In 2011, the Seattle kitchen of Alex Kummerow and Julia Wills temporarily became an apothecary while the duo searched for a solution to a skin irritation. The husband-and-wife team found relief—and later, success—in their all-natural, homemade soaps. The two began to sell on Etsy, and Herbivore Botanicals was born.
The aptly-named beauty brand is built upon highly concentrated, plant-based formulas with a bulk of vegan-friendly products; the entire inventory is made without any petroleum or animal testing. “We believe in using only truly effective, active ingredients rather than filling a bottle three-quarters with a less expensive ‘filler’ ingredient like many companies do,” says co-founder Wills. “We use only ingredients that are active, meaning they are there for a specific therapeutic reason.”
The brand has since outgrown its online retail space (and can now be found in independent boutiques across Canada and the United States), but continues to stick to its earthy roots with a line of natural soaps that pay homage to its humble beginnings. A Bamboo Charcoal cleansing bar soap is formulated for oily skin due to the active ingredients’ highly porous and absorbent qualities; a Pink Clay cleansing bar soap features geranium essential oil to calm inflammation; and a Blue Clay cleansing bar soap balances out combination skin with Cambrian blue clay, a rare natural resource sourced from Siberian lakes.
While it doesn’t seem Herbivore will be weeding out their staple soaps any time soon, its roster is consistently renewed by the introduction of new products and the reinvention of old recipes in their expanded range of face oils, toners, lip products, body oils, and all things bath-related. Two new wet facemasks recently debuted—the Blue Tansy resurfacing mask and the Pink Clay moisture mask—and they join the roster as the first wet formula alongside Herbivore’s original dry powder masks (that first need to be mixed with water to form a paste).
“We started with the dry formula because we loved the idea of mixing up a fresh mask at home,” says Wills. “It made us think of a day-at-the-spa experience.” The powder also contributes to a longer shelf life, but the company’s years of experimenting with natural preservatives has allowed the creation of new long-lasting, ready-made concoctions, which have proven so successful they have reinvented a previously dry mask as a ready-made mask.
Rebranded as the Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone mask, the original Brazilian white tourmaline gemstone–based recipe has been enriched with organic papaya and pineapple fruit extracts to brighten up the skin, while the pulverized gemstone heats up to increase circulation, and results in fresh, glowing skin.
Herbivore seems to address every skincare concern, but if they ever lack a solution, it isn’t for long. Despite no longer being kitchen-based, Herbivore Botanicals continues to cook up new products from their organic, natural pantry, promoting herbivorous habits in all avenues of life.