Our philosophy is simple – what you put on your body should be made from the best that nature has to offer. We travel the world and partner with harvesters to source the best natural plant-based ingredients for your skin, like fresh Maine Seaweed and African Shea Butter. Our natural skincare products are healthy, nourishing and wonderful to use.
Michele Gilfoil, the founder of Planet Botanicals, formed her company because she could not find high quality natural and healthy skincare products, thus, decided to develop her own formulas. Serendipitously, on a trip to Africa with her sister, she met a women’s shea butter cooperative that made a luxurious shea butter by hand and having experienced its nourishing effects on her skin, she knew that she had found the perfect ingredient for her skincare products.
Michele thought of a new idea: create a strong collaborative relationship with these women and other sustainable harvesters around the world in order to source fresh high quality ingredients directly from these producers. She recognized the importance of (a) working with producers who have strong traditional knowledge of local plants and (b) rewarding their efforts by equitably sharing in the benefits of their harvesting efforts. She also believed that having full transparency to the source of production would ensure quality and freshness and that these ingredients were grown in a sustainable way.
Michele started Planet Botanicals in Westbrook, Maine and launched her first skincare collection “African Fruits” inspired by the indigenous and high quality African fruit oils, such as Kalahari Melon and Marula, as well as rare Shea Butter Nilotica that she discovered in Uganda.
Her most recent skincare collection is based on fresh Maine Seaweed that is harvested along the Coast of Maine close to her manufacturing operation. Having grown-up in South Portland, Maine, she not only knew of the abundance of local native species of seaweed, but, she also was aware of the healthy benefits of Maine Seaweed. And Maine has one of the best qualities of seaweed in the world, because of the pristine ocean waters in which it grows. Seaweed has been used in bath, body and skincare products for many years as it is rich in mineral salts, amino acids and Vitamins A, C, B1, B12, E, K and D. Lipids, protein, mineral and vitamin content contained in seaweed are easy to absorb in the body and are very beneficial to maintaining healthy, vibrant skin. Lipids, for example, are known as a great anti-aging skincare ingredient. Michele has developed her expertise in the uses of Maine Seaweed for the skin.
Michele created a sample seaweed body cream and gave it to friends and family who loved the effects on their skin due to the high quality of the ingredients. Thus, the “Seaweed Beauty Collection” was created and the Seaweed Dream Cream quickly became a best seller. The Seaweed Beauty Collection also includes hand-made seaweed bar soaps, hand cream and Voyager travel kit. Michele hand-harvests the seaweed in a sustainable way to protect this renewable resource. Planet Botanicals Seaweed skincare products are sold in numerous gift shops and retailers in Maine as well as at the Portland Maine Jetport gift shop.
Michele is a member of the Maine Seaweed Council and speaks at various local events about the history of Maine seaweed, the sustainable methods to harvest seaweed and the wonderful benefits of this natural resource. She received her BA in Mathematics from the University of Vermont, MIA from Columbia University School of International Affairs and a MS in Financial Engineering from Columbia University. Michele built a successful banking career in risk management with several of the leading financial institutions in New York City before starting Planet Botanicals.