Rooftop Botanicals is New York City’s first rooftop beauty farm that grows over 50 botanicals to create extracts and beauty products out of.
Our mission is to show and educate how beauty botanicals can be farmed in an urban environment so we can think more locally, sustainably, and consciously when it comes to our beauty consumption habits.
We’re transforming wasted rooftops into working beauty botanical farms that help to mitigate New York City’s climate change’s impact and bring raw materials that used to travel the world to get into your products more locally.
We’ve also developed a truly transparent and vertically integrated production process that shows how raw materials are grown, processed, and added to products to really bring that value back to the end customer.
City dwellers will always rely on rural farmers for raw materials, but since 86% of the United State’s population currently lives in urban areas and based on the UN’s predictions, where more than ⅔ of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, we have to rethink how we’re going to supply this increasing population with the essentials they’re going to need in a more sustainable and secure way. With this increase in population, we also have to be aware of the obvious, cities are going to be even more polluting than before, so we also have to rethink how we're going to offset this.
While our rooftop farms currently and will never be able to fully grow and supply the raw materials needed to create all of New York City’s population’s worth of personal care products, the point is we need to bring our raw materials closer by investing in local and urban agriculture and raw material processing centers to shorten our supply chains.
By doing so, we’ll be drastically reducing the carbon emissions emitted from processing and shipping these raw materials from halfway across the globe. Having rooftop farms in city’s also takes advantage of unused roofs which improves urban ecology, enhances quality of life, creates jobs and provides environmental and agricultural education to those of us who live in and love the cities!
We currently sell our products directly online via our shop page, but we’re looking to expand into local stores, community markets and events so keep an eye out for us!
Our farm is spread out over three different rooftops (2K sq ft). Rooftop 1, called Le Conselyea, is located in East Williamsburg. It’s 225 sq. ft.and it’s where Brooklyn Rooftop Botanicals all started. It’s a true education rooftop filled with over 50 beauty botanicals. Rooftop 2 is called Ainslie Street. Also located in East Williamsburg and 800 sq. ft., it’s where the bulk amount of our botanicals will be grown and harvested! We’re always investigating new rooftops, so if you have any opportunities, send us a message!
Our botanicals are currently solely grown in raised beds/ containers made of cedar or Ipe wood. These were all built and installed with each of the roof’s weight requirements taken into consideration. If you want to learn more about roof weights, check out our post below.
We grow over 50 botanicals that range from the traditional roses and chamomile to the more obscure and rare vanilla orchid and gotu kola. This creates a diverse ecosystem that keeps our plants healthy and happy from a sustainable soil and pest management point of view.
While we’d like to grow every botanical there is out there, and we certainly do try, the goal is to learn all there is about these different botanicals to see how we can grow and process some of the key ones used in cosmetic formulations more locally.
Our “main” crops to specifically formulate our products include Roses, Chamomile, Calendula, Cornflower, Anise Hyssop and Helichrysum. We also grow microgreens and more tropical plants in our indoor workspace during the winter months.
While many of our botanicals are not necessarily native to Brooklyn or New York, we do plant native echinacea, honeysuckle, bee balm, lilac, milkweed and other plants to make sure we’re supporting local pollinators that are vital to local ecosystems.
We are not certified organic, but we grow our botanicals according to organic principles by not using chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. You can learn more about our farming practices on our page in the link below.
Pollution is definitely a concern for city farmers, but pollutants such as heavy metals, and brake pad particulates from cars are the most concerning for the health of plants. Our botanicals are grown on rooftops, high above the roadways, which is where these particulates are mostly concentrated, so we are essentially protected from these contaminants. The limited lifespan of our botanicals also means they absorb significantly less contamination than our lungs do. Research recently done by Cornell University on other rooftop farms in Brooklyn have confirmed air pollution accumulation in soil and crops does not impact plant or human health. I also test my botanicals for heavy metals, microbial and other contaminants.
When it rains on our flat and non pervious city rooftops and roadways, all that water ends up in NYC’s combined sewer system, which processes both storm drain runoff as well as sewer lines discharge, ultimately running through water treatment plants and into open waterways like the creeks, rivers, and estuaries. On average our rooftops absorb 1.5-2K gallons of rainwater in one rainfall (2.5” of rain). Flushing an average toilet uses between 5-7gallons of water, so if we use that as a comparison, we’re saving up to 285 toilet flushes of water that would otherwise be running out to the rivers and polluting our fragile ecosystems.
This is a question we get a lot. We’re crazy busy! We’re developing and testing extracts and products, evaluating how we did the previous year and planning for the next, stratifying seeds and propagating plants. Starting in January, we’re already starting botanicals in our indoor greenhouse for the season to come so there’s no stopping!
We’re not about giving money to or being part of “sustainability” organizations to offload our carbon emissions elsewhere or from our bottom lines. We’re investing directly in our business practices and infrastructure to offset emissions from the start, so we don’t have to retroactively do it, which we think is the best way to go about it.
Check out our Sustainability Commitment to learn more!
All of our products are formulated and bottled between Rooftop 1 in Brooklyn, NY and our small independently owned manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Our products are formulated with a blend of Brooklyn rooftop grown botanicals and other Cosmos or USDA organic compliant ingredients to make sure we’re using the best ingredients this world currently has to offer.
While our rooftop farm currently cannot and will never be able to fully grow and process 100% of the ingredients needed to create our products, our goal is to push to grow as many of those ingredients to show it is in fact possible and to generate awareness around how raw materials in general are being grown and processed globally.
Per the Cosmos website, COSMOS stands for "COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard", which sets certification requirements for organic and natural cosmetics products. Within this standard are the core principles of prevention and safety, reflective from the production of raw materials to the distribution of finished products which includes the below and more:
1.Promoting the use of products from organic agriculture, and respecting biodiversity
2.Using natural resources responsibly and respecting the environment
3.Using processing and manufacturing that are respectful of human health and environment
4.Integrating and developing the concept of "Green Chemistry" instead of using petrochemicals
5.Providing transparency for consumers
To learn more, visit COSMOS' Website
Using preservatives is the only way to safely make a product for broad distribution. If you’re making your own product using some of our DIY recipes, but omit the preservative, that’s at your own risk. Not all formulas necessarily require preservatives such as anhydrous formulas, but water based formulas are susceptible to a whole host of contaminants that can cause severe infections when left to culture without a preservative. Not all preservatives are created equally as well. Some are better than others in the way they focus on and fight against certain bacteria and mold. We use a preservative called EuxylK712 which is a simple and yet effective broad spectrum preservative made of potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. Both these ingredients are on the Sephora, Credo and Whole Foods “Clean Ingredients” list. We know this preservative works due to all of the testing we perform to ensure the safety of both our extracts and final formulas. All commercially sold skincare products go through this type of testing so take extra care to understand how a product is being manufactured, tested and preserved when shopping from small business owners and “natural” products. Oftentimes, natural and preservative free is not necessarily better or safer. We do not use any artificial coloring or fragrance in our current gel moisturizing serum so the fragrance and color may change over time.
Our rooftop grown botanicals go through 4 tests in order to prove their safety for topical applications (see tests below). All of our non-rooftop grown ingredients come from cosmos compliant and reputable ingredient suppliers that have also gone through a battery of tests to ensure their safety for topical applications. Our final formulas also go through the below testing processes to ensure the overall formula’s safety for the end user. As always, we recommend performing a patch test prior to use and if irritation occurs, cease use and consult a physician.Use only as directed on unbroken skin and avoid eye contact. Also please keep out of reach of children.
While all our ingredients products that are sold by us have been tested and produced via FDA regulations, they have not been FDA approved.
Our DIY formulas abide by vendor usage guidelines but they have not been tested for large-scale manufacturing or re-sale, thus attempting to formulate and sell anything made from these recipes without the proper testing and manufacturing protocols will be at your own risk.
While our founder worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years, We are not licensed estheticians or dermatologists, and we do not claim to know more than these industry professionals.
Our bottles are made of aluminum which is the most recyclable material out there since it can be endlessly recycled. Our droppers are made of a bamboo collar, PP plastic and glass pipettes. Both the bottle and droppers are meant to be reused. All you need to do once done with your product is to pull apart the dropper from the bamboo collar, separate the dropper from the pipette, wash them out and disinfect with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol and fill with a DIY formula! In an effort to limit our packaging waste, only the essentials are included in your shipment while ensuring safe transport. We use 100% compostable shippers and packing wrap. Please make sure you recycle or shred and compost your carton once opened. Don’t want to reuse your bottle and droppers? Send them back to us at the address on the packaging and we’ll sanitize reuse in our production process or recycle.
We currently do not use any fragrances in our skincare products and will always disclose if we end up doing so in the future.
All of our formulas are made with simple but efficacious skin-loving and nourishing ingredients that are perfect for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin. We vet our products through a certified dermatologist to check we're using pregnancy-safe ingredients.
All our rooftops are currently located in Brooklyn. Our head office is in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn!
Yes, all our products and ingredients are cruelty free.
We accept payments via American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Apple Pay, Google Pay and BRBotanicals gift card!
You can input your promo/discount code on the Order Summary page, before Shipping and Payment during checkout. Only one code permitted per order, product exclusions may apply.
We currently only ship to the US, but we want to hear from you - Tag us on Instagram, and let us know where you’d like to see us shipped next!
Once the order is placed, you will receive a confirmation email with all order details and an order number directly to the email address provided during checkout. Order processing and fulfillment takes approximately 1-2 business days. You will then receive an email confirming shipping and tracking number. Shipping time depends on the shipping speed selected at checkout. We offer ground shipping (5-7 days) as default with 3-5 day standard shipping via USPS available, if preferred. We recommend ground shipping, as it’s the most sustainable!
Based in Brooklyn, our packages ship from our fulfillment center in Brooklyn!
Our systems link directly to shipping providers and we have experienced a few issues with USPS first class packages regarding customer addresses. One solution is to try a surrounding city name and corresponding zip code that may encompass your area. You can also switch to a different shipping method as some of the other providers do not have this issue. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can find a quick solution for your issue!
If you change your mind about your purchase, unopened packages will be refunded within 15 days of purchase date. Please reach out to email@example.com to start the process. If there was an issue with your order or if it arrived damaged, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you right away.
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