nice to have you join us in our Spotlight, Garima. You are the
newcomer to our all natural beauty family, but you are no
newcomer to all-natural beauty! Please give us some
background on how you came to be where you are today, doing
what you love to do.
I've always been a plant person. I grew up in Hawaii, and went
to college in California, and then lived all over the world
before settling up here in the Rocky Mountains. Everywhere I
lived, I gardened and made things from plants. In fact my
first "job" was growing marigolds and selling them around the
neighborhood. I was 5. I studied botany in college, in Santa
Barbara, and then worked for the Forest Service in central
California, mapping and photographing rare and endangered
I got my massage license, and made my first massage
oils. I traveled to Findhorn to see their wonders, and then to
Germany to teach massage. I lived in India for many years
learning meditation, and I worked in a library as a
I lived on a farm in Aspen for several years, planting
trees and expansive gardens, and solar heating a greenhouse. Then on to an
Echinacea farm here on the opposite slope of the
Rockies. The air is really dry at this altitude, and I started
making my own hand cream while farming. Others whom I worked
with were always borrowing my jar, because it really healed
and softened their hands. Eventually they needed their own
jars, and then asked for other products, like face creams.
Why I make my products? Well, I wasn't intending to do
this. I was just making things for myself. I made
the hand cream for the farm work, and then I turned 40, and
thought I should start putting something on my face. But
when I looked around, I saw mostly chemicals and colorants.
And then I found some contained ingredients that sounded
delicious to put on my skin. But I am a person who likes
to do things myself, not to buy things. It's my personal
creativity, to make things. So I started experimenting
on myself and my friends. But I had always intended it
just for myself. But friends begged me, and needed more
things, and needed their own bottles. So it all just came
about, turning into a business by itself.
So after 11 years, I now have a full line of body care
products, which I make all myself. I grow almost all of
the herbs here in my organic garden in the Rockies, and buy
organic and pesticide-free oils and butters from wonderful
little ethical companies all over. There's a lot of that
info on my
(Click on the link to see
One of my other passions is flower essences. I make my
own, and love having them in my products. That way my
products contain the spirit of the herbs I grow here.
your philosophy when it comes to why and how you make your
I decided to always have the intention, while making
these products, to use the highest quality ingredients, as if
I were still just making them for myself. And also to focus on
individual beauty, to bring out a person's true beauty, at
whatever age, and not to focus on looking younger. And all the
obsessions that brings out. Older people have their own
beauty, and a wisdom in their faces and bodies, and I want my
products to honor and nourish that age and wisdom.
I've tried to base my business on what will grow here in my
garden in the Rocky Mountains, so you won't find a lot of
exotic never-before-heard-of ingredients. This is a
wonderful climate for lavender, Chamomile, Calendula, Roses,
Dandelions, Nettles, Peppermint, Comfrey, Thyme, Fennel,
Echinacea, Plantain, Anise, Spearmint, and Horsetail. So
I focus on those. And then I buy a few that come from
other climates, like Cinnamon and Orange peel for the Deep
Heat Rice Pillows.
having my own business. I always choose the best quality
ingredients I can find, and there's no one above my saying we
can't afford it! I use almost all glass containers,
mostly cobalt blue. And even though they are harder to
find, they are wonderful for products that contain real
essential oils. The products last longer, and don't pick
up any plastic residues.
also understand that you teach. Please tell us what subjects
you teach, and where?
I've taught at several schools in the area. The
first one was the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies,
in Boulder, which is now closed. I taught field
identification of wild plants, and I was amazed at how many
people know nothing about plants, but want to learn. For
ten years, I took dozens of groups of students all over the
mountains and plains, collecting plants and weeds, making
herbariums, and listing uses. Then I started getting
asked to teach other subjects, like organic gardening and how
to make skin care products.
It is such a joy for me to teach anything about plants.
I feel myself tuning in to another world, in a way softer, but
also hardier than people! And as schools keep changing
their locations and curriculum, I just flow along. I
learn so much by teaching, both from the students and from
At the moment, I teach Botany at Southwest Acupuncture College
in Boulder, Organic Gardening and Medicine Making Classes at
Seven Bowls School of Nutrition in Longmont, and how to make
massage oils and liniments at Healing Spirit Massage School in
One thing I'd like to teach in the future is nutrition.
I find it amazingly helpful for all kinds of skin problems,
and I think the combination of eating well and using natural
skin care products is much better than just one or the other.
What do you
think that the average person is not "getting" about using
harmful chemicals for grooming every day?
Everything you put onto your skin is absorbed into it. I know
you've all heard that before, but do you really understand
it? I once read a story of a small boy who drank a chemical,
completely destroying his esophagus. He had no way of
eating. Olive oil was massaged into his skin daily, to
nourish him. And this was his only nourishment for about 10
years, until the technology was available to build him a new
esophagus. So he was subsisting on what was absorbed through
his skin alone! Does that give you a better picture?
Some of us eat really healthy food, and then put petroleum
products on our skin. These not only dry our skin and throw
off the beneficial cultures that live there, but they also can
go into our bloodstreams. If you have ever tried truly
natural skin care products on your face and body, you know.
They feel so good, they feel silky and nourishing. They
absorb easily, and don't wash off like a film sitting on the
surface or clogging the pores. They moisturize, they make
your skin radiant and alive. Anyone who has tried them knows
it is definitely worth it.
give demos at stores in my area. There are people who
understand natural products and why herbs are so valuable, but
there are also those who are new to all this. One time a
woman asked me why organic natural ingredients would be used
for creams. "I thought chemicals were better because they
don't go bad."
there are people who are very attracted to expensive
packaging. I always tried to package my products simply, so
that the major cost goes into the ingredients, but sometimes
people ask for something more fancy.
get lots of requests for whatever is the fad of the moment.
People see things on TV, and come to me saying they heard
that's the only thing that will work on their skin. I don't
have a TV, so I don't see any of these ads, fortunately.
us about your most popular product and what you'd like to
share with us about using all-natural beauty products?
My best selling product is Almond Face Cleanser. Rather
than having separate products for oily and dry skin, I've made
one cleanser that helps to balance both extremes. Our
skin likes to have natural oils on it. When we
constantly remove these oils with soaps, it sets us up for
overproduction of oils. And the imbalance begins.
We use more and more soap, harsher cleansers, and our skin
keeps trying to compensate. If those who have oily skin
back off on these and use a moisturizing cleanser for a few
days, they will be amazed at how fast their skin improves.
Many people have thanked me for showing them how to do this.
And for those with dry skin, of which there are many
here in the Rocky Mountains, the opposite is true. The
skin loves to have oils on it, but if you constantly add oils
day and night, you will slow down your natural oil production.
And you will add more oils, and the imbalance begins.
Also, many oils used in unnatural skin care products are
solvent extracted. There will usually be residues in the
oil, which will further dry your skin. And if there are
chemicals, well then, no amount of moisturizer will feel like
enough to counteract the dryness.
I usually recommend that people use my moisturizing
Almond Cleanser day and night, and then only use a moisturizer
in the day. If you avoid moisturizers at night, you give
your skin a chance to balance its own oil production.
One other tip: Often people don't make time for masks and
steams, and rely solely on cleansers and moisturizers. I
am a great believer in the benefits of masks, packs, and
steams, and they make your skin glow. You can put a mask
on when you are in the tub, or even 15 minutes before you
shower. And for anyone who has never done a facial
steam, you will be amazed at how refreshed your face feels
afterwards. I find steams most valuable in the winter,
when you don't perspire as much, and the pores respond well to
a deep cleansing.
My latest new product is Wild Cherry Rejuvenative Serum, made
with chokecherries from my own yard! Chokecherries are
both bitter and sweet, and have very gentle fruit acids that
are a wonderful aid in exfoliating our faces. This serum
also contains wildflower honey, to further soften and nourish
your face. It's super juicy, and great for those who
need a little extra moisture.
any business is filled with bumps along the road. What bumps
have you come across while starting your all-natural beauty
business? What is the best piece of advice that you would
share with someone starting their own all-natural beauty
I guess one thing is that bottle sizes and caps are constantly
changing. And ingredients are sometimes not available.
Plastic prices went up drastically for a few years, and now
glass is on the rise. And due to the war, my supplier for
shea butter from a women's farming co-op in Uganda was out of
shea for about 5 months. You can learn a lot about the world
by owning a business like this!
you like to see for the future of your company?
I hope to always remain a small company, so I can continue to
grow herbs and know all my suppliers and buyers intimately.
I love so many aspects of having my own herbal business.
Maybe in the future I will have apprentices who want to learn
this skin care making from beginning to end!