Newport, Rhode Island, may be best known for its fertile coastline, but Brenda Brock, creator of the natural skin care line Farmaesthetics, is more interested in its farms. "That sandy soil is perfect for growing herbs," she says. When Brock started using local plants to make skin ointments, they quickly became popular among her friends. So popular, in fact, that she began selling them at a roadside stand. "What at first was a hobby slowly grew into a full-fledged operation," she says.
"How did I grow the business?" Brock asks. "Every time I got a call about an opportunity, I said yes." One of those calls was from a salon owner inviting her to a beauty event. Brock went and made spa contacts, and soon Farmaesthetics was at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, California.
Eventually Brock wrote a business plan and submitted it to Springboard Enterprises, "a sort of CEO boot camp for entrepreneurial women," Brock explains. Hers was one of 13 proposals chosen, and the business really took off.
Sunflower oil is light, making it a perfect moisturizer for summer. "It's logical, since that's when sunflowers are at their peak," Brock explains.
The sunflower oil in Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk helps cleanse the skin without stripping it. Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Eye Cream uses the oil to protect delicate skin.
Known as the skin-mending herb, calendula is used in remedy oils and salves. "If you have super dry or cracked skin, this helps it heal and keeps the tissue intact," Brock says.
Jurlique Calendula Cream soothes and heals chapped, irritated skin. Aubrey Organics Calendula Blossom Natural Deodorant Spray is perfect for sensitive underarms.
Milk typifies balance -- it has lactic acid, which is an exfoliant, but it's also rich in skin-healthy fats, so it replenishes the skin while removing the top layer of dead cells. "On the farm, milk baths were given to kids with rashes or irritations because it settles the skin," Brock says.
Powdered milk is the base of Farmaesthetics Sweet Milk & Lavender Bud Facial Exfoliate, a dry scrub you blend with water. Fresh Milk Bath & Shower Cream gently exfoliates and has moisturizing shea butter.
Much of the beeswax in Farmaesthetics products is local. "It's lovely and untreated," Brock says. Beeswax can be used to thicken creams and salves, and it seals oils into the skin.
Kiss My Face Olive & Honey Soap combines olive oil and honey to seal moisture into the skin. Nivea Milk & Honey Lip Balm soothes chapped lips.