Who knew Boston was such a hub for beauty innovation? Over the last year I’ve been introduced to three wonderful Boston-based skincare companies, all of which make a product I now can’t live without. The fact that I’m supporting local businesses when I buy each of them only makes them that much better (though I’m pretty sure I would buy these products whether they came from Boston or Shanghai or Guadalajara).
Here’s an introduction to Shamanuti, Bona Clara and First Aid Beauty, what you should try, and where you can buy them.
1. Shamanuti. The Natick, Mass.-based company is all about natural beauty. I love their motto, which is “simple skincare for complicated creatures,” because I’ve found that simpler products are, the better they work for me. All of Shamanuti’s products are chemical free, and so gentle they can be used on babies (babies!). Ingredients include things like charcoal, pumpkin, sugar cane extract, vegetable glycerin, cinnamon, orange, and purified water.
Must-try: The company’s signature product, the Activated Charcoal Cleanser. Don’t be fooled by it’s scary black color. This stuff is gentle and it smells great. Charcoal is naturally purifying (hence its use in many water filters), so it draws impurities from you skin. I love this stuff.
Runner up: Crème No. 1. It’s thick and rich, and an awesome investment before winter.
Where to buy: Shamanuti is carried at Whole Foods throughout Massachusetts. For a full retailer list, visit their website.
2. Bona Clara. Bona Clara was founded by MIT grad Jasmina Aganovic in 2010, based on the premise that skincare should be different for women of different ages (makes sense, right?). There are product lines for women in theirs 20s, 30s, 40s and 50+, that include everything from anti-aging serum, to SPF, to night cream.
Must-try: 20s serum. Out of all of the skincare products I’ve tried in my life, I’ve never really gotten into serums. But, since I’m turning 28 this year (don’t tell my husband he thinks I’m 25) I figured it’s time to break out the big guns. This serum has anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration, and red-tea extract, which is a powerful antioxidant. It also absorbs really quickly. Since anti-aging creams tend to make me break out (suggestions for ones that don’t are welcome!), I use this under my moisturizer instead.
Runner up: Stretch Mark and Scar Treatment. I just recently started using this, and it takes three months to work, so I’m naming this my runner-up out of hope. I don’t really have any stretch marks, but I do have a pretty nasty scar on my back from where I had a cancerous mole removed when I was 22 (WEAR SUNSCREEN!!). I’ve never really tried to do anything to fade it, but I’m glad there’s a product out there that can hopefully help. Email me in a few months if you want to know how it’s working!
Where to buy: Online at bonaclara.com. Bona Clara also has an Avon-like direct sale program, so if you know any representatives, you can call them up, too!
3. First Aid Beauty. The goal behind First Aid Beauty (FAB for short, love it) is to update the cult-favorite drugstore brands like Cetaphil and Cerave, both of which have been around for decades (and still use the original formulas for their classic products). FAB aims to make the same sort of irritant-free, clean and simple products, but with newer, more effective ingredients.
Must-try product: Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask. For one, it smells good enough to eat…sort of like a vanilla oatmeal cookie. Also, my (super-awesome) combination skin gets both oily and dry at the same time which can make puttin’ my face on far more complex than it should be…but I use this mask after I exfoliate twice a week, and it creates a perfect canvas for makeup.
Runner up: The Ultra Repair Cream. As a loyal Cetaphil fan, I was a bit skeptical about trying something different, but I love this product–it’s rich and non-irritating. FAB makes a lighter facial moisturizer, too, but I use the repair cream head-to-toe (except I don’t actually put lotion on my toes because that tickles).
Where to buy: Sephora, baby.
*Disclaimer: I’ve received complimentary products from all three of these companies over the last year. But, out of all of the products they’ve sent me, the “must-trys” are my favorites. The ones I have run out of, I’ve purchased again, and I intend to by the rest of them once I’m out!