Jessica Graves likes a good challenge.
“Bring me an issue, and I‘ll try to get rid of it,” she says.
Poison ivy got you feeling punk? She’s got an organic relief spray for that. Skin stinging from sunburn? She‘s got a fix for that, too.
These are just a few of the many wellness and beauty products she’s concocted for her company Una Biologicals. It‘s headquartered in Ross, near where Ms. Graves lives, and specializes in natural and organically made lotions, salves, face masks, lip balms, teas and more. The brand also offers handmade yoga straps in colorful prints, as well as room sprays and cleansing sprays for yoga mats.
“Our products are really just as clean as you get,” she says. A lot of things that claim to be organic or naturally based often only have a couple of ingredients that fit the description in them. “We really take out absolutely everything that is artificial.”
Most Una Biologicals items are made with eight ingredients or less and are handcrafted. Organic apricot oil, virgin organic coconut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, organic mango butter and organic plant extracts are some common key ingredients. Together they not only soften skin and lips but also soothe and heal. The Wound Wonder, for instance, can help relieve anything from bug bites and razor burn to cuts in the kitchen with its blend of organic calendula, comfrey and chickweed. It also can minimize symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
“It sounds like snake oil, and we know it,” Ms. Graves says. “Then you use it, and it’s amazing. It‘s my shock-and-awe section.”
The brand doesn’t test its creations on animals, but Ms. Graves does tap her children to try out new things and makes kid-friendly applicator sticks for some products.
“I feel like if your children won’t use it, adults probably won‘t either,” she says. “We make sure it’s very user friendly.”
Ms. Graves launched the business in 2008, but her interest in herbs and chemistry stem back to her youth. A self-proclaimed “chemistry geek,” she started her undergraduate years studying it before taking a different career path. When she struggled to find things she could use on her sensitive skin, she started mixing up her own.
“It was kind of a perfect storm,” she says. “My background in plants and chemistry gave me the courage to start making products when there wasn‘t anything on the market I could use, and what I could use I couldn’t afford.”
While Una Biologicals‘ line is pricier than a lot of drugstore beauty brands, it is more conservatively priced than many high-end skin care collections. Prices vary; the Luxe face cream is $25 for a 1.7-ounce jar, whereas lip balms are a few dollars. A little bit of Una products go a long way, Ms. Graves says, so they’ll last.
The brand is carried in about 30 stores in 11 states, including about a dozen local boutiques, salons and holistic centers. It also has a regular presence in the Strip District every Saturday, the farmers market at Phipps on Wednesdays and markets in Bloomfield on Saturdays. Ms. Graves also is active in I Made It! Market events and attends festivals across the region. Shop the products and learn more about where they can be found at www.unabiologicals.com.
For more from style editor Sara Bauknecht, visit the Post-Gazette‘s fashion blog Stylebook at www.post-gazette.com/stylebook. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG or email firstname.lastname@example.org.