Treat yo self with these local beauty products

Jul 12, 2017 at 4:00 am

Signature shea body butter
Sonia Organics

“What we put on our skin is important — we don’t want toxins going into our bodies,” says Sonia Flunder-McNair. That’s why she started formulating her own body butter just a few short years ago. Living in Toledo, she says her community started an urban garden to offset the growing food desert. The garden produced an abundance of herbs, and she decided to use them to concoct a moisturizer that would eventually become Sonia Organics’ signature shea body butter. While raw shea is known for its ability to soften rough skin, it’s often greasy and hard to work with. Flunder-McNair tried many different formulations before finding that aloe vera countered the nut’s oily nature. The new company is working on distribution, as well as adding more products. For now you can purchase this rich body butter on

Broken Theories

Often, we don’t equate fine products like Kerosene with Detroit. This well-made line of unisex fragrances are crafted by a former autoworker who fell in love with the earthy smells of his work. Scents like Broken Theories mix blood orange, tobacco, spices, vanilla bean, sandalwood, oud, and incense for a warm and intoxicating aroma. But even more unique than the carefully formulated perfumes are the beautiful bottles that contain them. Each bottle is painted a slick, shiny black using automotive paint, then a brass plate is hand-stamped to reveal the fragrance’s name, which is often derived from a popular song. Kerosene is distributed all over the country, but you can pick them up at Mills Pharmacy in Birmingham or at their satellite pop-up inside the Foundation Hotel in Detroit. For more information visit

Mocha Valentino

This local perfume company was born out of a love for food and fragrance held dearly by husband-and-wife duo Kevin Peterson and Jane Larson. The herbalists craft aromas from natural sources, setting their brand apart from other fragrance companies. Their scents are derived from spices, herbs, plants, and flowers and will appeal to those who avoid using artificial ingredients. Their most popular scent, Mocha Valentino, is also their most approachable. With notes of cedar, cocoa, coffee, and green tea, this fragrance is more similar to a traditional perfume than some of their other scents. Sfumato is sold at a number of local shops, including Eldorado General Store, Savvy Chic, Thistle & Bees, Well Done Goods, and Mills Apothecary.

Balancing Beauty Tonic
Dauphine Beauté

Not many Michigan-made beauty products like this tonic exist. The specially formulated liquid offers a number of benefits and can be used as a sort of toner, as well as a makeup-setting spray. The versatile tonic keeps skin pH-balanced, firm, and hydrated. The brand itself was inspired by Marie Antoinette, the last dauphine of France, and her eternal youth and refinement. Thus, these products offer both traditional and creative products that feel like little luxuries.

The Aaron Gregory
Burton & Levy
Jason Burton understands the sentimentality that comes along with a quality product. It was with that mind that he began creating Burton & Levy, a line of metal beard combs. These well-made combs won’t snap or lose teeth as they age. In fact, it’s likely they’ll last you a lifetime — and will possibly survive to be passed on through the generations. The combs are made in stainless steel and brass and are cut in the United States. Burton then finishes them by hand in Detroit. The line includes a variety of sizes to suit beards and mustaches with different needs. The Aaron Gregory comb, inspired by Burton’s brother, is a bit of a departure from his first designs — it’s his first hair comb. This medium-to-fine-tooth comb is especially good for straight, wavy, or short curls.


Heavy Duty Beard Balm
Beard Balm

The beard’s skyrocketing popularity can probably be linked to such media monstrosities as Duck Dynasty or perhaps the world’s great aversion to metrosexuals. Alas, we digress. This waxy facial hair tamer is perfect for the dude with a manly, wayward beard that cannot be held by regular-strength Beard Balm. Heavy Duty Beard Balm will keep even the longest and most masculine facial manes tamed and smelling lovely, plus this company makes all their products in the city of Detroit, and they can be purchased at a large number of local stores, including Mills Apothecary in both Birmingham and Midtown.

White Tea and Ginger bath bomb
Bath Savvy Naturals

Shannon Reaves and her mother were already making handmade soaps when Reaves was laid off from her day job. Soon she was making soaps full time, and business quickly began to boom. Now, her Bath Savvy Naturals line includes soaps, bath bombs, hair and body oil cream, sugar scrubs, and vegan lip butter, and despite their high quality, they are very affordably priced. While any of Bath Savvy Naturals products are a treat, we recommend a soak with the white tea and ginger bath bomb because of its relaxing, refreshing, spa-like aroma. You can pick up one (or five) from Rust Belt Market or North End Collective, where Reaves slings her beauty and bath products daily.

Activated Charcoal bar
Mie Radici

Unique handmade soaps seem to be a thing in Detroit, with several companies filling different niches in the sudsy market. Mie Radici, which hawks wares out of the Cass Collective in Midtown, also specializes in imported oils and Italian ceramics. The soaps they create are made using those same high-quality oils. They make scents including lavender and eucalyptus, but this activated charcoal bar will help remove toxins from your skin and leave it feeling clean and smooth, while the olive oil base is nourishing and moisturizing. The little company also makes bath bombs and candles.