Osmia (pronounced oz~mee~uh), while not a word in the dictionary, is defined by the story behind our featured January brand, Osmia Organics, and its’ founder, Doctor of Emergency Medicine, Sarah Villafranco. Osmia means ‘A sense of who you are, why you’re here, and all the ways you choose to be happy’. What might skincare have to do with this? The answer lies in the ‘beauty’ found in healthy, truly natural skincare and the realization that it influences more than just your skin. It has the potential for more, to have a more holistic and profound effect. Sarah’s vision for Osmia Organics is that the interaction with the range of skin and body care products she crafts and blends helps us return to our senses, so that each bar of soap and drop of oil might offer a prescription for us to return to our nature, purpose and wellbeing. Having had the opportunity to meet Dr. Sarah on several occasions, I have experienced her passion for health, fun, and nature and how she infuses her products and every touch point in her company with these elements. Discovering Osmia Organics has been fulfilling, joyful and completely sense enlivening, as is this interview. En-joy!
Behind the Scenes
Danielle Torres, known on YouTube as Cruelty Free Vegan Beauty arrived on the scene like many, looking for answers, finding them, and then sharing them with others. She makes a contribution to this healthy beauty fan club through her honest and informative vlogs and reviews. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Danielle in person in at the Indie Beauty Expo in New York, a humble, kind and thoughtful advocate for cruelty-free vegan beauty products and their makers. Today we learn a little more about what motivates her to be a true Cruelty Free Vegan Beauty Hero.
Vintner’s Daughter was founded by April Gargiulo, whose family traditions of fine winemaking influenced not only the name of her company, but also her process. In an effort to simplify skincare and raise the bar in efficacy, April approaches skincare through simplicity and (for now) focuses all her attention on one product. Going down this path, April cuts through the excess in an industry that’s all about doing, selling and applying more, and elegantly embraces the ‘less is more’ ethos. Adding to her Beauty Superhero qualifications, she also donates 2% of every sale of Vintner’s Daughter to V Day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. I recently met April at her gorgeous home overlooking the San Francisco Bay where shared with me exactly how she arrived at this point, and why it works for her.
I first met Julie many years ago when she began blending her luscious body balms in her studio in San Francisco. At the time, there was simply nothing like In Fiore, and arguably there isn’t still – and you would definitely know that if you’ve ever been lucky enough to indulge in her rare and fragrant creations. Formulating beauty products that work holistically and harness the power of nature, sustainably and elegantly is an art form. In Fiore represents some of the highest work of artistry in this genre. In preparation for the announcement of our October Beauty Heroes selection, I recently met with Julie at her San Francisco studio to talk about how she sources her ultra-rare botanicals, her intuitive gift of formulating and her favorite In Fiore products for fall.
The recent update to our identity, now Beauty Heroes, could not have happened at a more appropriate time as we announce our September selection from Kahina Giving Beauty. Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of Kahina has taken her process of developing an ingredient driven, effective and beautifully packaged skincare line and turned it into a heroic venture that contributes substantially to the lives of women in Morocco. Deeply invested in their wellbeing, she travels to personally oversee how Kahina Giving Beauty can optimally direct resources, and ‘give beauty’ back to these women. I recently spent some time with Katharine in New York and got to see first hand how she balances the success of an iconic beauty brand with a mission to support communities of women making her a defining Beauty Hero. I hope you enjoy this glimpse behind Kahina Giving Beauty and take time to explore more of the line when you consider beauty products that benefit your skin and also transform the lives of others.
It’s always exciting to meet someone in the beauty and skincare space who takes an innovative approach to treating real-life skin concerns. So meeting Sean Patrick Harrington, the visionary behind Previse SkinCare, has been rewarding and enlightening. What I love about Sean’s approach in developing Previse – which by definition means to know or see in advance – is that he set out to do more than treat a current skin condition, but prevent skin damage and ultimately skin cancer. The beauty of Previse lies in its customized formulas that correspond to your specific skin type as rated on the Fitzpatrick UV index scale. If you want to up your skin type IQ you can complete this short questionnaire that evaluates your genetics, behavior, history, and geographic location and get recommendations appropriate for your type. I’ve enjoyed several conversations with Sean and recently learned of his commitment and work as an environmentalist, and philanthropist. Whether he’s hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for skin cancer prevention or working with Global Green to protect the environment, Sean stays busy making a difference on our planet. I’m pleased to share a glimpse into his little corner of Cape Cod from our most recent conversation.
From the moment I opened my first package from Mahalo skincare I knew I was in for a treat. The package included a personal hand written note on a bamboo card along with etched bamboo bottles and jars carved with the familiar shapes of the Hawaiian Islands. The packaging caught my attention and I knew I had stumbled upon something special. Then I opened the jars and began to experiment and experience what was inside – concentrated, potent and complex formulations that work. Being from Hawaii myself Mahalo had immediate relevance as the products perfectly reflect the beauty of nature that is abundant on the islands. If you’ve ever visited you know that the essence of Hawaii stays with you after you leave. With it’s tropical ingredients and exotic scents Mahalo connects me back to the magic of the Islands. But as I got to know the products, ingredients and Maryna much better I’ve learned this is not just a line with a tropical theme, Mahalo has the intention, purity and the power to heal (skin and body). Together with the community of Spa Superheroes we selected our July Hero Product, Pele Mask because of it’s therapeutic effect on the skin. But smoothing a few drops of Vacation Glow (Mahalo’s newest product) on my arms and chest has the ability to instantly improve my mood. I could go on about each product in the small (but growing) collection. This interview, a result of several in-depth conversations with Maryna Kracht, the founder and force behind the brand, reveals the origins of Mahalo and why we should all be on the lookout for what’s coming next from this conscious luxury beauty brand.
JAVA Skin Care found Spa Heroes and I’m so glad they did. The moment I received its coffee-infused body serum, I called up owner Stephanie Additon at her Rhode Island café right away, absolutely smitten with her Hero Product. As she spoke with pure glee about coffee, it was clear that she bottles her love for the bean and its glowing effects into each and every luscious vial of Java’s Double Shot Body Serum, our June product selection. It’s bright, uplifting, energetic, clear and effective – the very essence of its maker.
Innersense Organic Beauty believes that hairstyling is a healing modality. I recently made a trip to their Bay Area headquarters/salon to chat with Greg and Joanne Starkman, the enlightened power couple behind the brand. Sitting in the salon’s meditation room (yes, that’s right – meditation room!), I was captivated by their views on hair (it can hold energy, emotion and history) and hair cutting and styling (a holistic healing art). I left the conversation not only energized by their heartfelt views but also with a much better understanding of how to achieve healthy, gorgeous hair and tap into my own “inner sense.”
Sometimes it’s Spa Heroes that discovers other hard-working, mission-minded companies, but it’s always fun when they discover us. Wendi found Spa Heroes and was initially attracted to our clearly defined position on toxic ingredients. As I got to know her, every single time we communicated, be it in writing or on the phone I could hear her passion for sharing her 100% natural perfumes with the world. While I loved her product from the start, Spa Heroes delivers products for hair, skin and sun. But perfume certainly speaks to beauty so we made an exception to the rule (and birthed Beauty Heroes along the way), offering Empower as a special limited release Mother’s Day gift. Wendi and I both have 5 year-old sons and feel that adding the honor and experience of being a mom to our lives has been nothing short of empowering, so this partnership just made sense. I have learned how much effort it takes to craft and formulate a truly safe, chemical-free perfume from Wendi. To me, she is nothing short of heroic.