Health and Fitness

A BB Cream for Hair, Customized Cosmetics, and a Slew of Other Stuff Coming Up the Pike for Health Nuts

By BB&W Health and Wellness editor, Ashley Harvard


For a natural products junkie like me, getting the chance to attend the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore last Thursday through Saturday, quite literally, like being in heaven.  As a soon-to-be integrative nutritionist I’m interested in far more than just food and nutrition – I really care about using and recommending to my clients the best dietary supplements, natural skincare and makeup products as well as household products. So when Christelyn suggested I attend Expo East I jumped at the opportunity. And after leaving Expo East with two very heavy sample bags and a huge stack of business cards from connections I made, I cannot wait to attend next year’s expo.


To give a little background, Expo East is put on every year by New Hope Natural Media, and is the largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show on the East Coast.  Every year they also host a trade show, known at Expo West, out in California. As soon as I stepped foot in the Baltimore Convention Center last Thursday, I was blown away at how many vendors were present (I later learned that there were more than 1,200 exhibits) and over the course of the three days, more than 22,000 people visited the expo. It’s primarily focused on exposing natural brands to retailers and many brand managers attend the expo with the hopes that they’ll entice buyers at places like health food stores to carry their products. But the expo also caters to people like me, who write for websites where product reviews are frequently written.


But I went there for more than just freebies. I wanted to really get to know about some of the upcoming trends and products in the natural products sector and bring all of this info back to you wonderful BB&W readers. Over the coming months, I’ll occasionally be reviewing new products that I am truly excited about from brands that I absolutely trust. I don’t recommend ANYTHING to people, either here on this site or among my clients, that I have not used myself.


Here are some of the trends to watch out for in 2014:


  1. Customized Products –More and more skincare and makeup brands are allowing customers to request forumlations of products that are specifically tailored to their unique preferences. For instance the owner of the Orange Owl, a natural skincare line based in Vermont, explained to me that starting in a few months, customers will be able to specify what type of oil(s) they want to be the base of their products. Many of the Orange Owl’s products use nut oils, like almond oil, as the base. But the owner said she began to notice the growing number of Americans with nut allergies. So customers will be able to start requesting nut-free base oils like avocado or jojoba soon.
  2. Beauty Balm (aka “BB”) cream like products for the body/hair – Andalou Naturals (one of my favorite skin and hair brands) is releasing a product early next year that I cannot wait for – a BB cream for hair. Much like BB skin creams, it will be a natural “all-in one” hair cream to use for dryness, frizziness, shine, texture, hold, and a few other things I can’t remember! One of the Andalou product reps I spoke to mentioned that we’re going to start seeing more and more products like this – ones that were originally developed for one part of the body, like the skin, but then being tweaked for use on a totally different body part.
  3. Natural beauty products that actually work – A rep from Badger and I talked at length about this. I can remember years ago when many “natural products” were synonymous with pachouli, poor packaging and often failed to live up to basic product claims. But now, “green” science is catching up and many natural companies are pushing tons of money into R&D, clinical studies, etc. The result is that more and more natural beauty products are just as effective, if not more so, than conventional and chemical-laden drugstore and department store brands.


Here are some standout brands that I’ll be reviewing products from in the weeks and months ahead:


Nordic Naturals


Shea Terra

Tera’s Whey

Worker Bee

The Orange Owl

Andalou Naturals


Shea Radiance


If you ever have the opportunity to attend either Expo East or Expo West, I highly recommend going! The natural products industry needs to see that more women of color use their products and we should show our support for brands that make clean, natural and effective products for women of all colors to use!


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Ashley Harvard lives in the Washington, D.C. area, holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, and is currently working on a master’s degree in nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. As a nutritionist-in-training, she meets with clients, both in-person and via Skype, from all over the country to help them regain control of their health. When she’s not working with her amazing clients, you can find her whipping up new smoothie recipes, training for her first 5k, or working her way through her latest Netflix addiction, Pretty Little Liars.


To schedule an in-person or Skype-based nutrition consultation or to ask a question, email her at [email protected]


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