Her own bad skin and a lust for learning drove Marissa Waller, 30, to open BeauTeaBar, an organic skin care and beauty product apothecary in Cold Spring Harbor.
"When I graduated from law school, it was one of my proudest moments," says Waller. "But I wouldn't think of showing you a photograph from that time, my skin was so bad. I had horrible acne." Though tempted to go the route of serious skin medications she had used as a girl, she worked with a holistic doctor who helped her seek out natural products. "I saw a tremendous difference in my skin," she says.
In November 2013, Waller, who grew up in Oyster Bay, started an online business featuring toxin-free products and organic teas (hence, the "tea" in BeauTeaBar). And this June, in a charming old building (143 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor), she opened her sparkling new shop with glossy, white-painted floors and a crystal chandelier.
You will not go on product overload in the shop, but the airiness is intentional. "I only buy what I love and use and know to be truly effective products. I don't want people to walk in here to choose from 20 different eye serums. I just want people to get the best of everything," says Waller. None of the products contains synthetic ingredients, and Waller's knowledge about every item she carries borders on professorial. "I am the type of person who really enjoys studying. I often speak with the founders of brands and am learning endlessly."
Product prices range from $11 for an organic cleansing sponge to $225 for an elixir by Kypris that promises to deliver dewy skin with the help of the essential oil of 1,000 organic and biodynamic Bulgarian roses.