I was really impressed with Laurel's deep passion for herbal medicine and botanical skin care..so you know I just needed to learn more...
Read Rave About Skin's Spotlight Interview With Laurel Shaffer,
owner, Laurel Whole Plant Organics
Skin care formulator, lover of herbs and plants, spa obsessed, previously an actress + model!
photo courtesy of Laurel Whole Plant Organics
RAS: Can you describe the journey you’ve been on before starting Laurel Skin Care?
Laurel: I have had such a journey!! In my early 20’s I lived in LA as an actress/model – I even modeled for skin care products for Johnson & Johnson which is obviously very comical now. I was also a sommelier for a while, which is where I get my love for food and wine. But I have always LOVED plants – they have always been my number one love, as well as spas. I was always going on spa trips, and it was a constant struggle for me that I couldn’t get facials at most of the spas I would go to. Lots of things led me to green beauty, but that was one of the many.
RAS: Do you think it is important for consumers to read product ingredient labels and learn about what goes into their products? Why should people care?
Laurel: I think there are a lot of reasons people should care. Health is the obvious reason people should care. But I find, that isn’t enough for women who love beauty products. Those women should care about what they are really spending their money on. Most commercial beauty products are so cheap to make, and have 1-5% active ingredients – green beauty is typically more expensive, because of all of the active and quality ingredients behind that. Understanding an ingredient label goes along way, when you realize that water, alcohol, and all those long words aren’t doing anything beneficial.
RAS: In your early 20s, you experienced issues with your health and sought the advice of a holistic nutritionist. Do you feel herbal medicine was able to help you in ways that western medicine could not?
Laurel: Definitely! Herbal medicine is a huge love for me. Mostly because they focus on getting to the ‘cause’ as opposed to covering up the ‘symptoms’. They focus a lot on diet as well, and I honestly believe a healthy diet can cure just about anything!
RAS: You obviously have an extreme passion + belief in the power of herbs and botanicals. What would you say to a person contemplating use of a natural product with botanicals vs a brand made with synthetic ingredients?
Laurel: As I mentioned above, most clinical products have very few active ingredients. Those active ingredients that they do have are either botanicals, botanical derivatives, or synthetic copies of the antioxidants found in plants. Its almost funny to me that isn’t common knowledge already!
RAS: What are some of your favorite herbs to work with?
Laurel: I honestly cannot answer this question, because I don’t like to be biased about the plants. We work with over 100 of them! That is one of the main reasons we don’t have a ‘Rose’ Cleanser or a ‘Lavender’ Facial Serum, because I don’t like for one plant to be getting all the credit or attention.
RAS: I see you use hydrosols in your whole plant line, can you explain the hydrosol process?
Laurel: Most hydrosols are a byproduct of essential oils. However, ours are not, they are made exclusively for us by farmers up and down the west coast. The farmers capture rain water, and put the water in a still to heat up. The steam from the boiling water travels through freshly picked plants or flowers, and that steam is captured on the other side as a hydrosol. Its essentially a water that has then taken on those medicinal properties of that particular plant.
RAS: Is there any advice you have for people today in terms of what they can do to promote their own skin health?
Laurel: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants. My own skin is an obvious reflection of my eating habits. And also, less is more. For those just getting into green beauty, just try coconut oil or honey, and see how your skin does with those simple ingredients. They are much more beneficial than anything from the drug store.
RAS: Is it true you have an obsession with visiting resorts and spas?
Laurel: I do! I wish I could travel more! My fiancé is in the resort industry, so we do get to travel a lot. Unfortunately, I am still super picky about my skin care, so there are still a lot of spas out there that I can’t go to and need to get on the green beauty train!
RAS: What are your 2 must have products you never leave home without?
Laurel: If I’m traveling, our Normal/Dry Cleanser and Antioxidant Serum. Necessities! And just day to day… I like having our Citrus Spice Lip Treatment with me, as well as ByNieves ‘Cloud of Protection’. Its multipurpose… antibacterial, but it also smells nice, and is good for clearing bad vibes!
Wow! Laurel, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and passions. We look forward to trying more products from your Whole Plant Line! To learn more about Laurel Whole Plant Organics, check out her website.