Do These 3 Plant-Based Beauty Brands Hold the Secret to Glowy Skin?

With roots in Northern California, these beloved natural skincare lines are bottled with the purest intentions



After being dissatisfied in the quest to find the perfect organic ingredients for her all-natural skincare line Botnia, Justine Kahn found herself running a microfarm out of her Sausalito home. Founder of San Francisco spa Skin Remedy, Kahn, who has training in cosmetic chemistry, enjoys complete control over the distillation and blending of her products, focusing on herbs and flowers with well-known healing properties (such as geranium and lavender).

She now grows the majority of her own ingredients for Botnia, supplemented by local farmers when necessary. Kahn’s products, while made of plants and flowers, are not loaded with essential oils, which are strong topically and can irritate the skin. “We employ hydrosols, a diluted byproduct,” she explains. “They contain terpenes (hydrocarbons) and flavonoids (phytochemicals) that can heal the skin.” New for November: a limited‑edition chamomile hydrosol designed to calm acne and skin irritation of any kind.

In the treatment rooms at Skin Remedy, there’s a back bar of elements which Kahn and her associates pull from to create the perfect custom facial. Kahn, a professional aesthetician, quizzes her clients (no matter how many years they’ve been going to her) about their skin, then pinpoints specific, beneficial cocktails of botanicals to treat immediate issues, as well as working toward long-term goals. “I love the term ‘slow beauty,’ ” she says. “It takes time to build up the health of our clients’ skin and to see dramatic results.” Skin Remedy, 3638 Sacramento St., S.F., 415-795-3252.

CULT PRODUCT: Apply the Rose Water toner in the morning and evening to cleansed skin. The witch hazel extract reduces redness and the formulation of rose, geranium and nerolismells incredible.


Sisters Roxane and Liana Pekelharing’s new clean beauty line, Cleban, named for their grandfather’s former apothecary shop in Amsterdam, continues the family’s tradition of beauty through wellness. Liana, a trained herbalist, and Roxane formulate their Northern California-made products to high standards, free of GMOs, parabens, synthetic colors, flavors and fragrances. “Our products are designed in sets that complement each other like sisters to restore balance and awaken beauty,” Roxane says. “When done right, some things are just better together.”

CULT PRODUCT: The newly launched Lumen set, designed to nourish and illuminate the skin, features a moisturizer and an extract brew crafted with rose, hibiscus, goji berry, tulsi and vanilla.


With a long line of devotees, including chief brand activist Olivia Wilde, the digitally native nontoxic skincare line True Botanicals is known for its use of organic ingredients, antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids. Its premier retail outlet is keeping it real, too. The columns and shelves of the 1,800-square-foot space, designed by Jeremiah Brent, are made from reclaimed Northern California barn wood and showcase the brand’s cult favorites alongside new aromatherapy blends infused with bay laurel, tarragon and chamomile to combat stress and boost immunity. The store also features a skin clinic and on-site lab that will create small-batch exclusives, plus offer a roster of programming and additional services (acupuncture and bodywork, brows by Michele Holmes) throughout the year. “The space turns our beauty rituals into moments for reflection and meditation,” says founder Hillary Peterson. 524 Washington St., S.F., 415-496-3023.

CULT PRODUCT: It’s hard to pick just one— truly — but our desert island product would be the True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil in Renew. The combination of chia, kiwi and papaya seed oils seemingly melt into your skin. Use it in place of your regular moisturizer.



May 1, 2019

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