Behind the Bottle

A Q&A with the insiders behind your favorite brands.

Kate Solomon
Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals

Several years ago, Kate Solomon started down a path that would ultimately combine her expertise in prestige haircare development with her passion for natural ingredients. She began working with top botanists to develop a line of products that reflect the attributes she values and prefers for her own childern — sulfate free and allergy-tested, containing certified organic ingredients and plant-based science. With the launch of Babo Botanicals, her mission is to provide the highest quality, purest hair, scalp and skincare products for babies and kids.

1). How did you get started in this industry?

After the birth of my first child and drawing on my 10 years of experience in product development for beauty companies such as L’Oreal, Parfums Givenchy and Avon, it seemed like most baby “grooming” products were long on chemical names and didn’t truly address our children’s particular hair and skin problems. I sought to develop a line of botanical products that offer parents the same level of choice they value in selecting products for themselves.

2). What is your star product or biggest breakthrough?

The Babo Botanicals Collection contains the certified organic Nutri-Soothe™ blend which combines Chamomile, Calendula, Kudzu and Watercress, rich in Vitamin A, C and D to deliver maximum nutrients, protection and moisturization. This certified organic blend of rich and powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients, vitamins and antioxidants was exclusively designed for a baby or child’s delicate skin to achieve optimal protection.

3). Who/What inspires you?

After college, I joined the Peace Corps, where I taught Paraguayan farmers the art and business of beekeeping so that they could earn additional income by selling honey. Besides teaching families how to harvest and sell their delicious product, I also explained the value of nutrition. Not only was beekeeping my focus, but also I taught them how to grow new kinds of vegetables in their own garden patches. I would bring seeds from the capitol city, Asuncion (4 hours from my site), and together, we would plant them in the soil on their land, toting water from a nearby stream on a daily basis. The young women learned to cook recipes incorporating vegetables they had never tasted before like zucchini and spinach, rich in iron and vitamins. Educating children and teenagers about nutrition linked to the satisfaction of gardening became my prime focus, and this passion has continued to grow.

Now I live in New York City – a far cry from my rural years in Paraguay–and my interest in educating youngsters about food and determination to find the healthiest produce has developed into a whole new chapter. As a loyal customer of urban greenmarkets, I am lucky enough to have one located directly across the street from my apartment building in downtown Manhattan. Amidst the excellent selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, and cheese, there is a young man who sells his wildflower honey and beeswax lip balm at his stand, which is also equipped with an observation hive where passersby can view the live bees hard at work. I am devoted to this neighborhood market, as well as the numerous others around this city. It’s where my family does most of our grocery shopping.

I am also working on programs to help teach urban children how to grow vegetables. In 1996, Alice Waters (champion of the Obama’s White House organic garden) started a program in San Francisco claiming unused land to build the city’s first community garden. She based it on the 1992 Garden Project that taught prisoners how to garden, a practical, green program that continues to thrive. I love their motto: “We don’t just grow plants; we grow people.”

This passion has lead Babo Botanicals to partner with Edible Schoolyard NYC in order to bring an edible education to all New York City Schools. They are dedicated to establishing a Showcase School in each of the five boroughs that will feature an organic garden and a kitchen classroom that will provide students with experiential learning that help develop the necessary knowledge and skills needed to adopt healthy eating behaviors. In addition, each Showcase School will include an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum taught by Edible Schoolyard NYC staff in the garden and kitchen classroom.

4). Be honest, what beauty products do you use regularly other than your own?

For make-up, I usually only use lip tints and mascara. Right now, I’m using Badger Lip Tint and Shimmer in the color Garnet and my beloved Clarins Wonder Length Mascara. For body care, I use Lavender Shea Salt Scrub by Bayberry Naturals, it is a family favorite. I may have to develop one my children like it so much.

5). Imagine the future of the beauty industry and give us your prediction of what’s to come.

I believe women will be more inclined to use natural products for themselves and their children but only if the products deliver comparable results to what they are used to. Natural technology is catching up – and I believe that chemicals in products won’t exist in the long run. There is so much research going towards making effective, high quality natural products – and our world will be better for it!

6). Give our customers a beauty insider tip:

I actually have several that I ‘d like to share:

Besides fitting easily in my jeans pocket or purse, I use Babo’s Clear Zinc Sport Stick 30 SPF to seal in my lipstick. It actually gives me more hours without having to re-apply. I also use it for a tiny scar I have on my face. It protects the most sensitive, exposed part of my face and doesn’t leave a residue.

I have uncovered a way to banish dry cuticles. Wow! Babo Lavender Meadowsweet Lotion does wonders for adding moisture to cuticles. And don’t get me started on using the Oatmilk Calendula Lotion as an after- shave leg balm – it transforms the skin on my legs to baby- soft smoothness.

6.5). In 140 characters or less, give us a beauty tip to Tweet and tell us where to follow you.

Have sensitive or oily skin? Follow us on Twitter @babobotanicals These baby products are high quality for adults too -Amazing to detox the skin – and keep your skin healthy and glowing.

7). Extra Credit: Write personal reviews for some of the individual products in your line.

From an amazing children’s product line, Babo is quickly evolving into personal care items for the entire family. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to find and share all these other great reasons to use Babo – and people tell me my skin and hair have never looked so healthy. Some of the ways I’ve come to depend on Babo personally and my mommy friends have told me their families use them:

My beloved Berry Primrose Detangler is just perfect for getting control of my frizz and flyaways, and breathes new life into my curls. It’s a lightweight, alcohol free leave-in conditioner for damp or dry hair. You and your kids will get faster detangling and increased shine with plant-based, botanical conditioners and it will instantly refresh bed or hat head. Tangles gone. Curls revived. Shine restored!

My Cucumber Aloe Vera Clean Sport Shampoo and Wash proves that little things can make a BIG difference. Replenishes, hydrates and purifies hair, scalp and skin after pool, playground or beach. Corn-derived chelator removes chlorine, salt, pollution and grime. Soothing Organic Aloe Vera and Cucumber moisturize and comfort scalp and skin and plant-based conditioners leave hair soft, smooth and shiny.

My husband loves the Clean Sport All In One Shampoo and Wash. Yes, life just became simpler for him. For those days when I need a detox shampoo to get out all the city pollutants in the air, I use Clean Sport Shampoo and Wash because it rids my hair of grime, chlorine and minerals.

My Oatmilk Calendula Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash for sensitive or dry scalp and skin is extra gentle and is made from plant-based cleansers that soothe and nourish skin. The Oatmilk helps comfort skin associate with eczema, dry patches or chafed skin and the Calendula Oil is known to help soothe scalps with cradle cap or dry patches. Using this product leaves hair soft, smooth and shiny. Believe it or not, my Oatmilk Shampoo and Wash is also my facial cleanser. It’s so gentle and doesn’t strip all the moisture from my face. It’s sulfate and tear free, so I can safely remove eye makeup. And my friends have said it helps clear up their acne too.

All of the Babo Botanicals products contain:

Certified Organic Nutri-Soothe™ Blend rich in vitamins and antioxidants combines Chamomile, Watercress, Kudzu and Calendula.