A Return to Beloved Hippie-Era Beauty Products
The current trend for natural skin care, from rosehip face oils to rhassoul clay masks, owes a great deal to the first wave of the movement, which gained momentum in the 1960s and ’70s when earthy, do-it-all formulas made with uncomplicated plant-derived ingredients — and a certain free-spirited, hippie mentality — abounded. Such products captured a moment in time, when wellness didn’t feel like a marketing concept, and you could relax in a salt bath without feeling the urge to document it on social media. It’s this slow, simple approach to self-care that has sparked a renewed interest in these retro goods in our modern age.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap ($19), for example, gained popularity in the ’60s for cleaning hair, skin and even dishes, making it ideal for campouts and communal living. It also touted hemp as an ingredient long before the current CBD craze, a point that’s not lost on Zoe Sigman, an editor at Broccoli, a Portland, Ore.-based magazine that explores cannabis culture. Sigman frequently lathered up with the almond rose version while living in a “deep-woods commune” in Northern California and calls the scent “delightful without being overwhelming.” Or consider the Boulder, Colo.-based brand Mountain Ocean’s Skin Trip Lotion ($14), a non-greasy lotion that has embraced the healing benefits of antibacterial coconut oil since 1971, and still comes in a bottle adorned with flowery illustrations designed for a calming aura rather than a stylized photograph (the brand isn’t even on Instagram). For a holistic remedy to “fight a cold,” Kerrilynn Pamer, the co-founder of CAP Beauty, breaks out a tub of Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath ($13), an Ayurvedic blend of mustard seed and pungent herbs first concocted in England in the ’60s by the acupuncturist Shyam Singha that’s “wildly effective,” she says.
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More recently launched products conjure hippie vibes, too, such as Best Skin Ever ($27), an aromatic healing face oil from Living Libations, a Canadian line founded in 2004 with a distinct flower-power feel. The Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Annina Mislin, meanwhile, is partial to the Lancaster, Pa.-based brand Jao’s Goē Oil ($49), a blend of 28 botanical oils packaged in a spaceship-silver tube, whose name is an acronym for “garden of Eden.” Released in 2008, the sunflower, avocado and grape-seed-enriched balm “gives a summery gloss to the skin,” says Mislin. For a similar effect, Haley Boyd, the designer of the California-based Marais shoe line, adds “an extra glow” to her legs with Maui Babe’s Original Browning Lotion ($15), a ’90s-era bronzing tint crafted in Wailuku, Hawaii, with Kona coffee plant extract. While the product was inspired by the retro practice of slathering on baby oil to tan, rest assured, Boyd says, “I apply it over sunscreen.”