When it comes to beauty, Brooklyn has got it down.
The people, the parks, the puppies, it’s a challenge to find something here that isn’t beautiful. After I moved to the borough last summer, I’d stroll down Williamsburg’s streets expecting to find bottomless brunch, man-buns, and vintage galore around every corner (which was mostly accurate). But after thorough exploration, I found Brooklyn was not only abundant in mimosas but also high-quality artisanal goods, especially natural beauty products. Handcrafting soaps and scrubs in their lofts and studio warehouses, Brooklynites are leading the way for healthy, effective and environmentally conscious beauty that is made with locally-sourced herbs and essential oils to boot.
Here are five beauty essentials made and inspired by Brooklyn. Warning: They all smell delicious.
S.W. Basics Cream, US $32
Finding a moisturiser that won’t make sensitive skin cry, “Why?” can oftentimes be as hard as finding time to nap. But with only three ingredients, S.W. Basics’ rich but gentle cream keeps the skin happy by keeping it simple—no chemicals, no names you can’t pronounce. It only has wild shea butter, coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. That’s it.
S.W. Basics makes every item in their skincare line with five ingredients or fewer, and all ingredients are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms. So if your skin does break out, finding the root of the cause is a little bit easier.
S.W. Basics’ alcohol- and soap-free cleanser with organic rosewater and tea tree oil ($22) is another favourite for a fresh and clean feeling.
MCMC Maine Eau De Parfum, US $95
MCMC’s Maine is one heck of a punch of summer. The scent of sea and pine from the French seaweed absolute and local clary sage carries you to the island of North Haven where the crisp fragrance was inspired.
Run by sisters, Anne and Katie McClain, MCMC offers a range of perfumes, oils and candles that are all crafted in small batches and bottled by hand in their Brooklyn studio. And like with Maine, each fragrance is inspired by a place, person, or memory from the life of the perfumer Anne.
Armour Lip Gloss, US $24
Fronted by rocker and model, Theo Kogan, Armour’s long line of naturally-based (yes, paraben-free) glosses is made to last long. They aren’t just for show either. Kogan’s glosses are infused with shea, avocado and mango butter to keep lips moistened and nourished. And to make things fun, there are a million shades to choose from, with each colour dedicated to a song, band or pop icon.
Just realised you wanted a Nirvana-inspired lip gloss? Me too.
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream, $14
It is all about healthy skin at Soapwalla, and their aluminium-free deodorant cream is no exception. Founded in her kitchen, Rachel Winard originally created her all-natural line of soaps, serums and vegan bath salts to tackle her sensitive skin issues caused by systemic lupus. Now her powerful blue tub of deodorant cream can be found at Colette in Paris.
I am typically suspicious of natural deodorants, but this one gets the job done. It is fast absorbing with a fresh scent of peppermint and lavender that lasts the whole day. Going additive and odour-free has never been so easy.
Mullein & Sparrow Lip Tint & Healing Salve Duo, $20
It is difficult to pick just one thing from Mullein & Sparrow’s apothecary line of 100% vegan goodies. From their Pink Himalayan Bath Salt ($40) to their Facial Detox Kit ($25), everything is beautifully packaged and delightful on the skin. But their lip balm and healing salve are a must-have set during Brooklyn’s unforgiving winter months.
Formulated by founder Anita Hora, this tinted balm hydrates your lips and cheeks while providing a naturally flushed and dewy glow. And for when your skin needs a little TLC, the healing salve works as a great mini first-aid kit for your wounds, blisters and even eczema.
Made with natural botanicals sourced from local farms, Mullein & Sparrow’s products follow a holistic approach to natural beauty. They are also great gifts.
Shanelle is a freelance writer, stylist and sci-fi enthusiast living in Brooklyn, New York.