Grateful Body Open House
April 13, 2013,  Berkeley ,  CA

Education & Enjoyment

Guests got a first hand glimpse into where Grateful Body Skin Care is made, learned about a unique philosophy, and found out about some new amazing products.

by Dr. Shanesha R. F. Brooks-Tatum

Grateful Body Skin Care Shares Philosophy, Launches Five New Products at Open House

     Delicious raw, organic treats, including freshly-chopped, colorful carrots, a variety of squash, berries, oranges, snap-peas and more awaited guests who attended Grateful Body Skin Care’s Open House. Held on Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Open House in Berkeley, California welcomed more than 60 visitors. Grateful Body Founder Shannon Schroter, a very kind and cheerful man, stood near the sample station in the front of the warehouse, answering visitors’ questions and sharing his perspectives on everything from sunscreen to treatments for different skin types. Guests were free to sample the entire Grateful Body Skin Care line while enjoying the tasty food and the cooling, cucumber mint-infused water.

     Throughout the day, Grateful Body employees gave guests indulgent hand massages with Midnight Oil, their best-selling body oil that is often used as a subtle perfume and anointing oil due to its intoxicating scent and texture. The intermittent massages imparted a heady scent of Bulgarian Rose, Fennel and Vetiver to the warehouse, an industrial space for storage and creation transformed into a social hot-spot for skin care enthusiasts. As I received my massage, which was quite a treat to my hands after my morning yoga class, I noticed other Grateful Body employees answering guests’ questions, filling on-the-spot orders, taking pictures, and mingling with the visitors.

     The shelves of the well-lit warehouse held a cornucopia of Grateful Body Skin Care formulations as well as concentrated tinctures, drying Mushrooms and Comfrey, potent infusions, and bulk herbs. Visitors even got a glimpse of Shannon’s workspace and a view of their water purification and structuring systems. For me, being in the place where all of these wonderful products are created was a magical experience. As a fan of Grateful Body’s truly natural and organic creations, the Open House gave me an opportunity to meet the amazing people behind such a successful and pure line, which continues to go strong more than 15 years since its founding. It was like “coming home” to a room of likeminded fans who understand what a powerful and effective skin care line the company provides.

     At the Open House, Grateful Body released five new products called Phytonics, reminiscent of their former toner-moisturizer, the Aquative, but with skin-type specific ingredients, botanical infusions, hydrosols, juices, tinctures, and extracts “biologically appropriate” for a variety of skin care needs. The Phytonics include Bloom, Rare Earth, Velvet, as well as Greenman and Cloudburst. The luxurious Phytonics are nectar on the skin, and are packaged in two-ounce amber glass pump bottles.

     Around 1:00 p.m., Shannon Schroter gave a talk on the philosophy behind Grateful Body Skin Care, beginning by sharing his definition of “holistic,” which is that the whole (of plants, of life force) is more than the sum of its parts. “All of the plant parts that a lab or other entity may catalog do not represent the whole,” Shannon explained. “There is so much more going on” than all of the individual parts of the plant combined.

     When discussing GMOs and lab-derived ingredients, Shannon related them to the characters in “Flatlander” (1967), a science fiction short story by Larry Niven. In the story, flatlanders are earth-born humans who live in enclosed spaces and believe that the earth is flat. They are afraid to leave earth and possess many “flatland phobias” that prevent them from enjoying the dynamic universe. To Shannon, GMOs and lab-derived ingredients are a lot like flatlanders, in that they are two-dimensional ingredients, occupying time and space, but they do not possess the third dimension that whole plant life contains, which is life force.

     Shannon also shared that the foundation of Grateful Body is Gaia, who in Greek mythology is the Earth goddess, or holistic intelligence. The Gaia hypothesis, stemming from scientist James Lovelock’s work, states that organisms interact with the earth in dynamic ways to maintain life force. “We cannot isolate true intelligence,” Shannon explains while holding a dried Comfrey leaf. “Comfrey leaf is beyond super computers and going to the moon; you can't create life force in the lab.”

     He shared that labs look for what they believe to be the most active constituents in a plant and believe that they have identified the core of what makes it effective, but they miss the bigger picture. While isolated, lab-derived ingredients like Allantoin or plant stem cells are often used in skin care products and may be derived from Comfrey or other sources, they represent only a very small fraction of the plant’s true potency. Being a part and not the whole, it therefore does not represent true life force – all of the life substance that the plant has absorbed and assimilated from sun and soil.

     When answering a visitor’s question, Shannon explained that when lab-derived ingredients or plant components (rather than the whole plant) are used in products, manufacturers can list them as “Comfrey,” for example, and not as a lab-derived ingredient. This contributes to the misrepresentation of so-called “natural” products and the misguidance of customers who do meticulously read labels. In many cases, even the most savvy, label-dissecting consumers who believe that they are purchasing a product with natural ingredients are not really getting a natural product but a lab-derived one. In a world rampant with misrepresentation and falsehoods, it is refreshing to know that Grateful Body only uses whole, organic plants in their purest form to provide true skin nourishment.

     Shannon spoke for a considerable amount of time about how the structure of our skin, as the body’s largest organ with multi-dimensional properties, is dynamically connected to everything that is going on inside and outside of the body. Because of dynamic and almost mysterious nature of the skin, Shannon stated that studies have found that what seems to help psoriasis sufferers the most is not skin creams but relationship counseling. Everyone laughed upon hearing these studies’ findings, perhaps recognizing that this was a perfect example of the interconnectedness of our physical bodies and our interior, emotional selves, including our lifestyle choices and everyday stressors.

     “People who call us [at Grateful Body] are usually refugees from other skin care lines,” Shannon shared. They have often tried everything from drugstore skin care to “high-end” department store brands, products most often filled with petroleum byproducts, and are immensely grateful to find true skin food that feeds and heals their skin. “All we need to do is trust in nature,” Shannon stated. “We don’t need to be rocket scientists to figure everything out.” Gaia [Earth] has all of the intelligence we need.

Mary discusses Grateful Body products
with Open House visitor.

Shannon shares a laugh with an

Shannon pauses for the camera.

Just a portion of the Grateful Body
feast of product testers (and teasers!).

Tinctures, infusions, and potions for
grateful bodies.

Mushrooms drying on a rack.

Guests and employees chat and enjoy the

ANB Partner Acquisitions Associate, Dr.
Shanesha Brooks-Tatum, receives a delightful hand massage with Midnight Oil.

Shanesha enjoying a beautiful treatment.

A colorful display of delicious raw and
organic treats.

Warehouse visitors listen to Shannon

Shannon speaks about life force while
holding a dried Comfrey leaf.

Shannon and a guest.

Guests sample and enjoy the Grateful
Body Skin Care line.

Mary, Shanesha and Shannon


Shanesha Brooks-Tatum representing All Natural Beauty and Shannon Schroter, Owner of Grateful Body


Photos taken by Shanesha Brooks-Tatum.



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