Non-toxic beauty boutique opens in Old Lyme

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Editor's note: This version corrects the name of the substance that some dermatologists recommend avoid using with pregnant women.  

Old Lyme — After working in the corporate world of retail beauty for 10 years — at Lush, then Bare Minerals, and most recently Sephora — Rachel Postovoit has struck out on her own.

She recently opened Greenhouse Beauty, a skincare and makeup boutique opposite Hideaway Restaurant & Pub in the Old Lyme Shopping Center. Her focus is on selling non-toxic products, with an ideology that involves paying more for quality ingredients and realizing that buying smart is better than buying more.

"I actually think I was really addicted to buying, just because it was so fun and there were new things coming out all the time," Postovoit said.

But no more. After throwing away thousands of dollars of lipsticks, she now has the three in her bag that she loves the most.

While Postovoit, 31, has always been interested in makeup, she got into skincare "when my own skin was just a tumultuous journey basically, just breaking out all the time."

Skincare products line the perimeter of her serene space, which was formerly a transportation center and before that an art gallery.

Foundation from Gressa Skin ($62) lists broccoli seed oil as its first ingredient. There's wildflower mist ($22) from LUA Skincare. The least expensive beauty items in her shop are single-use sheet masks ($6) by Orgaid, a reflection of the popularity of Korean skincare.

Postovoit also carries silk eyelashes that can be worn 25 times, eyebrow-defining makeup, scrubs, lip balm and aluminum-free deodorant.

"I have curated a very thoughtful assortment here," she said. Postovoit noted that because she's "so specific" about what she carries, she doesn't want customers to think too hard when they come in.

For the time being, she is offering complementary mini facials, by appointment. This might include use of a cleanser, honey scrub and moisturizer, but the combination of products she uses are based on listening to the skin concerns of the customer.

Postovoit is not an aesthetician and is focused on products rather than services, with the mindset that buying quality skincare items is more cost-effective than paying for a facial.

Her mission statement, in part, is that "skincare and makeup can serve you beautifully, without exposing you to toxins, additives, and excess."

Postovoit noted that more than 1,300 substances banned in cosmetics in the European Union are not banned in the United States. This includes restrictions on one compound she's against: benzoyl peroxide.

In the U.S., at least some dermatologists recommend avoiding benzoyl peroxide for pregnant women, though the National Institutes of Health reports that a number of large studies have shown "no increase in the baseline risk of adverse events."

Postovoit, a Norwich resident, studied music at the University of Connecticut. After college, she was at one point working four jobs, including one at Reliance House in Norwich and one at Lush in Mohegan Sun.

Postovoit knew she wanted to help people, and she found, "When I started working at Lush, I realized the way I wanted to help people was through self-care."

She wants people to know that they deserve to take care of themselves, that they're allowed to take a minute for themselves.

She has created a relaxing atmosphere in the back, with a blue couch wrapping around a brightly colored rug and a gallery wall of mostly thrifted artwork of a dog, a Roald Dahl quote and lots of flowers.

Skincare products line the perimeter of Greenhouse Beauty in Old Lyme, which was formerly a transportation center and before that an art gallery. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Skincare products line the perimeter of Greenhouse Beauty in Old Lyme, which was formerly a transportation center and before that an art gallery. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Business Snapshot

Business: Greenhouse Beauty

Where: 19 Halls Road Unit 14, Old Lyme

Owner: Rachel Postovoit

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday


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