Rise, Grind and Shine With California Scrub Co.'s Coffee-Based Beauty Scrubs
There's more to do with those brewed coffee grounds in the morning. Rather than tossing them out, co-creators of Venice-based California Body Scrubs Elizabeth Ripps and Amelia Swaggert added them to their beauty routine, and loved the results. Now, after perfecting their first blends and testing out batches on their closest friends, they've introduced a line of three CaliScrubs for all, and they're available now in the Lincoln & Rose Marketplace.
Small batches of the all-natural face and body exfoliants are made with sun-dried coffee grounds, aromatic essential oils, and organic almond and jojoba oils that come in blends that include Babe In The Woods, a rich and sensual blend of vetiver, cedarwood and clove; Spicy Chai, a sweet combination of cinnamon and vanilla; and the botanical Sweet & Serene, with calming lavender and ylang ylang.
Each 8 ounce jar ($18) is said to be power-packed with the rich antioxidant benefits of coffee grounds and a nourishing quench from essential oils, but in addition to providing a natural alternative to scrubs that use harsh chemicals, CaliScrubs are also free of plastic microbeads, commonly used in exfoliation products, which wash down the drain and remain in the ocean.
Ripps and Swaggert are doing their part to raise awareness and put an end to plastic microbeads one good scrub at a time. The two met through friends of friends in Venice and realized that they were on a similar mission. Ripps, a native New Yorker who followed sunshine to the left coast about five years ago, was working on natural sugar scrubs when she met Swaggert. And Swaggert, who moved from Minneapolis in 2011, wanted to create a beauty product re-using all those valuable, discarded coffee grounds every day. They joined forces at the start of 2015 and debuted California Scrub Co. with a launch party at the Venice Love Shack earlier this month. We caught up with the duo and asked a few questions about co-creating, their love of coffee and what's next for CaliScrubs.
Aside from the sunshine, what inspired your move to Venice?
Swaggert: I had an idea in my head about the West Coast, but having never visited before, I was only drawn by the thought of living at the beach. When I got an internship working at a PR agency at 21, I packed my bags and headed west! The ocean drew me here, the energy of Venice Beach kept me. I just had my four year anniversary as of June 22nd. :)
Ripps: Honestly can't remember a time when I didn't want to move to California. I'm from cold, concrete New York City, about as opposite as you can get. Books like Weetzie Bat and On the Road (Francesca Lia Block and Jack Kerouac) and bands like The Doors and The Grateful Dead were huge parts of my childhood and teen years—and they all spoke of a magical, sparkling life in Los Angeles. I also visited the Venice Boardwalk with my family when I was fifteen—we came for my cousins wedding—and immediately fell in love with the vibrant, eccentric culture of Venice Beach.
You love coffee. Obviously. Where's your favorite coffee spot in Venice?
Swaggert: I love Groundwork Coffee on Rose Avenue. Cool little spot, local vibes, yummy coffee and pastries!
Ripps: I love making my own coffee for friends—I do it in a French Press, which brings out a really bright, open flavor. When I'm going out for a cup of coffee, I love the vibe of TOMS on Abbot Kinney. There's also a little Groundworks stand off the Boardwalk, on Westminster, that I'll sometimes get a cold brew over lots of ice at—perfect for biking along the path in the summertime!
What kind of coffee grounds do you use in your scrubs and where does it come from?
Swaggert: We source our grounds from Rawvolution in Santa Monica. Rawvolution carries an incredible line of coffee known as "Longevity Coffee" which is sustainably sourced in Ecuador. Longevity coffee is known for its high antioxidant level and low pH. It's essentially the highest grade coffee available so we are very proud of our grounds! We love working with Rawvolution; and are proud to partner with LA's most sustainable restaurant two years running (Sustainable Business Council Award 2014 & 2015).
There's a lot of emphasis on eating clean and local. How do you get people to think the same way about their beauty regimen?
Swaggert: I think people are becoming more and more aware of both what they are putting IN their body, as well as what they are putting ON their body. Especially in LA, people are very conscious about what they're buying, consuming and using. The trend is definitely towards shopping local whether it's at a farmers' market for groceries, or a locally small-batched body scrub when it comes to beauty. When you shop local, you're not only supporting small businesses, but you know exactly where your purchase is coming from: you may know the people behind the company, you may just want something that you can easily pronounce all the ingredients on the label. Either way, I think a holistic outlook on beauty is trending in our culture. Natural, organic, eco-friendly, upcycled - these are not just key words for us, these words shape our perspective on what beauty SHOULD be. People deserve to know what ingredients are in the products they buy! Beauty products should not be made with preservatives, chemicals, dyes, unnatural fragrances, etc. We are really proud of creating a product that is just as good for your body as it is for the environment.
When you're not getting down and dirty with CaliScrubs, what are you up to?
Swaggert: I have a freelance social media marketing business as well as the scrubs, so I work with several clients in that area. When I'm not working, I'm looking for a show or heading to the next music festival as much as possible! Now that summer's here, I try to get out of town and go camp or have little day-cations here and there. Spending time in nature as much as I can, getting some sun at the beach, stand up paddle boarding with my fiancé, and going out with my girl friends.
Ripps: I just moved to a place right by the beach and am having the best time getting everything all set up! I love crafting home items (we're building a daybed out of wooden shipping pallets) and setting up a really great outdoor space—potted garden, fairy lights, succulents everywhere. I also love yoga, cooking for friends, and hiking with my dog.
Huge congrats on launching CaliScrubs! What's next?
Ripps: Amelia and I are very much learning as we go when it comes to running a business. We're having the best time growing California Scrub Co. and are looking forward to continuing to expand our audience, becoming a Venice Beach staple, and bringing the sun and soul of Venice nationwide! Of course, Ocean Conservancy and banning the microbead are near and dear to us. Any way we can support these endeavors, especially through local ocean conservancy non-profits like LA Waterkeeper, is in keeping with the ethos of our environmentally friendly company!