EcoSalon Hits the Natural Products Expo West


Ever imagine what it would be like to walk into a gigantic Whole Foods and have sample after sample handed to you of all that is good and organic? Last weekend I got that and more when I walked into the Natural Products Expo West. The foremost show of the natural products trade industry, 53,000 industry professionals from across the globe gathered March 12 – 14 in Anaheim, California, to look over the latest in organic products and natural trends. I must admit, walking through it was something akin to twirling through Willy Wonka’s giant chocolate candy room – except this chocolate was organic and to my knowledge, untainted by Augustus Gloop.


Any large gathering of people is going to stamp a carbon footprint bigger than Godzilla’s paw (does he have paws? Claws? Claw paws?), but this convention made an effort to go green. Recycling bins abounded throughout the center. All of the press kits were online (saving 487 fully grown trees) and badges were picked up on site, saving four metric tons of carbon emissions. I was thoroughly impressed, but how about the products?


My duties involve writing a green beauty column, so I made a beeline towards the health and beauty section. I practically went skipping with glee through the aisles. All of my favorite lines were there: J.R. Watkins peddled their lip tint, Nature’s Gate offered up moisturizers, and Lavera showed off their latest mascaras. It was like that dream I have where every question about organic and/or natural beauty was laid out in clean aisles with an expert stationed at every stop.

So what did the experts have to say about what’s new in the organic or natural beauty market?

First I checked out the Dr. Bronner’s booth. Here I met awesome Ariel, who told me all about the latest offerings from this legendary skin care line which she discusses in the video above. Then it was off to Lavera Cosmetics, the BDIH certified cosmetics company which produces makeup and body care. Their representative showed off their newest release, which is the Lavera sun spot Glow Go Self-Tanner for your legs and entire body. This product is 100 percent chemical and toxin-free and claims to provide safe, natural looking color and “subtle shimmer” without harmful ingredients or sun exposure. It contains organic soy extracts which is said to “infuse skin with a natural looking glow.” Before I realized what was happening, my entire arm was sprayed with self-tanner, which left it a bit glittery and well, self-tanned.


Sparkling like a Twilight vampire, I headed over to Thayer’s Natural Remedies. There I spoke with John Gehr, who co-owns the company with his mother. Not familiar with Thayer’s Natural Remedies? Get thee to a Whole Foods immediately – their Rose Petal Witch Hazel holds the title as my favorite all-natural beauty product.  I use this product daily and am now sporting a skin tone I haven’t seen since my early 20s – meaning clear skin and rosy cheeks. As John explained to me, witch hazel is a natural astringent with anti-inflammatory properties. It works great as a gentle cleaners and daily toner by tightening pores.

The key to Thayer’s Witch Hazel is the way they extract it. Tannins are the key ingredient in this product and they extract it without heat from the bark of the witch hazel. And it is the tannins that give you that beautiful rosy hue. As John joked, their witch hazel is not “made by witches, but magic for your skin.”

Newly spritzed with rosy cheeks, I stopped by Tom’s of Maine. Here I spoke with friendly representative Staay, who told me all about their new releases. She showed me the latest development for their deodorant line, a new product called Crystal Confidence. This deodorant offers 24 hour protection with a crystal built right into the device. Staay assured me that the product is clinically tested and consumer qualified – in other words, it was tried by customers. She says this is the closest item to a natural antiperspirant on the market.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Expo!

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.