OKG Shop: Fresh face 

Salt & Water Co. provides clean beauty and healthy self-care products to the Oklahoma City metro.

click to enlarge Salt & Water Co. sells a variety of clean - beauty and self-care products. - ALEXA ACE
  • Alexa Ace
  • Salt & Water Co. sells a variety of clean beauty and self-care products.

Chelsey Cobbs began developing a passion for clean cosmetics after she decided, almost by accident, to become a makeup artist.

She has now established herself as an experienced artist and a local expert on clean beauty products and unique self-care items through her recently opened shop, Salt & Water Co., at its temporary location at 1120 N. Walker Ave.

“Clean beauty” refers to products that are free of known or suspected toxic materials, resulting in organically made items with limited lists of ingredients.

The shelves at Salt & Water Co. are stocked with brands like LILFOX, Palermo Body, Leahlani, Kjær Weis cosmetics and Province Apothecary, many of which boast plant-based ingredients, and the shop itself is filled with rich, clean, herbal smells.

After graduating from University of Oklahoma and spending a brief stint in accounting, Cobbs joined a Bobbi Brown cosmetic counter and worked her way up to the position of educator and makeup artist.

Around 2013, she became a full-time freelancer and opened Chelsey Ann Artistry, where she works with hair stylist and business partner Ali Earnheart to style clients for weddings, fashion shoots and other events.

This line of work often took Cobbs to California for photo shoots. Although she had an extensive knowledge of makeup and skincare through Bobbi Brown, her interests began expanding after she learned about different clean, nontoxic beauty brands.

click to enlarge Chelsey Cobbs, a former Bobbi Brown makeup artist, opened Salt & Water Co. to fill a need for a place to purchase clean beauty and self-care products in Oklahoma City. - ALEXA ACE
  • Alexa Ace
  • Chelsey Cobbs, a former Bobbi Brown makeup artist, opened Salt & Water Co. to fill a need for a place to purchase clean beauty and self-care products in Oklahoma City.

“You do all this work internally,” Cobbs said. “Eat organic, and take the BPA out of your stuff and make sure you’re using cleaning products at home that aren’t toxic and harmful. You do all that work, and then you start looking at your skincare, and you’re like, ‘Wait! There’s formaldehyde in my eyeliner?’”

Formaldehyde-releasing ingredients are still used in some beauty products as a preservative to increase shelf life, although many brands are moving away from the practice.

Cobbs credits Laura Linsenmayer at one Laguna Beach shop, ROOTS the Beauty Underground, with helping her switch problematic products out of her makeup kit.

As time passed and she began buying more clean products, Cobbs was happy to support ROOTS, but it was also important for her to shop locally in Oklahoma. She wanted to find the same products closer to home.

So about two years ago, Cobbs began brainstorming ideas for how she could impact the local makeup and self-care scene in the same way.

“It kind of started out as maybe I’d have a makeup studio and do education,” Cobbs said. “And then it turned into, ‘Well, I think people really would like to purchase things.’”

Salt & Water Co. was born. The name of the store comes from a book of poetry by Brianna Wiest.

Cobbs said she is consistently surprised and impressed by her clientele, many of whom are open to clean beauty. Some even recognize the store’s products.

“It’s been really cool to be like, ‘No, Oklahoma was already ready for this,’” Cobbs said.

Education remains one of Cobbs’ key focuses in both her freelance work and in the store. Even now, she is willing to sit down with customers and go through their makeup bags to figure out what works best for their skin type and age. She also likes to give personalized makeup lessons to those who have questions.

“I taught workshops and master classes, but you’re teaching to a group of people,” she said. “So the information you give, it really has to be inclusive for all.”

click to enlarge Salt & Water Co. sells a variety of clean - beauty and self-care products. - ALEXA ACE
  • Alexa Ace
  • Salt & Water Co. sells a variety of clean beauty and self-care products.

For instance, different eyelid sizes can require different amounts of eyeshadow, or certain eye shapes can be better emphasized with the use of a bold eyeliner. Cobbs will teach those who don’t know how to apply that eyeliner the correct way. She said she is excited to provide such personal attention to her customers.

Salt & Water Co. on Walker Avenue opened on Nov. 1 and is technically considered a pop-up location, although Cobbs holds regular hours there. She is preparing to move into a larger, permanent location on Film Row in the coming months.

Cobbs said she wants her shop to be a place where people can “heal” both inside and out.

The permanent shop will have three separate spa rooms, with spaces for an aesthetician and two other healers. Cobbs said she hopes to bring in individuals like nutritionists or therapists or perhaps services like cupping.

Earnheart will operate a one-chair salon in the shop and perform nontoxic hair services.

In addition to healing and retail, Cobbs wants Salt & Water Co. to be utilized as an event space where they can hold gatherings like morning meditations or panel discussions on pregnancy and fertility. She said she wants the store to be a platform for others and a place for learning.

“I’ll build the space, and people can do their thing in it,” Cobbs said.

Cobbs said many believe that making the move to clean beauty is either too confusing or too expensive. To combat this, she organized her store into categories, not by brands. This makes for easy shopping, no matter the customer’s familiarity with the product names. Her products are also sold at range of price points to be affordable for more customers.

Cobbs has tested every product in the shop herself, so she stands behind each item’s effectiveness.

Salt & Water Co.’s permanent location at 629 W. Sheridan Ave., Suite 101, will open the second week of January. Cobbs and the owners of two neighboring Film Row businesses plan to hold a block party to celebrate their opening in February 2019.

Visit saltandwaterco.com.

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