The Power of Skin: Botnia Skincare’s Justine Kahn on Cultivating Your Own Ingredients in a Synthetic World

Whichever angle one chooses to look upon Botnia skin care line, it’s remarkable.

From a local perspective, it’s unbeatable. With ingredients grown just over the bridge on a beyond-gorgeous microfarm in Sausalito and an accompanying spa in Pacific Heights, the roots of this company are deeply Bay Area. From a beauty perspective, the goods are exceptional. Earthy and floral, the quality of each product is clear.

From a science vantage point, the company has a brain. The upshot of each of these uniquely wonderful characteristics is a burgeoning business that is ready to change the face of natural skin care regimens.

In truth, it seems Botnia is made possible by skin science and a little bit of magic. The care and dedication that goes into the creation of the brand’s products is self-evident. Founder and CEO Justine Kahn started Botnia a year and a half ago. She described the feeling of founding her own company as both exciting and terrifying, like jumping of a cliff.

After years of working as an esthetician, however, she could no longer avoid the fact that the skin care she envisioned for her clients simply didn’t exist. Thus Botnia was born, driven by a deep knowledge and understanding of botanicals and rooted in plant biology research she and her husband have pored over for years.

“People deserve better,” Justine explained in regards to why she’s so entirely passionate about her work. “There should be more oversight. It’s very difficult to be a consumer today. You want to trust a brand to have your best interest, but so often that’s not the case.”


Photography by Alora KingPhotography by Alora King

Photography by Alora King

 Processed with VSCO with dog3 preset  Processed with VSCO with dog3 preset


On Botnia’s microfarm in Marin, oversight and ethical product creation is essentially their north star. With raised garden beds filled with roses, geranium, rosemary, calendula, and lemon verbena to name just a few, the entire plot of land laughs in color and lush nature.

In addition to the ora, water catchment systems and complete water recycling processes are also in the works, promoting a fully ethical and environmentally friendly operation true to its roots and mission.

With Botnia, it’s clear where the ingredients are coming from, how they were made, and where they’ll go next. The movement? Farm to face. Seed to skin. Considering our skin is the our largest organ, we probably should demand this kind of transparency from the companies we permit to interact with it, yes?

Justine shares her vision for the company, which comprises of Botnia becoming a go-to authority for spas and skin care; an Aveda-like brand that is trusted and relied upon across the industry.

That goal may not be so far off. In just over six months, Botnia has gone from having seven spa partners across the country to fifty-two. This “slow beauty” movement as Justine calls it, which begins at the microfarm and is actualized through both the products themselves as well as spa treatments, is catching on. After years of study and devotion to this idea, Justine expresses that it’s incredibly rewarding to have reached this affirmation point.

We can attest to the caliber of their mission. An afternoon spent at Skin Remedy in Pacific Heights left us feeling renewed. This experience, combined with the work being done in their Sausalito garden, left us struck thinking, this very well may be the real deal.

“I came into this industry as a young person, and there wasn’t enough natural care for people struggling with acne or skin issues,” Justine explained. “My goal now is to develop a way we can retrain the skin, and train people to take care of their skin the correct way.”

// Originally published in Issue 7. Check out Botnia Skincare at Photography by Alora King.

The Power of Skin: Botnia Skincare’s Justine Kahn on Cultivating Your Own Ingredients in a Synthetic World
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