Panning for Natural Cosmetics' Gold

Israeli producers are venturing into natural cosmetics, an industry with $7 billion in global sales For decades, Savta ("Grandma") Gamila has concocted her thick, creamy squares of soap from pure olive oil and dried herbs. It's a time-consuming process. The herbs must first be gathered from the fields and dried and the olives are picked and pressed into virgin oil. A combination of pure oils are then cooked in a bubbling vat, the herbs are slowly added, before the mixture is blended, molded and dried for the better part of a year. It's a process that was honed and refined by Gamila Hiar, 68, on the roof of her home in the Galilee village of Peki'in and turned into a thriving small business. And now she and her sons are expanding worldwide, cashing in on the product-hungry consumer willing to pay top dollar for Hiar's soaps. Savta Gamila's expansion is similar to that of many cottage-industry natural product companies, particularly when organic ingredients, grown without pesticides, are involved. Global sales of natural and organic cosmetics are soaring, with revenues projected to approach $7 billion this year, according to the Organic Consumers Association in the United States. For full story please subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here to subscribe.