R. L. Linden & Co. fuses organic ingredients with good intention to create eco-conscious skincare

Courtesy of R.L. Linden
From the ingredients in the products to the packaging, R.L. Linden uses sustainable, kind-to-the-earth materials.
Robin King and Lynn Till had been running in the same social circles for years before the two sat down and realized they shared a passion for beauty products. "She just randomly said to me one day, I don't know why I'm telling you this, but would you like to make lotions together," Till says with a laugh about King's approach. "I pretty much freaked out on her; as a creative outlet, I had been mixing teas and flower essences at home for years. It kind of just took off from there."

The duo's skincare line R.L. Linden -- named after Robin and Lynn and the Linden tree found all over Colorado -- took shape early in 2013 and they began putting products on very select local store shelves last August. Focusing on all-organic products, Till and King create their small-batch line by hand, using formulations they have perfected through many cycles of testing and trying things on themselves.

See also: Vert Beauty brings its all-organic approach to cosmetics and body care to Highland

Courtesy of R.L. Linden
Robin King and Lynn Till are the women behind R.L. Linden.
"We started mixing things together and just nerding out -- both of our bathrooms were filled with hundreds of little containers of lotions called like "1A" and "1B" and "1C," says Till of the company's start. The hobby quickly became a business, and the women got to work creating facial cleansers, healing teas and lotions from plant-based materials. Neither of them have any formal chemistry training, but King is a certified Master Nutrition Therapist and Till has worked in the beauty industry and herbal medicine field for years. The two have taken basic pharmacology classes.

"Our formulas are very much steeped in Western herbal tradition -- but from a more 'high end' cosmetics side," says Till. "Our formulating is sort of split down the middle -- some product formulations are mostly Robin and some are mostly me, but both of us tweak each one. She may have an idea and will come up with the prototype and then we'll work on it together to get to the final version. Sometimes it takes two or three tries and sometimes it takes over twenty tries. Each formulation is a little bit different."

Till shares that her years working the beauty industry taught her that many commercial product lines touting "organic" and "green" labels aren't what they seem. "Looking back at what I used product-wise and thought was 'natural' versus what I know now -- there is so much green-washing that goes on with companies. A product will say "oh, it has an herb in it!" and it will be the last ingredient, and it is often under an unrecognizable name."

In contrast, R.L. Linden lists all of its ingredients in its online store for the customer to see. No chemicals or unpronounceable contents -- just natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, herbs, flower essences and spring water. The packaging, which is all recyclable or compostable, is also eco-conscious. Items are bottled in protective, ultra-violet Miron glass and come with paper-less, tree-free labels made from calcium carbonate run-off from construction sites.

"One of our pet peeves is paper labels -- if you keep your products in the shower, then the labels just kind of disintegrate and it don't really look pretty," Till shares. "As silly or frivolous as that seems, when that's the only thing we're treating ourselves with, we take it very seriously. The stone labels were one of the only fully natural label options that didn't curl up and look yucky in the shower."

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