Soothing the Skin for Spring
By Susan Gloss | Photos By Jim Klousia 0
Our skin takes a beating during a Wisconsin winter. In March and April, as the crocus and daffodil emerge from the soil, so do our limbs emerge from long johns, wool sweaters and wet boots. Our minds and spirits may be more than ready for spring, but often our skin is not. Winter leaves its mark with a host of skin problems, from eczema to chapped lips and cracked hands.
Fortunately, LuSa Organics and Naughty Goat have you covered as you uncover all that sensitive skin for spring. These local businesses save our skin with lotions, salves, and other care personal care products made from natural ingredients right here in southern Wisconsin. Both companies were born from a belief that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them.
Growing a Business and a Family
at LuSa Organics
Rachel Wolf already considered herself a “maker” long before she began crafting body care products as a profession. While in graduate school for environmental education, she kept her hands busy with baking bread, home-brewing beer, canning tomatoes and knitting mittens. She first tried making personal care products when she was in her twenties, after she read an article about soap making and decided she was up for the challenge.
“From that first batch of soap, I was hooked,” she says. Within a few years, she was making body care products full-time while parenting her young children. Her husband, Pete, eventually left his job to help with their growing business venture. In 2008, they launched LuSa Organics together. Rachel and Pete came up with the company name by combining the names of their children, Lupine and Sage. Now LuSa, based out of Viroqua, makes a variety of body care products that not only smell good and feel sumptuous on the skin, but also are safe for the whole family to use.
“Our skin is our body’s largest organ,” says Rachel. “If preservatives, artificial colors and petroleum aren’t on your dinner menu, consider keeping them out of your body care as well.”
In keeping with that philosophy, LuSa uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible. All fragrances used in the products are made exclusively from essential oils, and all coloring is derived from natural pigments, herbs and clays. LuSa’s bath scrubs are made with organic sugar. Its soothing lip balms and lotion bars incorporate Wisconsin beeswax. The sunflower oil used in its soaps comes from Driftless Organics (driftlessorganics.com), right down the road from the Wolfs’ own farm.
“It’s delightful to drive through the valley past their fields of sunflowers and know that some of those flowers will be pressed into oil for LuSa Organics,” says Rachel.
If there is one ingredient she can’t live without, it is local, organic calendula flowers (above). For those not familiar with calendula, also known as “pot marigold,” it’s an annual plant with blooms that range from yellow to orange in color. The flowers look like bursts of bright spring sunshine. Calendula has a long history of use as a healing herb with anti-inflammatory, antifungal and immuno-stimulant properties. LuSa purchases calendula from several small growers in the area and uses the plant in its baby soap and popular Booty Balm diaper ointment (a staple in this author’s house).
“Local ingredients are simply more vibrant,” says Wolf. “It is the terroir of the Driftless region in everything we make.”
LuSa recently took its commitment to locally-sourced ingredients a step further when the Wolf family purchased a small farm. There, they are making plans to raise organic herbs to use in LuSa’s body care creations. The family also recently began keeping bees and purchased two Nubian goats, Daphne and Pie, whose milk will be used in LuSa soaps.