Principle Body Care (it’s not a fitness club)

Principle Body Care n Where: 8 E. State St., Redlands n Upcoming: The store will participate in the Downtown Divas Shopping Event from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. n Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. n More information: (909) 406-1704. Why Shop Local? You get real value for yourself. Reader surveys by the Consumers Union repeatedly show independent businesses beating chain store competitors in overall customer satisfaction (and often save customers money).

Principle Body Care is a small, family owned business offering a variety of skin and body care products. All are plant-based, so are more sustainable, renewable and less toxic than most body care products.

Located in downtown Redlands on State Street, a couple doors east of Ozel Jewelers, Principle is in the space previously occupied by Cracker Jacks card and gift shop.

Principle’s reputation for superior skin care preparations attracted the attention of the University of California, Riverside. The university has contracted with Principle to create products using the oils from UCR’s citrus groves as well as ground herbs and honey from the university’s agriculture fields. The university will test to determine which concoction, if any, might prove useful in treating skin problems, such as burns and scarring.

Gay Kolodzik and her sons, Kirk and Scott, opened Principle in December 2017. Some readers may recognize the Kolodzik name as the owners of Frugal Frigate bookstore from 2010 until spring 2019. During that time, Gay Kolodzik decided to learn to make natural, eco-friendly soap. She tried it, loved it and resolved to start a skin care business from scratch.

Her joy in soap making was contagious. Son Kirk, along with family friend Caleb Hickernell, joined her in researching and developing new products, combing through journals, speaking with agriculture specialists and growers.

Son Scott, an IT (information technology) guy, concentrates on marketing and advertising, creating the company website and remodeling the store. He built the black brick wall behind the sales counter. They all worked in removing the modern, dropped T-bar ceiling, exposing the original ceiling that dates from 1929 when the building was an F.W. Woolworth store. Their iconic “soap bubble” chandelier, however, is a modern addition.

Principle takes pride in its collection of products. Plant-based differs from vegan, which, although having no animal products, could have chemicals or synthetics. Principle’s merchandise contains ingredients found in nature — probiotics and bioferments to help inhibit mold, salicylates such as Aspen bark root to inhibit yeast and fungus, Elderberry oil to fight free-radicals, for example.

Extraction methods are chemical-free, using steam, cold-press, glycerins and carbon dioxide. Product testing is not performed on animals. Friends, family and customers are used both at the production site and again when the samples are received at the store. This allows Gay, Kirk, and Caleb to gage the products’ effectiveness and dosage needed for different skin-types or severity of skin condition.

All ingredients used in their merchandise are responsibly sourced -- for instance, none of their preparations contain palm oil as its use has depleted the Amazon Rain Forest. They only partner with growers whose workers are fairly treated and fairly paid.

Principle opened in 2017 with a limited product-line — soaps, bath balms and facial care. The positive feedback received from customers encouraged them to expand their offerings. Their proprietary line now includes beard oils, aroma mists, face and body scrubs, retinol serum alternatives as well as CBD (Cannabidiol oil) products — baths salts, balms, and muscle relaxers. Their preparations are more concentrated than most others on the market, so they last longer, typically three to six months.

They make candles, which can be purchased both at their store and the Redlands Visitor Center. Deodorants and hair care products, which they have recently completed testing, are coming soon. Cotton and linen bathrobes and bamboo soap dishes are the only merchandise they sell that they have not created.

In addition to routine skin care, some of the products can be used for skin problems – excessive dryness, rashes and acne. They’ve experienced an uptick in referrals from local dermatologists and aestheticians who have noticed that use of the company’s lotions, creams, and tinctures reversed and sometimes obliterated the skin conditions in many of their patients.