There are artisans of all kinds among us. You may know one who is spending the winter holed up in a garage building a wooden boat or bent over a wheel throwing pottery. You might also take comfort knowing that the Outer Cape is home to master mixers of potions and creams for soothing wind-weathered skin and pandemic-frazzled nerves. We asked four who focus on all-natural, organic ingredients to talk about their favorite winter remedies.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
Cookie Hebert Glatzel comes by her name honestly. She was, for 15 years, the sous chef at Front Street. She also was an insomniac with heart palpitations and leg cramps. One day, magnesium’s health benefits came up in conversation at the gym and, after doing some research, Hebert Glatzel started taking it in supplement form.
She felt better, kept on reading, and learned about transdermal magnesium — that is, magnesium that can be absorbed through the skin. Your grandmother probably knew about it, too: Epsom salts contain it. She started experimenting with adding the mineral to a cream and sharing it with friends.
Making creams tapped Hebert Glatzel’s culinary skills. “I already knew quite a bit about emulsions,” she says. She knew, for instance, about the importance of getting the five ingredients in her cream — butter, beeswax, aloe, water, and magnesium — to the same temperature before blending them.
In 2014, after a few years of balancing restaurant work with magnesium mixology, Hebert Glatzel left the restaurant to focus on her business, Cook’s Organics.
The Outer Cape may not seem like a mecca for those pursuing top-shelf beauty potions, but when winter sets in, locals seek out self-care, she says. It’s the season for her “lip stuff” in two bright flavors, mint and tangerine. This winter, with the stress of the ongoing pandemic upon us, she says the cream’s the thing. Because a good night’s sleep “is priceless.”
Sweet Dreams Magnesium Cream, $25 online and at East End Market in Provincetown, Truro Vineyards, Orleans Whole Food, and other shops around the Cape.
More Than Mere Moisturizer
Angie Thornton’s knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants started on walks through her Native American grandfather’s garden in Framingham. He’d explain everything, from what could treat a stomach ache to what the dog couldn’t eat.
The knowledge follows Thornton everywhere. “Basically, it’s something I can’t escape. It’s just sewn into me,” she says.
What Thornton learned is also poured, figuratively, into her own line of Artisan Skincare products. The organic ingredients they incorporate, though “real and recognizable,” are not from a local crop. They’re sourced from Europe, because, she says, the European Union (EU) Cosmetics Directive has banned or restricted over 1,300 chemicals, while the FDA has outlawed or curbed only 11.
Braving the Outer Cape’s winter winds, Thornton says, takes more than mere moisturizer. She recommends doubling down on treatments. First, she says, you need an exfoliant to sweep away dead skin cells. “Think of them like raisins: shriveled up, wrinkly, dehydrated,” she says. Once those are out of the way, you can get down to nurturing “dewy, juicy, plump” skin with a humectant serum.
Thornton’s Polishing Powder Exfoliant is $32. Her aloe-based Hydrating Drops are $60. They are available online or at her spa, Artisan Skincare, at 195 Route 6A in Orleans.
Brighten the Winter Blues
Anya Messina grew up on an herb farm in Groveland, and what she learned there about using herbs for healing would later become the basis for her skincare line, Anya’s Herbals.
Messina first moved to New York to pursue a career in film and theater. Motivated by her own skin troubles, she started making herbal skin-care remedies. Thirteen years ago she moved to Wellfleet, where she started Anya’s Herbals by selling homemade lotions and soaps at the OysterFest. Today she works from her home in Eastham.
Among the questions she asks herself when designing a new product are “Who is this for? What problem does it solve?” she says. “And then I think about how I want it to feel, what kind of thickness or scent it should have.”
To beat winter blues, Messina is another who advocates a one-two punch of exfoliating followed by moisturizing. Her pick for right now is a mask that rolls the two together. “It’s great because it exfoliates and it hydrates and brightens,” she says.
She makes hers without preservatives — it’s a powder containing pink kaolin clay and comfrey that you mix just before using.
Anya’s Vital Enzyme Exfoliating Treatment Mask is $28.50. Messina’s products are available online at her Etsy shop, AnyasHerbals.
A Balm for the Body
Evette Ramirez has been a licensed aesthetician for 20 years. In 2011, she launched a line of skin-care products, Previse DermApothecary, with Sean Patrick Harrington in Provincetown.
Since then, Ramirez has branched out. She’s entering her third year at her own Provincetown facial spa, Esthetics by Evette, where she still uses Previse but dips into other plant-based products, too.
Ramirez’s studio’s countertops are lined with products from Previse and B3 Balm, another organic skin-care line based in New York. Ramirez likes to tailor treatments to each client’s skin. Everyone is different, “but in the wintertime,” she says, “I’m definitely working with dryness.”
If you see Ramirez for a facial this winter, she’s likely to tell you about squalane. It’s a hydrating oil close in molecular composition to squalene, an oil naturally produced in skin. Squalane is derived from plants such as olives and sugarcane. Its light consistency means it’s great for year-round use, but right now Ramirez finds herself slathering on a heftier version: B3 body balm, with squalane, beeswax, and shea butter.
Both Previse and B3 Body Balm, $20, Ramirez’s pick for this winter, can be found at Esthetics by Evette, above CUSP Gallery at 115 Bradford St., Provincetown.