What does it mean for skin care to be organic?
There are several certification systems for skin care that deem it to be ‘natural’ or ‘organic.’ Most of these certifications have what Laurel Skin considers to be a low standard for percentage of certified ingredients. Some of the most popular certifications (ECOCERT, Soil Association, COSMOS, NATRUE) require as little as 10%-20% whole plant organic material for a product to be certified. It is an important distinction between an ‘organic ingredient’ and being ‘derived from an organic ingredient’. One is a whole plant and the other is chemically processed and no longer resembles a plant. We believe those terms exist for marketing reasons and can be intentionally confusing to consumers. The USDA currently has the highest percentage required of whole plant organic material in a final product (not chemically ‘derived from’), and that is 95%. Another misleading marketing statement is that European certifications have higher standards than the USDA. While this is true in some aspects of organic farming, when it comes to cosmetic products and the amount of organic material required, that statement would be inaccurate.
What does organic mean to Laurel Skin?
There are no ‘derived from’ organic ingredients used in Laurel Skin products. We only utilize whole, organic plants and there is no further processing that would make those plants non-compliant with USDA organic food standards. Every single plant used in the Laurel Skin line is grown with regenerative and organic or biodynamic practices, and we know our farmers. Each ingredient is raw and unrefined and we never use any chemical solvents during the production and manufacturing process, even those that fall under the USDA umbrella of approval. We believe our own standards are above and beyond any certification that we’ve come across.
Why isn’t Laurel Skin organically certified?
We are not aware of a certifying body that matches our level of standards for organic, biodynamic, and regenerative farming simultaneously with standards for a finished cosmetic formula. A USDA organic ingredient can still leave wiggle room for undesirable processing standards, hidden chemical solvents, unmonitored farming claiming to be organic, as well as unsustainable farming practices and unethical labor standards. Since we don’t necessarily agree with all the governing practices of the USDA, we find the idea of paying them to use their symbol for marketing purposes unappealing. Additionally, any certification process would take time, energy and funding away from the more legitimate sourcing work we do. We appreciate your trust in our honesty and integrity, and we are committed to being as transparent as possible on this matter.
Why is organic important when it comes to ingredients for my skin?
First and foremost, we choose to work exclusively with organically and regeneratively grown ingredients because of the impact farming has on the health of the Earth. As a green company committed to sustainability, we feel we have a responsibility to never compromise on the use of organic versus conventional ingredients.
Additionally, organic plants have shown to have on average of 40% more antioxidants than conventionally grown plants. Regenerative means healthier, more diverse soils and will offer a wider range of phenolic compounds. This is a strong point when considering product efficacy.
As important as growing methods are, so are post-harvesting and processing methods. When an ingredient on a cosmetic label is not listed as organic, this might be because of the chemical processing it endures during cosmetic manufacturing. Those types of chemical solvents and processing are not utilized by Laurel Skin, which keeps trace solvents out of your skin care and prevents them from polluting the Earth.
What about ‘wildcrafted’ or ‘wild-harvested’ ingredients?
Wildcrafting is not a term that you see used often at Laurel Skin. In beauty and health industries wildcrafting or wild-harvesting can be romanticized, but in reality it puts a serious strain on the environment, animal habitats, and Indigenous communities. Laurel Skin does not condone wildcrafting plants on Indigenous lands unless it only and directly financially supports the Indigenous folks doing the harvesting. Laurel Skin does not condone any scale of wildcrafting that may bring harm to the micro-ecosystems of a particular area. This is especially seen in the essential oil and supplement industries, and we genuinely wish for that type of wildcrafting to come to an end. An exception we make to wildcrafting ingredients is with Clay, Salt and Seaweed – these ingredients are taken from their ocean and sea environments and therefore cultivation is not possible.
What does ‘whole plant organic’ mean?
The word organic is a popular marketing term in skin care products. ‘Whole Plant Organics’ is trademarked by our brand, and it is more to us than a marketing term. To us, that means that not only do we only use organically grown plants, but also we are not using any undisclosed chemical solvents, ‘derived from’ ingredients, or ‘bio-identical’ ingredients. Everything comes to us in whole plant form straight from our partnering farms. It will then go into a jar, a blender, an oil bath, or a spring water bath—but it is not going into a synthetic chemical solvent, much less through multiple chemical processes to be manipulated for its constituents or parts. The Laurel Skin line is highly result driven without the use or need for chemically extracted single plant constituents or their synthetic counterparts (examples: vitamin E, vitamin C, resveratrol, CoQ10, stem cells, astaxanthin, etc).
WE BELIEVE PLANTS ARE MOST POWERFUL IN THEIR WHOLE RAW FORM.
Why isn’t ‘Whole Plant Organic’ more common in skin care?
Formulating with whole plants is expensive and there are more complex sourcing and formulating variables. For example, it is cheaper and easier to rely on industrialized ascorbic acid as an antioxidant source and to maintain quality control over that than it is vitamin C from a whole plant. Relying on whole plant vitamin C in the presence of all of its helpful cofactors requires extreme diligence in quality sourcing, ingredient handling, and an understanding of herbalism and phytochemistry. Working with whole plants in this way is more costly and time-consuming. This type of formulating cannot be done on a massive scale and has a smaller profit margin than what larger commercial brands or investors would find acceptable. In addition, formulating in this way that involves more lesser known phytochemicals requires more of an herbalist background as opposed to a cosmetic chemistry background.
Do you test on animals?
Are Laurel products vegan?
The majority of our products are vegan, however some of our products contain honey or beeswax. The following products from the Laurel Skin line contain honey or beeswax: Honey Berry Mask, Effortless Cleanser, Support Cleanser, Eye Balm, Day Balm, Night Balm, Lavender Lip Treatment, and Citrus Spice Lip Treatment. We source our honey and beeswax from organic California farms who share our goal of restoring and nourishing the bee population. We love working with them because we know they support the long term life of bees.
Are your products gluten-free?
Yes. Even our oats are processed at a wheat-free facility.
What are some things that make Laurel Skin different from other natural lines?
- Our sourcing at Laurel Skin is truly unparalleled. For us, quality in ingredients means farm-sourced ingredients. We work directly with farms and artisan pressers and distillers for almost all of our 150+ plant ingredients. We work directly with farmers from seed to harvest who specialize in plant medicine so that they fully understand how to obtain the highest level of phytonutrients with every harvest.
- We do not use water or aloe in any product. In place of those, a hydrosol is used. A hydrosol is rain or spring water distilled with herbs, flowers, or plants. Laurel Skin uses only the highest possible quality hydrosols made at their individual farms specifically for the hydrosol; it is not a by-product of essential oil production. This makes each formula more active.
- We use only whole organic plants, as opposed to isolating plant compounds or synthesizing them. Read more about what that means in the next question.
Why doesn’t Laurel Skin use CoQ 10, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, peptides, or other “natural” anti-aging solutions?
Laurel Skin uses the whole plant, as opposed to an isolated extraction, bio-identical or derivative of a plant. We often call those ingredients ISNs; Isolated Synthetic Nutrients. These ingredients are regularly called ‘natural’, but we find that misleading. The majority of the time these ingredients are not actually natural; they are synthesized, lab-made, dead and lifeless. Because they are chemically identical to a chemical compound found in nature, they are referred to as ‘natural’. On the rare occurrence that these isolates are coming from a plant, the process by which they are extracted involves dozens of solvents and synthetic chemical processes, which takes an unnecessary toll on the environment. Most importantly, it is not natural at all for a plant to be divided up into its chemical compounds. This doesn’t honor the plants or the medicine within them. Most plants contain hundreds of different antioxidants, minerals, nutrients and chemical compounds. It would be ignorant and arrogant of us to think that one isolated antioxidant might hold more value than another, or that it holds more value than the hundreds within one whole plant. Isolated supplements are not as effective as whole healthy foods, and it is the same for skin care. This is because plants contain different phytochemicals that support each other’s actions in and on the body. This means that in order for one phytochemical (like ascorbic acid) to support a cell, many other chemical compounds (like tocopherol and flavonoids) must be present. Whole plants are already complete and fully balanced.
Is Laurel Skin effective at producing anti-aging results?
Yes, absolutely, but instead of referring to it as ‘anti-aging’, or trying to ‘fix’ a certain symptom, our goal is to restore your skin to optimal health. If healthy skin is your intention, then other symptoms will fade away or at least be far less noticeable. We want your skin to be vibrant and glow from the inside out and that is what we most commonly hear that our products do for people. Our products are effective because of 1) our quality in sourcing and 2) we are placing no burdens on your skin. In many ways, our line is about unburdening your skin. So many ingredients (emulsifiers, preservatives, synthetics, and isolated chemical compounds), place a burden on your skin. We remove that burden, and in turn offer a level of nutrition that is unparalleled. All of the nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in our products go directly into feeding your skin so that it can be restored to full health and vibrancy.
Does Laurel Skin have products for oily skin and acne?
Yes. However, no foaming agents, no alcohols, and no isolated acids are used. We believe those common ingredients used to combat acne and oily skin are actually irritating it further; stripping your skin of nutrients, vital healthy lipids, and beneficial flora. Laurel Skin instead focuses on unburdening and balancing. By nourishing the skin with healthy oils, this encourages the skin to balance and produce less oil, as opposed to stripping the skin and forcing it to create more oil by over compensating. If you are using those types of stripping ingredients in your current skin ritual, you should expect a balancing period of 1-2 weeks while oil production regulates itself.
How are Laurel Skin products preserved?
We believe cosmetic preservatives are harmful to our beneficial skin flora. This includes common ‘natural’ preservatives, which many companies rely on to market their products as preservative-free, which is false and misleading. On the other hand, products containing water do require preservation to have shelf-life stability. The majority of Laurel Skin products are anhydrous (waterless) in order to not require preservation, with the exception of our Cleansers and Elixirs. Our extensive internal research and testing has shown that some preservatives are less harmful to our microbiome than others, and we use those when we need to. Our Elixirs are preserved with a microorganism fermentation, often referred to as radish root filtrate or leucidal liquid. This unique ingredient mimics how our own healthy cells respond to outside pathogenic invasion, allowing space for a healthy microbiome to exist. Our Cleansers are preserved through the use of three ingredients working together including an organic whole plant citrus extract, organic whole plant rosemary extract, and potassium sorbate. Having researched this extensively, we feel confident these four preservatives we’ve chosen do the least amount of harm to our microbiome and overall health.
Which Laurel products offer sun protection?
None of our products contain FDA approved sunscreen drugs like Zinc. However, all of our products contain an abundance of plants and nutrients within them that have varying degrees of sun protection against UVA, UVB, and sun induced oxidative damage. Many chemical sunscreens have been linked to cancer or endocrine disruption, and are damaging the health of our oceans. Oxybenzone, specifically, is now banned in Hawaii for the destruction and decline of coral reefs and sea life. Mineral sunscreens are appearing to be safer, but it is unclear how these minerals are being sourced or manufactured, and they can often be irritating to our skin and microbiome. Many of our own internal team, esthetician partners, and customers rely on our whole plant products for normal day-to-day UV damage prevention. When an additional sunscreen is a necessity, we recommend choosing one that uses Non-Nano Zinc as its only active drug. And if you are relying on our antioxidant-rich oils for moderate UV damage prevention, then please be mindful, start slowly, and listen to the limits of your body. For more Information read our blog, “ARE PLANTS SUNSCREEN? The Truth is Complicated.”
Are Laurel Skin products safe during pregnancy?
We whole-heartedly believe that centuries old plant medicine is safer than modern day pharmaceuticals or cosmetic chemicals. Every woman is different and responds differently to different foods and different plants during pregnancy. Your own senses are your best guide as to what is right for your own unique body. We have pregnant and nursing moms that use our products safely every day all over the world. Most of our products contain essential oils at a low dilution of less than 1%, well below what would be considered a possible danger by most doctors and aromatherapists. Our Blemish Treatment, Anointing Oil, California Body Oil and Sun Body Oil are our only products that have a higher level essential oils; and those would be products to use with more caution or to consider avoiding if you are more sensitive. Even though it may be discouraging that we cannot give you a simple yes or no answer to this question, we encourage you to trust your body and your intuition during this time. Making this decision is more about you, your body, and often your comfort level and experience with plants as well.
It looks like Laurel Skin products have a lot of color, are they going to stain my skin?
No. Food with the highest antioxidant content is never white and we see our skin care ingredients the same way. Blueberries, Kale, Acai, and Sweet Potatoes are great examples. Color equals antioxidants in the plant world. Any antioxidants in a white lotion are either synthesized or too heavily diluted to have a positive impact. If any tint of color remains on your skin after you apply a Laurel Skin product, those antioxidants will soon be absorbed and put to good use by your skin, as well as broken down by your microbiome. That said, our products can stain linens. If that is happening to you, you might be applying too much product immediately before bedtime.
Why are your products yellow, orange and colorful?
The plants we use all have color. Plant pigments are antioxidants. We use vibrant green leaves, red berries, blue berries, orange flowers, and purple flowers to name a few. Our final formulas usually end up looking yellow, orange, green, or brown as a result of the plant combinations within them. An alternative question we should all be asking other plant-based lines is ‘why are your plant-based products white or clear and how is that possible?’
Is putting oil on my skin going to make me break out?
No. In fact, it is just the opposite. Our top lipid layer needs to be intact and healthy in order to prevent breakouts. It is anti-inflammatory, balancing to our microbiome, and protects us from our environment. Keeping our lipid layer healthy is essential to having clear skin. Removing it daily with foaming cleansers and isolated acids will only put the skin in distress which can lead to inflammation and an imbalanced microbiome.
Why does my product look or smell different from last time?
We source from different farms for some of our ingredients and every harvest is slightly different. As a result, the color and smell vary slightly from batch to batch. Our formulas always remain the same, but if you have powerful senses, you may detect subtle differences.
Are reactions common with your products?
No, we have a reported reaction rate of less than .05%. That said, if you do experience a reaction, please email or call us right away and we will be able to advise you. Reactions are most commonly reported for the following reasons: improper product usage, transition from products that are very different than ours (e.g. foaming cleansers, lotions, heavily refined or preserved products), or withdrawal-like symptoms from lab-made hyaluronic acid or retinol. We can often help you determine why a reaction occurred, and either help prevent them for you in the future or suggest the appropriate whole plant product for you.
Are your products suitable for men, teens, and all skin types and colors?
Yes. Our products are formulated to better the health of everyone’s skin. Marketing can make things more complicated than that, but plants support the skin no matter what age or color it is. We don’t make products for a gender, an age, or a shade on the Fitzpatrick scale. Whole plants work with your skin to make it healthier without the need to identify it, and we are confident our products treat all presenting skin symptoms, types and concerns.
When will my order ship?
We ship most orders within 1-3 business days of receiving them. However, it is not unlikely due to our artisan nature and the small size of our business that we can experience shipping delays at any given time. Around a new product launch or the busy holiday months of November and December, some shipments can take as long as two weeks to ship. If you are on a time crunch to receive your products then it is best to give us a call (415.717.1689) or an email (email@example.com) to see if we can accommodate your order more quickly. You will receive an email with tracking information as soon as your order ships.
Who is your shipping provider?
For domestic orders, we ship through USPS Ground Advantage, which typically takes 2-5 days in transit. US Territories such as Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands (US), American Samoa, Guam, & Northern Mariana Islands, will also ship USPS Ground Advantage. For international orders, we ship via USPS Priority Mail International. If you have a specific shipping request, please call (415.717.1689) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), because we are able to work with most shipping providers.
Do you cover duties and fees for International orders?
We do not include any duties or fees in our shipping cost. You will be responsible for any additional international or customs fees.
How do I qualify for free shipping?
The website will automatically calculate free shipping on domestic orders over $100 and on international orders over $300.
Do you take returns?
Due to the artisan nature of our products, we do not take returns. We recommend you reach out to us before you order regarding any skin or ingredient concerns that you have to ensure you get the right product for your unique skin.
Do you offer samples to try the line before purchasing?
We do not sell individual samples. We do include one or more free samples with every online order. Please write your sample request in the notes box during the check out process, and if we have it in stock we will accommodate your request. If you are new to Laurel Skin, we highly recommend our Travel Sets, which allow you to immerse yourself in the line for a month or longer. That will best showcase what the products are capable of doing for your skin.