How precious the human body is, and hardworking too. The skin is our largest organ acting like a beautiful distinct sponge taking in everything from sunlight to senses. Knowing this has led me to take better care of my body externally as well as internally. I wanted to seek out skin care products that were full of wellness and biological nutrients, without the use any synthetics & toxins. Through the rabbit-hole of natural beauty I stumbled upon Sequoia Beauty. Based in North California, Sequoia Beauty creates skincare and beauty regimes that are completely organic, and some are bio-dynamic and raw. When I write completely organic, I mean it. There are no chemicals, fillers or preservatives or anything synthetic. Everything is plant+floral & nature based. I asked the beautiful and passionate Laurel (the belle who runs Sequoia Beauty) if she would be up for an interview about her blooming company, her joys, and she kindly shared some photos of her at work!
ediotors note* the company’s name has changed to Laurel Whole Plant Organics
Hello my name is Laurel & I am the creator of Laurel Whole Plant Organics
What projects are you currently working on?
We are actually currently working on a full rebrand! New bottles, new labels, new logo, new name, new formulas* – most exciting! We are hoping to launch the new look in full in January. So I can confidently say its consuming pretty much every moment I have right now!
My love of beauty, herbalism and apothecary came from…
My love for plants has always been there – I loved being outside as a kid, and I loved flowers. In my early 20’s, I saw my first nutritionist who introduced me to herbal medicine, and I was in LOVE! I got super into organic farming, local foods, biodynamic farming also really inspired me…I also always loved spas and the resort lifestyle – so all of that added together created an organic skin care line!
My work schedule is:
I wake up around 6:30 and start working immediately – usually in my pajamas still on the computer. Eventually I tear myself away to make tea and settle into the day. Sometimes I take a break from work midday to take a dance class, which I love! And then I usually work until 7pm, and then head home to make a farm to table dinner. I like it when business is slow enough that I have time to take my class and to make dinner – because sometimes we get too busy for me to even do those little things.
How do you go about finding the perfect alchemic blend? (both medicinally/holistically)
This is such a great question! Usually things start as very small ideas in my head, like 1 ingredient stands out to me as something I should be using for a specific skin condition or product. Slowly over time, I’m collecting more ingredients for that product that is still living only in my mind – and then when I finally get it on paper – first I draw from plants I know. I would say my mind has about 100 plants that I feel I know pretty well, and will jump out at me when I am building a formula. Its a fairly intuitive process as well… often plants jump out at me for a formula, and I have to go further and research as to why that is. Before I finalize a formula, I surround myself by research material… I have like 15 go-to books that I go through to make sure I didn’t forget any special plants that are eager to be included! And then when I finally make it – typically I don’t change much – just small tweaks here and there to make the finished product smell a little lighter, or something little like that.
Thank you so much for creating blends that are organic and raw! What led to this?
Hugely important issue to me! My interest in natural skin care came about due to health problems myself and my mom were having. I wanted to eliminate as many toxins as possible from our day to day lives. But ORGANIC specifically is important…. With some essential oils and hydrosols in particular, those plants cover so much acreage just to yield a very small amount of product. In my mind conventional farming is lazy, and formulators that use them are only cutting corners. 100% of the plants we use are certified organic or biodynamic.
We love honey, tell us a bit about your raw honey + berry mask and its benefits!
Our raw honey is made locally here in Northern California – I’ve visited the farm a few times, and love it! The Honey Berry Mask is great for so many skin types…. Honey is naturally antibacterial, but its also a humectant – meaning it encourages cells to retain their moisture. The mask also contains California produced Royal Jelly, a super antioxidant – great for anti-aging tool. And Strawberries and Blueberries also, which help with the cleaning/exfoliating aspects of the mask as well.
You are a gardener and use your blooms in Sequoia Beauty products, but what are you cultaivintg this fall/winter season?
Actually, as an herbalist, many of the plants we use are dried – or we make enough plant extracts from fresh plant to get us through the winter. We don’t do much gardening in our own garden in the fall/winter. That said, our farmers who grow for us do a lot of root harvesting in the fall. The fall is when we get our Marshmallow Root, Astragalus Root, Burdock Root, and Baical Root for the year.
5 Things that Heal/help you relax:
- taking a bath
- spending time with my dogs & my boyfriend
- going on a tv series binge by watching multiple episodes back to back,
- traveling or getting away
Sequoia Beauty is all about detoxing & cleansing, beyond your wonderful array of products what can we do in our day to day lives to detox+renew?
Being more connected to my food is something that helps me both detox as well renew. It becomes a really lovely thing – knowing your farmer, knowing what you are eating, and creating a meal from the heart. Its a great way to detox for sure! And its renewing because its almost something spiritual.
Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce. I know that sounds like something simple from the 90’s that everyone knows. But I have had a lot of odd jobs through school in offices/spas/restaurants – and it always blows my mind how few businesses make those things a priority. A lot of businesses don’t even have recycle bins! Most of my loved ones do practice that in their home, as do I’m sure your readers — but I think everyone I know can easily do more at their work place to cut back on waste.
Besides Sequoia Beauty products, what are some of your loved products?
For make-up, Vapour Organics. There’s also a body soap I cannot live without called Artha Soaps – a really small business here in NorCal. I use her soaps for the kitchen, bathroom, shower — LOVE. Veriditas essential oils also play a large part in my home life, as well as in our products.
Project Runway, anything fried, and champagne!
In 5 years I want to…
Have a full farm where Sequoia Beauty is produced. I would love to grow almost everything we use there, as well as make the product there. I will probably want a spa there too… the list is long!
Dream vision board, what would your ideal day consist of:
Meditation, healthy breakfast, making product, a dance class, tea with friends, making dinner with my boyfriend, and cuddling with my dogs.
One piece of advice?
Absolutely do what you love.