Buy locally and take pride in your appearance. Here are six select makers of Minnesota-originated beauty products. Some are large. Some are small. But all are interesting stories about the innovation and ingenuity of our citizens.
Altobelli Hair Products Inc.
14301 W Burnsville Pkwy
Burnsville, MN 55306
Alto Bella Beauty Salon Products is a nationally recognized line of hair care products started by hairstylist Rocco Altobelli in collaboration with a nationally respected chemist Jim Vlasic in the creation of Greenway Research Lab. The Burnsville facility researches, designs, manufactures and distributes all Rocco Altobelli Hair Care and Treatment products. Some examples are ClayPac, betaclar, Style Essentials line of hair styling products as well as Curl Solutions shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and specially formulated salon treatments designed to repair and revitalize damaged hair. In addition to this great proliferation of products, eight Minnesota-based Rocco Altobelli Hair Salons offer full-service salons to style, cut, color or texturize your hair as well as care for nails, skin, makeup and body massage. Readers may also be aware of the Rocco Altobelli Fashion Awards, which has been showcasing the work of its Minnesota stylists, colorists, make-up artists and spa professionals for 38 years. Astute readers may have noted the subtle differentiation in spelling between Alto Bella products and Altobelli salons.
4000 Pheasant Ridge Dr. NE
Blaine, MN 55449
Aveda Corporation manufactures a line of high-performing botanical products currently sold at Aveda Experience Centers and more than 7,000 professional hair salons and spas in more than 30 countries. These products provide skin care, hair care, cosmetics and perfume. The Aveda Institute trains students in 64 Aveda centers across the U.S. teaching Stylists, Estheticians, Nail Technologists, Massage Therapists and Spa Therapists. Horst Rechelbacher founded Aveda in 1978. He was deeply inspired upon a trip to India in 1970 and witnessing a traditional holistic system of medicine and surgery. It was called Ayurveda, which became the source of the Horst’s company name. Estée Lauder Companies acquired Aveda in 1997, and the company now operates as a subsidiary.
Lancaster Soap Company
625 7th Ave.
Two Harbors, MN 55616
Since 2001, Katie Lancaster has made a huge variety of handcrafted soaps and bath products right in her kitchen of her home located near the splendid North Shore of Lake Superior. She perfected her formulas of natural ingredients and skin-pampering vegetable oils after exhaustive research and testing. She colors her soaps solely with cosmetic grade colorants or organic botanicals and spices. Lancaster Soaps can be purchased at the company gift shop, Sweet Peas Gift Shop & Craft Mall, at the same address.
Purple Prairie Botanicals
21515 19th Ave. E.
Clearwater, MN 55320
Owner/Founder Bethany Albers, a mother of three, seeking help for her dry, irritated skin, tried making old-fashioned soap. The results were so striking that she sought to share it with others. She found her passion in crafting the purest of skin care products from safe and organic ingredients, herbal infusions and essential oils. Mrs. Albers’ 14-year-old company now handcrafts artisan natural soap, organic lotions, face creams, massage oil, DEET Free Bug Stuff, natural and biodegradable sunscreen, balms, butters and salves that meet and exceed organic standards.
300 E. Main St.
Anoka, MN 55303
“My natural apothecary items are often more effective, less expensive and better for you than drug store items,” says Shepherdess Naturals Owner/Founder Kathy Esch. She handcrafts natural personal care products in small batches right in her home in Andover and makes them available in her Anoka store on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can order them online at any time at the Shepherdess Naturals website. Shoppers will find soaps, moisturizers and various skin care products designed for dry itchy skin, sensitive skin or other chronic skin conditions. Eczema and psoriasis sufferers may find these homemade moisturizers as beneficial.
William Marvy Company
1540 St. Clair Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
The next time you see a barber pole, think of William Marvy, the St. Paul man who founded the company that is the only remaining U.S. manufacturer of barber poles. In fact, this company has now manufactured over 82,000 barber poles. Two of them can be found in the Smithsonian Institute. This family owned and operated company now makes and supplies many other valuable products to the beauty, barber and nail care industry like sanitizing cabinets, jars, disinfectants and sundries. Marvy family members have done well carrying on the tradition of caring for the customer as Bill Marvy who started his first job at the age of 13 with a barber supply business in 1922.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.