by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter
Kasia Cummings stands in the new Buffalo Gal Organics location at 5655 Main St. The store opened for retail purposes on Friday. Photo by Sarah McIlhattenPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Growing up, Kasia Cummings and Kristine Koch lived around the corner from each other. They were friends at 8 and 9 years old, but for some reason, their friendship didn’t stick.
After high school, Cummings attended the University at Buffalo, graduated with a degree in medicinal chemistry and founded Buffalo Gal Organics, an organic skin care boutique. Koch became a licensed aesthetician and now runs Nickel City Skin Care, which offers skin care and beauty treatments.
Today, they have reunited and established a new Buffalo Gal Organics location in Williamsville for one purpose: to help people create a healthier skin regimen.
“Our recommendations are very simple. We’re here to make sure you are getting quality products integrated into your life, so that you can use them day in and day out,” said Cummings. “We want to make sure everybody is walking out with a solution that’s working for them.”
The new Buffalo Gal Organics location, at 5655 Main St., opened for retail purposes on Friday. The store, along with its original location, still open at 8860 Main St. in Clarence, sells skin care products that are plant-based, vegan, cruelty free and made with organic ingredients.
The store offers a variety of products for men, women, babies and retailers. It also carries an aromatherapy line, as well as organic cosmetics.
The Buffalo Gal products help keep skin healthy, help treat skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, and also provide a safer alternative to many of what the women say are potentially harmful products on the market today.
In 2010, the David Suzuki Foundation, a science-based environmental organization headquartered in Vancouver, did a study on the 12 chemicals and compounds found in personal care products and compiled them into a list called the “Dirty Dozen.”
This list includes parabens, which have been found present in breast tumors; phthalates, which can damage the liver and kidneys; and polyethylene glycol, or PEG compounds, which are often contaminated with pollutants that can damage skin.
“Around 80 percent of what you put on your skin you eat,” said Cummings. “When you put something on your skin, it gets absorbed into your system and you’re putting your body into toxic overload.”
According to the Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses 10 to 12 personal care products each day that each contain 15 to 25 ingredients. That’s about 165 to 300 potentially harmful ingredients applied onto the skin each day.
“That’s why we believe it’s important to teach people what a label means and what their skin needs,” said Cummings. “It’s also great that we have both sides of the scope here: a chemist and an aesthetician who can give you an educated answer.”
Koch reconnected with Cummings after finding Buffalo Gal Organics on Instagram.
“I would ask her if she could make an organic version of stuff I used, and when I started using the products, you could see instantly the results that were happening,” said Koch. “Right off the bat, everyone wanted it.”
Koch is also a certified oncology aesthetician and uses the products on people who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
Cummings also helps those undergoing treatment by teaching skin care classes at Roswell Park Cancer Institute about caring for skin as it changes from treatment and how to create the appearance of eyebrows.
“There is a lot of stuff aesthetically that we don’t think about as women until after that point,” she said. “We can’t make their skin perfect during treatment, but we can take some of the edge off.”
By merging with Nickel City Skin Care, Buffalo Gal Organics also offers Koch’s skin care treatments such as facials, salt glows, waxing and lash lifts. Currently, these services are only offered at the Clarence store, but by February, Cummings wants to move these services and add other services as well to the new Williamsville location.
“The main goal is to take into account everything that’s going on with you and help you from the outside in.”
Cummings, who is also an aromatherapist, plans to offer aromatherapy services. She also plans to have a massage therapist and a specialist who works with flower, tree and plant essences to create health and wellness floral arrangements.
“We will all work together with you holistically to help you get to a better you.”
Both Cummings and Koch said they are looking forward to working with each other and with the Williamsville community.
“I’m excited that we are reaching out to even more people,” Koch said. “Also, the more encompassing Kasia’s brand grows, it lets me elevate my craft of doing treatments, and in turn, I can educate other aestheticians on the power of the product.”
For Cummings, it is surreal where her company and products have gone.
“This was a dream that I held in my heart for a very long time and has come full circle,” she said, noting that if people believe in universal intervention, this was the time she and Koch were meant to meet.
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There will also be special holiday hours after Thanksgiving.
For more information about Nickel City Skin Care services or to book an appointment with Koch, visit the “Nickel City Skin Care at BGO” Facebook page. For more information about Buffalo Gal Organics, visit the “Buffalo Gal Organics” Facebook page or buffalogalorganics.com.