Aging Gracefully: The Story Behind Grateful Body

Your skin plays a vital role in keeping your whole body powerful and functional. So says Shannon Schroter, founder and formulator of Grateful Body, a company best known for its botanical cleansers, toners, serums, oils, and moisturizers. In fact, it’s been Shannon’s mission for the last 20 years to handcraft what he calls “a well-balanced meal” to bring your skin into its most optimum function.

“I had a wish to understand the healing power of plants,” says Schroter. “To infuse the body with essential micronutrients via the skin and to bring the body back into balance. In the industrial age, pollution is almost everywhere. It’s important for the skin to have correct nutrition. That’s where we operate.”

The First Wave of Holistic Skin Care

When Schroter and his wife, Mary, launched their skincare line two decades ago, only a handful of companies were focusing on organic, truly natural formulas. Most of those were in Europe. Grateful Body’s holistic approach set them apart from others in the skincare industry who were more focused on appearance and anti-aging.

“There’s a world that emphasizes the perfect look,” says Schroter. “We try not to pay so much attention to that. It’s not about anti-aging and other trends. It’s about having vital skin. Skin that can operate in balance and harmony to keep the body healthy with tone and radiance. You can have the appropriate wrinkles for your age and still have radiance, light and tone.”

Starting in the Garden

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Grateful Body has always been focused on the healing power of plants. Erda Estremera

Schroter traces his interest in plants back to childhood days spent in the garden. “My mother was a gardener and an incredible mom,” he says. “She’d let me participate and play alongside her in the garden. That hits your emotional body in a way that it becomes what you want to do.”

Another pivotal influence was losing two of his sisters to cancer when they were in their 20s. “I became aware of the toxins and dangerous chemicals in skin-care products,” he says. “From the very beginning, our work has always been mission-based. I wanted to help relieve the chemical burden that women carry in their bodies. The best way to do that was to make good, clean skincare.”

Schroter doesn’t claim to be breaking new ground. “I’m rediscovering a lot that’s been lost,” he says. “My job is to coax the nutrients out of plants in a way that doesn’t destroy their integrity. I use infusions, tinctures and extracts to combine nutrients so they can be beneficial and easy for the skin to absorb. ”

The Healing Power of Plants

“There’s a certain way of looking at common and historical uses of botanicals through the scientific lens,” Schroter explains.”When you start growing these plants and studying the molecule structure, you see that there’s so much more the plant can offer. You see how plants go very well with neuroreceptor sites in the human body to increase vitality and boost the immune system.”

His formulas are designed to help your body handle stresses like UV, inflammation, pollution, and chemical sensitivity. “Often the body doesn’t know what to do with pharmaceuticals and synthetics,” he says. “Because of the molecular structure, there are often side effects. Plants are much more harmonious and give the body what it needs to come into balance, repair and revitalize itself.”

Over two decades, Grateful Body has developed a supplier network of local growers who love the land and what they’re doing. They’re interested in growing organically, working with healthy soil and bio-diverse organisms. “Our plants are pulled right out of the ground,” says Schroter. “We get them with dirt and dew still on them!”

Customers as Advisers

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Grateful Body has long used feedback from its regular customers to help craft its products. Sarah Comeau

Schroter sees his customers as savvy researchers and values their feedback. “People who use Grateful Body products are aware of green-washing and using untested but heavily marketed products. Many have used other skin care products that cause increased chemical sensitivity, poor skin tone, and increased inflammation. They look for truly organic and natural products, drill down to find us, and they’re ours for life.”

One such customer, Roxanne Caswell, is a 62-year-old grandmother and 20-year Grateful Body user. “I am often asked what I use on my skin to keep it looking so balanced and clear,” she says. “It’s essential to be able to trust in the quality of ingredients in a product that one uses daily on their body and Grateful Body delivers. It’s clear that each product has been honed for its therapeutic qualities and the exquisite delight to the senses it offers, which I find to be a great way to start and end my day.”

The current line of sixth generation products uses plant ingredients that complement each other. “We’ve operated from our best understanding and feedback from our customers to reinvent the line over 20 years,” Schroter says. “We know what plants excel in delivering specific topical nutrition, from reducing dryness and inflammation to keeping the layers underneath the surface intact and thriving.”

In the end, it’s about authenticity and transparency. “We’re all craving something that’s less synthetic and industrially created today,” he says. “Something that is real and useful.”

Written by Ann Gibson for Matcha in partnership with Grateful Body and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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