Caroline’s Dream owner Susan Shashok started making her own beauty products nearly 20 years ago. At the time, she was battling dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin, and no amount of chemical-laden conventional products soothed her problems. Even the all-natural alternatives left her wanting more—and so, to fill the void, she created her own product line and called it Caroline’s Dream.
Named after Shashok’s paternal grandmother, whose affinity for herbal remedies and gardening inspired the company’s all-natural approach, Caroline’s Dream is dedicated to creating the highest-quality products with the purest ingredients available. This means the company works hard to source ingredients from sustainable suppliers and to create products in small batches to ensure each meets a standard of excellence.
Caroline’s Dream products utilize the natural, healing powers of such ingredients as expeller-pressed sweet almond oil and cold-pressed coconut and extra virgin olive oils, in addition to unrefined shea and cocoa butters. Along with Vermont-local beeswax from Dancing Bee Gardens and homemade oil infusions made with organic herbs, the decadent salves and creams that emerge from the Caroline’s Dream headquarters are wholesome and gentle, but potent.
Caroline’s Dream has a modest offering of products, but what the company lacks in quantity is more than made up for in quality.
Three lip balms are available: Sweet Orange and Peppermint, scented only with organic essential oils, and the famous Mountain Maple Lip Balm. Mountain Maple has no flavor, but the scent is reminiscent of Saturday morning pancakes drizzled with pure maple syrup. The thick, luxurious texture is due in large part to the beeswax in the balm, along with the sweet almond oil, organic calendula-infused olive oil, and natural maple flavor. Shashok’s son Alex came up with the tagline for the Mountain Maple Lip Balm—“Like kissing pancakes!”
The moisturizing creams are available in four varieties: Calendula Cream, Lavender + Geranium Cream, Lavender + Sandalwood Cream, and Peppermint Forest Foot Cream. Made with distilled water, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax and organic essential oils, these creams have a decadent texture more akin to actual butter and cream than any body-care product term meant to suggest the same. With gentle, herbal scents, significant staying power and fast absorption, the Caroline’s Dream moisturizing creams are made to nourish and heal the skin. In particular, the Calendula Cream harnesses the traditional power of calendula to speed the process of wound healing and reduce the appearance of scars. The combination of lavender and sandalwood essential oils in the Lavender + Sandalwood Cream strikes the perfect balance between woodsy and floral—it is both bright and rustic, and on the skin, it feels like heaven.
The Peppermint Forest Cream is advertised specifically for use on the feet, but this fresh moisturizer would be an excellent treatment for dry hands or as an aromatherapy remedy for a tired, cluttered mind.
Caroline’s Dream also makes two potent salves, The Relief Salve and The Super Skin Salve. These concentrated versions of the moisturizing cream are made with olive oil and local beeswax, and it is the medicinal infusions that set these salves apart from the rest of the products. The Relief Salve employs the powerful antifungal properties of black walnut-infused olive oil and tea tree essential oil, along with the soothing benefits of comfrey and calendula. The Super Skin Salve is a hardworking skin saver, used by loyal Caroline’s Dream customers for everything from diaper rash and bug bites to dry, cracked, bleeding hands in the wintertime. With coconut oil, comfrey-infused olive oil, calendula, shea and cocoa butters, and essential oils of rosemary, tea tree and lavender, the healing potential of all of these ingredients comes together in one powerhouse product.
Both salves are solid at room temperature but require only a little body heat to become smooth and pliable. The Relief Salve has a mild scent with an earthy quality from the black walnut, while the Super Skin Salve has a grassy, summer garden scent from the herbal essential oils within.
The most inventive of the Caroline’s Dream products is the Face Cleanser, made from dried organic lavender, chamomile and rose flowers, along with kaolin clay and ground adzuki beans. It takes a little getting used to, but there’s no denying the effectiveness of this cleanser: Mix a little Face Cleanser with water to form a thick paste, and apply to the face and neck in gentle, circular motions. The ground adzuki beans provide a gentle polish while the clay, flowers and herbs work their magic on the skin.
I admit I was a little skeptical of the Face Cleanser when I first tried the product—it looked and felt more like a facial mask than any cleanser I’d ever tried—but after one use, I was hooked. I rinsed my face and immediately noticed a difference in the texture and moisture of my skin. The ground adzuki beans left my skin soft, and the combination of the clay and the dried herbs added a supple softness. There was no “stripped skin” feeling—no dryness, irritation or excess shine. I hardly needed moisturizer after washing with the Face Cleanser, as it had left my skin in such a balanced, natural state.
The ingenuity of the Face Cleanser lies in the use of the adzuki beans. This ingredient is a brilliant alternative to the much-maligned “microbeads” used by many conventional skincare companies. Microbeads, generally categorized as microplastics, are made with harsh polys and nylon derivatives. When used in conjunction with skincare products, these microbeads are washed down the drain to flow through sewer systems and into water supplies, eventually making their way into the oceans where they contribute to pollution and harm the health of marine species. Although legumes don’t fit within the confines of strict Paleo, in this instance they are an excellent contribution to a natural skincare routine and a healthy planet.
Products are available at select retailers in Vermont, or online at CarolinesDream.com.