Growing up in arid New Mexico, I realized early on the effects of dry skin and what I should do to keep it hydrated. It's well known that hydration is key to keeping skin healthy and looking radiant. Still, it can be difficult for inhabitants of dry climates to keep their skin hydrated even after they move out of state. Because of this, there’s a lot we can all learn from companies based in desert climates like New Mexico. The state has it all: rivers, lakes, mountains, mineral springs, breweries, and organic, locally made beauty products.
- Clear Light: The Cedar Company
Deserts like New Mexico are filled with effective ingredients for skin; things like cedar, sage, lavender, and red clay live there in abundance. According to Nick Griffith, vice president of Clear Light the Cedar Company, Urban Fresh New Mexico, and Wild West Private Skincare Label, “We harvest the cedar needles (locally, it grows in the foothills) to wildcraft our products (this means we don't process the ingredients with any harsh chemicals),” says Griffith. The company is committed to using only 100-percent natural ingredients and incorporating organic materials as often as possible. “Our Cedar Mountain incense and lotions are our best sellers,” says Griffith. "The cedar emits a particularly fresh, clean smell that floral-scented perfumes and lotions do not provide. The lightweight lotion is the perfect moisturizer swap for spring and summer as aloe and other plant-based moisturizers make it heaven for hydration."
What makes them unique: Griffith says an integral part of the company is their "pet miniature Pot-belly Pig named Pricilla Pig of the Desert; therefore we will never have any animal testing. Our facility in downtown Albuquerque is extremely eco-friendly; it includes hydroponics, a rainwater collection, and solar panels.”
- Yes Boutique
This apothecary focuses on organic skincare as well as all-natural skincare products. It also doubles as a spa, offering a variety of services. The apothecary uses locally sourced beeswax in their salves, local bee propolis in their toner, and local lavender and yarrow plants; these grow in the desert. “Sometimes we'll have a seasonal product such as a facial serum that contains local and wildcrafted pine and balsam fir essential oil but we really focus on using local ingredients and supporting other local businesses in that way,” says manager Brianna Crow.
What makes them unique: Visitors can mix their own products in the store.
- Sunshine Alchemists
Sunshine Alchemists & Soap Co prides themselves on their all organic, high quality artisanal soaps and body products. With a motto of "Love & Sunshine in every drop," they handcraft colorful, unique soap art with local ingredients like piñon, honey, sage, lavender, and rosemary. “Curing soap in the arid sunshine-y climate of New Mexico yields an exceptionally long lasting, lathery soap,” says chief alchemist Maaike Hurst. “We also add 6 percent more oils than necessary to counteract the dry climate for locals so all of our soaps are very moisturizing, and most are vegan.” The Sunshine Alchemists believe it is essential to use the highest quality, food-grade organic oils without preservatives, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, or gluten, and to only use colorants like mica powders, turmeric, beet root powder, and no animal testing.
What makes them unique: The company is committed to growing large enough to employ single moms and victims of domestic violence, which is a major issue in the state.
- Martha’s Body Bueno
Martha Doster, founder and owner of Martha’s Body Bueno, created her business to meet the skin needs of local residents. “When people move to New Mexico, it takes at least a year for their skin to adjust to the climate,” says Doster. “It is miserable the whole time for them, but my products help their skin acclimate by getting the nutrients it needs. It’s no surprise then that the best seller is the Extreme Hand Cream. “The reason I called it Extreme Hand Cream is because it’s extremely hydrating, it really works, and because it only takes a small amount to be effective so it lasts longer than a lot of other creams,” she says.
What makes them unique: Doster cares about more than just skin health “Taking care of our sexual health is just as important as taking care of our physical health,” she says. “Unfortunately, women tend to not take as good of care of themselves as they do, say, their families.” As a result she sells related items and books in a comfortable environment.
- Made To Lather
Made To Lather primarily produces soaps, although it also makes variety of other products. “It all started when I got tired of the itchy, scratchy feeling on my skin when I had just stepped out of the shower,” says owner Patricia Monk. “No lotion seemed to help either, until I tried a handmade soap given to me as a gift.” Monk is a certified soap maker, accredited from Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild in 2014. Monk sources many of the ingredients locally in support of area businesses. One of the top-selling products is Mechanic’s soap, which contains coffee grinds, oatmeal, pumice, and lemongrass essential oil perfect for extracting dirt from the skin without drying.
What makes them unique: Body Parfaits, which feature layers of body lotion and organic aloe vera, provide instant hydration and come in three scents.
6. Janecka Skincare
Janecka Skincare not only offers 100 percent natural skincare products, but also has a line of mineral makeup and all natural lip colors. Both the skincare and makeup products are created, formulated and handmade by Elizabeth Janecka and her daughter B Janecka Romero. Instead of using plastic, the Janeckas use glass containers whenever possible to reduce their carbon footprint. They proudly list all of their ingredients, so customers can know exactly what they are putting on their bodies. The concentrated formulas contain no water or fillers and are not tested on animals because they believe that skincare should be an act of caring for your skin and not damage the environment.
What makes them unique: The Janeckas are aggressively committed to banning toxins, chemicals, and synthetic ingredients from their products but they are also committed to family. Upon Elizabeth’s retirement, her daughter gave her a book about soapmaking; this had a special childhood sentiment for Elizabeth and inspired an entire line of natural skincare and mineral makeup.