|Photos by Larry Hirshowitz|
Ever since Sabrina Collins was 12 years old, she has been making her own beauty products from stuff around the house. “I had this knack for making things natural, without chemicals,” she says. Her first real success? An acne mask made out of oatmeal, comfrey, honey and her mom's Nature's Gate conditioner. “I had acne you could see from a distance. My mom would bring home Clearasil that never worked. I wanted to clear up my skin. So I said, 'I'm gonna make something,' and it worked. It worked!“
The pockmark-free Collins, whose hair and skin quite literally glow, got the idea from growing up in a household of down-home craftsy women. “Everyone in the family always had something they created with their own hands,” says the mother of two, enthusiasm bubbling forth. Her maternal grandmother was a Cherokee Indian who “was always in the kitchen concocting something.” Her paternal grandmother was from “The Carolinas,” and her hippie-leaning mother was an art-school grad who made all her kids' clothes. “Coming up, she made everything we wore, except our underwear.”
Paradise bath balls made
from Dead Sea salts,
essential oils and lavender
petals with dried organic
After the acne-cream success, Collins' reputation took off. “All my neighbors and the guys on the block would come to my house and go, 'Hey, hey, what's that cream you got? Let me try some of that.'”
Nowadays, the New York transplant has her own company, Face Your Body Aromatherapy — Healing for the Mind, Body, Spirit, which she runs out of her West Adams garage, and sells her wares at the Hollywood Farmers Market. The all-natural line, made up of bath salts, soaps, scented oils, seaweed baths, body butters and lotions, and loofah-soap combinations, is 100 percent handmade, and created with the purpose of relaxation in mind. Although she's expanded her business by doing gift bags for weddings, bridal showers, production-company holiday parties, and the nonprofits Planned Parenthood and Black Women for Wellness, she remains loyal to “the market.”
Pieces of Beauty vegan soaps.
“I've been here eight years,” she says with a smile. “There are days where things aren't moving really fast, and then you have those who rush up and say, 'I need some bath soap. I need to relax tonight. I only have a few dollars.' I say, 'All right, I'll give you a dollar's worth of salts.' It makes me happy to know that what I do makes other people happy.”
bath and shower gel
A black-sugar scrub and a rich, nourishing seaweed bath, made from dried seaweed that's been treated in lavender, rosemary and frankincense, are her newest products, and for the summer she plans on working with clay. “Red clay, blue clay, whatever I can get.” She is also developing a line of raw beauty products, “like raw foods,” which would be made on the spot and would have to be kept in the fridge.
The most frequently asked beauty question? How to deal with dry skin. “I tell them, put a bit of apple-cider vinegar in the bath water and moisturize really well after you get out with one of my body butters or lotions.” Her most memorable testimony? “Well, I've had a lot of people tell me that the oils, especially the 'More' blend, have, how can I say it? Heightened their romantic evenings? Yeah, that's a good way to say it.”
Toasted-almond loofah soap
Face Your Body Aromatherapy is available every Sunday at the Hollywood Farmers Market (Collins' stand is on the north side of Selma Avenue, about half a block west of Vine Street); and at Mostly Angels and Other Magical Beings, 6006 W. Pico Blvd., (323) 939-2868. Or for more information, call (323) 731-2409.