A Night for Green Beauty: Recap and Review (Part 2)
Oh my goodness, I cannot believe how overwhelming it has been to try to unpack and settle in after our move. It boggles my mind how the time has flown since I posted Part One of my A Night for Green Beauty Recap and Review. I wanted to wait until I was a bit more settled and could give the second part of the recap the attention that it deserved. If you missed out, A Night for Green Beauty is an exceptional event that brings together top green beauty brands and fans from around the globe, as well as new up-and-coming brands.
As mentioned in Part One, this year’s event featured thirty-four amazing brands striving to raise the bar on glamour, quality, and luxury within the green beauty industry. I was thoroughly impressed by the brands represented and the products on display at the show. It was exciting to see new products being unveiled at the show, and a true delight to speak directly with the product creators. It was inspiring to see the drive and passion of the innovators in green beauty. Please see Part One for more complete details of the event and a review of several ANFGB brands.
I wanted to talk about another handful of the outstanding companies at the event. As mentioned earlier, I did my best to spend time at every table and attempt to engage the brand creators or representatives in conversation about their products, but was not able to chat with each and every one. Likewise, although I tried to take as many photos as possible, I wasn’t able to represent all of the green beauty brands at the show. Please consider the following pictures and description to be a window into the event, but not a complete illustration of the utter fabulousness.
There were many draws for me with respect to ANFGB and a strong one was the ability to see and feel products that are not readily available to me at brick-and-mortar retailers. One product that I was especially interested to try in person was the coconut oil from Cocovit. As I have mentioned before, there was a time when the green beauty market was underdeveloped or unknown to me, yet I was so against putting potential toxins onto my skin in the name of beauty that I had distilled my beauty routine down to aloe gel, shea butter, and coconut oil. It did not work well for me, so I was very intrigued by Cocovit’s coconut oil which claimed to be a unlike the coconut oil that I knew. I was dubious about the idea that coconut oil in a pretty jar could really be significantly different than what I used in my smoothies or for skincare in the past. I had read Sarita Coren’s post singing the praises of Cocovit’s coconut oil, but I wanted to see it for myself.
I made sure to stop by the Cocovit table and was pleased to learn that the growing company is local to Chicago (and therefore local to me). In addition to their foundational product, coconut oil, Cocovit had also introduced two new products just prior to, and at the show. On display was their new Coconut Charcoal face mask made from a blend of coconut charcoal, bentonite clay, and herbs to detoxify the skin. They also were showing their new Orange and Basil Lip Balm which smelled divine. I however made a beeline directly for the coconut oil itself, and I must say that it was completely different from any coconut oil that I have experienced before. It had a luxurious, velvety texture and was far less greasy than traditional “market” coconut oil. I could very much see it working well in beauty and skincare applications. I was both surprised and impressed by the quality of the product, which I had assumed would not be as distinct from my familiar and disappointing coconut oil of the past. Although I did not come home from the show with any of Cocovit’s product, I look forward to having an chance to try their line in the future.
One line that I had an opportunity to try prior to the show was Josh Rosebrook. I had received his Cacao Antioxidant Mask as part of a limited edition Goodebox to benefit the breast cancer fund (now sold out). I loved the powerful herbal and other plant ingredients in the mask. Whenever I used it, not only did I feel like I was covering my face in a rich chocolate sauce (nothing bad about that), but it left my skin feeling baby-soft and looking refreshed. I was fortunate to be able to speak with Josh at length. He was delightfully warm and kind, and so clearly fascinated by the power of plants and their ability to enhance healing. I was struck by the use of herbs that I haven’t often seen in skincare such as the chickweed and skullcap in his delicious-smelling Deep Hydrating Serum, a scent owed in no small part to the marshmallow root and organic vanilla also listed among its ingredients. Josh also spoke about recent experiences using neem to support healing and his desire to incorporate it even more in future products. I would have enjoyed staying around to talk with Josh longer, but he had other people to chat with and I had other green beauty brands to explore.
Not surprisingly, I continued to find myself drawn to brands that were grounded in herbalism. I quickly noticed chickweed among the many beautiful ingredients in products at Laurel Whole Plant Organics (as I had now developed a chickweed fascination). Laurel Whole Plant Organic’s extensive flower and herb-based line boasts biodynamic, organic, and raw ingredients. Laurel has clearly put tremendous knowledge, thought, and integrity to work in creating her namesake line and products, and it was a pleasure to meet her and hear her talk about her creations. I also adored talking to herbalist Lynn Till, who along with friend and certified Master Nutrition Therapist, Robin King created the company R.L. Linden. R.L. Linden has an array of products in their line ranging from teas and perfumes, to skincare and body care items. In full disclosure I got so completely caught up in my fantastic conversation with Lynn that I neglected to explore the products in person at the show. At the end of the night I was absolutely kicking myself as a result. In the process of researching all of the companies prior to ANFGB there were some products that I had starred and highlighted as must-sees. Several of the R. L. Linden Denver-Inspired Perfume Oils were front and center on that list. Fortunately for me, R. L. Linden sells sample packs of many of their products through their website as well as perfume samples, so trying out a host of their products can be done with ease by those who could not attend the show or those, who like me, found themselves so sept away by the event at times that we forgot our full agendas.
Despite my affinity for those with herbalism leanings, there were a host of brands whose roots came through other experiences and areas of expertise. I had an opportunity to speak with Heidi Miller from May Lindstrom’s team who told me about May’s upbringing on a farm in rural Minnesota and her explorations into the plants and earth all around her throughout her childhood. Heidi indicated that May seems to have developed a sense of how plants and ingredients will work together; creating the jasmine garden botanical mist in a short burst of reflection and tinkering after a customer requested a jasmine-scented product. The resulting creation was so well-received that it was made a permanent fixture in the line, which also contains products designed to cleanse, detoxify, and hydrate face, body, and hair using a combination of organic, raw, and wildcrafted ingredients.
Bottega Organica came to skincare through a rather circuitous route. One of their founders is molecular geneticist Andrea Alimonti, whose research into cancer cures led him to an appreciation for the impact of specific plant extracts on cellular health. This marriage of health science and botany led to the development of a line focused on anti-aging products aimed at preserving and rejuvenating cellular health using 100% natural ingredients. The researcher and the cancer survivor in me appreciated the brand’s focus on the scientific basis of their key ingredients and the clinical testing used to evaluate product efficacy; as well as their commitment to using ingredients that support health, avoidance of harmful ingredients, and donation of a minimum of 10% of all profits to organizations involved in cancer cure and prevention. Bottega Organica graciously provided me with samples of a couple of their products (reviews to follow), and I cannot say enough positive things about the stunning list of plant-based ingredients or the intoxicating scent derived from prawn sage, one of their signature ingredients.
I simply could not end A Night for Green Beauty without visiting the La Bella Figura table as they are the amazing brand that created and founded the entire ANFGB event. Another Chicago-based company, La Bella Figura showcases skincare, perfumes, and cosmetics that embody luxury and beauty. I have made no secret about my passion for prickly pear, and La Bella Figura bases many of the products in their line off of barbary fig (prickly pear) seed oil. In fact, one of the special features of ANFGB was the offering of some products that would be completely exclusive to the show. Among these was a limited run of La Bella Figura’s Organic Barbary Fig Seed Oil enhanced with prickly pear flower essential oil. I had to stop and catch my breath after hearing about the the serendipitous discovery of an apothecary in Italy which had a few precious bottles of prickly pear flower essential oil that was made there only once each year. These bottles were brought back to Chicago and used to create La Bella Figura’s ANFGB exclusives. I had to purchase a bottle of this treasure for myself out of respect for the care and craft of every person along the way who contributed to its creation. I have been using it with love and gratitude since the show and will review it, and some of La Bella Figura’s other beautiful products, in a separate post.
I ended the evening with a smile on my face and a bag filled with purchases, samples, and business cards that I have will look forward to reviewing and sharing. I cannot overstate how extremely pleased I was with the whole event and the opportunity to connect with, and learn more about, these exceptional green beauty brands. I am a bit anxious to hear about the future plans as the green beauty market evolves and explores different platforms for interacting with the community. This was the final year for the A Night for Green Beauty Event, but my fingers are crossed that we have not seen the last of magical green beauty events to remember.
Have you recently discovered any favorite new products from this year’s ANFGB brands? I would love to hear your product thoughts and recommendations.by