When we launch something new, so much attention, love and effort goes into that new thing. We have a new product launching and I’d like to tell you the story of the product and how it defines slow farmed beauty.
I flew to Austin, Texas to meet with farmers back in February. I was on a mission to create a new organic product that best represented the abundant farmlands of the Austin area. I had no idea what this product would be. I knew that if I went in with any sort of preconceived notion, then the land itself wouldn’t be able to speak to me.
The farmers shared with me what grew native on this land and what grew readily and abundantly there. Rather than me dictating what I wanted to be grown, I allowed my needs to be guided by the land itself. It was looking like Tulsi, Monarda, Ginger and Milky Oats were all speaking loudly that they wanted to be in this new Laurel product. We walked the land together, deciding where to seed these plants, and set the intention for the loving skin health centered product they would create.
I returned home with a list of these plants, and I let them guide me. I couldn’t help but feel nervous. How can I create something great under pressure, I thought? I reminded myself time and time again, that the plants and the land create our products – and whatever they wanted this product to be would be perfectly imperfect, as all of our products are. And I needed to do was trust in them. Let me say: I’m glad I did.
I rarely am able to give our farmers the credit that they deserve and tell our slow farmed beauty story in full. Most of our sources are contracted by us and farmed exclusively for us. The process is sacred to me, and I usually have to keep it private and protected. Because of the small scope of this Austin-centered project, I am able to share more details of this story than normal. And when a farmer is as adorable as Nicole here from Herban Austin, she should really take center stage!
Even after that time spent with Austin farmers, getting to know the Austin land, I still needed more. More plants, more farms, and more inspiration. I spent a lot of time searching the Austin area for herb farms and came up with none. Calls and searches and calls and consults later, I ended up with Nicole, the owner of Herban Austin. Nicole is an herbalist and acupuncturist who saw a real need for locally grown herbal medicine in the Austin area, for her own clients and practice.
It was a true collaboration from seed to harvest. Like me, Nicole is super passionate about local and organic cultivation, and not depleting resources with over wild harvesting, which is really becoming an issue in Central Texas. Our Peaches (YES, PEACHES!!!), Lemon Balm, Evening Primrose Flower, Calendula, Mullein and a few other treasures all came from Herban Austin, and the quality of these plants and Nicole’s knowledge has blown my mind.
Her work is so incredibly important. There should be herb farms like this all over the US. We should be growing our medicine, just as we can grow our food. But the reality is, these farms are few and far between, and it’s a huge investment to get farms like this up and running
This is my favorite photo and memory of my farm sourcing trip to Austin. This is my husband Eric, who also happens to be a managing partner in our company. He does thankless things that no one sees each day like accounting, HR related tasks, and he has overseen our EU process and new packaging project every day for over a year. I wanted to take him on this trip with me, because Eric is passionate about sustainability and becomes more involved in our sourcing all the time.
This exact moment was a ‘pinch me’ moment. I have always wanted my slow farmed beauty and sourcing passion to catch on. I wanted more mainstream circles to appreciate and see the value in this process. Sourcing small benefits real people and communities. Small scale farm sourcing is heart centered. When you use a product like ours that is sourced on a small scale, you are now connected to and supporting dozens of small farmers who have immense love in their ingredients. I wanted larger spas, corporate entities and the media to begin to see the value this type of sourcing offers our planet and humanity.
So, when our very special Austin partner saw the beauty in this type of slow sourcing, we collaborated to make something for them – truly from seed to bottle. I remember this moment as I watched Eric and the sunset from our rented cottage in Hill Country (dog included!), I realized this moment was a highlight of my life. This was a dream come true, and I sat back and witnessed it happen around me with more love, presence and gratitude than I think I had ever felt before.
During our time in Central Texas, we went to 7 different farmers markets, and met some of the most beautiful humans… Leon who had multiple generations on his organic farm caring for honey bee hives and chamomile fields, and David who shared with us his journey to creating his organic Pecan tree farm. We explored the country sides. We visited gemstone shops to discover what minerals and gems come from Texas. And we spent our evenings enjoying the sunset over Hill Country.
We returned from Texas and it was time to let this product create itself! My suitcase was filled with ingredients we had discovered, and it was time to formulate! It’s easy to feel limited by being 100% whole plant organic. As an herbalist, I never worry if a product will be effective, because that part of plant medicine comes naturally to me. The challenge is to create a completely organic product that will be embraced by retailers, beauty media, and customers. Traditional skincare isn’t made of whole plants. Our products are often misunderstood, misused, under-appreciated, or expected to be something they aren’t.
Going back to the beginning, I have to trust the plants. I had meltdowns. Wondering how to create something that was worthy of this collaborative partner, the farmers, and the plants. I lost sleep wondering how this product would be perceived by beauty editors when it smelled and looked like nothing they’d seen before. I made test batches and shared them with estheticians and skincare pros. Not many understood my vision for this product. It was different and not what they expected a skincare product to be… which is really the story behind our entire line!
By batch #29 it started to come together! It can take that long or longer to hear the plants.
The scent started to become sweet and herbal, like wildflower nectar, fields of blooming Chamomile & Calendula, or freshly mowed fields of Tulsi & Lemon Balm. Then the richness of Pecan, wildflower Honey, and a pinch of Ginger and Turmeric.
Now as I started sharing the product with people, I started to hear about their skin. How it felt supple and soft. How it left the skin soothed, clear, dewy, hydrated & moisturized. An esthetician with severe cystic acne was emotional after she saw the effects on her skin. When she was complimented on her skin she responded with ‘I know.’ THAT is what I am after as a formulator. Not only to create positive change in someone’s skin, but for them to embrace and accept their own unique beauty.
Finally, this product was created for Miraval Austin. I spent much of 2018 creating this product for them. Spas become more than just spas to me when they embrace wellness. They empower their guests to connect with their mind, body and spirit. I have been enamored with Miraval for well over a decade, because I resonate and have passion for taking my own physical, emotional and spiritual health into my own hands. Miraval is one of a kind in how they approach spa, and it’s because of their deep roots in wellness. It’s been a dream come true for them to see the value in slow farmed beauty.
The product I created for them is the Petal Pecan Mask– 100% whole plant organic and sourced within 50 miles of their Austin property- 7 of the 21 were cultivated on their very own organic farm.
This mask has a beautifully balanced humectant and lipid combination, making it both hydrating and moisturizing, with a plumping, softening and dewy effect. It has active enzymes and warming herbs for an immediate glow. The plants and the process have been honored every step of the way, and whether you believe in woo woo or not…. Whether you believe my formulation is delivering you results, that’s fine. But I know, it’s the plants and the process. They are honored and sacred to me, and I can feel their excitement about getting to you… supporting you. It’s a joyful thing for them. I hope you feel it.
Raw wildflower Austin Honey, Pecans, Peaches, Chamomile, Calendula, Evening Primrose, Tulsi, Milky Oats, Monarda, Moringa, Lemon Balm, Yaupon, Ginger, Turmeric, Mullein, Prickly Ash, Chickweed, Vetiver, Sweet Orange, Vanilla
If you enjoyed this slow farmed beauty story, I invite you to understand that this is how all of our products are birthed. And re-birthed every single year from seed to harvest to bottle to you. These plants have been honored and in turn they honor you. Of course, it’s about phytochemistry, scientific studies and plant medicine. I love that stuff. But what makes our brand different? The journey of slow farmed beauty.
The Petal Pecan Mask is now available on our website, exclusively at Miraval Austin, and found in their signature facial. Hopefully, there’s more slow farmed beauty stories yet to be lived, discovered, honored and told by Laurel Skin x Miraval.