When it comes to buying local, organic goods, beauty products have always sort of been the final frontier. Sure, that oilier, all-natural shampoo is great in theory, but when it doesn't do exactly what it's supposed to? Well, most of us will switch back to the chemical version, thanks.
But, no more! Perhaps unsurprisingly, a rapidly growing number of Brooklyn-based companies are turning their attentions to skin care, hair care, even foot care (pretty much all kinds of "care"), and getting it very, very right. And, for the sake of our readers, we've gone through all of them and found the very best. If anyone needs us, we'll be busy slathering on all of these, at once.
What It Does: Three different iterations— "essential," "balancing," and "hydrating" mists—hydrate and calm skin. Perfect to use before moisturizer, throughout the day, and on long flights. All products are vegan and produced in the company's Gowanus workspace.
Who Makes It: The brainchild of Rachel Winard, Soapwalla has already earned cult status for its beloved natural deodorant, thanks in no small part to Winard's painstaking approach to her formulas. Proof: the new mists come as the result of an 18-month process during which Winard sent out different versions of the mists to nearly 500 people for testing, and personally tracked down local growers to guarantee fresh ingredient sources. She takes these things seriously, and it shows.
What It Does: A deceptively simple "3 ingredient" face cream that's the cornerstone of a generally stellar skincare line, leaving this on overnight left my face feeling like velvet. Velvet! I was unaware this was even a possibility. There's no going back from here.
Who Makes It: S.W. (short for Sprout Wellness) started off as a side project for founder Adina Grigore, who played around with different at-home remedies for her own sensitive skin. It's since grown into one of the borough's highest-profile skin care lines, using ingredients that are either certified organic, Fair Trade, or sourced from small local farms.
What It Does: A simple thing done perfectly: bar soap that's scented-but-not-too-scented, exfoliating-but-not-abrasive.
Who Makes It: Run by Chrissy Fichtl, Apotheke is a long-running favorite both on Etsy and as a seller at the Brooklyn Flea. For the truly soap obsessed, they also offer classes at West Elm in DUMBO. Materials used are organic and sustainable.
What It Does: An upgraded, more all-purpose version of typical lip balm that's also perfect to use on cuticles, fine lines, a cold-ravaged nose... the list goes on. It also smells incredible, which never hurts.
Who Makes It: Founded in 2005 by Irina Adam, a trained herbalist, Phoenix's products are not only organic, but largely handmade from indigenous northeast plants as well as organically grown herbs.
What It Does: A legitimate excuse to put off washing your hair (or just add volume if you did, in fact, bother to shower), skinnyskinny's powder excels at both key functions of dry shampoo: absorbing oil, and making your hair smell good all day.
Who Makes It: Based out of a brick-and-mortar Williamsburg shop, skinnyskinny has burgeoned into a major wholesale operation throughout the country, and is almost overwhelmingly ethical (if such a thing were possible): products are cruelty-free, certified organic, 100% carbon neutral, and almost entirely vegan.
What They Do: Exfoliating and intensely moisturizing, scrubs with scents like "sweet almond" and "mint julep" are a pretty significant step up from just sort of swishing your feet around in soapy shower water and calling it good. Not that any of us do that, but, you know.
Who Makes It: A collaboration between podiatrist Dr. Quinton Yeldell and his wife Krystle Ford, the idea here is to mix medically-minded preventative foot care with luxurious, Southern-inspired treatments (think Sweet Tea foot soak). Products are all natural and produced in Bed-Stuy.
What It Does: Pretty much what it sounds like, but of all the natural beauty products out there, deodorant is maybe the hardest to get right. Meow Meow Tweet's tea tree version not only does what it's supposed to (both as a deodorant and mild antiperspirant) but leaves your underarms much softer and better smelling than its chalky drugstore competitors.
Who Makes It: Jeff Kurosaki and Tara Pelletier, who began collaborating as studio artists in grad school and eventually turned their attentions to sustainable soaps and personal care products (though they do still produce art together under the moniker Friendly Falcons). Based out of their Bushwick studio, all products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and certified organic.
What It Does: Made from gluten-free organic oats and milk powder, this gentle powder is exactly as calming as you'd hope it would be. Besides water, it can also be mixed with yogurt, honey, herbal tea, or aloe juice, depending on your skin's particular needs.
Who Makes It: Between You & The Moon is the product line of a larger skincare and wellness entity, Brooklyn Herborium, that offers a variety of services (including facials, phototherapy, and one-on-one skin consultations), as well as products specifically made for babies and expecting mothers. Created by Emma Graves and Molly Watman, products are almost entirely vegan, organic, and fair trade, produced in their Brooklyn studio.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.