I often get asked by people who would like to switch to less toxic beauty and personal care options, “Where do I start? How do I know if a natural brand will actually work for me? How do I know whether I will have an allergic reaction?” Well, trial and error is one way to go about it. But what if you could sample and try various natural beauty products, so that you could commit to buy the right ones for you? What if you could talk directly to a licensed esthetician and / or herbalist with whom you could consult, and who could help you choose the best and most effective products for you? Pharmaca stores offer these services, and more!
As a long-time online shopper with Pharmaca.com, where I personally find most of my natural beauty and non-toxic personal care products, I was always interested in the physical locations that Pharmaca offers around the country. So I ventured out to the La Jolla Pharmaca location, located near San Diego California, earlier this month to find out what this company offers in their stores that might attract local customers in the San Diego area. I am always a fan of online discounts and the convenience of ordering at the computer (hence my love of Pharmaca.com), but there are many attractions to visiting a Pharmaca store in person, and it’s well worth a trip if you have a physical Pharmaca location near you.
Pharmaca is an integrative pharmacy that offers the typical pharmaceutical prescription-filling services, but the company is also a retailer of natural and homeopathic products – everything from raw foods, to herbal supplements, to the best natural beauty and natural personal care brands on the market. Of course my favorite Pharmaca offering is the natural beauty and non-toxic personal care selection! And here is where the fun part of an in-person visit comes in: much like Sephora, visitors are free to sample the various natural beauty brands, including makeup, natural perfumes, creams, hair products, and various other natural brand goodies. There are also licensed estheticians and herbalists on premise to help customers with whatever questions they may have about beauty products, skincare and herbal supplements.
I met with one of Pharmaca’s La-Jolla-based senior estheticians, Amy Rellstab, who assists customers in finding the right makeup, skincare and personal care products. She emphasized that an in-person visit is beneficial for anyone who would like expert consultations on color matching, makeup application, and product information. A licensed esthetician may also offer you samples of some products, such as facial creams (which are often culprits when it comes to facial allergic reactions), so that you can try out a product in a few applications, before buying a full-size tube.
Although Pharmaca does not yet offer daily spa service (and I’m hoping they one day will!), the stores do offer spa days every month, where customers can enjoy beauty treatments, makeovers, presentations from visiting brand representatives, and other fun beauty-related offerings. Attending one of these spa days is another great way to familiarize oneself with various amazing natural brands on the market! Advertisements for these spa days are available in-store, but you can also give your local Pharmaca a call to see when the next spa day will be.
I asked Pharmaca’s esthetician Amy Rellstab why it is beneficial to consider less toxic brands, such as are available at Pharmaca, over popular brand-name personal care products that contain more chemicals and synthetics. Afterall, most people tend to assume that since a product is on a store’s shelf, it must be safe to use. Amy explained that although many of those popular brand name personal care products appear to be effective, they will contain chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic. There just is not enough government regulation currently for the cosmetic market that would ban corporations from adding potentially dangerous substances into their cosmetic products. Amy also mentioned that the list of ingredients for many of these popular brand name products are so extensive and chemical-ridden that she will often have to look up the complicated names of various chemicals present in products, even though she has been working with beauty products for years!
One rule I go for is: if there are more than two or three incomprehensible ingredients in a product, it’s probably too chemical-ridden to be honestly safe for my skin. And if it has parabens and other obvious culprits in it – forget it! Esthetician Amy Rellstab also highlighted parabens as one of the worst toxic culprits she finds in popular brand name products.
Pharmaca, as a company, is very selective in the brands they choose to represent and to sell, and I certainly feel much safer purchasing from them than from most other stores. The brands that Pharmaca represents do not contain any of the worst carcinogenic ingredients found in most popular brand name products.
So, take a drive over to a Pharmaca store and start trying some less toxic options for your skincare, beauty and personal care needs! Your body, both externally and internally, deserves the safer options, with fewer chemicals and fewer synthetics. Check out the Pharmaca store locator to see if you have a location near you!