Think of the soil as the “skin” of the earth. The parallels between taking care of our soil and taking care of our skin are many, and the more we strip the soil and our skin of their naturally diverse microbiomes through unsustainable and harsh agricultural and skincare practices, the more damage and deleterious effects ensue. To dig into this topic and discuss solutions to support the skin of our body and the planet, we’re excited to share a Q&A conversation with Bethany McDaniel, the founder of Primally Pure Skincare.
Bethany began Primally Pure out of her passion for real, recognizable ingredients — not just on her plate, but in her skincare products. When Bethany's family spontaneously started a beyond organic livestock farm in Southern California, she discovered the power of eating real food and her eyes were opened to a new world of wellness. Bethany subsequently purged her bathroom cabinets of toxic conventional skincare products and began formulating her own replacements with pure, simple ingredients. From the pasture to her own office space and workshop, it's Bethany's joy to continue to provide customers with innovative, creative, and clean beauty products — skincare that promotes health and vitality.
Q: What does soil health and regenerative farming have to do with the skin?
ION*: Soil is a living, breathing ecosystem of micro-organisms, essential to all plant, animal, and human life on earth. When the soil is depleted through harmful agricultural practices, so becomes our food. Nutrient-rich thriving soil produces nutrient-rich food; when we consume these essential nutrients our whole body benefits, including our largest organ and outermost defense, the skin. Furthermore, the gut and skin are intrinsically connected. When the gut is out of balance due in large to the impact of harmful toxins in our environment, this shows up in our skin health (i.e eczema, skin rashes, etc.).
Regenerative farming practices restore biodiversity in the soil, much like regenerative skin care practices support a healthy skin microbiome.
Primally Pure: Regenerative farming maximizes the health of the soil, in turn producing healthier and higher quality plants. Ingredients that were grown in a regenerative manner are more pure and potent, which means you are getting a higher nutrient profile in those ingredients.
In addition to the ingredients being full of nutrients, plants that are grown regeneratively as well as animals raised utilizing regenerative farming methods will be more pure in nature, due to the absence of pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified organisms.
Regenerative farming = more pure and nutrient-dense ingredients = healthier skin.
Q: How do synthetic chemicals and fertilizers used in conventional farming impact skin health?
ION*: These toxins are destructive to all life on earth, on a cellular level. Products we apply to our skin get absorbed into our body to various degrees. Further, toxins like glyphosate notoriously break down our essential barriers (the skin barrier and the gut lining), allowing more toxins to enter into our precious internal environment, thereby causing an array of health issues.
Regenerative farming supports healthy soil, which allows for pure ingredients to be sourced for things like skincare; additionally, this impactful agricultural method benefits the environment in a myriad of ways. By keeping our soil nourished and void of harmful herbicides, we support our life-giving waterways, benefiting the animals and local communities who depend on clean water to flourish.
Primally Pure: At Primally Pure, we believe that skincare doesn’t just stop at washing your face and applying products. Our skin is connected with our whole system, and therefore can’t be approached as something that is separate from caring for the body as a whole.
We know that much of what we apply to our skin is absorbed and ends up in our system. Therefore, we approach the idea of using ingredients in skincare products that contain synthetic chemicals in much the same way that we would approach consuming foods that contain pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
Toxins like glyphosate are harmful to the health of our cells and bodies as a whole, and should be avoided in the foods we eat and in the products we apply. For anyone wanting to lessen their overall toxic burden, avoiding toxins in skincare and personal care products is very important. And it’s something that’s within our control, which is super empowering!
Q: What does ‘sustainable skincare’ mean?
ION*: As we continue to strive towards our larger mission of improving soil and planetary health, a critical change has been updating our entire ION* product line to more eco-friendly packaging, including using 50% post-consumer resin (PCR) HDPE plastic for our bottles, which has a lower carbon footprint than new/virgin plastic production, and is easy to recycle. Our Ecoprime plastic bottles are both lightweight and able to insulate and shield the unique electrical potential of ION*.
HDPE bottles are made from polyethylene, or polypropylene, do NOT contain BPA (Bisphenol-A), and are not made from polycarbonate, polystyrene, phthalates, or polyvinyl chloride. HDPE does not contain heavy metals or allergens. Most sources agree HDPE is the safest plastic for consumable liquids. Further, they do not release any harmful fumes into the environment.
With nature always on our mind, we seek to continuously move towards a product line that reflects that, both inside and out. We also provide monthly support to our sister non-profit organization Farmer’s Footprint, whose mission is to accelerate regenerative food systems as a means to restore human and planetary health through education on the impacts of chemical farming and the importance of soil health and regenerative agriculture as well as storytelling and community building.
Primally Pure: Sustainable skincare usually entails things like recyclable glass containers, plastic-free shipping, minimal use of plastic in general, and utilizing some sort of recycling program for product containers - all of which we do.
But from the beginning, it’s been our goal to take things a step further. Utilizing (and supporting) farms that employ regenerative practices reconnects us to the earth in a way nothing else can. It brings value, honor, and intention back to the ingredients being sourced.
Q: What could a regenerative skincare ritual look like?
ION*: At ION*, we like to keep things simple and create daily regenerative rituals to support health and beauty from the inside out. That’s why our line of microbiome-supporting products are based upon the same formula, our ancient soil-derived fulvate. Taking ION* Gut Support before meals (pets too!), and spritzing skin with ION* Skin Support before applying daily products (or whenever skin needs a refreshing boost), are quick and easy ways to support critical internal and external barrier systems for optimal functioning. We whole-heartedly believe that healthy skin starts from within and that less really is more. When barriers are strong through consistent ritual that reconnects us to nature, the gut and skin can thrive as nature intended.
Primally Pure: We believe that the skincare products we use should resemble the interaction and important roles of both plants and animals in the wild. In nature, plants and animals exist synergistically. Animals rotate around different parts of pasture and graze the land, providing natural fertilizer, and plants grow more healthy and strong as a result. Regenerative agriculture mimics these natural patterns with a method of farming called rotational grazing (allowing animals to graze on a portion of pasture and then allowing the fertilized soil to rest from the grazing and grow whatever has been planted or natively there).
Just as plants and animals work together in nature and because plants and animals contain unique nutrients, we believe that it’s important to incorporate both plant and animal-based ingredients into our skincare routines.
We use ingredients like tallow from grass-fed cows, emu oil, honey and other animal products in addition to plant-based carrier oils and essential oils in order to create the most nutrient-dense skincare products available.
Q: How do we bring more regenerative living principles into our day to day lives?
ION*: We believe that a holistic approach in alignment with nature is the ideal path toward sustaining optimal health in the present, and for years to follow. This means eating real food that is organic, local, and regeneratively grown whenever possible (or better yet, grow your own!), getting restful sleep, staying hydrated with fresh fruits and veggies and non-chlorinated water (spring and reverse osmosis water are great options), getting regular movement, avoiding toxic skincare and household cleaning products, spending time in nature, being in community, having a spiritual practice, and minding your mental well-being. When your daily life is aligned with nature and the health you wish to embody, the body and mind constantly regenerate, and true and lasting wellness is possible.
Primally Pure: To me, living in a way that’s aligned with regenerative practices is all about living with a traditional/ancestral mindset as much as is possible in our modern world.
Now, I’m not saying we should all throw our smartphones away and go homestead in the country. Because while parts of that do sound pretty amazing, that lifestyle isn’t realistic for everyone. BUT there are things all of us can do to better align ourselves with the wisdom of our ancestors.
We can adhere to a nose-to-tail philosophy when it comes to using animal products (eating the meat/organs, using tallow in our skincare products, etc). We can vote with our forks and choose to purchase regeneratively-raised meat and organic foods whenever possible. We can avoid buying clothing made from synthetic fibers and plastics, instead choosing to purchase from brands that use organic fabrics.
Few of us are able to do all the things, all the time - but every small step we are able to take has a positive impact on our own health and the health of the planet.
You can learn more about Primally Pure at https://primallypure.com/.