Getting back to the 'Roots' of beauty

From craft beer shampoo to flower essences that boost your mood, a new beauty shop in Laguna Beach offers up items you won't find at the corner drugstore.

Roots The Beauty Underground, which opened Aug. 1, specializes in non-toxic products, as well as natural and organic items.

Using toxin-free products is just common sense, owner Laura Linsenmayer contends.

"If there's a chemical linked to sickness, why would we put it on our largest organ that's absorbed into our blood stream?" she says about the effect of toxins on skin. "It's mind boggling."

With her long, wavy blond locks and upbeat attitude, the 33-year-old beauty maven is convincing when she describes the myriad products she spent six months finding.

"People think either it will be outrageously expensive or it it's not going to work," she said of organic, natural and non-toxic beauty products.

Linsenmayer is out to prove that's not the case. The store offers reasonable lines, such as Acure Organics and Onesta hair care, which have items in the $10 to $15 range. She also says she found a organic deodorant that actually works — Pit Putty.

Women use on average about 10 cosmetics a day on their bodies, Linsenmayer says, adding it's important to understand what is in them, such as formaldehyde, alcohol, peroxide or ammonia.

In the children's section she offers lice-repelling shampoo and water-based nail polishes. She sells big names such as Coola sunscreen and Jonathan hair care, and lesser known names such as Simply Eden, whose products are made from goat's milk.

"Everything has a purpose," she says.

Items such as BRÖÖ craft beer shampoo and conditioner, Tata Harper's aromatic irritability treatment, or mohdoh, "play dough" aromatherapy, are bound to spur chatter at the vanity.

One of her best sellers since she's opened is Lotus Wei elixirs, which have been featured on "Dr. Oz." The floral essences, which claim to affect the mood, can be purchased in serums, mists and elixirs. The customer is shown images of six flowers, and the one they're most attracted to indicates which one works for them.

The shop also offers products and services for men because Linsenmayer says she doesn't want to be one of those stores "where the men wait outside."

Linsenmeyer has worked in almost every aspect of the beauty industry — she attended cosmetology school, worked with big name stylists and most recently managed a Bare Escentuals boutique in Los Angeles.

The boutique, which is anchored by a yellow claw-footed chair and features glittering white Corian countertops and unique sculptural lighting, is also a small salon offering certified organic hair color treatments. Linsenmayer says she didn't bump up the prices, which can be sometimes quadruple normal hair color, to encourage people to try it.

Hidden in what locals refer to as the lumberyard, Linsenmayer likes not being on Coast Highway. Although the traffic might be higher, she says she'd rather be in a spot that is easily accessible for locals, where they can expect they'll get quality service.

That's worth more than constantly re-stocking the shelves, she says.

Twitter: @joannaclay

Roots The Beauty Underground

Where: 384 Forest Avenue #9

Retail prices: Average price around $20

Salon prices: $85 for color, $85 partial highlight, $120 full highlight, $65 women's cut, $45 men's cut

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday

Information: (949) 424-4266,

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