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The Short Version: Brenda Brock hails from a farming family in Texas where her grandmother and aunts engaged in the art of kitchen chemistry, making all-natural skincare products for their family. After moving to the Northeast U.S., Brenda continued with her interest in herbal formulation and saw a need for high-quality, herb- and flower-based skincare products, so she founded Farmaesthetics using recipes inspired by her rural farming family heritage. The company uses 100% natural ingredients, including lavender, calendula, rosehip, and mint, to create skincare formulations for face and body, for use at home, and for use in professional treatments at spas. Farmaesthetics products also make thoughtful gifts for loved ones, and a trip to a Farmaesthetics spa with your partner can be a rejuvenating experience.
Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island, is a memorable getaway destination for couples — and not just for its accommodations. The resort’s Retreat to Romance package delivers a three-course dinner for two and a couples trip to the luxurious hotel spa, The Retreat at Castle Hill by Farmaesthetics, a Farmaesthetics Spa that offers facials and couples massages with ingredients made from Brenda’s traditional herbal recipe.
The Retreat at Castle Hill by Farmaesthetics is one of Castle Hill Inn’s most popular attractions, and it’s operated by Farmaesthetics, an acclaimed natural beauty brand founded at an organic farm stand in Rhode Island.
“Couples massages and couples facials are becoming our top treatments,” said Brenda Brock, who founded Farmaesthetics in 1999.
Aficionados of luxury spas, like The Retreat at Castle Hill by Farmaestheics, may have once expected highly chemical skincare treatments, but that isn’t the case anymore. Today, elite clients want to put only natural products on their skin. In response to those shifting expectations, Farmaesthetics recently opened a second spa in the exclusive Bridgehampton hamlet in New York, Farmesthetics Spa at Topping Rose House.
“People used to think that luxurious meant a lot of chemicals. But now, at that level of luxury, they’re not looking for cheap synthetics. They’re looking for real ingredients,” Brenda said.
Couples don’t have to travel to the Northeast to find hotels that partner with Farmaesthetics. Boutique hotels in the United States, Chile, and Japan — to name a few — stock Farmaesthetics in their guestrooms, a far cry from the generic hotel lotions couples often find when traveling.
“These days, people want to have a luxurious experience, and hotels want their products to be excellent,” Brenda told us.
Couples who make it to Newport can stop at the Farmaesthetics flagship store on Bellevue Avenue to pick up some products in person and get a sense of what the eco-conscious company is all about.
Today, Farmaesthetics products are popular around the world, and the company has been steadily growing its reputation since Brenda got her start making natural skincare products in 1999. She moved to Rhode Island and collaborated with friends to open a farm stand on her friend’s organic farm. Inspired by childhood memories from her own family’s farm in Texas, Brenda took Farmaesthetics from a summer project to founding the OG green luxury beauty brand. In fact, Sustainable Beauty® is her trademark tagline.
Brenda started recreating the traditional skincare formulas she gleaned from her relatives, honoring methods she was taught about peak times to harvest each plant, and how to dry herbs and flowers and infuse them into other ingredients.
“I was taught the ins and outs of bringing herbs and flowers inside for infusing into tonics, lotions, salves, and powders,” she said.
One of the company’s products called High Cotton Body Dust uses a traditional recipe created to absorb excess moisture and reduce chafing in the hot and sticky Texas fields. Rather than using all-natural products because they were fashionable, Brenda’s family treated skin conditions with the ingredients they grew just for those purposes.
“They dealt with skin conditions naturally, and I was inspired to translate those values into my business,” Brenda said.
But when she started 20 years ago, green products weren’t yet trendy. So Brenda sold her products at a rural farm stand, where they quickly gained a following of devoted fans.
Since those days, Farmaesthetics has expanded rapidly and now sells its products online and at retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. But Brenda said she aims to stay true to the traditional recipes that made her family’s skincare products so effective through the generations.
Now, she focuses on creating products that feel both lush and personal.
“We put a lot of love into our products,” Brenda said. “We have a high-touch level that translates into the people who use our products — and it’s why they use them.”
One way Farmaesthetics grew its reputation was through users giving products to others who were unfamiliar with the company, and that remains true today.
“We find that most people give our products as a gift of love. These are going to make you feel good, but they’re also good for you,” Brenda said.
Popular products for a partner or loved one include the Fine Herbal Cleanser, made with witch hazel, vegetable glycerin, acylglutamate (a natural amino acid derived from sugarcane), geranium essential oil, and lavender essential oil. The cleanser works particularly well for people struggling with acne.
Another product, Nourishing Lavender Milk, softens skin, smooths lines, and evens skin tone. And like many other Farmaesthetics products, the lotion isn’t just for the face, but can also be used on the body.
Brenda also recommends giving Watercress Eye Gel, one of her favorite products, as a gift, especially useful for tired eyes. The gel’s main ingredients are watercress, cucumber, arnica, and caffeine to tighten and firm around the eyes.
“I worked on that product for 18 months before testing,” Brenda said. “It’s made to use under or over makeup, as well as at night as a treatment product and has become a baby bag favorite among new mothers.”
New customers often purchase a sampler set of Farmaesthetics products to get a sense of which ones work best for them. Some gift sets include the Dear Gardener for gardening lovers or the New & Nursing Mothers Collection for moms with young children.
But whatever products customers choose as a gift for their significant other, they’re sure to create a tranquil mood.
“Herbs have aromatherapeutic properties right off the bat. The scent you experience is powerfully beneficial, but you also get a glow on your face,” said Brenda.
More than 20 years after Brenda turned her family’s traditional skincare recipes into a company, Farmaesthetics continues to grow. However, her day-to-day routine doesn’t look much different. She still picks flowers and herbs from her garden, based on when they’re in season and ready to harvest. She also formulates new products in her large, open manufacturing and distribution center — a converted trolley barn in Newport.
Farmaesthetics now reaches a much wider audience than Brenda ever imagined, but it isn’t so big that she can’t personally interact with customers. Brenda and her team often talk directly with customers and suggest offerings based on what appeals to customers.
“We get to interact with who’s using Farmaesthetics and why. What are people looking for? What did they love about a product?” Brenda said.
“There’s nothing more touching than someone saying they wake up every morning and put one of our products on their face. I hope it makes them feel clean, fresh, and ready to start the day.” — Brenda Brock, Farmaesthetics Founder
Another thing that’s changed is that, while Brenda stayed true to her all-natural recipes, the rest of the beauty industry has started to follow suit.
“The idea of beauty now is nature-based,” she said. “Everybody knows that these products are good for a healthier planet and good for us.”
After developing dozens of products for a variety of skin types and issues, Brenda continues to gain inspiration from traditional all-natural recipes and continuing to learn how plants provide remedies to all kinds of ailments.
“I’m still inspired by the natural world and flowers and what they do,” she said. “There’s nothing more touching than someone saying they wake up every morning and put one of our products on their face. I hope it makes them feel clean, fresh, and ready to start the day.”