Love the skin you’re in

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By Stacey L. Evans | Photography by Shanda Crowe

You can’t wait to show off those oh-so-cute flip flops or sandals you just bought. You envision yourself wearing them while bustling in and out of shops on the Marietta Square, relaxing at a local park, and kicking them off triumphantly on your well-deserved beach vacation, your toes wiggling with freedom. But you’ve spent many long days running errands, running after children and running on treadmills. Your feet are tired. They just aren’t ready to step into the sunlight and shine. They need some TLC.

Kennesaw-based PUREfactory Naturals has a quick and convenient solution: Flip Flop Foot Repair. Packaged like a typical deodorant, you just twist up the block of all-natural moisturizer and swipe on from heel to toe. Then bask in the luxurious feeling of pampered skin.

“One application changes everything, but a couple of weeks later [with continuous use of the product] your feet are like baby feet,” says PUREfactory Naturals co-owner Ceil Howle. “And especially after you get a pedicure … you feel so good when you leave there, but the next day your feet feel really dry — that’s a great time [to apply the Flip Flop Foot Repair].”
Howle, along with Anna Stephens, both East Cobb residents, bought the natural skincare line from a Seattle company, rebranded and retooled it, and moved it to Cobb County in 2012. In addition to the foot repair, PUREfactory’s collection includes body wash, body lotion, hand cream, lip balm, skin repair (a penetrating moisturizer) and a solid lotion bar.
The key ingredients in most PUREfactory products are beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil and sweet almond oil. The skin repair and solid lotion bar (of which the foot repair is made) are intense forms of moisture that contain no water.

Ceil Howle and Anna Stephens, co-owners of Kennesaw-based PUREfactory Naturals,  with some of their natural skin care products in Kennesaw.  (Photo/Shanda Crowe)
Ceil Howle and Anna Stephens, co-owners of Kennesaw-based PUREfactory Naturals, with some of their natural skin care products in Kennesaw. (Photo/Shanda Crowe)

“Water actually dries the skin,” said Stephens. “[Most moisturizers contain it] because it plumps the surface of the skin, but as the water dries it actually pulls away the moisture that you’re trying to keep in your skin. Alcohol does the same thing.”

The products are 100% American-made, and do not contain paraben, gluten, petroleum, GMOs or harmful chemicals. That was the first thing that attracted Howle to the brand, which she discovered in a boutique while working as a manufacturer’s representative in the cosmetics and gift industry. The boutique owner raved about the product, but said it was difficult to acquire. So Howle called the company with hopes of becoming a sales rep for the brand. The owner said she was actually planning to sell the business.
Howle jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s a perfect example of when you come across something great in your life and you don’t just walk away,” said Stephens. “A whole lot of people would have hung up the phone and said ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ But Ceil didn’t do that. She got on a plane and went to Seattle to talk to the owner.”

Howle then pitched the idea to Stephens, whom she had been friends with for years. They met when both had daughters in fourth grade at Mount Bethel Elementary and further bonded when they were co-cheerleading sponsors, working together to manage a group of middle school-aged girls. When their daughters were approaching graduation they wrote a book together, “Sorority Guide.” Knowing that they work well together, Stephens didn’t hesitate to get on board for the new venture.
“It just kind of all divinely happened,” said Howle.

The duo headed to Seattle, loaded up a few semi-trucks with equipment, and headed back to Cobb County. They also brought on board Julie Cannon, who had been the company’s production manager for ten years.
“We needed her expertise to take us through the transition,” said Howle. Three years later, the company now has a staff of nine, and their products are all hand-crafted, hand-poured and hand-labeled in the Kennesaw facility.

“It’s not just made in the USA. It’s made and sourced,” said Stephens. “That’s the only way you can be really sure of what you’re working with, [which is important] when dealing with products that you are putting on your skin.”

A company in Smyrna prints the labels. Marietta company Fragrance Design makes some of the scents. The products’ containers are made in Minnesota.
PUREfactory Naturals are available in retail stores throughout the U.S. You can find some of the products in boutiques throughout Cobb.
You can also buy online at

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Why natural? The skin is the largest organ in the body, said Stephens. “So if you’re rubbing products that have things that aren’t good for you onto your skin, that’s being absorbed into your body,” she said. “Or it sits on the surface because your body can’t absorb some of the ingredients. “ Natural ingredients soak in easily and are healthier for you.

Benefits of key ingredients
Beeswax: Natural anti-inflammatory, softens skin and provides a long lasting
protective shield
Shea Butter: Intense moisturizer; restores skin’s elasticity
Cocoa Butter: High in Vitamin E and natural anti-oxidants
Olive Oil: Naturally produces linoleic acid and helps retain moisture
Coconut Oil: Loaded with Vitamin E and fatty acids, which are anti-fungal,
anti-oxidizing and anti-bacterial
Sweet Almond Oil: Contains Vitamins D and E and promotes healthy skin
-provided by PUREfactory Naturals

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