When Organic Pharmacy co-founder Margo Marrone had her thunderbolt, she was studying to be a pharmacist in England, and discovered homeopathy and herbal medicine. “It transformed my life,” she says. “I had cystitis, skin problems—it fixed everything.”
Marrone embraced an organic diet and lifestyle, but hadn’t really thought about the ingredients in her beauty products, until, one day, she did. “My world fell apart,” she says. And then, just as quickly, it all came together. “I told my husband [Franco, her business partner] how great it would be if we could open a pharmacy where everything was organic; where I could work as a pharmacist and homeopath, and offer beauty treatments.”
Marrone was visionary back in 2002, when she opened the first Organic Pharmacy in the tony Chelsea neighborhood in London—the equivalent of New York’s Upper East Side. It was a challenge to convince people about organic and botanical-based skincare: “In Europe, people have a perception that essential oils cause allergies,” she says. “Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s the parabens, artificial colors and fragrances. Most people are sensitive to the chemicals in skincare.”
Now, demand for organic food and beauty products is greater than ever, and consumers don’t need as much convincing. But with more brands onboard, of course, the potential for greenwashing is greater, too. That’s why it’s so important, she says, for consumers to stay vigilant. “Brands will say and do anything for marketing,” she says. “That’s why consumers have to educate themselves about ingredients.” Some of her favorites: plant extracts like rose, aloe, rose hip, calendula, St. John’s wort and propolis, which can be “very powerful.”
When her customers began to ask for makeup, Marrone broke out of the box once again, and launched Organic Glam, a curated makeup line with treatment benefits: antioxidants in foundation and botanicals like tea tree and lavender in the concealers. The company avoids the traditional fall/spring launch schedule, and is launching a beautiful new palette this month. “Makeup is highly fragranced and that always bothered me. We avoid petrochemicals, artificial colors and fragrances, and focus on minerals,” she says.
Organic Pharmacy is now in 22 countries, and just opened a flagship in Seoul in July. They are opening soon in Abu Dhabi and Moscow. “These markets weren’t interested in organic, and now they are,” says Marrone. “You see this mind shift and it’s very exciting.” The U.S. base is a 1,000 square-foot flagship in Los Angeles, where Marrone just launched new treatments—like the HydraDiamond Oxygen Facial—that combine organic ingredients with hi-tech/machine-based modalities like microcurrent. “It makes all the difference,” she says. “I would never have anything injected into my skin, but at the same time I want that extra oomph. It’s super-potent and super safe, and great to have that nonsurgical option.”
“The skincare was born out of health, and trying to keep people healthy is what we do best,” says Marrone.
Rose oil is a great moisturizer and reduces redness, too. It’s generally a love/hate, and with me it’s true love: the scent of this product is glorious; a skin-softening balm for the ages—any ages!
Enzyme Peel Mask
Ask any woman with great skin about her secret weapon, and nine times out of 10, it’s a face mask. This one gets rid of any surface debris and leaves all skin types soft and glowing.
Carrot Butter Cleanser
I was first drawn to this cleanser because its natural color is so sunny and cheerful. When I discovered how gentle and effective it is, I was hooked—and you will be, too!
Photography provided by The Organic Pharmacy