Life Elements is a nature-based skincare company with CBD products based in California's Central Coast.
Life Elements founder Martha Van Inwegen was working in tech when she had a sudden revelation — she hated her job. Not one to rest on her laurels, Martha did what many people fantasize about, she quit her job the next day.
“I decided to quit and pursue my passion before I became too old and live to regret it. I was 48 at the time and had always had a love affair with skincare,” says Martha. She shares that in high school, she created her own face washes, shampoos, and creams using herbs and botanicals from her mother’s garden.
Free from the burdens of a career that no longer felt fulfilling, Martha began to fervently research how to formulate, manufacture and bring products to the market. “My first release was a collection of natural products made specifically for couples. That was 18 years ago and I have since gone on to develop other lines. And I’ve loved every minute of it,” she says proudly.
Life Elements – Nature-Based Skincare for All
Life Elements is a minority and 100% woman-owned company focusing on natural, nature-based skin, bath, and body care. Everything is crafted in small batches, but can easily be scaled for large, wholesale orders. In 2016, Martha began experimenting with CBD, adding it to various formulations of their topical products. “I really owe the creation of our CBD collection of products to my daughter who had been using CBD to help calm her anxiety,” remarks Martha.
Hemp-based CBD enjoys wide use in different cultures and is a true plant-based medicine. “At its core, CBD and all the other cannabinoids help to reduce inflammation,” explains Martha. “Cannabinoids are “keys'' that help “unlock” the receptors in your body as part of the Endocannabinoid system,” she adds. Topical CBD products work on inflammation in soft tissues such as skin, muscles, joints and ligaments. According to Martha, “You can feel the effects of our topicals within 10 minutes.”
A Sustainable + Ethical Approach
Martha expresses a commitment to responsibly sourcing ingredients and manufacturing in an environmentally conscious way. Life Elements products are packaged and shipped in an eco-friendly manner, and they are also continuously evaluating ways to reduce waste and their overall carbon footprint. As part of these efforts, Life Elements reuses packaging material from other raw material shipments received by their warehouse.
“We are proud to say that many of our raw ingredients come from small family farms and producers who use sustainable and/or regenerative practices,” Martha says. “This includes locally sourced olive oil, lavender, honey, beeswax and more.” The company also pairs with Ecovative to provide “naked” Mushroom Packaging® for their bath bombs.
In addition to a commitment to responsible sourcing, manufacturing and packaging, Martha also extensively involves herself in her local community. Her good friend founded Farmstead Ed and the SLO County Farm Trail, both nonprofits that educate and encourage people to see and feel how their food (and skincare raw ingredients like lavender and honey) is grown, what’s in season, and why ingredients matter. Martha wants everyone to understand that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it.
“We are proud to be part of a community that supports healthy living and encourages education and understanding of how the best things in life are grown and fostered by people who use healthy, sustainable practices to create healthy food and a healthy ecosystem that ultimately benefits you with healthy and efficacious products,” says Martha.
The Extensive Life Elements Product Line
Life Elements offers a wide range of goods including tinctures, bath products, skin and face care, and pain management. “I have personally forumated all of the Life Elements products and I’m proud of each and every one of them, like they’re my babies,” laughs Martha. “My go-to products I use every day are the Night Face Serum and the Sleep Boost. The Night Serum uses one of my favorite ingredients (Tepezcohuite) and it is such a luscious, rich and restorative serum that is so good for your skin.” She credits Sleep Boost with helping her calm down, relax and minimize irritating middle-of-the-night wake ups.
Martha is always looking forward, and is continually coming up with new products and ways to partner with innovative companies. “Most recently we have launched our Shower Steamers (no CBD) and Magnesium CBD Foot Soak. Both of these have really taken off for our retailers and our website, which is very exciting. You will also find our soon-to-be released Lotion Bar as part of a collaboration with Uncommon Goods. Look for this up on their site just before the holidays and we are proud they asked us to create something unique for them,” she remarks.
Martha is part of a very small group of manufacturers in the U.S. that are fully involved in all aspects of her business which includes everything from product ideation, ingredient sourcing and product formulation, to shipping the products directly to customers or wholesalers. In addition, they are also the second manufacturer in the state to be totally in compliance with AB45, a 2021 California law that requires all manufacturers of industrial hemp in the state to register with CDPH and comply with ingredient sourcing laws, quality testing requirements, and more.
Where to Find Life Elements
Martha and her team are grateful for their continued success and growing interest in their CBD products. To learn more about Life Elements visit their website. Be sure to follow them on social media including Instagram and TikTok @life.elements. “And yes, we even do our own social media,” quips Martha. You can purchase Life Elements online and at select retailers nationwide.
Article by the Mary & Jane Team. Photographs courtesy of Life Elements and Yvette Roman Photography