By Emma Vallelunga (DoNorth/Emma Vallelunga) Blossoming Natural Cosmetics in the North Country On the Cumberland Head peninsula, Lizzie Boolukos creates luxury. She mixes natural ingredients with a childhood idea of beauty and the dream of perfect skin. Boolukos is an entrepreneur behind a growing skincare and haircare line: Seven Flowers of Luxury. She is also owner of Beehive Beauty Salon in Plattsburgh. She sees salon clients six days a week, but still finds the time to make her product—all in the comfort of her home-based salon. Since she was teenager in the ’70s, Boolukos loved to experiment with anything from…
- December 16, 2018
- by web-staff-1
By Emma Vallelunga
Blossoming Natural Cosmetics in the North Country
On the Cumberland Head peninsula, Lizzie Boolukos creates luxury. She mixes natural ingredients with a childhood idea of beauty and the dream of perfect skin.
Boolukos is an entrepreneur behind a growing skincare and haircare line: Seven Flowers of Luxury. She is also owner of Beehive Beauty Salon in Plattsburgh. She sees salon clients six days a week, but still finds the time to make her product—all in the comfort of her home-based salon.
Since she was teenager in the ’70s, Boolukos loved to experiment with anything from essential oils to perfumes. When she moved to southern California with her husband and daughter, a friend introduced her to shea butter and jojoba oil. Living in Santa Ana in 1998, Boolukos mixed a small batch of skin and hair cream for a community craft fair. She sold her first jars with handwritten labels and named it Heavenly Pink.
“I’m less of a scientist than I am a magician,” Boolukos says. “I’m not a chemist; it’s all magic to me.”
Boolukos continued making the cream for herself and and friends. She sold small batches on the side at craft fairs.
“It’s a pleasure to share my creative processes with others,” she says.
In 2002, she and her family moved back to her childhood home in the North Country. By 2003 she was running the salon business out of the front room of her home and had expanded her line to include a lipstick, face scrub, a pre-shampoo hair treatment, a hand balm, and a cool, warm-toned highlighter.
Wanting to strengthen her brand, she collaborated with local artists to create new labels and a new logo.
In 2013, Boolukos was awarded a grant through the North Country Small Business Development Center. Grateful for the money and help, Boolukos committed to spending locally.
“When any of us are able to spend our money with local merchants, we can make our local economy stronger and keep our city a place where we all can thrive.”
When the $15,000 came, she upgraded her salon and then the details: more ingredients, top-notch equipment, and better design and marketing.
Her flagship product, Heavenly Pink Creme of Luxury, is a skin-care cream that can be used for morning and evening face application to repair broken or dried skin. It comes in three sizes: a .25-ounce jar for $5, a 1-ounce jar for $12 and a 2-ounce jar for $20.
To make her products, Boolukos sources the best ingredients from around the world.
As the fruit of the West African shea tree falls to the ground, the process of forming shea butter begins. These nuts are picked up, broken, crushed, roasted and mixed with water then boiled to produce a fat that is whipped until smooth, creating the fair-trade unrefined shea butter she uses daily.
The Mexican-American border region of the Sonoran Desert is home to Boolukos’ jojoba oil where it is extracted from seeds and refined to form a colorless, odorless liquid.
Pure essential oil extracts, like rosemary and lavender, are steamed with elaborate equipment. The freshly picked plant is boiled, and,as the steam rises, it’s captured by a vessel, cooled rapidly, condensed and separated. The byproduct is Boolukos’ proprietary Seven Flowers of Luxury essential oil blend.
Boolukos believes the fewer ingredients, the less irritants—her star product has only three components. Despite being all-natural, Boolukos’ creams don’t separate after the mixing process.
The magic began with a childhood memory.
When Boolukos was younger, the only time she and her family watched movies was late at night. She remembers being in awe of a French actress in a classic movie who was applying a rich cream to her face and neck.
“It was all very black and white but so alluring,” she says in her brochure. “The image has stayed with me as the basis for what I think of as skin care: a clean face and a rich, pure cream devoid of excessive additives or perfumes.”
For Boolukos, the transitions from salon to cosmetic factory are met with late nights meditating, her hair looped in a messy bun, thinking of her grandmother’s baking as her industrial mixer whips a new batch of her products weekly.
The Lipstick of Luxury comes in shades of pink and reds. It holds the same proprietary blend with the addition of beeswax and infused alkanet root.
Grown in Europe and eastern North America, Boolukos’ alkanet root is marinated in jojoba oil to make a natural burgundy dyeing agent, yielding shades of pink for her tinted lip balm.
Boolukos has a love for the Italian language, so her three lipsticks are named bambina, or child; femina, or girl; and la donna, the woman.
“They’re different because they’re made by hand,” Boolukos says. “And I love the entire process.”
All of Boolukos’ products are 100 percent natural. By definition, natural substances are derived from plants, minerals or animals while synthetic substances have been formulated or manufactured by a chemical process.
In other words, the more chemical processes to create a synthetic substance, the less natural it becomes. Natural cosmetic products and makeups are safer, healthier alternatives, especially when these products are composed of all-natural ingredients.
Boolukos grew up with a thriving downtown Plattsburgh which included her grandparents’ restaurant and bakery. Her family’s business has a strong influence on her own.
“I like that I’m self employed here, where I grew up.”
When she takes a step back from her business, Boolukos feels good about contributing to the economy of the North Country.
Boolukos loves two things: beauty products and skin care. Making her own line that combines the two things she loves is the most fun of all.
“I love this area, and I’m proud to be making my products here,” she says. “I appreciate all of the support that I receive and want to keep the money here where it can support more of us.”
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