What Is Farm-To-Face Beauty — & Why Should You Care?

Much like farm-to-table cuisine before it, the concept of farm-to-face beauty has been a growing market for a few years now. And it's more than just a buzzy catchphrase — it's a movement. As in-the-know beauty enthusiasts demand greater transparency from their favorite brands, the process products go through before landing on our bathroom shelves is being laid bare: Consumers no longer want to know just what effect a formula will have on their skin, but also exactly where ingredients come from, their quality, and how they've been treated in laboratories.

While the rest of the industry plays catch-up, brands that have long championed this transparency are taking center stage. Tata Harper's eponymous brand has been at it since first launching several years ago; each and every ingredient used in the brand's formulas is foraged from the Harper's property in Vermont. "Traditionally, ‘farm-to-face’ means ingredients that come from local sources," Harper explains. "We have a factory on our farm so we make all products on site. This has been at the core of our DNA since we launched — we are obsessed with being the freshest possible."

The difference between her products and other, less holistic products, Harper explains, has to do with not only bottling the most beautiful ingredients, but opting out of the synthetic preservatives that some brands rely on. "When you're buying a product, it might already be two years old when you open the box," she says. "Each of our bottles has the freshest and highest-performing ingredients possible. We strive to minimize production time — from farm to face."

For Mark Veeder, co-founder of Farmacy, the concept is also rooted in ingredients, which he harvests on his farm in upstate New York. "Our products are centered around powerful farmer-cultivated ingredients, ensuring that the full potential of these ingredients is preserved through a meticulous process," he tells Refinery29. "We control our key, exclusive ingredients, from hand-planting to employing organic growing methods, and we hand-harvest the root and apply science to extract, stabilize, and supercharge the potent active ingredients."

Veeder also highlights the fact that being able to trace the journey from harvest to skin is key, because beauty fanatics are savvier than ever these days. "They're paying more attention to what they eat and drink; they also want to know what’s in the products they use every day," Veeder says. "There is an understanding from consumers that all of these things impact the end result of what they put on their faces and in their bodies."

As Harper says, we're "voting with our money" — and it looks a lot like we want clarity on everything from production methods to ingredient choices via packaging waste and ethical sourcing. Ahead, we've rounded up the best finds in farm-to-face beauty right now. Started from the harvest, now we're here...

This L.A-based luxury skin-care brand was founded by Craig and Julia Noik back in 2012. With the goal of capturing the wealth of natural botanicals found in South Africa's Cape Floral Kingdom (where 9,000 plant species grow), they've created a line of beauty products that distill the potent ingredients. Sourcing directly from each supplier, the founders regularly visit the origin of the plants and ensure each crop is as fresh as can be.

This cleanser, made up of moringa, marula, and baobab oils, is super lightweight but removes pretty much every trace of makeup. Thanks to the AHA fruit acids from grapefruit and sugar cane, it leaves skin glowing, too. It's paraben-, preservative- and chemical-free, and smells divine.

African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil, $60, available at African Botanics.
This hard-working daily cleanser boasts a blemish-fighting combination of willow bark (a natural source of salicylic acid), pink clay, and apricot-seed kernels to gently polish skin and leave it feeling repaired and refreshed.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, $78, available at Tata Harper.
With 15 active ingredients all farm-grown and formulated on-site at the brand's Arizona HQ, this 100% natural, nature-derived blend contains rosehip seed and sea algae to aid cell renewal as you sleep, while peach extract and neroli flower soothe — the perfect cocktail for damaged skin.

Kypris Moonlight Catalyst, $77, available at Kypris.
Founded by biochemist Dr. Jürgen Klein and his wife Ulrike, a botanist, the aim of Jurlique (which is a combination of their first names) is to connect people with nature. After leaving their native Germany for South Australia's Adelaide Hills, the duo set up shop in 1985 and began growing potent ingredients for their products.

From growing seeds in hothouses and planting them in nutrient-rich soil, to picking them by hand once cultivated, you can trace each step a Jurlique ingredient takes. The brand is famous for its roses, and this rich, hydrating mask is a luxe Sunday evening treat.

Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Moisturising Cream Mask, $42, available at Jurlique.
Everything changed for Farmacy co-founder Mark Veeder after he discovered a rare green-flowered plant in his garden in Sullivan County, NY, in 1999. "Green flowers in the plant world are extremely scarce, so it was a shock to find it," he said. After sending the flower to top horticultural labs for testing, results showed a new variety of echinacea, containing an even higher concentration of immune-boosting restorative properties. It's at the heart of the entire brand, including this oily yet lightweight melting balm, which removes every last bit of makeup and leaves skin silky smooth. It's perfect for the city-dweller as it tackles the effects of pollution — plus, ginger root oil gives skin a glowy boost.

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm, $34, available at Farmacy.
Odacité founder Valerie Grandury's quest for cleaner skin care began during her fight with breast cancer, when she sought to remove harmful toxins from her life — and her skin care. Made with high-quality ingredients formulated in the brand's lab in California, this blemish-fighting serum penetrates deep into the pores, controlling the spread of bacteria with its antiseptic properties. It works as a preventative if a few drops are mixed into moisturizers daily, or can be rubbed onto problem areas as needed.

Odacité Bl+C Pimples Serum Concentrate (Black Cumin + Cajeput), $32, available at Nordstrom.
Neal's Yard has long been an advocate for transparency in beauty; one look at the company's website and you can trace the source of the majority of ingredients, from Kenyan-farmed tea tree essential oil to New Zealand beeswax. The majority of the brand's products are manufactured in an energy-efficient eco factory in Dorset, England, where they also grow their own herbs. In this face-polishing formula, antioxidant milk thistle and aloe vera are combined with exfoliating rose seed powder, leaving skin smooth, glowing and hydrated.

Neal's Yard Rehydrating Rose Facial Polish, $26, available at NYR Organic.
Makeup artist and skin-care enthusiast Arabella Preston created Votary out of her fascination with the skin-enhancing performance of certain natural oils and acids. Preston hand-blends every small-batch formula in the line, using traceable ingredients from all over Britain, like the soothing tamanu oil and salicylic acid in this life-saver of a blemish-fighter, which penetrates the top layer of skin to exfoliate and accelerate recovery from angry breakouts.

Votary Blemish Rescue Oil, $56, available at Votary.
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