Giving “natural beauty” a whole new meaning.
Giving “natural beauty” a whole new meaning.
If you’re no stranger to the beauty game, you’ll already know the leaps and bounds that brands have taken towards a more sustainable and wholesome approach to consuming—recycled packaging, cruelty-free testing practices, clean and vegan ingredients—but none do it quite like Alpyn Beauty. The brand, founded by longtime industry expert Kendra Kolb-Butler, is quickly becoming one to watch, as it is the only skincare brand to sustainably harvest wildcrafted ingredients straight from the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Having laid its root in one of the naturistic gemstones of America, the brand differentiates itself with ingredients that are locally sourced in the area (having been crafted by the wild plants that were thriving in Kolb-Butler’s very own backyard to treat and hydrate mountain skin) but also with a twist of giving back—now inducted into Sephora’s Clean + Planet Positive category which spotlight’s beauty brands that are doubling down their efforts on their commitments to the planets with sustainable sourcing, eco-conscious packaging, and environmental giving.
With a start of a local apothecary store to now seeing its star products such as the Wild Huckleberry 8-Acid Polishing Peel ($56) and PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer ($60), and newly debuted products to the brand such as the Willow & Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask ($28) and Juneberry & Collagen Hydrating Cold Cream Cleanser ($39) fly off the shelves, Alpyn Beauty is bringing the term “natural beauty” to a whole new level.
Below, discover the full Q+A with V’s Digital & Beauty Editor Kevin Ponce with CEO and Founder of Alpyn Beauty, Kendra Kolb-Butler.
V Magazine: When creating the brand, why was skincare the concentration for you?
Kendra Kolb-Butler: Before moving to Wyoming, I was working in clinical skincare in New York City. When I opened my apothecary in Jackson Hole, I filled it with my favorite skincare brands, specifically ones that targeted dry, dehydrated skin (at 6,237’ elevation and with such an extreme climate, everyone’s skin is dry here). But the most effective formulas were not working, and I was seeing an influx of returns. My business was struggling and I honestly thought I would have to close shop. Then I discovered the wild plants growing in my backyard. They were thriving despite the harsh Wyoming climate. I had this hunch that tapping their natural power and combining them with clinical ingredients could be the solution. I became laser-focused on this concept and eventually turned it into a brand.
V: How did the idea of the name Alpyn Beauty come to be?
KKB: I took inspiration from Jackson Hole’s renowned alpenglow. There is an ethereal pink light cast at sunrise and sunset that illuminates the mountaintops, meadows, forests, and valleys where these wild plants grow. The first time I saw it after relocating to the mountains from New York City, I was blown away. It is like something out of a Disney fairytale.
V: How did you find yourself in Jackson Hole, Wyoming? What drew you to the area and what kept you there after staying around post-skiing trips?
KKB: It was in 2015 that I identified burnout, brought on by the rise-and-grind mentality of New York City business culture. My husband and I needed a break. We just wanted to hit reset and surrounded ourselves with fresh air, forests, and wild animals. The plan was to head west for one season, which turned into two and eventually became our home.
V: Before opening the apothecary store in JH, what did you notice most on the skin of the local residents being in 6,237’ elevation? What were some of the most common concerns or areas of treatment that most were seeking out solutions for?
KKB: When you live in this elevation, your skin is completely depleted of hydration due to extreme environmental factors, like low humidity, little oxygen, intense sun, harsh wind, and heavy snowfall. Your skin feels tight and literally cracks, and lines and wrinkles look more pronounced.
V: How did the idea of crafting your “Secret sauce” aka a fusion of the wild plants that were growing in your backyard into the products come about? In what ways did you notice the after-effects that were taking place with each person’s skin?
KKB: It wasn’t super prescriptive, but with the knowledge gained from my previous career in clinical skincare, I took little pieces of the plants that were loaded with moisture and wrote a formula that boosted their effectiveness. I didn’t know if it would work, but it was my only hope to save my apothecary and help my clients who were looking for a hydration miracle. I started sampling my kitchen-sink moisturizer and it immediately transformed their skin. Word got out about the magic “melts-right-in” moisturizer and that’s when Melt Moisturizer and Alpyn Beauty came to fruition.
V: What did that research on plant benefits look like when creating the line of offerings?
KKB: When you apply these wild plants to your skin, they perform just like they do in the wild: preserving, protecting and strengthening for increased resiliency, which results in skin that looks, feels and behaves more youthfully. In fact, the more extreme the climate, the more resilient and nutrient-dense these plants become. I built a Discovery Lab in my backyard where I lead a team of sustainable farmers, botanists and scientists that trial and discover new indigenous plants (hand-harvested from my backyard) and evolve their powers into skincare solutions.
V: Now the brand is growing, garnering attention from Goop and even giving back after partnering with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation (GTNPF) to re-wild ~4,500 acres of land. How important is the notion of giving back as the brand grows further into what it is today? How else are we seeing the brand give back locally or nationally?
KKB: Giving back is in our DNA. Wild plants protect our skin and we’ve made the pledge to protect their home. We support the Grand Teton National Park Foundation’s rewilding campaign by donating a portion of every purchase directly to their efforts. Since we formalized this partnership in 2020, we have helped re-wild over 900 acres of native sagebrush the wildlife depends on.
V: With the latest offerings with the lip mask and cold cream cleanser, how far of an expansion are you hoping to bring Alpyn towards? What are some categories you’re looking forward to tapping into?
KKB: Right now, we’re focused on skincare, but the opportunities that lie ahead are limitless. Our wild plant and clinical-based formulas will be effective in anything they touch—from makeup to fragrance and beyond. It’s exciting to think about what the future holds when we learn how to have a symbiotic relationship with Mother Nature. She holds many treasures that could significantly improve the way we live our lives.