We talked to Laurel Shaffer, the founder and creative force behind Laurel Whole Plant Organics and got answers to some big slow beauty questions. Read on to find out some of the reasons we love the line so much…
Q : What inspired you to create your new professional line Abundant Harvest and how are the these products different from the original products in the line?
I have wanted to create a professional line for estheticians and spas for six years now!! It has been quite an uphill battle, because most professional lines are centered around peels. I find peels to be inflammatory, which only progress aging further in the long term. So I had to create something unique and new for estheticians. These products are incredibly potent and powerful… so they require extensive plant knowledge and training on behalf of the esthetician. They are mixed and customized perfectly for each client’s unique skin. I would say they are different from the rest of our line in that way… they are incredibly concentrated and need to be customized and mixed for the client.
Q : What is your philosophy on the use of preservatives in skin care products and why do you use them in only 2 of your products? How are the preservatives you use different from other lines? Why don’t you need preservatives in your products?
I try to avoid preservatives whenever possible. There are two very profound reasons why. One being that plants are truly their most powerful and effective when they are fresh, and preservatives can change the molecular chemistry of plants in a negative way. The second reason is preservatives can negatively effect the health of our skin. We have living bacteria on our skin, referred to as our skin’s micro-biome, and when that is compromised negatively by preservatives our skin’s health begins to decline. However, we do use preservatives in our Cleansers and I feel good about this for a couple reasons. The first being that Cleansers are a ‘wash off’ product, so it’s not staying on your skin all day. Also, our preservatives are incredibly gentle – both are food preservatives, and have a lot more allowance for our own flora. One is a whole plant organic citrus blend, which is only made of whole citrus plants, and the second is Potassium Sorbate, which we only use at less than 1%. The amount is so minuscule that we actually aren’t even legally obligated to disclose it! It is likely present in most of your cosmetics, and its just not being disclosed. The remainder of our products do not need to be preserved because they do not contain water.
Q : Why don’t you add ingredients like peptides, Vitamin C, hylauronic acid and CoQ10 to your products?
These ingredients are very simple, cheap, and basic. Most plants contain HUNDREDS of antioxidants, vitamins, and trace minerals; including the ones listed above. A few popular skin care ingredients like these have blown up due to the marketing machines around them, and how cheap they are to make and capitalize on. Plants are far more nutritious than just one isolated synthetic compound. As a society, we have come to accept that multivitamins cannot replace whole foods for us, but because of marketing skin care is still behind this exact same curve. Skin care should be looked at just like food, and synthetic vitamins cannot compare to real nutrients.
Q : Do any of your products have SPF? What do you think are the top 3 (or 5) ways to have a healthy relationship with the sun?
Our products do not contain FDA approved drugs which provide SPF (ie Zinc, Titanium, etc). However, our products do contain many nutrient dense plant oils that have been clinically proven to provide SPF protection. All 4 of our Serums and our Day Balm are all formulated with sun protection in mind. We encourage a healthy relationship with the sun, and suggest only using Zinc when necessary.
Here are a few alternative ways to support your body and skin when in the sun:
* Eat healthy! If your body is given the nutrients it needs internally to be healthy with lots of vegetables and antioxidant rich fruits, it will be more equipped to deal with the sun’s rays in a healthy way.
* Wear a hat and seek shade when you feel uncomfortable. This may seem obvious, but many people don’t listen to their own body when they start to feel discomfort from the sun. If you are paying attention, your body will tell you right away when you’ve had enough sun.
* Apply nutrient dense plants to your body and skin to help it defend itself from free radical activity. This is the type of protection that our products offer.
* And most importantly, DO wear a zinc sunscreen when you need to, just try to explore what that means to you personally.
Q : Plants are at the heart of your line – where do you source the plants you work with?
We source most of our plants from farms that we know and love nearby our studio in Northern California. We work with our farms from seed to harvest to ensure we have enough for the year ahead, and to be involved in quality control from the very start.