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 extremely low standards for ingredients; even some of the most popular ones (ECOCERT, Soil Association, and NATRUE) require as low as 10%-20% whole plant organic material. It is important to know that an ‘organic ingredient’ and being ‘derived from an organic ingredient’ could not be more different in definition; and we feel those terms exist solely to confuse consumers. The USDA does have the highest standards in terms of whole organic plant material (not ‘derived from), and products that have their seal need to contain 95% whole plant organic content or more.
What does organic mean to Laurel Skin?
There is no ‘derived from organics’ with us; we only utilize whole organic plants. Every single plant used in the Laurel line is certified organic or certified Biodynamic®, and we know our farmers. Trusting a third party certifier is not sufficient for us. Each ingredient is completely raw and unrefined and we never use any chemical solvents during the production and manufacturing process. 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 party that matches our level of organic and Biodynamic® ingredient standards or overall finished formula standards. A USDA organic ingredient can still leave wiggle room for undesirable processing standards, unmonitored overseas farming claiming to be organic, as well as irresponsible and unsustainable farming practices. 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. We appreciate you trusting our own honesty and integrity, and we are happy to share any individual ingredient certifying document upon request.
Why is organic important when it comes to ingredients for my skin?
Organic plants have shown to have 40% more antioxidants on average than conventional plants. This is a strong point when considering product efficacy. Not only is the way a plant is grown important in organic skin care, but it’s even more telling about what happens to that ingredient after it’s grown. It’s possible an ingredient not listed as organic on a label, is not organic only because of the chemical processing it endures before it’s made into skin care. What solvents are used or how it is processed is not communicated on a label, but the fact that it is not organic is communicated, and it is important to read between the lines there. In addition, not using organically farmed ingredients is truly not supportive to the health of the planet. As a green company, we feel we have a responsibility there.
What about ‘wildcrafted’ or ‘wild-harvested’ ingredients?
Wildcrafting is not a term that you see used often at Laurel Skin. In the commercial beauty and health industries wildcrafting or wild-harvesting can put a 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. One large exception to this is Clay, Salt and Seaweed – these ingredients are taken from their ocean and sea environments and cultivation is not possible for them. Another small exception we made is with certain herbs in our Miraval Collection, and we invite you to read our explanation on that page as to why we made that conscious choice. Our sourcing responsibility is something Laurel personally takes very seriously, and we do not encourage wildcrafting for those who do not have this level of awareness around this global sourcing concern.
What does ‘whole plant organic’ mean?
The word organic is an incredibly popular marketing term in skin care products. ‘Whole Plant Organics’ is trademarked by our brand, and it means we are not using any ‘approved’ or ‘undisclosed’ chemical solvents when we work with our plants; it implies that we do not use any ‘derived from’ or ‘bio-identical’ ingredients. Everything comes straight to us in its ‘whole plant’ form straight from farms or artisan purveyors. It will then go into a jar, a blender, an organic oil bath, or a hot spring water bath — but it’s not going into a chemical solvent to be manipulated for its constituents or parts. We do not believe in chemically extracted single plant constituents – or their synthetic counterparts (meaning Vitamin E, Vitamin C, resveratrol, CoQ10, stem cells, and so on). WE BELIEVE PLANTS ARE MOST POWERFUL IN THEIR WHOLE RAW FORM.
If ‘Whole Plant Organic’ is so valuable, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Formulating with whole plants is incredibly expensive; there are also many complicated sourcing variables. It is much cheaper to rely on lab manufactured Ascorbic Acid for an antioxidant source and to maintain quality control over that synthetic ingredient. However, relying on whole plant Vitamin C within the context of a whole plant requires extreme diligence in quality sourcing, ingredient handling, and processing to retain that Vitamin C integrity. It is costly, time-consuming, and nature is anything but constant. It is a labor of love, and it simply cannot be done on a large scale.
Do you test on animals?
Are Laurel products vegan?
Some of our products do contain honey and beeswax. The following products from the Laurel line are NOT vegan, due to the presence of bee ingredients: Honey Berry Mask, Effortless Cleanser, Support Cleanser, Eye Balm, Day Balm, Night Balm, Lavender Lip Treatment, and Citrus Spice Lip Treatment. We do source our Honey from organic California farms who share our goal of restoring the bee population. We love supporting 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 organic lines?
- We do not use water, alcohol, aloe, or fillers in any product. In place of those things, a hydrosol is used. A hydrosol is rainwater distilled with herbs, flowers, or plants. Laurel 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, by eliminating the use of inactive or highly processed ingredients.
- We use only whole plants, as opposed to isolating plant compounds or synthesizing them. Read more about what that means in the next question.
- Our sourcing at Laurel 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. Most cosmetic extracts and botanicals are sold in bulk online, and who knows where that plant came from or when it was harvested and how. 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 phytochemicals with every harvest.
Why doesn’t Laurel Skin use CoQ 10, hyaluronic acid, peptides, or other natural anti-aging solutions?
Laurel Skin is all about using the whole plant, as opposed to an extraction or derivative. We call those ingredients ISNs; Isolated Synthetic Nutrients. Despite the fact that these ingredients are regularly called ‘natural’, we find that misleading. 99% of the time these ingredients are not actually natural; they are man-made, but because they are chemically identical to something natural that is how they are labeled. On the rare occurrence that these isolates are natural, the process by which they are extracted is by no means natural. It is also 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 antioxidants and chemical compounds. It would be ignorant and arrogant of us to think that one isolated antioxidant might have more value than another, much less more value than the hundreds within one whole plant. Studies show that isolated supplements are not as effective as whole healthy foods. This is because plants contain different phytochemicals that support each other in their actions. This means that in order for one phytochemical (like ascorbic acid) to work well, often many other chemical compounds (like tocopherol) must be present. And with whole plants, they are already complete and fully balanced. Nothing needs to be added or altered. Any well-studied ISN you can imagine is present in our formulas but within the delicate harmony of the plants themselves.
Is Laurel Skin effective at producing anti-aging results?
Yes, absolutely. We believe that our products are so 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, toxins), place a burden on your skin. We remove that burden, and in turn offer a level of nutrition that is unparalleled in the skin care world. All of the Laurel line’s nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes go directly into feeding your skin so that it can be restored to full health. Instead of talking about ‘anti-aging’, or trying to ‘fix’ a certain symptom, we suggest restoring your skin to full health. If healthy skin is your goal, other symptoms should fade away or at least be far less noticeable. We want people to notice how healthy your glowing skin is from the inside out; that is what we most commonly hear that our products do.
Does Laurel Skin have products for oily skin?
Yes. However, no foaming agents, no alcohols, and no acids are used. If one is using those types of ingredients in their current skin ritual, there can be a balancing period of an average of 1-2 weeks while oil production regulates itself. Laurel believes that those common ingredients used to combat oily skin are actually irritating it further; stripping it of nutrients, vital healthy lipids, and beneficial flora. The Laurel line instead focuses on detoxing and balancing. By nourishing the skin, Laurel products encourage the skin to balance and produce less oil, as opposed to stripping the skin and forcing it to create more oil by over compensating.
How are the products preserved?
We believe most commercial preservation is harmful to the phytochemical compounds and to our beneficial skin flora. Please see our ingredient page for more information on what we do use and why.
Which Laurel products offer sun protection?
None of our products contain FDA approved sunscreen drugs. However, all of our products contain an abundance of plants and antioxidants within them that have varying degrees of sun protection against UVA, UVB, infrared rays, and sun induced oxidative stress. All of us at Laurel, and thousands of our loyal customers rely on our own antioxidant rich products for mild sun protection each day. Chemical sunscreens have all been proven to be carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting, and are damaging the health of our oceans. Mineral sunscreens are appearing to be safer, but it’s unclear how these minerals are being processed or manufactured, and they can be irritating to our skin. We recommend embracing Vitamin D, wearing a hat, staying out of the sun during peak hours, drinking plenty of water, and eating an antioxidant rich diet. When an additional sunscreen is a necessity choose one that uses Non-Nano Zinc as its only active drug – Badger sunscreen is a staple on Laurel’s trips to Kauai! And if relying on our antioxidant rich oils for alternative sun protection, then please be mindful and present – reapply, listen to your body’s comfort level, and don’t try it for the first time under extraneous circumstances like an outdoor summer vacation. 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 absolutely safer than modern day pharmaceuticals. Every woman is different, and responds differently to different foods and different plants during the time of pregnancy. Your own senses are your best guide as to what is right for your own unique body. We do have pregnant and nursing moms that use our products safely all over the world. We do not use toxins of any kind. Most of our products contain Essential Oils at a low dilution of around 1%, well below what would be considered a possible danger. Our Blemish Treatment does have a higher level of Essential Oils to watch for, as does our California Body Oil. Even though it can be discouraging that we cannot give you a simple yes or no to this question, we encourage you to trust your body and your intuition during this beautiful time. This question is truly about you, your own comfort level with plants, and unique individual experience with them.
It looks like Laurel Skin products have a lot of color, are they going to stain my skin?
No. Color is a powerful thing. Just like the food we eat, the food within most antioxidants is never white. Blueberries, Kale, Acai, etc. Think of it like color equals antioxidants, and you’ll never want to use a white lotion again.
Why are your products yellow?
The plants we use all have color. Plant pigments are antioxidants. We use vibrant green leaves, red berries, blue berries, orange flowers, purple flowers…and usually in the end everything looks yellow, orange, green or brown. What you really should be asking to other natural lines is ‘why are your plant-based products white?’
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 healthy in order to prevent breakouts. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and protects us from our environment. Protecting our lipid layer is essential to having healthy and clear skin. Removing it daily with foaming cleansers and acids will only put the skin under duress and can lead to inflammation and a damaged microbiome.
Why does my product look or smell different from last time?
We source from different farms for some of our ingredients, and that makes 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 small differences from batch to batch.
Are reactions common with your products?
No, reactions are not common with our products. In fact, we have reported reactions of under 1%. That said, if you do experience a reaction, please email or call us right away and we will be able to advise you.
Are your products suitable for men, teens, and all skin types and ethnicities?
Yes. Our products are formulated to better the health of our skin. Marketing can make things much more complicated than that, but the way we see it is that whole plants by their very nature are designed to support the health of our skin – and that means all skin.
How fast will my order arrive?
Throughout the year, 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 the busiest 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if we can accommodate your needs 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 Priority Mail. US Territories such as Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands (US), American Samoa, Guam, & Northern Mariana Islands, will also ship USPS Priority Mail. For international orders, we ship via DHL. If you have a specific request please call or email us directly, or specify during the check-out process.
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 fees. Laurel Skin does not accept returns of products due to nonpayment of duties or fees. Your shipping provider will reach out to you via your provided phone number should you owe any fees. We do have many international partners, so if you would prefer to order from someone closer to you, we invite you to visit our Spa Page to find a stockist in your area!
How do I qualify for free shipping?
The website will automatically calculate free shipping on domestic orders over $100.
Do you take returns?
We do not take returns. We are confident in the efficacy of our products, and 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?
We do not sell individual samples at this time. We do include free samples with every online order. Please request what sample you are interested in during the check out process, and if we have it in stock we will accommodate your request.