The Small-Batch Beauty of Curious Nature Apothecary

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Curious Nature Apothecary’s all-natural skin-care products, such as this honey bath and body oil, are hand-made in Rhode Island from locally sourced ingredients. Photo by Mike Fusaro.

Two years ago, the idea for Curious Nature Apothecary was born over a cup of coffee when best friends Gina Browning and Jill Sarmento were discussing the merits of natural beauty products. Gina, who has a background in business and accounting, had begun taking a perfumery class after not being able to find natural products she truly loved. Jill, a massage therapist and aromatherapist was already making body care products for her clients. The eureka moment resulted when they realized they could take matters into their own hands, literally.

After a year of research and product development, the pair began hand-making their skin-care line in a peaceful, light-filled studio in West Greenwich, RI. Lip balms, body oils, scrubs, and more are made from certified-organic, unsprayed, and chemical-free ingredients. For perfumery, ingredients are chosen for their natural aromas and synergy. As much as possible, raw materials – and always beeswax and honey – are sourced locally, including many botanicals that come from Farmacy Herbs in Providence. The women also make all of their own infusions from botanicals and carrier oils, which means that the small-batch products can take weeks or months to make from start to finish.

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Jill Sarmento (left) and Gina Browning, founders of Curious Nature Apothecary, work from their light-filled studio in West Greenwich, RI. Photo by Jen Brister of Story and Gold Photography.

Details right down to packaging design are carefully worked out – sustainable materials such as glass and compostable paperboard are some of the responsible packing choices they’ve made. Currently for sale at the Curious Nature online shop and at Facing Thayer and Evolve Apothecary in Providence, Jill and Gina also hope to move into a new, bigger studio that will function as a retail and workshop space.

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Everything in the line is designed to relax, uplift, soothe, and help maintain healthy skin, but the best element may be the healthy message Curious Nature imparts. “We focus on creating products that encourage others to take a moment for daily self-care,” says Gina, “and to slow down and connect with nature.” Whether it’s a quick swipe of moisture for your lips or a long soak in a hot tub, these hand-crafted products are infused with all-natural goodness – they’re an everyday luxury that’s good for you, too.

Alexandra Ventura is a recent graduate of Salve Regina University, where she earned a degree in Political Science and Philosophy. She currently resides in Newport, RI.

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