The Handmade Natural Beauty Products Revival: Return of the Apothecary


In the golden age of mass-produced everything, you’ll be happy to know the apothecary is making its return in the form of small-batch, local, handmade, natural beauty products.

It used to always be this way. Hand-poured soaps and perfumes, creams and lotions. But you don’t need me to explain how the Beauty Industry changed all that–how Walmart and Target shelves are now lined full of exceptionally cheap (even if they’re expensive) and often highly toxic products that we’re encouraged to slather onto our bodies and our hair.

We’re trained to spend less money more often on products that don’t really even work and may be doing more harm than good. But if we were to invest that same amount of money in small batch apothecary-style handmade natural beauty products often made in our very own community, how would that change our beauty regimen? Would our skin and hair look better?

Apothecary-inspired brands offer just that: high quality, small batch produced beauty care products that are sure to inspire you to feel more beautiful about your investment in looking more beautiful, naturally.


Meow Meow Tweet is a Brooklyn-based beauty care line embodying the apothecary style of production. “Besides the soap, lip balm and the deodorant, which we make weekly, if you order something from our website, we make it to order,” says co-founder, Tara Pelletier. Inspired by Tara’s restaurant experience with cooking whole foods, the brand wanted products that reflected that sensibility. “For us, apothecary is like a small-town pharmacy from the 19th century with a garden out back that the pharmacist harvests from to hand-make lozenges, salves and tinctures according to the needs of the people in the town. We see a direct correlation with modern day apothecaries and the slow food movement. People want to know where their skin care is coming from, who is making it and what’s in it. It’s like community-based skin care.”

I’ve been loving the MMT face and body oils. They just feel right on my skin. So simple and pure. (Sample sent courtesy of MMT but opinions are all my own.) And I’ve been using the deodorant which actually works. Like, all day. I cannot say that about most other “natural” deodorants available. “Deodorant is a tricky thing; one person’s body chemistry might love our deodorant and for another person, it may not be as effective,” explains Tara. And for customers who have special needs, Meow Meow Tweet will work with you: “We make bespoke recipes for folks based on their sensitivities. We recently met a customer with allergies who was desperate to try our deodorant but couldn’t use the shea butter and coconut oil. We made her a dusting powder that she loved. Perhaps, that’s the difference between us and one of the big guys, we’re small enough that we’re still able to go into the kitchen and cook you up something special.”

How adorable is the company name, too? In case you’re wondering (of course you are) it was inspired by their two cats and co-founder Jeff Kurosaki’s cockatiel (back in his home state of Hawaii).

Want to discover more apothecary style beauty care brands? Here are a few others we adore:

Golden Path Alchemy

King’s Road Apothecary

Moon Valley Organics

Zoe Organics

Are handmade beauty products being produced near you? What are your favorites?

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Images courtesy of Meow Meow Tweet


Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.