Less is More: Gritty City simplifies beauty products

Gritty City's Organic Skincare Trio | Image via grittycitybeauty.comWe as a society and we as sustainable advocates tend to focus the majority of our time, energy and money on what we put into our bodies -- organic food, locally grown meats, pesticide free produce etc. All well and good, but what about our beauty products? What about what we put on our bodies? -- Lotions, creams, powders, oils, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, makeup, oh how the list goes on. Many overlook the vast amount of products we use to buff, primp, and pamper our bodies each day when the truth is many may be doing more harm than good.

Sarah Holmes, a lawyer by trade, realized a dire personal need to dump chemical-laden cosmetics for natural alternatives after years of suffering from a range of unsightly skin issues. She had always relied on prescription creams and lotions, but when she became pregnant her doctor recommended she stop using the prescribed meds. From there, Holmes took it upon herself to buy and use only natural and organic beauty products. Unfortunately, organic products typically cost a great deal more than non-organic products, and Holmes  couldn’t afford to spend 40 dollars on a 5 oz. bottle of Shea butter any longer.

Instead, she began creating her own beauty blends via buying natural ingredients from wholesalers like Penn Herbs. After testing her homemade concoctions on willing friends and family as testers, Holmes decided to take a stab at selling her products to the public. Thus, Gritty City Beauty Co. was born.

To promote her new line of products to the Philadelphia community, Holmes began selling Gritty City products at local events, including Shad Fest, Trenton Ave. Arts Festival, and Clover Market with the help of her husband. This time the positive feedback came from complete strangers, and assured Holmes that she had found an untapped beauty market. She now has an online store that offers a full range of beauty products and soy candles. 

Gritty City offers eye makeup, soaps, butters, scrubs, face wash, moisturizers, creams, foundation, bronzer, blush, lip gloss, nail polish and even perfume. Each Gritty City product is made in Philadelphia and can be purchased online, or at local retailers Nice Things Hand Made on Passyunk Ave. and VIX Emporium in West Philly. Her products are made with natural oils, soy bean proteins, rose clay, mica, iron oxides and other natural ingredients, and avoid the use of bismuth oxychloride, talc, artificial dyes, parabens, or phthalates in their products because they tend to irritate the skin, and may be harmful to health. Gritty City believes that when it comes to ingredients in beauty products, less is more. Organic ingredients are favored because they tend to irritate the skin less and give a healthy glow opposed to a fake shine.

While Holmes no longer makes all of the products herself, she is hoping to start growing herbs of her own in order to create unique fragrances. She is currently working on a candle and bath/body line with Heirloom, a home and garden store opening this fall in Glenside.  

Be sure to visit grittycitybeauty.com to check out the beauty products, and the latest vintage candle containers (Holmes finds them at flea markets!) Upcoming fall scents include, pumpkin, apple and pine.