Loads of wellness and grooming brands profess their commitment to using organic and sensitive skin-friendly ingredients, but few can trace the components in their products back to specific plants—let alone ones plotted in a single garden. Enevoldsen Limited and Apothecary Fairy do just that, with their ingredients grown on a small plot of land in Colorado.
“Most commercial skincare products are made with cheap quality oils such as mineral oil, grape seed oil and non-nutritive, diluted oils that have been amended with chemicals to boost their properties or preserved to last an eternity,” Elia Buice (the apothecary behind both brands) tells us. “You really have to become savvy about phony ingredients and know exactly what you want. It’s a learning curve and I enjoy helping people to understand the features, benefits and differences of products on the market and what makes ours different. People are coming to us because they don’t want something that’s been sitting on a shelf for months. They don’t want synthetic fragrances and they do not want anything with dyes or additives.”
Originally hailing from Los Angeles and later Memphis, Tennessee, Elia and her husband Jeffrey ventured to Colorado last year. (The two first met in seventh grade, and reconnected years later—marrying in 2011.) When Jeffrey (who works in design and branding as Poly Methodology) was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, Elia—who’d been running Apothecary Fairy for years on her own—began using the knowledge learned from family members, herbalists and her own professional background to grow ingredients for treatments to help manage the illness.
“I grew up with a very bohemian, Scandinavian mother and grandmother who both made their own natural skincare products for themselves,” Elia explains. “I have vivid memories of my mother juicing fresh carrots and stirring the juice into yogurt for a fresh facial mask that she would apply right away and put the rest in a jar that would be refrigerated for a few more days,” Elia says. “I took the extensive knowledge that I learned from the matriarchs in my family and furthered my knowledge by reading, apprenticing with herbalists and made the decision to turn my knowledge into a business in order to put myself through college.”
“With my background in holistic nutrition, I began to help him manage his MS through incorporating a special vegetarian/paleo diet, and I began juicing for him since he had been through years of unsuccessful pharmaceutical trials. He wanted to improve his quality of life so I was there to help him with that.” Running alongside her personal mission, Apothecary Fairy turned into a thriving business. Elia expanded it to put Jeffrey in charge of design and visual branding while she herself remained as the apothecary.
Next, the pair co-founded Enevoldsen (named after Elia’s late jazz musician grandfather, Robert Enevoldsen), a line of grooming products. Between the two companies, the offerings are vast. Elia lists, “From facial masks, rollerball skin treatments, steam-distilled Facial Hydrosols and toners to exfoliating scrubs and lotions to super-effective botanical mosquito-repellent, lip salves, hair and scalp remedies, handmade charcoal incense, natural deodorant sprays and balms, scratch lotions made with herbal infusions, aromatic muscle salves, natural hair pomade [in development], mustache wax, facial masks and toners, as well as a line of hand-poured soy candles, sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners.”
Her knowledge is present in all of her products. Fragrance No. 15, for instance, is rich and earthy, almost syrupy-smelling, but when dripped onto the skin, it permeates and leaves it feeling refreshed. The scent lingers and adapts throughout the day.
The driving force behind each potion is a commitment to natural ingredients. “Natural fragrances that are made with essential oils versus fragrance oils are much better suited for people with skin sensitivities and/or allergies,” Elia says. “The aromatherapeutic, antibacterial, antispasmodic and anti-fungal properties are present in plant-extracted fragrances, not chemical fragrances.”
“I currently grow our lavender, rosemary, chamomile, peppermint and calendula that we harvest and use within our products,” Elia says. “I just began keeping beehives about two months ago—that has been such an inspiration. We will be harvesting our own beeswax and honey to incorporate into some of our products eventually. My true passion is in making the products from start to finish,” Elia tells us. “From picking the plants/flowers to drying and infusing. Every process is therapeutic for me and the end product conveys a much more special element—knowing the multiple processes that I go through to make them.”
Images courtesy of Apothecary Fairy and Enevoldsen Limited