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Beauty Founders With a Green Thumb, Inspired by Plant Life

by News Desk

Abena Boamah-Acheampong

Founder of Hanahana Beauty

Abena Boamah-Acheampong
Courtesy/Naomi Green

“I remember going to college and my mom giving me a pothos plant. She said, ‘If you can keep growing, it shows that you are responsible.’ Since then I’ve always enjoyed taking care [of] and having plants. As someone who experiences seasonal affect — and it showed especially when I moved to Chicago in 2013 — I was very intentional about making sure that I designed my space to feel as calming and enjoyable as possible, and for me, that means having plants and always trying to have a fresh flower in my space. Even when I started to split my time living between Ghana and the U.S., I made sure whatever house I lived in, I would buy new plants.

“Now, I probably have around 15 or so plants in my space and for me having and taking care of plants kind of mimics how to communicate to others, especially when it comes to work and my team, as well as reminders of how I take care of myself. No plants are the same and even if they come from the same family, some need more water than others and sometimes they need to just sit in the sun, but also some don’t need too much.”

Kendra Kolb Butler

Founder of Alpyn Beauty

Kendra Kolb Butler seen wildcrafting in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Courtesy of Kendra Kolb Butler

“When I lived in New York City, I wasn’t much of a plant person. But then I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (a natural plant playground), and they became my life. I was immediately calmed and comforted by the lush forests and blooming meadows filled with colorful wildflowers and wild indigenous plants, like borage, sage and chamomile. I was blown away by their ability to survive on their own, without any help, in a harsh mountain climate. It made me wonder if these wild plants could use that same ‘fight/survival mechanism’ to help heal problematic skin. My instincts were right — wild plants nourish, hydrate and protect, among other benefits — so I created Alpyn Beauty to infuse these hand-harvested, wild plants into skin care formulas. Between the months of July and September, you can find me ‘wildcrafting,’ which is the act of sustainably harvesting wild plants from their natural growth environment. Sustainability is a brand priority and 1 percent of every Alpyn Beauty purchase goes directly toward national park restoration. To date, our contributions have helped restore over 1,000 acres of sagebrush grassland in Grand Teton National Park. This grassland is critical to the survival of not only the wild plants but also the wildlife.”

Mathilde Thomas

Cofounder of Caudalie (with husband Bertrand)
Launched in 1995

Mathilde Thomas amid vines.
Courtesy of Mathilde Thomas

“My favorite plant has to be the vine. It brings a lot to my life as my husband Bertrand and I built a skin care company around it. I like to call it the absolute plant. It produces the most powerful anti-dark spot molecule (viniférine) in its sap, an antiaging gold standard resveratrol and powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) in its seeds. Grapevine runs in the family history as my parents are winemakers at Château Smith Haut Lafitte.

“I was born and raised in nature. With Bertrand, we are very outdoorsy people. We love trees and believe they are the best natural climate solution. They take carbon out of the air and lock it away, contribute to population wellness, preserve biodiversity, improve water quality, control soil erosion. While we were living in New York in 2012, we talked to Yvon Chouinard, founder of One Percent for the Planet and decided to give back 1 percent of Caudalie sales each year to plant trees. We planted 10 million trees in 10 different countries in 10 years. Caudalie is the first cosmetics contributor of the One Percent for the Planet and compensates potentially four times its carbon footprint.”

Susanne Kaufmann

Founder of Susanne Kaufmann
Launched in 2003

Susanne Kaufmann in the Austrian Alps.
Courtesy/Torvioll Jashari

“I grew up in the idyllic Austrian Alps immersed in an understanding of the local traditions, and the beauty and wellness benefits that could be found in the plants that grew in abundance in the area. I first embraced the beauty and healing power of regional herbs and plants by my beloved grandmother — we made healing tonics and marigold cream. This is where I formed my passion and curiosity for natural healing ingredients and powerful formulations. To this day, nature is my biggest form of inspiration. We source many of our active ingredients from the rich environment around us, here in the Alps of Austria and Switzerland. We use powerful plants such as arnica, chamomile, marigold, lavender and rosemary. The natural sprigs found in our oil baths and room diffusers are hand-picked from the Austrian mountains and surrounding areas, which not only tells a beautiful story about the nature here but helps to reduce our carbon emissions and leave a light footprint on our planet. I have always championed sustainability. Local ingredients, environmentally friendly production, sustainable packaging innovation, manufacturing processes and a deep respect for nature and people. This has always been our philosophy. It’s always been about the entire picture.”

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