Holistic approaches, desert vibes and a focus on nature have recently become trends in the skin-care space, but for the founders behind brands with these focuses, it’s more than a trend, it’s a commitment to a certain kind of lifestyle. It’s not surprising that the California desert has been a muse for a handful of blooming brands in skin care lately. To many, the arid land represents community, natural beauty and simple living—all of which align with the clean beauty movement.
If you head out to Joshua Tree, you’ll find the Beauty Bubble Salon, a museum filled with memorabilia archived by Jeff Hafler. Just next door, in the Mojave Desert, you’ll find the Mojave Desert Skin Shield, which began as a wellbeing space and now yields a few lifestyle lines, including wild-crafted skin care. The spa at Mojave Desert Skin Shield offers sound therapy, Tao tea meditation and a signature Fascial, which involves a 100-minute facial healing treatment that targets fascia.
Patricia Vernhes, Founder of Mojave Desert Skin Shield, acknowledges that, at first glance, the desert may seem arid and barren. However, she claims it’s actually “one of the most peaceful places on earth” and “teeming with life.” She explains that daily life in the desert “requires a kind of a dialogue with it, and nature truly speaks in volumes. It teaches you how to listen from within. It’s enchanted and has its own language and pace and stoic resilience.”
Although there are all these beautiful benefits of nature, and the desert in particular, Vernhes notes that it “can be unforgiving on our skin,” which is why she developed a line of organic skin care. “The original formula came to me in meditation,” says Vernhes. “It addresses a wide spectrum of skin-care concerns within one blend; calming inflammation, repairing sun damage, protecting from external stressors, inhibiting free radicals, supporting skin’s natural metabolism and slowing the aging process.”
Sandwiched between Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert is the tiny community in Wonder Valley. Husband-and-wife team Alison and Jay Carroll founded a brand with the same name and rooted it in olive oil, as Alison has worked with the California Olive Oil Council in quality control. The brand, Wonder Valley, takes the ethos of “finding grandeur in simple living,” that circulates throughout California desert towns, and infuses it into its products.
When discussing how the California desert inspired Wonder Valley, Jay explains that there’s no ignoring that “nature is king” in the desert, which helps forge a close relationship to it. “We live by its ques, and it teaches us surrender, gives us clarity and presence of mind. It’s a great teacher,” he says. “Also the expansiveness of it. It clears your head in a really meaningful way, not unlike meditation and with that the infinite landscape yields infinite imagination.” He adds that they put a lot of this “good peace of mind” to work when developing Wonder Valley.
Vernhes believes that “to nurture, share and preserve” is a formula to live by. “It’s about finding abundance, creating a feeling of awe, daily. Bridging utility, creativity, simplicity, and community into one philosophy and a lifestyle,” she says. “‘Staying radiant’ is a choice, a way of being.”