In 1995, Barbara Close founded Naturopathica with the mission to educate people on the benefits of holistic health and its connection to beauty. The goal of the natural skin and body care line is to seek the source of an imbalance rather than the symptom to provide true and lasting results. The idea is that our skin is a reflection of what is going on inside of our bodies. Nearly all of Naturopathica's products are certified natural and organic, they never test on animals, and all of their shipping material is made from recycled material whenever able. Naturopathica currently has spa locations in Chelsea and East Hampton, and all of their products are available for sale on their website.
We spoke to founder Barbara Close to learn more about Naturopathica and her approach to holistic wellness.
Yale Breslin: You’re a lifelong practitioner of the healing arts. Where did your interest in this stem from?
Barbara Close: I was introduced to holistic healing early on when I would visit my eccentric Aunt Eleanor outside of Paris during summer vacations. While most kids had fun at the beach, I was falling in love with the charm of old apothecaries, their personalized remedies, and the relaxation of rituals like mineral baths. From that point on, I was hooked.
Years later, I was studying herbal medicine in Santa Fe when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and I went home to support her through treatments. Her experience really awakened me to the importance of palliative care; where Western medicine falls short. Fortunately, I was able to use my knowledge of herbal remedies and see first how lemon-balm tea eased her anxiety, calendula salves soothed her radiation burns, and weekly aromatherapy massages alleviated her pain.
YB: Your passion and knowledge were tested when your mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. What happened next?
BC: Through her journey, I was determined to help people learn about these simple, yet relatively unknown remedies and rituals that could help them feel and live better every day. Three years later, I opened the first Naturopathica Healing Arts Center in East Hampton, NY with holistic facials, massage, herbal consultations, and simple herbal products for skin and body health.
YB: Tell me a little bit about the mission behind Naturopathica. Why did you decide to launch it?
BC: I created Naturopathica based on the principles of naturopathic medicine, which emphasize doing no harm, treating the individual and treating the root cause of skin and body imbalances—not just the symptoms. At the time when we opened, the world was focused on “hope in a jar” claims and quick fixes. The problem with this approach is that all solutions are temporary, at best. We aimed to change mentalities by educating people that beauty is truly rooted in wellness. When you address the underlying cause of skin imbalances—stress, diet, sleep, hormones—you’ll see better, lasting results on the surface of the skin.
YB: Since it launched, how has it evolved? What has maintained the same?
BC: Although our approach to skin health is the same, we now have the wisdom of +20 years of formulation and more access to green technology to create more advanced and sustainable skin care. We started with facial oils, plant mists and nourishing moisturizers—many of which are best sellers to date—but we’re now able to introduce safe and highly-effective synthetics like vitamin C, retinol and peptides, all delivered in clean base materials so they work with, not against, the skin’s natural processes.
YB: You’re a big believer that skin health is a mirror of what’s going on inside the body. How did you discover this realization?
BC: After two decades of treating clients at our Healing Arts Centers & Spas, you start to see patterns between skin concerns and lifestyle choices. The majority of skin imbalances—acne, eczema, premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and more—stem from inflammation. Inflammation is caused by topical irritants in our skincare and environment, as well as lifestyle factors like stress, poor diet and lack of sleep, factors that are familiar to many of us in our hectic 24/7 lifestyles.
By helping reduce both the topical and internal causes of inflammation, our clients are able to achieve the most beautiful results—plus they feel better. Our approach isn’t about total elimination, which isn’t realistic for anyone. Rather, we provide tools like herbal remedies and rituals to help your skin and body adapt to everyday stressors, and we always avoid leading allergens and irritants, so the skin can focus on looking and feeling healthier.
YB: Everyone has a very different definition of beauty. What it comes to you, how do you define it?
BC: For me, feeling beautiful has never been about “beauty secrets”—being confident in our own skin comes from making connections between our lifestyle and how we look and feel. This type of beauty is not about shoring up on the outside, it’s about being at home on the inside—a genuine organic beauty. This is the essence of holistic skin care.
YB: What are your growth plans for Naturopathica?
BC: We have some exciting growth already underway, including the opening of new Healing Arts Center & Spa Locations, new formula innovation and new access points—through clean retailers and partnerships.
Ultimately, we hope to be able to use the wisdom of our experience to empower more people to live well, no matter where they are on their wellness journey.
YB: What’s one product that you feel as if you haven’t mastered yet that you want to put out into the world?
BC: As an herbalist, I’ve been researching CBD for quite some time and I’m excited to (soon) bring some products to market that really showcase this gold-standard ingredient for healing and relaxation. Rather than rushing to beat the trend to market, we’ve taken our time to do it right. To accomplish this, I’ve spent the past year sourcing the cleanest, most holistic and most potent herbal material available, then discovering how to leverage it in a synergistic formula that really allows the ingredient to shine.
Stay tuned for more to come!