When I began researching the green beauty companies that call Portland home, I got quite hung up on one skincare brand that has become a true favorite, Live Botanical. At first I was drawn in by the LB philosophy to live beautiful, pure, responsible, and simple. This brand represents so much of what I believe when it comes to living green, and advocating for clean beauty and all those that are involved in the process.
Recently I had the pleasure of sharing tea with Carolyn, Live Botanical's creator, herbalist, and environmentalist at heart, and we talked about everything under the sun, quite literally! Her passion for plants, ethical harvesting, and formulating products that work for everyone, has left me wanting to explore each and every LB product.
As an herbalist, Carolyn shared how she loves to mix and match plants because everyone is so different and unique. From the very beginning she wanted to develop products that worked on any and every skin type. Seeing the versatility of plant based Hyaluronic Acid for instance, she developed an HA serum specifically so anyone could add it into their routine no matter what they were already using. The majority of her products also work for someone that is hypersensitive (which happens to be about 80% of her customers).
Another thing that makes Live Botanical special is accessibility. With this line, no matter what your skincare budget, you can still experience luxury and beauty at many different price points. Through an approach called decolonization of medicine, Carolyn sets her prices such that you can still have high quality organic herbs preserved in violet glass bottles without needing to splurge or save up to splurge.
It was clear in our conversation that Carolyn has been forging a relationship with nature through herbs for many years. She described herself as the weird hippy kid obsessed with plants, which reminded me of my childhood as a fellow nature nerd, where all I did was make dandelion necklaces, lavender bookmarks and herbal sun tea :)
Years later while on the path toward becoming an herbalist, when Carolyn was immersed in her clinical work, she became very sick and developed major hormonal struggles. In a matter of two months, things fluctuated and her whole body changed. While Carolyn felt as though she lost her health and ditched her love of herbalism for a time in her 20s, it was the world of herbal skincare that helped her find her beauty again by reconnecting with her body.
"Take an herb like ladys mantle; first you learn what it does for the skin, then what does it do beyond the skin? Then you learn about the underlying energy it has and it's medicinal effect, and it opens up this whole new door. And then you go outside and see what it looks like in nature, and then it becomes a friend and you want to take care of it. And without even realizing it, you're becoming an environmentalist."
Carolyn's love for plants and the earth goes beyond utilizing green practices. Her appreciation of the environment starts with identifying plants that are powerful, effective, and sustainable. In her newest Fleur de Terre toner she uses violet as plant based hyaluronic acid instead of something like slippery elm, which she shared is a great option, but currently listed as "herbs as risk" on United Plant Savers- a nonprofit which helps to protect plants that are becoming extinct.
"There is always the next big oil and next big plant ,and you have to keep doing new things to keep people interested, but it comes with focus on green living with an emphasis on sustainability."
The very first LB product was the Skin Repair Balm, a basic balm that you can use for everything; masking, cuts and scrapes, as an oil cleanser, to put on bug bites, as a deodorant, everything! Balms are Carolyn's favorite type of skincare to make as well, and when you try her balms it's obvious, they are all so amazing.
Live Botanical works to match plants to a people, no matter your skin personality. It all comes down to whats right for you and your constitution. Many of the LB products are so gentle that various skin types can use the same products but in different ways.
Here's a review of some of the lovely LB products I have tried so far.
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Arnica & Clary Sage Body Cream: Carolyn suggested putting this on the shoulders before bed for aromatherapy, which I love! It calms and cools any intensity and is great for you joints or for the abdomen during moon time. This also contains dream herb- clary sage, that lulls you to sleep in a gentle way.
Lavender & Conifers Body Balm: This one contains local essential oils including spruce, fir, cedar, jasmine, and of course lavender, which gives off the most lovely earthy, introspective, grounding, scent. I ran out of this product before all others.
AER Cleanser: This gentle healing cleanser contains licorice and chamomile, green tea, aloe (all great for acne). It's as mellow as it sounds, and if you aren't one for scents, this is the one for you. Carolyn shared that scents are just a bi-product of the healing compounds, and with whole plan infusion everything smells good even without essential oils (EOs). I would very much agree when it comes to this cleanser. I like to a couple drops of the clearing oil to remove more stubborn makeup as well.
AER Toning Elixer: This is another gentle powerhouse elixer with spearmint and ginger as well as mint hydrosol which gives the slightest cooling sensation without being disruptive, which was a dream for my acne-prone skin. Sidenote, I really love that many LB products use hydrosols instead of EOs, they are more subtle on days when you don't want to use a whole lot on your skin.
Fleur De Tere Calming Elixer: This is my favorite toner yet, which includes hydrosols and extracts lavender, violet, jasmine , and hibiscus. It has natural astringent properties, and is ph balanced, and uses some of the best emollient plants that serve as natural AHAs- hibisicus, and jasmine. Extracts of lavender, violet (natures Hyaluronic Acid), and jasmine are calming, clearing, and uplifting after just a few sprays.
"There are so many things in nature that we will never understand because it is so intelligent."
AER Hyaluronic Acid Serum: This is the perfect gel serum, and so simple with just aloe, green tea, and vegan hyaluronic acid. I love to mix with a few drops of the clearing oil. It's soothing, decreases any irritation I might have, and makes my skin feel amazing.
AER Clearing Face Oil: My skin loves everything pumpkin, which serves as the key ingredient in this. Add in a combination of calendula, apricot, sunflower, and rosemary and you have the perfect balance of calming and balancing.
AER Clearing Mask: This mask is the perfect additional support when things flare up. Green Clay unclogs pores while Maca works to protect the skin from future breakouts and builds resiliency. This mask dries pretty quick and I like to get the most out of my masking moments, so I mix it with the Rose & Honey glowing mask which leaves my skin feeling light, soft, and moisturized.
Luna Glowing Mask: This is a mask I will keep coming back to again and again. Local raw organic honey (cruelty-free), whole organic dandelion root (so so good for acne), chamomile, and rose, create a concentrated infusion to help with toning and lessen scarring naturally. Plus some of the best acne healing ingredients like papaya for enzyme exfoliation, and organic aspen as a natural form of salacylic acid to clear and soften. My skin feels awesome after this every time.
" 95% magic 5% science"
AER Balancing Whipped Oil: I have met my match when it comes to balms. This formula smells amazing, and is the only balm that I could also use as a moisturizer without things feeling too heavy. Blue tansy calms everything down, while babassu oil (similar to coconut oil) serves as a protective barrier. That plus the superfood antioxidant blend of cranberry, passionfruit, grapeseed, and sunflower make this such a healing, comforting treatment.
Renewing Concentrate: This Rose & Chia balm is the most nourishing and highest in antioxidant power out of all LB products. If I've been under a bit more stress than usual, or just need some extra skin comfort, this is my go to. The combination of rose, CoQ10, lupine (collagen building), green tea, chamomile, and lavender work in harmony to promote overall skin health. I use it as my final step in PM skincare and let it work its magic to firm, smooth, overnight.
If you see something that speaks to you, get 15% off with code: greenbeautyexchange