Natural beauty is the way to go. (Photo: New York Institute of Aromatherapy)
From monthly subscription boxes filled with recipes to natural brands that offer single ingredient products made for mixing, the DIY beauty market is bursting with options. But when Amy Galper created aromatherapy remedies for her shiatsu clients in 2002, she was years ahead of the natural beauty boom in New York City.
“When I was making this, it was all in my kitchen. I was really hardcore about the authenticity of the ingredients and not using any synthetics or preservatives. So I spent a lot of my time educating everybody about what an organic ingredient is,” says Galper. “This was a time in New York City before whole foods was here. The idea of organic body care was still just a concept.”
She launched Buddha Nose, an award-winning brand that was sold worldwide and quickly became the go-to resource for ingredient and formulation information as more natural brands surfaced in the mid-2000s. At the same time, Galper was teaching workshops at various yoga and pilates studios around aromatic medicine and quickly realized that her students wanted to learn more.
Working with the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, Galper founded the New York Institute of Aromatherapy in the fall of 2013. The institute offers both professional level training in the use of essential oils and aromatic medicine as well as DIY classes to help people understand what formulating a product really means. Everyday people can learn how to make things like body butter and cleaning products, or sign up for a 40-hour training in aromatherapy and the use of essential oils. “People are interested, not only in the do-it-yourself thing, but more than anything, I think they want to be an advocate for their own home,” she says. “They want to know what chemicals and ingredients are coming into their life.”
NYIOA offers a wide range of classes and certifications. (Photo: New York Institute of Aromatherapy)
Outside of offering a range of classes and certifications, the NYIOA is also a full-service apothecary. “You can come to our little apothecary and get essential oils, a double boiler, mixing equipment, and tools,” says Galper. “It is a complete on stop shop for do-it-yourself or organic, natural beauty.” It’s unique to find all of these components in one place and it’s ideal for beginners who are looking to buy smaller amounts of ingredients.
If you’re not quite ready to DIY but want to get a taste of the world of aromatherapy, you can take advantage of the institute’s mentorship program and meet with an advanced student for a consultation and custom blend during weekly “office hours.” There’s a lot more to DIY than sugar scrubs and shopping your kitchen cupboards.