’s such precision.

Products are conceived for a need, and not to keep up with a trend, a launch schedule or competitors. There’s a lot of research and testing. There’s a lot of prototyping and reformulating. It sometimes comes to the point where, “…I’m sure we’re charged with the accusation of being obsessive about it,” says employee number one and general manager Suzanne Santos wryly.

Aesop’s carefully formulated products come with a distinct perspective, and it occupies a difficult to explain niche in the industry. It is a brand that believes both in science and nature.

[Aesop] fit[s] into a category that is really comfortable for us and really uncomfortable for other brands. We celebrate science, and understand that you need a blend of well-chosen man-made ingredients with exceptional botanical ingredients to make remarkable products.

Suzanne Santos, Aesop GM

Try having that as a tagline.

Compared to, “Fuller lips in one week!” or “Because you’re worth it,” this is a perspective that requires a few paragraphs to communicate.

And still, despite the difficulties of explanation, Aesop makes it work because wouldn’t you know it – their products are excellent.

I’ve tried their Camellia Nut Facial Cream.

It was amazing.

Light and weightless, it lingered on my skin for a fraction of a second before sinking into my pores like sunlight. My skin was hydrated for hours and oh-my-God, I smelt fabulous.

Is Aesop all-natural or organic?

Let’s get this out the way: Aesop is not all-natural or organic.

Why isn’t Aesop completely organic or all-natural?

They point out that no standards are set for these labels and that these are words that should be used with “great caution”.

They state it well:

We recognize the benefits that organic and biodynamic farming have for the land and for our health, but we are practical about how realistic it would be for us to use only organic ingredients. Sometimes they are not available, sometimes there is not enough of a particular ingredient, sometimes the air miles required to import it would generate an environmental concern of its own.

And yet for a company that doesn’t carry any of the popular labels of the cosmetics world today, they ban a surprising number of ingredients.

They avoid colourants, mineral oils, silicones, parabens, and pearlising agents. They use Sodium Laureth Sulphate instead of the harsher Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and have non-synthetic fragrance compounds in all but three products.

And yes, they avoid animal derived products and are completely cruelty free.

Unusual scents in unique settings

One thing you’ll notice is that Aesop has a variety of unusual scents.

Aesop’s Tacit perfume has a little basil in it and their Herbal Deodorant is woodsy with a hint of coriander. Some people even use it as a fragrance.

Aesop is well known for our use of essential oils whose evocative aromas form the essence of our products. During formulation, essential oils are selected primarily for the benefits they deliver to the skin and hair; their aromas are merely an incidental outcome.

Marsha Meredith, Aesop Head of Creative

And while many of their products do perform absolutely excellently, a lot of what I remember about Aesop are the distinct and rather surprising aromas.

Peppery lotion, and vevetier. Coriander and Hiba. Smoky and musky. About as far away from simple and sweet as it is possible to get, this might not be for everyone.

But for those who seek the unique, it just might fit the bill.

Collaborations with local architects create distinct stores

Aesop’s founder Dennis Paphitis comes across as an obsessive, driven, really focused man.

In a large part, he’s responsible for why the products are so precise, the products so focused and the message so complex. That’s his attention to detail in every bottle, and the stores are no exception.

Pictures explain it better:

Beautiful, yes.

Unique? Absolutely.

They’ve been the topic of many editorials and selfies (yes, I took some of my own) and people often wonder how each store can be so distinct but still so decidedly Aesop.

It’s clear that these stores come from Dennis Paphitis’ desire to unique customer experiences. He says Aesop wants to:

… [avoid] the kind of assault on the streetscape that retailers inflict through the ordinary course of mindless business, the idea that one size would so often be forced to fit all. It wasn’t so hard to respectfully consider each space individually, consider the customer, the context and to bring a little joy into the conversation.

Dennis Paphitis, Aesop founder

Essentially, this is why Aesop is uniquely special among all the brands that I know.

They are about precision, uniqueness and difficult but important perspectives on product and design. There’s rigor and care in their ingredient choices and beautiful and often unique design choices throughout it all.

And yes, their products really are that good.

I come across a lot of brands in my search for the perfect products, but Aesop occupies a particular place in my heart.

They make you feel special and treasured, as though each item is a conversation between you and some treasured confident. They exude luxury and are one of the only brands that I would just totally go broke for.

 

Best of Aesop

I can’t recommend the whole line, but God I’d want to. Below are some of my absolute favorites.

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