In 2008, healthy living bloggers Annmarie and Kevin Gianni powered up a vegetable oil-powered RV and embarked on a 2½-year journey across North and South America. Their goal: to track down the best natural-care products and protocols to share with viewers of their popular YouTube videocast, The Renegade Health Show. While Annmarie and Kevin were posting interviews with healthcare experts, manufacturers, growers, and healers, their viewers were posting a question of their own: “Annmarie, what products do you use for your skin?”
They combed through their cupboards examining labels and were horrified to discover that nothing Annmarie was using met their own high standards. So shortly after their trip began, they set out to find a product line they could recommend.
They talked with skincare company owners but weren’t always impressed with their ingredients or results. They then spoke with formulators about developing their own skin care line but were dismayed by how many said the way to make products cleaner and greener were just to not list any toxic ingredients on the label if they were present in amounts too small to be covered by federal labeling regulations. That wasn’t what Annmarie and Kevin wanted either. Their products would have to be free of toxic chemicals.
They had just about given up the quest when Annmarie walked into a small spa in Patagonia, Arizona. The esthetician there introduced her to a line of skin care, unlike anything Annmarie had ever known. The products felt so different—alive, with a palpable energetic vibration—and the scent was like nothing she had experienced before. When Annmarie applied the face oil, she saw immediate results. After more than six months of searching, here, at last, was a product line they could recommend.
Annmarie contacted Bunnie, the owner of the skincare line. An herbalist and a chemist, Bunnie has been formulating organic skin care products for over 30 years, using herbs and extracts straight from nature — in their finest and purest form. Unfortunately, her products are sold only in spas. But after finding a line so closely aligned with their values, Annmarie and Kevin couldn’t just let it go. Back they went to Bunnie, to see if she would help them bring a natural skin care line to the wider public. Happily, she agreed.
In 2009, Annmarie Gianni Skin Care was launched. Each product is made with intention, using our 3-step, Honest. Wild. Beautiful. proprietary process. All ingredients are hand-selected, then infused in base oils and aloe juice, and then crafted using additional plant extracts and ingredients to make them as effective as possible. The result is beautiful, glowing skin.
Today, Annmarie and Kevin spread the message about good, clean, effective skin care through consumer education and a natural, organic, wild-crafted product line that speaks for itself. Together with COO Rachel Pachivas, they’ve put together a team that is dedicated to helping people make better decisions about their skin, beauty, and overall health.
The team’s research into industry practices has uncovered hidden processes in ingredient production, chemical derivatives in so-called natural ingredients, and other shortcuts and oversights. These investigations have helped Annmarie skin care create processes to ensure high-quality products that will deliver results customers can count on—now and into the future.
We handcraft organic, wildcrafted skin care that promises beautiful, glowing skin. We do this using our 3-step, proprietary Honest. Wild. Beautiful. process.
- Step 1: Select We carefully select organic and wildcrafted ingredients—including herbs and plant extracts—to meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for your skin and body. We carefully audit our sources to ensure that they continue to meet our standards of purity and sustainability.
- Step 2: Infuse We then infuse selected herbs into aloe vera and into skin nutritive oils for up to 30 days at low heat (never over 95°). These infusions are used as a potent base for all our products.
- Step 3: Craft We then add additional, selected natural plant extracts, high antioxidant plant and seed oils, skin supporting nutrients and aromatherapy to make the most active and effective natural products available. Additionally, we package these products with intention using Miron glass and sustainable materials.
organic & wildcrafted
With every purchase we make, we are given a choice. Not only about what we want to put on or in our body, but who and what we want to support.
“Organic” is not just some fancy buzz word that will be out of style in a decade. It’s here to stay because we feel, it’s how things should be—organic and just as pure as nature intended.
We use organically grown ingredients in all our products, from farmers that use little to no pesticides and natural fertilizers to produce them. Growing organics and using them for our skin care is one of the most proactive ways for us to coexist with the environment, create a thriving ecosystem for all creatures, and make your skin look beautiful—all at the same time.
There are times when we don’t use certified organic ingredients, but in these cases, this is either because we have found a source that is grown organically but uncertified, or the ingredient has been wildcrafted.
A selection of the herbs used in our line are hand-picked in the mountains where they grow wild — this is the definition of wildcrafted. When we use wildcrafted herbs, we know that no commercial farming methods have been used and that the plants are hearty, vibrant and full of skin-nourishing nutrients.
Wildcrafted herbs cannot be labeled organic, but they are in essence the most organically grown ingredients we use. Additionally, if we use water in our products, we use natural spring water directly from the source, which also cannot be labeled organic.
We also gladly use ingredients that are grown organically, but not labeled “organic,” because these are grown by people who care. Large, commercial farms with organic certification can often time use amounts of chemicals and pesticides throughout the growing process while maintaining their label. We don’t care about the label, we just want good ingredients!
In fact, we really don’t see much value in the organic certification process at all, which is why you won’t see a certified organic label on any of our products. Here are a few reasons why:
- It’s tricky for products that contain wildcrafted ingredients to be labeled organic because the standards don’t accommodate real herbs from nature. We agree—it’s silly but true.
- If we were to make sure all ingredients in our products were certified organic, the quality of our products would be compromised. Generally, a non-certified ingredient that is grown by a conscious farmer who uses organic practices will be of higher quality than a certified ingredient from a large-scale organic grower.
- We don’t want to pay money to a certifying board that allows other companies to market lesser products under the guise of “organic.” Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it works, is healthy, or will make your skin glow like it never has before.
Essentially, we as purveyors of the highest quality skin care products on the market, don’t feel we need to let loose guidelines determine what is good enough for our line. We want the best, so we go out and find it.
Finally, we choose every ingredient specifically and consciously, taking into account aspects beyond just organics. We look at sustainability, labor conditions, and geographic location of the ingredients we source.
We tend to think we have the best of all worlds: the best ingredients, the best products, and the best results, all of which comes from our ability to tap into the wisdom of nature while also looking at a larger picture of re-establishing our responsibility to our earth.
real pure unadulterated
Our skin is our barrier between us and the outside world. It is the largest organ of our bodies and being that it’s porous, it absorbs whatever is put on it.
In fact, according to the American Journal of Public Health, the skin absorbs an average of 64% of total contaminants. Scary stuff right? It doesn’t have to be scary though…. as long as you are putting clean, pure products on your skin.
We agree that if you can’t eat it, perhaps you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin. We don’t use any alcohols or chemicals, harsh preservatives or any synthetic fragrances. Our skin deserves pure ingredients from clean and pristine sources.
Take a look at the ingredient list of the majority of skin care and other personal care products, and you’re likely to find things like phthalates, parabens, sulfates, ureas, and a bunch of other things you can’t pronounce. Most of these are synthetically produced in a lab through the use of toxic chemical compounds.
A number of chemicals found in our everyday personal care products have been linked to health problems. Research has started to affirm the effects. Just this year, for example, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a study that concluded that women with the highest concentrations of two types of phthalates in their blood were nearly two times more likely to have diabetes, compared to women with the least amount of these chemicals.
Phthalates are used to make products flexible and transparent and are found in hair-sprays, nail polishes, moisturizers, soaps, and perfumes, as well as in pharmaceutical pills, adhesives, electronics, toys, and other products.
Some interesting facts about chemicals used in skin care products:
- Sulfates are harsh and drying to the skin, and in toothpaste, can encourage mouth sores
- Parabens, commonly used as preservatives, are hormone disruptors, meaning they can mimic the action of hormones in our bodies, affecting reproductive development in young children. Animal studies have also shown they may lead to reduced sperm count.
- Many not-so-caring skin care companies will use unnecessary fillers in their products that can be very toxic, not only to your skin but to your blood and internal organs as well. It’s scary stuff. Some common fillers you may want to keep an eye out for are: Disodium EDTA, Phthalates, Cocamide DEA, triethanolamine(TEA), xanthan gum, sodium hydroxide, benzyl alcohol, sodium carboxymethyl beta-glucan, PEG (polyethylene glycol), PPG(polypropylene glycol), and petroleum.
Many times you will see “water” as the first ingredient listed on the ingredient list. It’s easy to think that water is a beneficial ingredient in your skin care products, but most companies use water as a filler. Water in a skin care product dilutes the potency of the herbs, oils or extracts that may be listed in the product. This means you may very well be spending $50-$70 (or more!) on a product that costs just a few dollars to make.
Further, the water they use could be unfiltered, and thus may contain all types of toxic contaminants. We want you to have the purest, most concentrated and potent product on your skin, so whatever ASC product you purchase, you will never see fillers. We do use water in a few products, but we use it as a necessity, not a filler. We infuse it with herbs and other ingredients to make a very potent infusion, so it is active and highly nutritious for your skin.
All of our products go through the most minimal amount of processing possible, if any, to ensure that the alive and active ingredients are not jeopardized. We don’t just show you a list of ingredients of herbs from nature — we make sure that these ingredients are in their most true and active form.
Many big name companies will display a list of fancy ingredients that are derived from herbs, but the majority of these are heavily heated or processed. This tactic used for large production actually kills most of the nutrients these ingredients contain.
Everything we do is on a small scale, and with a very conscious effort to maximize the benefits your skin feels. The result? Herbs that live up to their full potential, and products that deliver results.
Treating every being on this planet with compassion is something that we strongly believe in.
Our lives are all joined together, and living in harmony with every creature is essential to living in balance. With that being said, we do not believe that any products—including skin care and cosmetics—should be tested on animals. Our cruelty-free skincare is pure, straight from nature, and does not require animals to be involved in the testing process. It’s safe enough for your skin throughout every step in our formulation process—from raw material to infusion, to bottling, and finally when you open them up to enjoy.
Think about it—if a company has to test on animals to prove that a product isn’t harmful, this means there’s a strong possibility that it is, in fact, toxic in some way.
We also believe that skin products should be as vegan as possible. With the exception of honey (in our Coconut Honey Mask) and beeswax (which is in the Coconut Honey Mask, Anti-Aging Eye Cream, and Sun Love) all our products are completely vegan. We use honey in these products because of its incredible skin rejuvenating properties—something humans have learned through thousands of years of mutual partnership with the bees.
Our honey comes from an amazing little spot, right near the Colorado San Juan Mountains. Hives are perched on a mountainside amongst fields of wildflowers—that’s as natural and sustainable as it gets.
commitment to truth in labeling
Before ASC was founded, it wasn’t easy for us to choose skin care products that we felt confident enough in to put on our skin. Here’s why…
The dirty little secret in the skin care industry is that many companies are not required to fully disclose all of the ingredients they put into their products. The proof? You don’t have to go much further than the FDA website. According to the FDA, “It is the manufacturer’s and/or distributor’s responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly.”
So what this means is that the skin care industry is currently not required to fully disclose all of the ingredients in their products. This is 100% not okay with us.
We, at Annmarie Skin Care, believe in full transparency when it comes to the ingredients we put in our products. We feel everyone deserves the right to know exactly what they are putting on their skin so they can make an informed decision of whether or not they want to purchase a product.Annmarie Skin Care, believe in full transparency when it comes to the ingredients we put in our products. We feel everyone deserves the right to know exactly what they are putting on their skin so they can make an informed decision of whether or not they want to purchase a product.
“This is where companies should be—fully disclosing what’s in their products and using the safest ingredients as possible. Unfortunately, the big name brands are far far from those principles,” says Stacy Malkin, co-founder for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Companies who choose not to disclose every single ingredient are not doing you or the industry any favors and, in the worst cases, are participating in some pretty shady and deceptive behavior.
It has been over 70 years since the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938, the last time the law surrounding skin care changed. In 1973, Senator Thomas F. Eagleton sponsored bill S.863—Cosmetic Safety Act—a movement to amend 1938’s act with respect to cosmetic safety. If this would have passed, it would have required clear, honest labeling and precise information about a product’s registration and safety. But despite three attempts (1973, 1975, and 1977), this bill failed to become law and gave way to nearly thirty years of an industry that was essentially policing itself. With little or no government oversight, the cosmetics and skin care industries operated with few rules and compromised ethics.
Good news is that in the last decade, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been working to reform cosmetic standards. They started in 2002, and in 2012, three bills for cosmetic safety were introduced. The movement for safe skin care and body products has gained a lot of attention over the past several years, due in part to the introduction of more and more toxic chemicals. This is a movement that we strongly support.
what’s an even dirtier secret?
Even products that claim they are natural and organic may, in fact, may contain ingredients that would frighten you if you knew. Any product manufacturer can slap the word “natural” on a product label. The word is not regulated, so it means nothing.
In fact, many of these “natural” products have chemical ingredients that have known links to various health issues. We’ve spoken to formulators who have told us about dozens of unnatural ingredients that companies rarely disclose on their labels, even though they’re marketed to be pure, natural and organic.
why do they do this?
We can only speculate, but here are a few possible reasons. First, some companies want to profit on the growing natural and organic market and just don’t care about you as much as they care about their bottom line.
Second, many companies are lazy and haven’t taken the time to study some of the natural properties of their ingredients and learn the synergies and combinations that make great natural skin care effective. Instead, they settle for the accepted standard industry norms, which usually entails the use of chemical preservatives and other nasty stuff.
And finally, some companies have good intentions, but like above, haven’t been able to find the right natural combination of herbs, oils, and extracts to create natural products that are effective and have an acceptable shelf life.
But enough about what we can’t control. Here’s what we can…
Everything we put in each product is right on the label. We are proud of all of our ingredients so of course, we want you to know everything that is inside. From the base ingredients of herb-infused oils or aloe vera, all the way to our natural preservatives like grapefruit seed extract and rosemary extract, truth in labeling is our practice.
First, it is the right thing to do. Second, because we’re just like you. We want to know what we’re putting on our skin, too.
When you purchase an Annmarie product, you can be assured that you’ve chosen not only a great, effective, natural product, but you’ve also joined us in our mission to create more honesty and transparency in the entire skin care industry.
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process that takes genes from one species and inserts them into another (with something called a gene gun!) in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic. Hence, they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same (from the Institute for Responsible Technology).
Yeah, sounds pretty scary right?
That’s one of the reasons why we have no interest in putting GMO or GE ingredients in any of our products.
The other is that evidence is mounting that GE crops are slowly polluting our land here in the United States, as well as around the world. We feel it is essential to take part in the movement to protect the food supply for us and future generations.
The pesticide and food companies responsible for GE technology want us to believe industry talking points that GMOs will save the world by feeding starving people worldwide, increase yields, make crops drought tolerant, or reduce pesticide usage. In all truth, these are nothing but false claims. The evident intention behind GMOs or GE crops is for pesticide and chemical companies to sell more pesticides and chemicals.
It has been shown throughout numerous studies and finds, particularly from the Union of Concerned Scientists, that GMOs actually do not do all of the things that are claimed of them. In fact, what has been revealed shows quite the opposite. This information is unsettling for many, but it needs to be spread and understood.
From the UCSUSA website: “It sounds wonderful, but unfortunately, there’s a catch: These claims are often exaggerated, misleading or downright false. Monsanto’s products—and the practices they promote—may sustain the company’s profits, but the evidence shows that they stand in the way of truly sustainable solutions to our food and farming challenges.”
Check out the 2009 report “Failure to Yield” for another great example of this failing technology.
Since RoundUp Ready Crops were introduced, between 1996 and 2008, there has been an increase in herbicide use by an estimated 383 million pounds. (You can find out more information at the Organic Center website).
Aside from the environmental impacts—damage being done to our ecosystem and the loss of biodiversity—GMOs may also affect human health.
There have never been any long-term human studies on GMOs and what they do to us. In fact, the FDA leaves it to the responsibility of the manufacturer, and then the manufacturer (biotech, in this case) says it is the FDA’s job to assure safety. Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications was quoted in the New York Times, on October 25, 1998, stating: “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” Since GMOs were first introduced, there has been a revolving door between the FDA and Monsanto.
Most recently was the Seralini study, highlighting the serious truths and risks associated with GMOs (Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn in particular). Just a few problems that came up were liver congestion and necrosis in males, mammary tumors in females, and overall disruption of hormones. This is not yet being accepted by mainstream media in the United States, but around the world, people are in an uprising and governments are responding by taking heavy action to protect their nation and their people.
Scientists, for years, have tried to document studies, but once a study is released that is not in Monsanto’s favor, they are put on a gag order, threatened, and most often fired. Jeffrey Smith discusses of a few of these cases here.
Groups around the world are coming together to protect our food purity and biodiversity. If enough people can unite around this issue and really support small farmers, good working conditions, and permaculture, we will have clean food and air.
The main crops that are genetically engineered are corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, alfalfa, and sugar beets (often referred to simply as “sugar” on a label). It is very common to find GMOs in skin care, not under the direct names, but as derivatives. Just a few common examples of GMOs being used in the skin care industry are:
- Ascorbic Acid/ Vitamin C from GE Corn
- Soy Lecithin from GM Soy
- Vitamin E or tocopherol
We do use Vitamin C and Vitamin E in some of our products, but we source them from non-GMO and conscious providers.
Our air, water, and soil are all very precious and beneficial to us and for the herbs that we grow, harvest, wildcraft, and eventually put on our skin. Keeping the land pure and clear of pesticides is thus something we must believe in and unite on. Living with nature, rather than against it, is the only way to live healthily.
We encourage you to be active in your community like we strive to be. We are a California based company that participates in many activities around the idea of labeling genetically engineered foods and creating a tipping point to shift the market to eliminate GMOs.
Please check out LabelGMOs.org to get involved with your local community members and help build awareness!
We feel it is essential to participate in the world around us and be of service to our local and global communities. As you know, it’s so easy for all of us to get caught up in our own worlds. But at Annmarie Gianni Skin Care, we’ve made it a focus to break that habit by giving back as best we can, and in many different ways, to causes and organizations that we feel strongly about as a collective team.
There are four areas of giving back that we focus on: global community, local community, political activism and skin care industry activism. To date, we’ve donated product, money, and time to these causes. And we’re still at it!
Here is a short list of some of the organizations and local community programs we are actively supporting or have supported in the past:
The Gerson Institute
The Gerson Institute is a non-profit organization in San Diego, California, dedicated to providing education and training in the Gerson Therapy, an alternative, non-toxic treatment for cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases.
The mission of AyniGLOBAL is to protect and preserve traditional indigenous cultures and ancestral lands, including people, animals, plants, and water systems.
AyniGLOBAL fosters social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Guided by the principal of ayni, a Quechua word meaning reciprocity, the goal is to work toward the emergence of a new social ethos that embodies global consciousness in both ecology and economy.
This organization is located in Washington, D.C. and Cuzco, Peru and was founded by our friend and colleague Dr. J.E. Williams.
This is the original grassroots group that organized the California ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs) that became Proposition 37. The Proposition, unfortunately, failed by a very small margin, but the group’s tireless work has created national awareness of the issue and continues to advocate the labeling of GMO foods.
We are constantly working on new projects and ways to participate, so if you have an idea, please contact us and we’ll let you know if we can help.
annmarie skin care is a shining example of a conscious business pursuing a triple bottom line strategy that is good for us all and a proud partner of the tri.
For more information about ASC, please visit their website: