In the Winter, Laurel meets with their partnering farms to discuss how much plant material they project for the year ahead. With over 150 plants in the line, this is no small feat, and under or over-projecting can mean significant loss for both farm and brand. Luckily, because many farms are local to the Bay Area, Laurel meets on their land to cultivate close relationships and develop a clear understanding of the conditions, capacity, and culture of the farm. For the few ingredients that thrive in tropical climates, Laurel sources from overseas and is in constant communication with the growers and artisan purveyors throughout the growing season.
“Sourcing determines how effective a formula will be and the carbon footprint we have on our planet. Sourcing defines who we are as a company, and in many ways defines who I am as a human being – I can’t imagine anything more important to both the heart and science of our formulas than sourcing.“
Headquartered in Sausalito with views of the San Francisco Bay, Laurel’s Lab sits nestled in a corner studio, tucked away from the bustling activity on Bridgeway. With several organic and Biodynamic® farms within 100 miles of her Lab, Laurel’s namesake line captures California’s hearty terrain and natural abundance in each and every bottle. In the practice and disciple of Slow Beauty, Laurel relies on her own manufacturing and production capabilities.
It starts with the seed
After harvesting the plants, the materials arrive to Laurel’s Lab in raw form and are lovingly assessed. Laurel’s sommelier nose is the true test for each and every ingredient that enters the Lab. With skill and swiftness, she can decipher the year of harvest, harvesting conditions, storing conditions, processing conditions, and of course adulteration, with just one whiff.
Other than its odor, a telltale sign of purity and quality is color. While cosmetic suppliers offer botanical extracts that are clear or white, indicating a lack of antioxidant potency, Laurel’s ingredients produce a rich palette of vibrant hues. Their unwavering commitment to purity and quality ensures that pre-preserved, chemically refined, or otherwise compromised ingredients are unwelcome in Laurel’s Lab.
As plant materials are exposed to light, heat, and oxygen, the antioxidants within them begin to turn into free radicals, thus losing potency. This degradation process is inevitable for all plant ingredients, but the degree to which these materials maintain their integrity through strict quality control is what sets Laurel apart. This is often overlooked or under-regulated by cosmetic suppliers and product manufacturers. Laurel’s in-house manufacturing guarantees the most stringent oversight to ensure the freshest, most efficacious products for your skin.
I believe love is the most powerful healing tool available.
I am Laurel, the founder, formulator, plant communicator, loving center, and driving force behind Laurel Skin. I have led a winding journey filled with education, research, and study that led to my path as a sommelier, and eventually a skin specific herbalist. Those formal training paths, as well as my experience in farm, spa, and mindful wellness have made it possible for me to live the life of a slow beauty advocate and creator of farm-based and hyper-localized spa rituals and formulas. I walk a balance beam with one side in wonderment and appreciation of phytochemistry and the other a world of intuitive trust and respect for whole plant wisdom and ancient traditions. That balance allows me to create formulas of long-standing efficacy. Nature is my greatest inspiration and catalyst for creating formulas and rituals, and my greatest achievements as a formulator thus far have come from a stillness and trust in Nature.
A curiosity sparked by my own health journey is what initially drew me to natural beauty and holistic health practices. I was moved by the power of plants and how they were able to heal so much more fully and completely than pharmaceuticals. As a fervent traveler, I often found there was void in non-toxic beauty options at the destinations I loved. I made it my life’s mission to create products that I wanted for myself: products that harnessed the efficacy of authentic vibrant plant medicine, that were made thoughtfully by hand by real farmed ingredients, and that only elevated the sacred ritual spa experience of each unique destination. My background as a sommelier, discerning nose, and knowledge of the precision of grape farming lent itself perfectly to my education in herbal medicine, with an emphasis in physiology and phytochemistry. I discovered my ability to not only feel and understand a plant’s function as it relates to our skin, but I also developed a rare sense to determine the purity and quality of our raw ingredients from harvest details to age and storage conditions. My love for Biodynamic® farming practices informed my decision to select only ingredients that are artisan-farmed and as local as possible, and at a bare minimum always organic.
I believe love is the most powerful healing tool available. I love what I do and I feel so lucky to get to share the science, efficacy, and most importantly the heart of plants with others. I see myself as a connector of people and plants and that purpose fills my heart. I love my adorable and spoiled dogs, my husband, and my family. I love farms, food, nature, wine, and music. My favorite days are spent in nature; redwoods, wildflowers, and an ocean breeze are such gifts to love. If I could make a balanced diet from French wines, French cheeses, and cold-pressed green juice then I would.