By Lindsey Adkison
The Brunswick News, Ga.
Gina Patrick is a familiar face to those who frequent the spunky downtown hotspot Indigo Coastal Shanty. A server there, Patrick is ever-upbeat, as she serves up dishes with a side of positivity to her customers.
But what those diners may not know is that they just met a modern day apothecary. Patrick, much like those mystical healers of old, also seeks to find ways to harness the healing power of the natural world. The 28-year-old began exploring plant-based concoctions a few years back. And, ever since, she’s been drawn to the many ways they can enhance lives.
Patrick’s interest was further fueled by all of the unnatural chemicals in the products she used every day.
“It really started about five or six years ago … with women’s deodorant. I know that sounds funny but it’s true. Women’s deodorant has so much aluminum in it and it really does affect people. And not everyone is aware of it,” she said. “I just got turned off by traditional cosmetics and beauty products because of all of the chemicals in them.”
That led Patrick to start exploring her own options. She extensively researched plant materials, herbs, minerals and oils to how they could work naturally for the body. And, over time, she started to experiment with making her own skin care items.
“I haven’t made a deodorant yet. I’m working on it. But I use a natural deodorant,” she said with a laugh. “I started back in college. I went to Kennesaw State where I actually studied sociology and minored in Spanish. But that’s where I started to do the research. I did a lot of research.”
That research wasn’t simply how to make a natural soap. Patrick’s interest was more on the level of a chemist. She learned about fatty acids and various reactions, as well as the best items to blend together for results.
“I researched properties of different plant oils and how they benefit and nourish the skin. Through different trials I learned what my skin liked, disliked and formulated a blend of non-comedogenic oils and essential oils that help skin stay smooth and vibrant,” she said.
“The first thing I made was a face serum. It’s organic hempseed oil, rosehips oil, tamanu oil and a blend of organic lavender, tea tree, frankincense essential oils.”
Over time, Patrick’s experience and confidence grew and she branched out, making other things. She’s developed soaps and other skin care items.
“I made a neroli cedarwood glow oil. Neroli is just the fancy word for orange blossoms,” she said with a laugh.
For a while, Patrick was content with simply using the products herself, as well as gifting them to friends and family. But after rave reviews, she decided to try to turn her hobby into a business. Hence, Virgin Apothecary was born.
“I’m a Virgo and I’m really into astrology and apothecary is the study of medicinal plants. So it’s pure and natural. I still don’t have everything together but I’m starting to get there. I have a website but I’m figuring it out. It’s just getting it off the ground,” Patrick said.
“I’ve had a lot of help from my family and friends. My sister, Stacy, and my mom are my test subjects. I’m always giving them things to try.”
When she isn’t mixing up new blends for her budding product line, Patrick can be found spending time outdoors with her boyfriend, Adam Albenze, and golden doodle, Franklin. She also loves crafting food with items she grows in her home garden.
“It’s so rewarding taking something that you grow and then be able to use it in a meal you create. It’s the best feeling,” she said.