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Brand Spotlight: Alaska Glacial Essentials Skincare with Lauren Padawer

Published On 05/16/2022 by KindBuys

Has sustainability always been a part of your life?

From an early age, I was the kid trying to improve our household consumption and educate family about the need to change our habits to protect the environment. As an adult, I was drawn to social and environmental causes for both work and as an activist. Sustainability was at the roots of starting my business. Being a human is a conundrum for our planet. We take and take and take and anything we can do to give back and find balance is so important.

What inspired you to start Alaska Glacial Essentials Skincare?

I was inspired to start Alaska Glacial as a means to preserve the wilderness of the Copper River Watershed through profits generated from the sale of skincare products made with its abundant and sustainable resources. I had been working for a nonprofit and wanted to have a bigger impact. My life was forever changed by a rafting trip down the magnificent and wild Copper River in 2001.

We stopped for lunch at Abercrombie Rapids, a place where the river necks up quite a bit before the Copper River Delta. It's a great place to watch bears fish for salmon on the other side of the river. There were all these little glacial pools, which we figured were left over from the high water earlier in the summer. They were warm from the sun, so we took a dip in them after lunch. And there, my feet sank into the softest, most buttery mud.

I set out to find out what the mud had in it and how it compared to muds on the market. I did tests on the mud, and through my research, I pieced together that the river’s mud has an incredible amount of minerals and trace elements because the river drains five distinct mountain ranges—and the minerals include glacially ground rocks from all of them.

Tell us the story behind Alaska Glacial Mud Co.'s name change?

The divine sensation of the glacial mud and ensuing soft skin started my journey to discover the power of the plants and minerals to heal and detoxify skin, and thus Alaska Glacial Mud Co. was the name chosen in 2006 to represent a line of natural and purifying mud masks and mineral soaps.

However as I grew older, so did my skin care needs – aging skin demands more daily hydration and nourishment. I’d always envisioned expanding the line and knew the skin care market was crowded with choices. If the future of Alaska Glacial included more products, I felt they had to be really innovative – made with glacier water, wild and potent Alaska botanicals, and functional ingredients that would deliver in exceptional results-driven formulas. I didn't want people to think we had glacial mud in all the products and felt Alaska Glacial Essentials Skincare was better suited for the brand.

In 2019, I teamed up with a formulator and Korean-Alaska who had been researching and developing Alaska glacier water based skincare products for 8 years. In 2020, we launched the new glacier collection of facial care products, which includes a cleanser, toner, serum and cream formulated with mineral-rich Alaska glacier water, wild Alaska botanicals and results-driven delivery systems rooted in advanced Korean skincare research.

These products combine the best of K-beauty formulations with with bioavailable mineral-rich glacier water and wildly potent botanicals from Alaska (including blueberries, lingonberries, chaga mushroom and lupine seed oil) and well known functional ingredients like squalane, resveratrol and hyaluronic acids to heal, protect and defend skin for life. We call it AK-Beauty!

What drove you towards skincare?

Skincare is all about taking care of your skin and carving time for yourself. Skin care Self care reduces stress and age lines resulting in radiant glowy skin that makes us feel good about our self, choices and supporting a purpose driven brand dedicated to wilderness deepens our connection to the natural world.

How do you use your brand platform to promote sustainability?

From the beginning, Alaska Glacial has been tied to the place where we were born. Giving back has been of utmost importance. We are proud to harmonize commerce with social/environmental impact by donating a portion of profits to organizations working to defend and protect Alaska and the Copper River watershed. We try to amplify the efforts of those organizations and volunteer on the ground. We support organizations whose work to restore/preserve habitat and raise the next generation of stewards ensures the long term sustainability of this impressive place we call home.

Our product and packaging is made of recycled and/or recyclable materials, biodegradable ingredients and sustainable production methods.

What is it like living in Cordova, Alaska?

Cordova is a roadless community accessible only by ferry or plane. We get lots of rain, but when the sun shines it's glorious! We are surrounded by glacier capped mountains, ocean and freshwater wetlands.

I moved there in my early 20's and quickly learned how to smoke salmon in the traditional ways, forage for wild berries/ mushrooms, climb mountains, kayak open water and hunt island deer. If you knew where I grew up you’d say I was pretty far from home (suburbs of St Louis, MO). I fell in love with the Copper River and the untamed spirit of its wilderness. I fell in love with the highly prized salmon way of life . I fell in love with slow living, with endless rainy days and with breathtaking scenery that is so rugged it pierces the heart. Basically I moved to summer camp.

Cordova lies next to the Copper River Delta— the largest contiguous wetland on the Pacific coast of North America. There’s 150 miles east-to-west of braided wild river wetlands that teem with wildlife: bears, wolves, lynx, coyote, moose, deer, trumpeter swans, and eagles. And then you have an annual migration of 23 million shorebirds!

The US Forest Service maintains an inordinate amount of trails for the number of people who live here. For those who want a world class adventure at altitude, the Alice Smith Intertie trail connects town from Mount Eyak along the ridge for about 12 miles and heads back to Power Creek. This trail has to be one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world. It’s a 360-degree panoramic view of how this place comes together with the Prince William Sound, Copper River Delta and Chugach mountains.

In the winter, there’s an incredible downhill ski area, run by the nonprofit Sheridan Alpine Association—a total anomaly for a town our size—and it the first single-chair ski lifts from the early 1950’s that was purchased and installed here from Sun Valley in the 1970’s.

Also about 20 minutes from town, Sheridan Glacier is the most phenomenal attraction where you can kayak on a glacial lake in summer or ice skate/bike through scattered icebergs in the winter.

Basically, living in Cordova is a very special place! We are a small community that relies on each other and the bountiful resources provided by a highly-productive intact ecosystem.

What is your one favorite product from your line that you can't do without and why?

Oooooh, that's a tough one. We have a range of products from mud masks and soaps to a line of facial care made with Alaskan glacier water and wild botanicals to unique facial care tools.

I truly love them all especially our original mud mask product. Our exfoliating mineral soap bar made with glacial clay is surely the most versatile product in the line-up. I use it to wash my hair, shave my legs, clean my vital parts and use it daily to hand wash and rinse my face - if I could only put one product in my travel bag, this would be it.

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