Natural beauty


POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008

Developing a skin-care line would seem incongruous for someone whose previous job entailed building-industry research and development for the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified home on Maui.

But for Michelle Garcia, the concepts of natural eco- and human-friendly lifestyles are intertwined. She had grown up with a love of nature and had been trying to do her small part to live green, including driving a hybrid car and recycling.

While working on the LEED home, designed to meet a national standard for sustainable green building, she studied alternative materials that would limit exposure to toxic chemicals common in household goods. She was horrified to learn that the same toxic ingredients are prevalent in products we entrust with our physical well-being. At the time, she was pregnant and worried for the health of her son - research has shown that harmful chemicals in a mother's bloodstream can also be found in their newborns, and many of those chemicals have cosmetic origins.

“;I started looking for products that are really clean, and I couldn't find anything that worked,”; she said. “;Some smelled good and felt good to use, but they didn't do anything. A product could be very clean, but you also want that product to perform.”;





FDA position on parabens

Cosmetic Ingredient Review


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics



Garcia's skin-care line, Pure&True, debuted two months ago and beginning next month will be part of the product line at the Four Seasons at Hualalai. This reflects its dual nature, pairing the organic luxury of antioxidant and phytochemical compounds derived from tea plants, blue-green algae, kelp and hibiscus, with proven cosmeceuticals such as vitamin A, DMAE and hyaluronic acid used by dermatologists. Scents are from essential oils of roses, jasmine and neroli, rather than artificial fragrances.

Pure&True is also on track to become an A-list phenomenon, already part of the beauty arsenals of Sienna Miller, Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Prices range from $32 for cleansers and toners, to $78 for Intensive C Rejuvenating Serum, and $85 for a Multi-Vitamin Age-Defying Serum.

Pure&True products also are petroleum- and parabens-free, referring to preservatives with the properties of estrogen, implicated in the plummeting sperm counts of American men. A 1984 Cosmetic Ingredient Review concluded that methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are safe for use in cosmetics at levels up to .04 percent if used alone or .08 percent as part of paraben mixes. But for many, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Pure&True's creams and serums were formulated to meet the more stringent European Union Cosmetics Directive amended in 2004 “;to ban chemicals known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, mutation or birth defects.”;

In place of parabens, Pure&True uses a synthesized preservative, phenoxyethanol, deemed safe to use at up to 1 percent.

“;We try to be as transparent as possible because it's better to educate people and let them know what you're doing,”; she said. “;My goal is to one day be 100-percent natural.”;


Pure&True products can be found at Hot Mama Maternity in Kaimuki and Apothetique (above Bamboo Sky) on Kamakee Street. The Web site pureandtrue.com will be running by month's end.