Green shopping guide: 8 sources of weekend-ready, enviro-friendly beauty

Pub date April 6, 2012
WriterSoojin Chang
SectionPixel Vision

Beauty is said to only be skin-deep — but the businesses that use holistic, organic, and plant-based ingredients want to demolish this age-old idiom. You can simultaneously rejuvenate yourself and the planet by ditching those toxic, harmful products once and for all. Think of it! With their products and services, self-care is no longer akin to being vain or selfish. These eight local spas, soapmakers, and producers of flower-based essences align nature, commerce, and beauty so that the world can sustain that perfect summer glow. Check out the rest of this week’s guides to local sustainable shopping, in honor of our Green Issue

Illuminata Skin Care 

Rather than using harsh chemicals to camouflage damages, Illuminata believes in a holistic approach to clarifying the skin so that you don’t have to hide anything. Natural botanical products are used in an array of services like extractions, enzyme exfoliations, waxing, and purifying masks to create effective treatments for even the most sensitive skin types. The warm staff, and the even-warmer space, will have you relishing your own dewy radiance.  

Office hours Mon. and Thurs. 12:30pm-8pm; Tue. 1pm-8pm; Wed. 10am-8pm; Fri. 11am-6:30pm; Sat.-Sun. 10am-6pm 977 Valencia, SF. (415) 971-3943,

Nectar Essences natural stress relief 

Flowers can light up a room but flower essences can uplift your mind. Nectar Essences is a local company making floral remedies made with flowers from the Atacama desert in Chile, wildflowers of North America, and the Amazon rainforest. They are concocted by trained practitioners and crafted to address sleeplessness, mental alertness, and stress.

Phone customer service hours Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (415) 617-5589,

Grateful Body food for the skin

Grateful Body’s no-fuss online store provides organic, vegan, natural, chemical-free, and synthetic-free skin care treatments for virtually all skin types and issues. Products are made with nutrient-rich elements like fresh fruits, mushrooms, herbs, seaweeds, and botanical oils to nourish the glummest under-eye circles, salvage the most parched skin, and remedy even the nastiest of toenail infections. 

Phone customer service hours Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (510) 848-9292,

The Joys of Life organic shea butters 

This Oakland-based beauty product online store specializes in unrefined, organic shea butters and fine organic oils. Their handcrafted products are made with natural ingredients from Uganda and Ghana, and help detoxify, hydrate, and naturally enhance your skin.  

(510) 465-5065,

Epic Center MedSpa  

MedSpa intertwines nature and science together through effective organic, light-based, non-toxic, crystal-free skin rejuvenation approaches to skin tightening, laser hair removal, and skin resurfacing treatments. Their space itself is a sustainable green-phenomenon made of eco-paints, recycled fabrics and wood, water conserving plumbing fixtures, and energy-reducing lighting.

Spa hours Mon. and Sat. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Tues., Wed., Fri. 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. 450 Sutter, Suite 800, SF. (415) 362-4754,


This teeny wellness practice will surprise you with how many holistic approaches and services they can pack into their space. Personalized to meet each individual’s needs, Apotheca will have you in a therapeutic massage one minute, practicing Ayurveda yoga the next, and botanically waxing your brows before you leave their rustic-chic downtown space. 

Spa hours Mon.-Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 582 Market, Suite 612, SF. (415) 573-9077,


That usual cloying odor of chemicals that accompanies the dentist disappears in this calm, eco-friendly practice. More so a wellness spa than a traditional dentist office, they will treat your pearly whites with biocompatible materials while giving you a healing foot massage to the relaxing beat of meditative tunes. 

Office hours Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3030 Ashby, Suite 101, (510) 841-3040,

River Soap Company  

Dad is in charge of retail orders, mom is the national sales rep, and two sisters deal with daily operations in this natural soap shop. Their soaps are all vegetable based, biodegradable, cruelty-free, and are triple French-milled for a long-lasting, extra-lathering, non-gooey, velvety hand-washing experience. 

(800) 694-7627,