From the high Tibetan plateau to the gold leaf making factories of Kyoto, we travel to the wild deserts of Southern Utah and into the Good Medicine Beauty Lab; where wild botanicals are blended with essential oils, fruits and vegetables into artisanal formulations.
Led by five women — Karen Hudson, Cris Coombs, Alicia Overton, Lara Wright and Whitney Dunn — the third generation family company stepped into the world of naturals and clean beauty before it was even a thing back in the 1960s. Nurtured by extreme climates, sunlight and rain, botanicals like juniper berries and larrea were plucked and gathered by hand, then brought home to undergo extraction and bottling. The idea was to transfer these plants’ ability to thrive in intense conditions to skincare solutions.
Beyond beauty, Good Medicine considers everything that surrounds and supports them. “From carbon footprint, sustainability, organics, aesthetics, the anatomy of the skin…everything,” says the brand. As such, every ingredient is harvested with respect or obtained from like-minded suppliers. Animal testing is forbidden; no toxic ingredients or GMOs are used, and all products are gluten-free and made in the US.
But before you label the brand as just another clean company, it’s good to note that they are equally committed to educating their customers about feeling beautiful in their own skin. How? Their blog, for one, is a rich source of information and guidance on how to make the most of your beauty regimes and practice self-love.
Good Medicine has also introduced a new approach to your skincare routine with their Mixology method, as they have prepared each of their elixirs to be used individually, or in combination.
Today, with offerings for men and women — ranging from skin to hair, body to bath — the brand is still just getting started. We speak to Alicia, one of the five fearless leaders of Good Medicine on skin smarts, transitioning to a clean beauty routine and advice on being a female entrepreneur.
“On a daily basis, we are out wandering the desert and gathering wild botanicals with incredible healing properties in our skirts, so to speak.”
Tell us about Good Medicine’s beginnings and evolution.
It all started with our grandmother. She founded a healing centre — today’s day spas — in the 1950s. Grandma was emphatic that all the products she used be created from luscious fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden, bottled in glass not plastic, and scented with pure essential oils that didn’t just smell pretty but also made a difference for the skin.
She envisioned a product that was alive, and sourced from people that had a true passion for healing. She fell in love with the desert and the powerful plants that thrive there. The goal was to develop products that improve and nourish the skin, as well as the overall health of the body; all the while respecting our planet.
Today, we are an energetic company run by five dynamic women. We create enchanting concoctions that tickle your soul, nourish your skin and make you feel incredible.
We have held tight to these values and ideals over the years and continue to evolve and develop skincare that is not only beautiful but makes a difference inside and out; as well as all around us.
With the boom of clean beauty, how are Good Medicine’s products different from other brands who also make handcrafted small-batch, cruelty-free, gluten-free and consciously made offerings?
We love that it is the norm that all of the above are standard operation…go clean movement!
We actually create our luxury artisan products with desert plants that we personally harvest. On a daily basis, we are out wandering the desert and gathering wild botanicals with incredible healing properties in our skirts, so to speak. These wild desert plants are as organic as they come — nurtured by sunlight and rain, free from pesticides and fertilisers. It is a magical process and really adds to the amount of love and care that goes into each and every bottle.
We take sourcing responsibly and creating our lovely products in small batches very seriously. But what really motivates us and makes us different is our passion for educating others about what skincare is really about: self-love. Caring for the skin is not just about ageless beauty, routines, skin types or chemistry. It is about something bigger and more beautiful. It is about formulating for the unique individual.
We strive to spread the word that skincare is an act of kindness one should commit every day. Our beauty line works collectively and cohesively so every body, dry or oily, young or old, can commit the perfect act of self-love everyday and fall in love with what they see.
Good Medicine’s Mixology method to mixing and matching their blends allows you to listen to your skin and customise a ritual
“Choosing a safe cleanser is very important to the balance of your skin. Cleansing products can be the beginning of the end for most skin.”
Tell us about the brand’s Mixology approach to skincare.
No one fits into a box. Our skin is completely unique. What might be oily one day could be dry or sensitive the next. Depending on diet, exercise, exposure to elements, emotions, hormones, and sleep, our skin will give us a different story everyday. What worked perfectly for a week suddenly falls flat with results the next.
We wanted to give our customers freedom from this box and educate them on how all our products work together cohesively, but also give them the freedom to learn to listen to their skin and make adjustments when they need to. Mixology gives them the power to adjust to any attitude their skin is giving. To set them free — free to explore, create and design a perfect skincare regimen that tickles your soul, ignites your heart and brings you back to nature.
Can you give a good example of how one particular product works “in harmony with the skin’s natural rhythm”?
We believe your skin is smart. Really smart. Your skin has a natural pH where it looks and feels the best. You don’t need your skincare to fix your pH; you just might need a little help getting to that “sweet spot” or your natural pH. Good Medicine skincare does this by drawing upon centuries of herbal wisdom, combining traditional and modern science, and technology; and by working with the skin holistically to help it achieve a natural, self-sufficient state. Each lovely formula will strengthen and enliven your skin’s naturally resilient qualities and encourage a natural state of being.
For example, our Ashes Reincarnation Cleansing Grains works to create this balance. Ashes is a giver, not a taker. Choosing a safe cleanser is very important to the balance of your skin. Cleansing products can be the beginning of the end for most skin. Ashes is formulated to support your skin’s natural processes. It gently but effectively cleans the daily grime away without disrupting your skin’s acid mantle. It leaves your skin feeling fresh, clean, supple and not stripped of all its precious, natural oils.
If you had to pick only one oil and one butter ingredient to use, which would they be and why?
Olive oil is our superhero. It has so many beneficial properties that are needed in a good formulation. It is beneficial to all skin conditions, especially sensitive skin. It contains squalane to help maintain healthy skin and aids in healing damaged skin. It includes three major antioxidants — polyphenols, vitamin E and phytosterols — that naturally protect your skin from oxidative stress. And it penetrates deep and provides a long lasting moisture shield, resulting in smooth supple skin.
Shea butter is our pick if we had to choose one. There are so many butters that we love to work with but shea butter is so luxurious, versatile and nourishing. It’s considered a skin superfood because it is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It provides the skin with essential fatty acids, as well as all the nutrients necessary for collagen production. You actually notice instant softness and less inflammation the moment you apply shea butter. It also moisturises and protects. Our customers consistently fall in love with its almost miraculous effects.
Tell us more about your “bioavailable” (meaning your body knows what to do with them) formulations.
Our products are crafted to be effective and deeply nourishing. They are carefully formulated, with the highest quality, desert-born ingredients to act upon specific skin tissues after application. This is vital because it means that our products contain the correct amount of active ingredients in combination with the correct carriers to create the desired effect.
This is a painstaking process, but it makes us so happy to do it because we know it will create amazing benefits to our beloved customer’s skin.
The brand’s wild desert creations transfer botanicals’ ability to thrive in harsh conditions to effective skincare solutions
How should one switch to a clean beauty routine?
Great question. With any change, it can be beneficial to take it slow and ease into it. It also depends on how “dirty” your current skincare is. The good news is your beautiful skin is smart and will happily adjust to a healthier choice.
In the first 28-30 days of switching to a clean beauty routine, you may experience some congestion, or your skin might have some mood swings. Clean ingredients, by nature, will encourage your skin to release toxins or impurities. Use this time to encourage and strengthen your skin’s natural process. Using products that allow the skin to properly cleanse, maintain balance, and breathe without manipulation or suppression will certainly benefit you in the long run.
We recommend just using one to two new products per week as your skin becomes accustomed to new ingredients. As your skin becomes more accustomed to your new, clean routine, add one new product per week.
Learn to work with your skin and listen to its needs. By paying attention to application order and utilising proper application techniques (yes, every product should be applied in a specific way), your skin will get the most out of these powerful natural ingredients.
And don’t forget, eating healthy and drinking lots of water will help your skin transition more easily.
If you had one wish for the beauty industry, what would it be and why?
We at the Good Medicine Beauty Lab are in love with every individually beautiful woman. We think that what makes you different is what makes you beautiful. We want everyone to break free from feeling like you have to look a certain way to be beautiful. We are all beautiful in unique and amazing ways. We want to see a playful beauty revolution where women embrace themselves and what makes them different. That would be really beautiful.
As a successful company led by women, what are some philosophies that female entrepreneurs should bear in mind?
When you begin, be really clear on who you are and what you stand for as a company. Many different and unexpected opportunities and obstacles will come your way, and you can easily be swayed by trends, industry or whatever. When you know who you are, you can stand tall and make choices that stay true to your values. Knowing where you want to end up paves the path to getting there.
What does conscious living mean to you?
There is an authentic connection that starts with loving yourself. In the lab, conscious living is tied directly to our creative feminine energy and the connection we have with nature and each other. This energy is a rejuvenating one. It is enduring and fulfilling. We consciously pour love into our work, not only because it further connects us to each other and nature, but so that you, our customers, can truly feel it in every bottle. The more we are able to love, the more we connect with one another and live in the moment.
“Each beautifully scented formula is not made of perfumes, but volatile natural essences.
They dance and linger on your skin, reminiscent of sunshine and rain,” says the brand
“Your beautiful skin is smart and will happily adjust to a healthier choice.”
Images courtesy of Good Medicine