Karen’s Body Beautiful: The Natural Way To Beauty
Food for your skin
With scents and products that range from fruity to floral to earthy Karen’s products use the most natural ingredients from all around the world. Jojoba oil, Sugar, Olive oil, coconut and safflower oils are just some of the all natural ingredients used in their lotions, scrubs and soaps. Once hearing about this store I had to check it out for myself and not only is everything all natural but everything is made right in the store! Before your eyes soaps and lotions are being mixed and cooked in the amazing kitchen fully stocked with the most natural ingredients to feed your body’s beauty needs. I sat down with Karen, the founder, to find out how she came up with the concept for her store and how she managed to create these amazing products without harmful chemicals.
Karen: We’re very much into giving our customers the best information they need in order to make the best choice. There are so many products and hair textures you have to choose the right products. We have palmade for women with dry scalp. The same for the skin we make the body lotions.
NESHA: How in the world did you figure out how to make this stuff? Tell us about how you got started.
Karen: Lots of research…experimentation…trial and error. I am just a very resourceful person and I pick up things easily. Research, experimentation,trial and error.
NESHA: Tell us a little about the background story of Karen’s Body Beautiful and about what inspired you.
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Karen: When I was 17 I was a freshman in college I decided that I didn’t want to go to law school and I was going to be an entrepreneur. I interned at a law firm and saw how hard they worked and I decided that I would rather work for myself. I put together a brochure and I put together a mailing list and sent it to a couple of thousand households. It worked out well and people started calling. I came back to New York and I was making good money for a college student but paying New York rent– uh uh…so I had to get a job so I worked on Wall Street for a year and that was very similar to working at the law firm just a different industry.
Then I got a job teaching so I could focus more on my business. I thought it would be relaxing and it let me get out early in the afternoon and have summers off. I did that for 3 years and I still had the care package delivery service.
So my husband joined me on that business and so since I was able to have his help it was able to grow. We decided to do some changes to upscale gourmet food gift baskets. I decided to explore the retail market for that. But we weren’t ready for that. So we went into running carts for a week in popular shopping malls during holiday times. We started doing research and literally looked at the back of bottles of the stuff we were selling and wondered about why all those chemicals were needed for something that was just moisturizing your skin. And as we were researching what these chemicals were we discovered that we could make a healthier version of these products. And so we spent July and August just making stuff and it started doing well. Our coworkers and friends liked it. As we did research, we figured it would be a good time to come out because people were really interested in the process etc. And 6 months later we decided to open a place. We came upon a place actually by accident because we weren’t looking for a place. But the only problem was we didn’t have enough products to stock the store. So we signed the lease for the store and came home everyday from school and made lotion, made soaps my husband built furniture and we opened in February of 2004.
NESHA: So you’ve been in business four years so far, what new things have happened with the company?
Karen: Well, we’re always coming out with new scents. And we just developed a baby line. Well all of our stuff is safe to use on babies but this is more catered to the little ones.
NESHA: Tell us a bit about the baby line! That is so cute!
NESHA: Why do other companies use that stuff—the chemicals we can’t pronounce— in the first place?
Karen: I think sometimes in business people do things based on the bottom line and because those ingredients are cheaper than the real stuff they use they are only thinking about the fact that it cost less. For example, olive oil, anyone who cooks knows olive oil is expensive and you can get corn oil for half the cost but we know that olive oil is very indulgent and other ingredients, even natural ingredients wont give you the effect that olive oil will. So we are willing to spend more money to give our customers better ingredients. And people who like to read labels and are conscious of what they put on their skin appreciate it.
NESHA: So, some people might call you the new Carol’s Daughter, what do you think of that comparison?
Karen: I think that’s a compliment, clearly Lisa price is a pioneer because she took a chance and opened her business in an industry where not too many people look like us and she’s doing tremendous things with her business. And so when people compare me to her I think that’s great I take it as a compliment! People love her products, she has a tremendous fan base and she’s very successful.
NESHA: What type of expansion plans do you have?
Karen: Our most immediate expansion is the spa and we also plan on coming out with a more specific skin care line that addresses anti-aging and pigmentation, acne or scarring. So different areas especially in skin care that we’re going to address. I think it’s a natural extension of what we do.
It’s going to be a full service spa, very beautiful, facials massages, body treatments. This is for October.
What are some of the top beauty picks from this summer?
1- A lot of people like to do facemasks so our face masks are for different skin types. So if you have oily skin it will clean your pores by extracting the dirt and oil. Where as the one for dry and sensitive skin is very gentle and wont dry your skin and still cleans your pores. So facemasks are popular.
2- Toners are popular because they are very refreshing and also restore your skin pH and cleans your skin.
3- In terms of the body products, a lot of people like the body butter, even though its great for the winter because it is very moisturizing but a lot of people like that glow that the body butter gives you. It looks very healthy.
4- The bar soaps are popular year round. We make 20 different scents so they’re popular gifts because they’re pretty and they are moisturizing bar soaps. A lot of people are doing weddings in the summer so we get a lot of people coming in for wedding gifts and bridal showers.
5- The body scrubs because people are exposing their skin and they like to use the body scrubs to exfoliate. Your skin feels powdery soft, especially on your legs, I don’t know its weird. Its kind of like um, you feel just really nice and silky and you don’t have to put on lotion or a moisturizer after you use it.
What is the best way to have clear smooth skin on your face?
We make products for acne—face wash , toner, mask. Since acne is caused from bacteria that results from clogged pores the clay that we use in our acne mask is specific to killing the bacteria that causes acne. So I think our face mask is a great way to start and using it regularly like about twice a week should help. It’s not going to overdry your skin. And we have an acne syrum which is a blend of essential oils which also kill bacteria. So, its great if you have a break out and you put a drop of the syrum on your pimple. That’s made from tea tree which kills bacteria and also lavender which is healing and soothing. Oh vergamont, vertamont helps to prevent new breakouts.
Once those bumps are gone, sometimes it leaves dark marks—do you have any products that help lighten dark marks.
We have a scar and keloid syrum which is good for scarring its good for keloids and the de pigmentation from acne or keloiding or scarring. It has essential oils that heals new scars so if you have a new mark that is a couple days or couple weeks old its very effective or if you know you’re prone to scarring and you put it on a cut its likely it wont turn into dark mark.
So if you have had dark marks for a while it wont work?
Because we use natural ingredients, natural ingredients are effective to a certain point. I really can only say that our products for acne and scarring are effective up to a few months, so if you’ve had scarring for a number of years or longer its usually set in so our products are not going to work for old scars.
What is a beauty myth that people believe helps them but actually does nothing?
One popular one that we encounter on a regular basis is that skin care products need to be oil free. Most people are not familiar with essential oils and the fact that essential oils and hahoba oils that we use helps to balance your skin so we use hahoba oil in our skin care products and it doesn’t make your skin oilier in fact its very light and penetrates into your skin very well. And there are certain essential oils that actually cut back on the oil your skin produces so in effect they make your skin less oily so that’s something we have to inform them and explain since people come in and say they need an oil free moisturizer.
Can you really use food products on your skin and hair like mayonnaise is something I hear a lot of people use?
You can, I don’t use mayo it’s not the best oil to use. We do workshops every few months called food for the skin where we’ll have a bunch of ladies and I’ll talk to them about their skin care and techniques and ways they can take care of their skin and their hair with products they can find in their own refrigerator or the supermarket. And so I don’t use mayo because mayo is made with corn oil and there are lighter oils you can use. Really, what people are getting from mayo is the oil and there are other things you can put that are natural and has an oil that your hair absorbs much more readily.
Advice about having healthy skin and hair:
Everything is related to your diet so clearly drink a lot of water and eat vegetables. A lot of problems people have are eating food they are allergic to but they don’t know they’re allergic to them. For example wheat is a very common allergen and so is dairy and I have talked to many people who have eczema other skin conditions or some sort of dermatitis that’s unexplainable and I let them know that sometimes they have to look at their diet to figure out why certain things have manifested themselves in their skin. It’s sometimes that food allergin that causes it. So definitely read ingredients, feeling like you’re in chemistry class is not good. What is this stuff and what does it have to do with being healthy. So the key to healthy skin and hair is using products with the most natural ingredients.
For more info & to order products visit
Karen’s Body Beautiful is located at:
436 Myrtyle Avenue in Brooklyn between Clinton and Waverly.