Now Playing

Five Local Beauty Lines Putting Farm-to-Face Skincare on the Map

The ingredient lists of these skincare lines read like the menu at your favorite restaurant.

Read more Best of San Francisco 2018 here. 

For the minimalist: Vintner’s Daughter

Bay Area winemaker April Gargiulo may have pivoted to skincare, but she still has her hands in the dirt. Gargiulo created her Active Botanical Serum ($185) to be the ultimate nutrient-packed super-smoothie for your face. The oil, developed to remedy all types of skin ills—from fine lines and blemishes to dullness and discoloration—contains 22 ingredients, all of which could very well show up in your next salad: To name a few, there’s avocado, hazelnut, nettle, lemon, and dandelion.

For the sweet tooth: Etta + Billie
A whipped-butter-yellow slab topped with a generous sprinkling of black seeds, the citrus-poppy-seed soap ($14) looks downright delicious—while the grapefruit-cardamom hand wash ($25) would definitely be a hit in cocktail form. This S.F.-based botanical skincare line boasts all-natural ingredients and recycled glass bottles. And its soaps, lotions, oils, and sprays are carried at more than 25 locations across the city, from Legion to the Epicurean Trader to Paxton Gate.

For the spa regular: Botnia
Justine Kahn tends to a micro-farm on her Sausalito property where she grows lavender, geraniums, rose hips, chamomile, and more—all of which eventually end up slathered on her loyal customers’ faces. Kahn formulates all of Botnia’s cleansers, lotions, serums, and toners ($28–$50) in her farm-adjacent lab and uses them at Skin Remedy, her skin studio on Sacramento Street. But she also supplies nearly 30 spas around the country with Botnia products, including her signature “back bar,” a palette of powdered plant extracts that facialists use to whip up custom treatments for their clients.

For the glow-getter: Monastery
The Greeks have proved themselves astute at using good-for-you ingredients, and Athena Hewett was inspired by her Greek grandmother, who would harvest oils from her olive grove, press them herself, and incorporate them into skin-brightening serums. Today Hewett does the same: Her sought-after local skincare line, Monastery, forgoes chemicals, alcohols, and salts for ingredients like coriander, Greek sage, and, of course, all manner of oils. Her Neroli Black Botanical Brighten Oil ($68) contains eight different oils, including black pepper, English walnut, and patchouli, and can be purchased at Athena Ellen in Noe Valley.

For the detoxer: True Botanicals
Kiwi, adzuki beans, kombucha, and passion fruit are just a few of the plant-based ingredients in True Botanicals’ age-combating line of cleansers, serums, oils, and toners. The San Francisco–based line is completely nontoxic and has been credited with helping to kick-start the foodie-beauty movement. Scroll through the ingredient glossary on the website and learn about the skin-saving superpowers of broccoli, oats, and watermelon.


Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

Have feedback? Email us at
Follow us on Twitter