Natural Beauty

Get a healthy springtime glow with cape and islands skincare products.

You’ve seen the names: Sea buckthorn, rosehips, olive oil, quince. Botanical ingredients—flowers, herbs, oils, and other plant-derived essences—are captivating skincare clients with their natural properties, uncomplicated scents, and bottles without long lists of unpronounceable chemicals.

And today, a cadre of entrepreneurial women on the Cape and Islands is embracing the philosophy that “natural is better for the body” a step further by offering their own natural skincare and body products.

Natural Beauty

Simply Soaps

Beth Serusa, owner of Simply Soaps: A Bath Boutique, on Martha’s Vineyard, started her business by selling handmade soap with a friend so they could work primarily at home. In 2010, Serusa opened her bustling Oak Bluffs shop. Today, she offers much more than soap, having added products such as body butter, scrubs, and ingenious lotion sticks made with beeswax that solidifies for easy application. Most of Serusa’s products are scented with essential oils, although occasionally she adds cosmetic-grade fragrance oil. The only preservative is vitamin E. Most commercial soaps are not really soap made with natural fats and oils, she says, but detergents with ingredients such as petroleum distillates. “People are realizing how many chemicals we live with. It’s just not healthy,” Serusa says.

Serusa’s storefront customers—she also sells online—often chat with her about the mesmerizing names of her body products, all of which reflect her Vineyard childhood. Edgartown Lilac is named after her great-aunt’s Vineyard house; Beach Road Blast, with scents of pineapple, mango, and papaya, is reminiscent of her childhood summer days. Serusa is currently working on new fragrences that will be available  for purchase when Simply Soaps reopens for the season in April.

Simply Soaps

Simply Soaps: A Bath Boutique,
55 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs
(508) 254-7209


Susan Norton of Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, a self-described “skincare junkie,” began making potions for herself a decade ago and saw her efforts evolve into Sashabelle Facial Hydrant, a moisturizing face cream. Today, Norton sells the cream—laced with sea buckthorn berry, geranium, neroli essential oil from Tunisia, argan oil, and other natural ingredients—online and in specialty shops across the region. (She is developing a plan to market the cream in shops countrywide.) Sea buckthorn, rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and carotenoids, has benefited from a recent media blitz, with people like the health guru Dr. Oz promoting it as a natural healer. Norton couldn’t agree more. “It actually heals while it moisturizes your face,” she says.

For Norton, skincare is a calling, a way to help women find empowerment and experience natural healing. (A psychotherapist in private practice, Norton also has an online community,, which helps women find “more authenticity, abundance, and purpose” in their lives.) Sashabelle Facial Hydrant was inspired by the loss of Norton’s daughter, Alexandra, whose spirit continues to inspire her to be her best. As Norton says, “true beauty is a reflection of an open heart.”


Sashabelle Skin Care Products
(508) 560-1193

Page 1 of 212


Mary Grauerholz

Mary Grauerholz is the communications manager of the Cape Cod Foundation and a freelance writer.

Facebook Comments