I was pretty excited to hear about Heliotrope (www.heliotropesf.com), the new line of locally sourced, all-natural, unisex, essential oil-based, mostly fragrance-free beauty products launched by Bay Area style maven Jonathan Plotzker. I got more excited when Heliotrope’s exquisite, neighborhood-feeling retail boutique opened in Noe Valley (1515 Church, SF. 415-643-4847) — you mean I can grab some insanely good hot and sour soup from Eric’s Chinese and snag some natural product to vanish my all-night party bags? OK!
But things really got crazy for me when Plotzker told me over the phone about Heliotrope’s massage candles — when the candles melt, the heated wax dissolves into an oil perfect for an intimate rubdown. “We’re all about integration,” he said with a laugh, “our candles will melt you two ways.” Yes, I could go for a two-way melt right about now, in the middle of winter.
Plotzker had just returned from a visit to one of his chemists in Sonoma. “One of my original visions for the line was to help bring to light a lot of the small-batch local beauty developing going on,” he said. “The name Heliotrope means ‘turn toward the sun’ — but besides have the connotation of ‘enlightenment,’ I just really like the word. I think it describes our customers: smart, nature-oriented, and confident.” He adds that the company’s wood-grain logo comes from a scan of an actual redwood log that he happened to have in his car when he met with a graphic designer, giving it an extra local angle.
Heliotrope puts out dozens of products, from Witch Hazel and Birch Head-to-Toes Wash to single-note lemongrass essential oil. (The Heliotrope boutique sells a full range of accessories as well.) I asked Plotzker to pick out a few favorites that he’d recommend for our unique Bay Area winter.
OLIVE LEAF AND NEROLI MOISTURIZER
Neroli is the essential oil of the orange blossom, and it’s a wonder, with anti-inflammatory and anti-redness properties. No more winter bloaty look. ($29 for 2 ounces, $39 for four ounces)
FRANKINCENSE AND ROSE GERANIUM OIL SERUM
People are realizing how good the right kind of oils can be for their skin! Our serums are concentrated treatments for the face — the frankincense calms, and the rose geranium rejuvenates. ($42)
ROSEWATER AND VITAMINS EYE LIFT CREAM
The rosewater acts as a humectant, meaning that the rose oil molecule attracts and retains the water molecule, keeping you hydrated and healthy. ($32)
BODY AND MASSAGE
SHEA AND BEESWAX HAND AND CUTICLE THERAPY
This is my favorite product in the shop. It’s a rich, creamy treatment for hands, cuticles, and nails that sinks in quickly so you don’t feel it — and your mittens won’t stick to your hands. ($16)
SOY AND SHEA BUTTER MASSAGE CANDLES
Soy wax melts at a lower temperature, so the resulting liquid can be poured on the skin and used as a smooth and natural massage oil, in fragrances like black fig cardamom and citrus nutmeg or fragrance-free. ($24)
ORGANIC AROMATHERAPY SPRAY MISTS FOR BODY AND HOME
Use this on your body to enhance your mood, use it as a facial toner to stay hydrated, and use it as a room fragrance — aloe, açai, pomegranate, and more. It’s a triple threat! ($19)