Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Want a green beauty guru in Los Angeles? Meet Melissa Tornay

Our occasional Q&A with Southern Californians doing green stuff 

 The average person uses multiple beauty products a day. However, the average person may not realize that each product can come with a helping of chemicals to disrupt hormones, enable cancer and more. Nonetheless, you’d be hard pressed to find an Angeleno willing to give up his or her products without a fight. So what’s a health-conscious greenie to do?

Luckily, there are several great beauty salons in our fair city dedicated to spreading the green word. Among them is Primrose Organics Salon & Boutique, which sits on a hip stretch of Hollywood Boulevard offering up eco-friendly cosmetics and beauty services.

Primrose Organics is co-owned by Melissa Tornay of Silver Lake, who runs the business with partner Felicia Howe. Recently, Tornay shared her take on the green beauty market.


If people want to transition to green beauty, what should they know? 

First of all, don't get overwhelmed. If you want to change everything you are using over to a green product, just change one small thing at a time and don't guilt yourself.

Secondly, there is a great green alternative to almost anything you currently love. Many times our clients rave about how much better their skin and hair feels over time after using more natural based products. 

When did you first know you were interested in green beauty?

I was working for a company that is well known for using organic ingredients. They taught me a lot. I started researching the ingredients commonly used today in most products and I couldn't believe the information I was seeing. So I wanted to help inform other people about what I was learning. 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your field?

Greenwashing. [This is when a company deceptively promotes their product as green and natural when it is, in fact, they are not.] I will get very excited about a company or product after meeting them or hearing their spiel. Then I pick up a container from their line, look at the ingredients, and find that it is packed full of chemicals that I don't use and wouldn't sell to my clients.

I’ve learned that everyone talks green in the business and yet there are very few lines out there that really hold up to our strict standards. Ultimately, the public needs to really ask questions about the products and their practices and make sure they are not just greenwashing.

Who do you admire most in the green movement right now?

Anyone average person that is trying to go green. It can be intimidating and overwhelming to make the switch, so much so that most people don't even try. I really admire people trying to take the plunge. 

You can find Tornay at Primrose Organics Salon & Boutique at 4616 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles. 323.664.5446

Photo courtesy of Melissa Tornay