Tell us a little bit about yourself + how you got started with UnderAurora! In high school and throughout college I worked in an absolutely wonderful natural bodycare + aromatherapy shop in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The owner of the shop is an amazing aromatherapist and I learned so much by apprenticing under her for so many years. I graduated college with a degree in Film Studies and decided to move to Portland, Oregon and then to New York City where I worked various jobs in the arts. My partner and I decided to move back home to Columbus around the time that I became pregnant with my daughter, and that's when I decided to return to my first love of making natural products for the skin and blending perfumes essential oils.
What’s UnderAurora all about? First and foremost, it is about creating fragrances and skincare poducts using only high quality, plant-based ingredients. Our skin is our largest organ and it really does absorb the products we put on to it – so why not use the same amount of care in choosing fragrances and skincare as you do when choosing the food that you put into your body. Additionally, UnderAurora has always been a celebration of creative women, art, and feminism. The names of the four original scents – The Poet, The Artist, The Rebel, and The Dreamer – were inspired by the four personality traits or qualities that I feel like every creative woman holds. And then I went on to do the Women We Love – Organic Hand Lotion series, which was a collaboration with artist Leigh Cox featuring labels with illustrations of four different women who were creative visionaries of their time.
Tell us the rocket science behind your products. How do you go from an idea to a finished product? The process is really so different depending on the product. For the Women We Love collaboration that I mentioned above, the first step was deciding on which artists we would feature, and then Leigh went off to draw and I developed each of the scents by engulfing my with their art, whether it be music, sculpture, or film and seeing what essential oils they evoked from me. The Coconut Oil Spray, which is probably my most popular product, had a very practical beginning. I was using solid coconut oil on my daughter to prevent diaper rash back when she was still in diapers, and then I discovered that fractionated coconut oil was so much easier to use. Since it stayed liquid at all temperatures it could just be sprayed on and it absorbed much faster. I added a few healing plant botanicals to the mix and before long I was using it just as much on myself as I was on my daughter. I gave it to a friend who had eczema and it cleared it right up and soon all of my friends with dry, sensitive, or irritated skin started swearing by it.
Why do you make what you make? How did you decide on apothecary? I have such a connection to plant extracts and essential oils, they resonate so powerfully with me, that I guess I just make what I do with the hope that others will have the same sort of connection with my blends as well.
Do you have a favorite product? It's so hard to choose! The Poet is my favorite scent – it's a blend of pink grapefruit, sambac jasmine and rosewood. That is the blend I was making and wearing for years before I started UnderAurora and it's just so fresh and uplifting. The Coconut Oil Spray has seriously changed my life – I use it for everything but especially love using it in place of shaving cream when I shave my legs. It leaves them feeling silky smooth and I never get any nicks or irritations. BUT, what I seriously couldn not live without is the Gentle Facial Cleanser, Balancing Facial Toner, and Nourishing Facial Oil . It's a 3-step system that I use religiously both morning and night. It leaves my skin soft and smooth and healthy.
Is there a certain anecdote behind your favorite product? Is it inspired by memories, places? My Palo Santo fragrance – which is actually a blend of palo santo, patchouli, and black spruce essential oils and comes in as either a solid fragrance or perfume oil – always takes me back to when I was first introduced to palo santo. My husband is a musician and he spent a month touring Chile right around the time we were first dating, almost 10 years ago now. He came home with a big bag of these small wonderful smelling palo santo sticks that we would burn in the evening as we hung out and got to know each other better.
What are you inspired by, in general? Herbalists, painters, poets, healers, teachers, jewelry makers, musicians, activists, shamans, filmmakers, aromatherapists, riot grrrls, witches, sculptors, yogis, photographers, farmers, etc.
Crowning achievement? There is so much I've achieved already that I'm proud of, but I hope my crowning achievement is yet to come!