March 3, 2024

Au Naturale Beauty

Handcrafted beauty products giving drug-store brands a run for their money
By Rachel Pasche | Dec. 24, 2022

As the new year approaches, so does the time for self-care, and for 2023, we’re leaning into all-natural beauty and wellness products. These four Michigan makers have just the thing to make your skin smooth, your nails gleam, and your hair shine…and they found many of their ingredients right here in your backyard.

HIPPIE TWIG BOTANICS

hippietwigbotanics.Etsy.com

Based in Traverse City, Hippie Twig Botanics offers an array of natural, small-batch products, sourcing ingredients from local farms, Michigan-based vendors, or the great outdoors. Owner Heidi Sharp is passionate about making products that are good for customers and the planet, and her offerings change with the seasons to ensure customers can find what their skin needs at that time.

Express: How did you get started?
Sharp: When I discovered my passion for herbalism and learning the intelligence of plants, I was working as a full-time nurse and looking for a creative outlet. I became particularly enchanted with how [plants] support our largest organ, the skin. That spark eventually led to learning how to craft various self-care products and opening up my small business.

Express: What kinds of products do you carry?
Sharp: Our offerings include herbal-infused soap, various skin and hair care products, aromatherapy, candles, and occasionally a supportive tea and/or tonic.

Express: How do you source/make your products?
Sharp: My products are lovingly crafted in small batches in my home. I aim to source as many ingredients as possible from other small businesses in my home state. Most of the plants I work with are purchased from small Michigan farms or ethically wild-harvested. Other ingredients sourced are certified organic and support fair trade whenever possible.

Express: What is one product you make that everyone should try this winter?
Sharp: It’s so hard to recommend just one! I would have to say a Hippie Twig lotion bar comes in really handy this time of year. They are portable, low waste, and provide the perfect amount of moisturizer to keep skin hydrated and nourished.

Express: Where can customers find your products?
Sharp: The Refillery, Blessed Be Apothecary, Red Door Coffee House, Oryana West, and Blue North Arts. Seasonally, I am at the Interlochen Farmers Market, and I have an Etsy shop.

NORTHERN NAIL POLISH

northernnailpolish.com

KC Springfield had the ingenious idea of creating natural nail polishes a decade ago and has been wowing people with her creations ever since. With no dyes or harsh chemicals, her polishes, balms, oils, and removers keep hands healthy and looking their best. (And we love that the colors are Michigan-themed, like the peachy pink “America’s High Five” or the rose gold “Dune Climb.”)

Express: How did you get started?
Springfield: I started making nail polish 10 years ago after reading an article about the exposure to chemicals like carcinogens and endocrine disruptors in conventional nail polish brands. I set out to create colors and a formula that is safe for everyone! It’s vegan, non-toxic, cruelty free, long lasting and chip-resistant.

Express: What kinds of products do you carry?
Springfield: My colors vary from Petoskey Stone taupe to Cherry Festival red, and everything in between. I have a color and texture of nail polish for everyone, of all ages and preferences. I also offer cuticle oils and balms, nail files, and natural soy-based nail polish remover.

Express: How do you source/make your products?
Springfield: My raw material suppliers are all USA based, and most are women-owned small businesses like mine. It’s important to me to support and build relationships with other small businesses. I use micas that are ethically sourced, and that is also how my polishes are cruelty free, vegan, and won’t stain nails after removal, because my polishes don’t contain dyes.

Express: What is one product you make that everyone should try this winter?
Springfield: I recommend our Nourishing Base Coat, 30 Second Top Coat, Cuticle Balm, and a glass nail file. Our Nourishing Base Coat can be applied under a color or worn alone for the moisturizing properties which help nails during the winter, or even after removing gel/acrylics.

Express: Where can customers find your products?
Springfield: We have a small storefront behind the Pit Spitters stadium called Northern Self Care & Gifts, open on Saturdays from 11am-5pm [428 W Commerce Dr, Traverse City MI]. Or at northernnailpolish.com.

GREAT LAKES BATH & BODY

greatlakesbathandbody.com

Lynn Rodenroth is a master soapmaker who takes pride in creating products that are as useful as they are fun. From natural bath fizzies that add an extra bit of “ahh” to your routine to softening soaps and salts, Great Lakes Bath & Body has plenty of body care options.

Express: How did you get started?
Rodenroth: I dug hard into researching and formulating bath and body products starting in 2005 because I had severe skin issues. I became a product formulator and master soapmaker, and in 2008, I launched Great Lakes Bath & Body. In 2012, we launched our online store, then our flagship store on Front Street in downtown Traverse City.

Express: What kinds of products do you carry?
Rodenroth: We carry all the fun and useful basics: handcrafted soaps, premium lotions, soaking salts, bath fizzies, soy candles, and more.

Express: How do you source/make your products?
Rodenroth: All of our products have been formulated by and are proprietary to Great Lakes Bath & Body. We manufacture on-site under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). We take a great deal of care in ingredient selection, including the sourcing of those ingredients. This high standard also applies to all of our packaging components.

Express: What is one product you make that everyone should try this winter?
Rodenroth: Our popular bath fizzies … fizz like crazy as they release your favorite scent and soften your skin. They contain no colorant, and you won’t have to scrub out the tub after a relaxing bath.

Express: Where can customers find your products?
Rodenroth: We are located at 110 E Front Street, in Downtown Traverse City and online at greatlakesbathandbody.com.

FLORA AND FUNGI APOTHECARY

florafungiapothecary.com

Amanda Derocher runs Flora and Fungi, a modern-day apothecary that uses organic and wild harvested ingredients in all of their products and practices traditional methods of steam distillation and infusion. She crafts a range of products in her workshop in Au Gres, all of which evoke a nostalgia and appreciation for the natural beauty of Michigan.

Express: How did you get started?
Derocher: I’ve been making basic skincare products for years for family and friends, but I went back to school for cosmetic science and formulation training to level up my skills and ensure I was creating safe, effective products before launching my brand.

Express: What kinds of products do you carry?
Derocher: I handcraft a range of skincare products, from facial lotions and serums to salves and shampoo bars made with botanicals native to the Great Lakes region.

Express: How do you source/make your products?
Derocher: My process begins with research into the chemical composition of each plant to determine the best ways to transfer the medicinal properties of the plant into the future product. Plants are harvested at the peak of their season from healthy ecosystems. Some plants are dried to be used in oil infusions; other plants are steam distilled to obtain their hydrosols and essential oils. Others are treated with solvents to obtain potent extracts to incorporate into my products.

Express: What is one product you make that everyone should try this winter?
Derocher: Lauma: Goddess of Trees Coniferous Forest Facial Elixir is my favorite facial product I make, formulated to protect the skin’s barrier from harsh Michigan winters. This lotion is rich in occlusive ingredients, including balsam fir oleoresin, frankincense resin, and cocoa butter paired with hydrosols of Eastern Hemlock and Black Spruce.

Express: Where can customers find your products?
Derocher: My products can be found at Blue North Arts in Suttons Bay; Nature Walk Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire; and at the Crooked Tree Art Center Petoskey’s Gallery Shop (soon at Crooked Tree Traverse City), as well as on my website.

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