This summer, London-based retailer The Organic Pharmacy opened its second US store in New York’s West Village. Considering I now consult ewg.org before using any beauty product, this couldn’t have been better news. Founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Margo and Francesco Marrone, all of their skincare and beauty products and treatments are derived from all-natural, toxic-free ingredients. You may have seen Organic Glam, their cosmetics line made from organic extracts and mineral colors, sold elsewhere. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Jessica Alba, and Claudia Schiffer love The Organic Pharmacy, and I can see why.
True to its British roots, The Organic Pharmacy’s Bleecker Street spot is still an herbal and homeopathic dispensary that sells custom herb blends and homeopathic remedies, a shop, and an urban day spa. I was initially hesitant to try a treatment located physically in the shop (albeit behind a screen), but I relaxed almost immediately (in no small part to an incredible playlist). My skin was glowing when I left, not red and irritated like after so many other facials. I can also personally vouch for the nail polish, probiotics, and stretch mark oil. I bought those on my way out.
Recently, I spoke with co-founder Margo about The Organic Pharmacy.
Louise McCready Hart: What inspired you to start The Organic Pharmacy?
Margo Marrone: My first job was at the age of 15 in my local, traditional pharmacy. I loved watching the pharmacist make lotions and potions from the different amber bottles that contained extracts with exotic Latin names. I studied pharmacy and qualified as a pharmacist specializing in pharmacognosy (the study of medicinal herbs) four years later. A book written by Dr Bach of the Bach Flower remedies inspired me to study homeopathy, and during my homeopathic studies I first came across the idea of organic. I was shocked that poisonous and endocrine disrupting pesticides, herbicides and fungicides were routinely used on our food.
I started eating only organic–which was very hard 20 years ago in London–but still didn’t know about the ingredients that go into our cosmetics. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I read an article about the cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting ingredients in cosmetics and decided that I would not use anything on my daughter or myself that contained these ingredients. Both homeopathy and following an organic lifestyle changed my life dramatically, and I wanted to share that with the world. I discussed the idea of opening a store where everything was organic and free from toxic ingredients, with an herbal and homeopathic dispensary and treatment rooms where I could have both beauty and health treatments. The result was our first store in London in 2002.
LMH: Why a store in New York? Why now?
MM: New York is one of my favorite cities and is an important city globally. We opened in LA five years ago and felt it was the right time to open in NY now. We started looking a year ago and when the store on Bleecker came up it was perfect for us.
LMH: What are your five must-have beauty/health products?
MM: Our Carrot Butter Cleanser is a 99.9% organic balm cleanser that is brilliant at taking off makeup and leaving the skin fresh, bright and clean. My other two must-haves are the Antioxidant Face Serum and Antioxidant Gel which both feed the skin antioxidants and plant nutrients.
Detox Capsules is another essential. I formulated these eleven years ago when I saw that so many of my clients had digestive issues and stress and energy problems related to the body being too toxic. I put them on a detox and saw that within two weeks 50% of their symptoms had been improved. These Detox Capsules are now an essential health product. Finally, as I get older I find that unless I exfoliate every other day my skin looks dull so my last must have is our Enzyme Peel Mask, which takes off dead skin without drying it out or damaging it using micro beads.
LMH: What other health/wellness habits do you follow?
MM: I eat organic food and avoid refined sugar, which make s a huge difference. I love cycling and dancing to keep fit. I also think being positive has a great effect on health.
LMH: Any future plans for Organic Pharmacy?
MM: We are hoping to open our eighth global store in Hong Kong and will be launching in the Raffles Hotel in Istanbul.