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A prettier picture for local natural beauty products

In an age when people are taking strides toward living their best, healthiest life, it’s no surprise that natural beauty products are a growing trend. Local entrepreneurs have taken notice, and shops are popping up from Williamsville to East Aurora.

Tom Akers was one of the first when he opened Renew Bath and Body on Elmwood Avenue in 2014. He believes natural beauty products have evolved and are “just as good, if not better” than synthetic products.

His interest was originally piqued when his best friend was diagnosed with cancer, and her doctor said it might be linked to the aluminums in her deodorant. At that point, 20-plus years ago, he said he had no idea that what he put on his body could affect his health.

Chemist Kasia Cummings, owner of Buffalo Gal Organics, agrees that awareness is half the battle. She created Buffalo Gal several years ago and opened a storefront this year.

“Knowledge is power, and it’s kind of cliché, but it really is the truth,” Cummings said. “Once you know, you cannot un-know. People are starting to realize and be more aware of what they put on their bodies.”

Cummings recommends integrating natural products one at a time instead of a complete overhaul, especially because natural beauty products can be more expensive. But that’s also changing, said Cummings.

“Demand has increased and there’s more availability of raw materials and that’s somewhat reducing the cost, enabling us to pass some savings on,” she said. “The more the demand, the greater the availability. The mainstreaming of it is excellent.”

Cummings added that natural products are still less expensive than medical treatment for a health issue down the road. Zandra Cunningham, the local founder of Zandra Beauty, agrees.

“You can only push the price up so far,” Cunningham said. “People aren’t going to buy a $50 deodorant, even though it might be worth that.”

Zandra Beauty | Local natural beauty products | Buffalo Magazine

Buffalonian Zandra Cunningham created her first beauty products when she was nine years old. Now 17, her all-natural beauty line includes deodorants, washes, moisturizers, lip balms and more — all with a positive message. (SaraPhoto)

Cunningham developed her line of skincare out of necessity. “I have sensitive skin and things wouldn’t work for me. My doctor prescribed me things but they weren’t as cute as the other products. So I wanted to create a product and be a voice for other girls like me.”

Still a teenager, she’s been creating natural products like lip balm, soap bars and body scrubs since she was a child. (Her products are available on her website and in several local stores.)

Where to shop

Renew Bath and Body
927 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

Renew carries 42 skincare, makeup and bath and body product lines. Owner Tom Akers says he plans to sell natural cleaning supplies in the near future, as well.

Buffalo Gal Organics
5655 Main St., Williamsville

Buffalo Gal offers head-to-toe products, including skincare, bath and body, and makeup. Owner Kasia Cummings not only creates and manufactures the products herself, she also offers full-service body treatments on-site.

Ginny and the Angels
143 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo

Ginny and the Angels carries just one line, Dr. Hauschka Skincare. Located in a studio above Café Aroma in Elmwood Village, facial and body treatments are available by appointment only, but walk-ins are welcome for browsing and purchasing products.

Beauty Organix
586 Main St, East Aurora

Beauty Organix carries skincare, body care and makeup from a variety of product lines. Beauty Organix’s mission involves selling only products that are ECOCERT, USDA or certified organic, as well vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and cruelty-free.

Zandra Beauty

In addition to the website, Zandra products are sold at numerous local stores including Modern Nostalgia, The Perfect Gift and Nest in the Village. Products include lotions, deodorant, body scrubs, lip scrubs and lip balm. Everything is multi-use — for example, a soap bar can also be used as shampoo.

Bath & Bliss

Locally based Bath & Bliss is owned by Mark and Diane Franci, who have been in business for more than 15 years. Products include body lotions, sugar scrubs and soaps with an olive oil base. Bath & Bliss products are also multi-use. Find them online or at Elysian Salon in Snyder.

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