Insider's Guide to Spas
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Let’s Keep Green Beauty Growing

Mary Bemis

Those who know me, know that I’m happiest when I’m at the helm of a new launch—be that a magazine, a professional group, or a conference. So, when Daniela Ciocan, the visionary marketing director at Cosmoprof North America, asked me if I’d like to co-curate a new green beauty platform at Cosmoprof North America, I was enthralled. I’ve been nurturing green spas and beauty products since the idea first sprouted—when going green was seen as “too hippy dippy, too crunchy.” When, as I was often told, “green business didn’t stand a chance.” Now, of course, it’s a huge business that’s spreading fast with a beautiful platform at Cosmoprof North America, the biggest, most professional beauty show in the United States.

The Beginnings of the Green Spa & Beauty Movement

Many credit the birth of the green spa movement to a call to action at the International Spa Association’s 2002 conference, when Deborah Szekely, the godmother of the American spa movement and the co-founder of Rancho La Puerta and founder of the Golden Door, gave a rousing speech, encouraging spa professionals to join in the environmental movement. The speech spawned a meeting of like minds, and passionate folks including, Michael Stusser, Loma Alexander, Jim Root, Tara Grodjesk, and I took up the battle cry.

“Healing the Waters” was the ISPA task force that came out of that meeting. At the time, I was on the ISPA Board of Directors, and happily became the liaison between this green task force and ISPA. Those humble beginnings were the start of the Green Spa Network, as well as the magazine I co-founded, Organic Spa.

It has been one heck of a ride since then! And I’m proud of how far we have come. I was speaking recently with Wendy Strgar, CEO, founder, and self-proclaimed Loveologist at Good Clean Love, a personal-care brand that helped launch last year’s inaugural Discover Green exhibit and is coming back this year. “Natural beauty has become a circus!” she exclaimed. Yes, it has, but on the other hand, it’s a much better show. Nowadays, the competition is real!

Less Greenwashing, More Transparency

Ten years ago, the growing field of green spas and beauty was a brand new world in which anything went. Greenwashing, along with sheer confusion, ran rampant. Thankfully, the industry is much more transparent today, and products that are successful in the natural and organic markets are using more proven ingredients for consumers who are increasingly more sophisticated. Now, more people than ever read their product labels, familiarizing themselves with the good, the, bad, and the really hazardous ingredients that still end up in some bottles. You may know that Senators Dianne Feinsten and Susan Collins recently introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act—a new bill that would give the FDA a heck of a lot more authority on a product’s safety before it’s approved for the market. Whether the bill becomes law remains to be seen, but it’s a clear indication of where the market is going—and the sort of thing you need to know to stay competitive in it.

The Growth of Cosmoprof North America’s Discover Green

Green beauty is only going to grow, and this year’s Discover Green exhibit is proof of that. “Discover Green was created to anticipate the growing consumer consciousness and demand for clean products,” says Daniela. “It was a natural progression for our show, and it was an immediate success upon launch.” Indeed it was—this year I worked with Daniela and her team to extend the Discover Green platform from 20 to 40 brands. There are some wonderful additions this year, as well as some noteworthy returning brands.

A few noteworthy newcomers include ila, a British line that is introducing an elegant trio of aroma rollers—Inner Peace, Vital Energy, and Glowing Radiance. (I’m partial to Vital Energy, an uplifting fragrance infused with lemongrass, patchouli and rose geranium that’s described as “a real shot of sunshine and smiles.”)

EWG (Environmental Working Group) Verified, Sonage Skincare is another newcomer to Discover Green this year. “Beauty, like food, should be a health choice,” believes Anisha Khanna, CEO. Founded by a French esthetician in 1994, Sonage is launching antioxidant-rich Opalex Lightening Serum, a hydroquinine-free skin lightener full of natural ingredients like licorice root extract and alpha-arbutin, derived from the bearberry plant.

One of the busiest booths at Discover Green’s inaugural show was Adoratherapy, where attendees lined up to sample the brand’s unique Chakra Boosts. This year, they’ll be showcasing their cool new Prestige Room Boost collection available in handy travel sizes, as well as 100ml bottles. The collection includes five of their most popular formulas—Clear Away (I keep this formula within arm’s reach on my desk, as it works well to clear the mind and help focus), Abundance, Serene, Passion, and Blissful.

Speaking of blissful, Blue Beautifly will also be returning to Discover Green. This Certified B Corporation brand is also certified USDA Organic, and is run by husband-and-wife team Saied Karamooz and Vida Karamooz, Ph.D. They’ll be showcasing their glow-inducing Organic Regenerating Oil Serum, a powerful combination of precious oils (sea buckthorn berry, pomegranate, and camellia seed, to name a few) and flower stem cells and extracts, including calendula, chamomile, and lavender.

For a complete listing of our 40 fabulous brands in the Discover Green section, click here:

Introducing Discover Green Leaf

This year marks the debut of Discover Green Leaf, a special new section for eco-friendly brands looking to distribution in green spas. This specially designed part of the show floor will have a chic design of its own, and brands will have guaranteed meetings with US spa directors and buyers from:

Amazon Beauty

Auberge Resorts & Hotels

Destination Hotels

Milk & Honey Day Spas


Sego Lily Spas


The Detox Market

Universal Companies

Here’s the link to the list of the 10 gorgeous brands in Discover Green Leaf:

And it gets better. This year, I’m really excited about the top-level mini-conference that I’m thrilled to be chairing on Sunday July 9th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Our speakers are simply phenomenal—each shining a light on the way forward in green beauty.

I can’t wait to get the conversations started! First up is “What Women Want from Naturals.” My panel of distinguished speakers are Romain Gaillard, founder of The Detox Market, Sarah Jindal, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst at Mintel, Ronie Schmelz, counsel, Tucker Ellis LLP, and Kiran Stordalen, co-owner, Intelligent Nutrients. We’ll be exploring the opportunities that retailers and brands have in this rapidly evolving market segment, looking at what market data reveals, and addressing regulatory wrath.

My second panel is “Ethical Consumerism: Connecting the Dots.” Esteemed panelists are Dr Liliana S. George, president Pure Beauty Concepts, Jean Godfrey June, beauty director at Goop, and Indie Lee, founder of the eponymous line, Indie Lee. We’ll be discussing the coveted millennials and what makes them not only feel safe enough to make an investment with a brand—but what helps them to identify with a brand.

I’m hoping you’ll come join me in Vegas, and be a part of this exciting new platform. Here’s a very special discount (50% off!) for those of you who’d like to attend my sessions:

See you in Vegas!



Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.