I've had my eye on Laurel Skin for some time, so when I reached out to ask her some questions about her line and slow beauty as a whole, I was sooo excited to hear from her directly. There is something very special about brands who's founders are actively involved in the inner and outer workings of their work.
My questions for Laurel stem from when I saw the their sourcing efforts are stem from a deep relationship with the land that their flowers and herbs come from. Being that I am obsessed with integrative health that views plants as medicine, I had to learn more...
"Slow beauty" seems to serve as more than a mantra for your work but moreover as a practice or service from the earth to our skin. Can you tell me how you came to see beauty in this way?
I see Slow Beauty as an intentional practice, its making every step an act of love or meditation. This includes each usage step that we practice in our evening beauty ritual. Slow Beauty can also start at the beginning, from the source. Each seed can be oh-so-carefully planted with love, harvested at the perfect moment, and eventually - with many beautiful steps in between - blended into skin care by us. Sourcing is what inspired me to begin with. Slow Beauty to me is just like Slow Food... the level at which our farmers, distillers, and pressers operate is on a whole other level of mindfulness and artistry. Quality products start at the source, which is the farms they are grown on, and those farms are what continue to inspire me. For example, our Antioxidant Serum has 31 plants.... the level of attention to detail that goes into each ingredient and action for it to get there is mind blowing. There is a beauty and an energy in that alone that makes the skin feel loved, supported, safe, nourished... there is a transformational energy in that.
Can you tell me how your own skincare path inspired you to create products that heal so many others?
I have led a winding journey filled with education, research, and study that led to my path as a sommelier, and eventually a skin specific herbalist. Those formal training paths, as well as my experience in farm, spa, and mindful wellness have made it possible for me to live the life of a slow beauty advocate and creator of farm-based and hyper-localized spa rituals and formulas. I walk a balance beam with one side in wonderment and appreciation of phytochemistry and the other a world of intuitive trust and respect for whole plant wisdom and ancient traditions. That balance allows me to create formulas of long standing efficacy. Nature is my greatest inspiration and catalyst for creating formulas and rituals, and my greatest achievements as a formulator thus far have come from a stillness and trust in Nature.
A curiosity sparked by my own health journey is what initially drew me to natural beauty and holistic health practices. I was moved by the power of plants and how they were able to heal so much more fully and completely than pharmaceuticals. As a fervent traveler, I often found there was void in non-toxic beauty options at the destinations I loved. I made it my life’s mission to create products that I wanted for myself: products that harnessed the efficacy of authentic vibrant plant medicine, that were made thoughtfully by hand by real farmed ingredients, and that only elevated the sacred ritual spa experience of each unique destination. My background as a sommelier, discerning nose, and knowledge of the precision of grape farming lent itself perfectly to my education in herbal medicine, with an emphasis in physiology and phytochemistry. I discovered my ability to not only feel and understand a plant’s function as it relates to our skin, but I also developed a rare sense to determine the purity and quality of our raw ingredients from harvest details, to age and storage conditions. My love for Biodynamic farming practices informed my decision to select only ingredients that are artisan-farmed and as local as possible, and at a bare minimum always organic.
I am vegan but at times use honey in my skincare routine. I do what I can to only purchase from companies that use small scale honey farm harvesting but much of this process can be difficult for consumers (myself included) to understand. I am hoping to help clarify for vegans, strict, and non-strict alike, how/why honey is still used in lines that are considered cruelty-free and/or mostly vegan. Can you share with my how you source the honey in your products as well as why you chose to use honey in some of your formulations?
We are very lucky to be in Northern California, which has endless organic and biodynamic farms for bees to thrive on. Each of the farms we get our honey from are ALL in Northern California, and I have personally visited each farm. All the honey farms that we work with began out of their love for bees! The farms we work with all go above and beyond to care for and protect the bee population - the honey is only a result of their care and love for the bees which is what comes first for them. Bees actually produce far more honey than what they need to survive... the farmers that care for them are experienced and they know what they need and what is extra. They only harvest what is left over. So really I feel that by supporting them, we are also supporting the bee population since that is their primary job and mission. We use it because its excellent for the skin! Its a powerful humectant, exfoliant and superfood.