Juice Beauty's Founder is SF's Original Health Hacker

Juice Beauty has been popping up in the news a LOT recently due to the launch of its glorious new makeup line and new creative director, Gwyneth Paltrow. I first tried it after writing a story for Well + Good on celeb-backed wellness companies, and am now completely hooked. The colors are so rich, the textures luxurious and the ingredients are as clean as it gets. The brains behind the Bay Area-based operation is brilliant founder and CEO Karen Behnke.

Here is Karen's take on the best in the Bay and how she stays well when traveling:

How long have you been in the Bay Area?

I moved to Marin right after graduating from college in 1980 for about 5 years, then moved to San Francisco for about 15 years living on Telegraph Hill and then the Marina, then back to Marin for the last 16 years. I love the entire Bay Area but San Francisco and Marin County are my two favorite spots. When I arrived from the Midwest, I was astounded at how the Bay Area reinforced living a healthy lifestyle and loved the amazing micro-climates and that one could pick the temperature of where to live!! There are so many special things about the Bay Area including access to the city, the coast, the mountains, the wine country and Marin County hiking, biking and running in the hills.

I understand you're based in San Rafael. What are your favorite healthy haunts in the Marin area and in San Francisco?

Juice Beauty’s sustainable office is in San Rafael and my family lives in nearby San Anselmo. I am completely in love with the Marin hills and open space preserves that are adjacent to our house and go for hundreds of miles stretching to the coast. Waterfalls, Mt. Tamalpais, trails, lakes, the ocean, wildlife—it’s a fitness paradise for hiking, running, and mountain biking. You can usually find my husband and me on Bald Hill, Phoenix Lake trails or Yolanda trails in the open space preserve. The outdoor recreational areas are definitely my favorites spots In Marin.

For dining, we like to eat locally at San Anselmo’s Insalata’s and Phil Lesh from Grateful Dead's Terrapin Restaurant on the Canal in San Rafael. Of course most of the time you can find me at one of the multiple Marin or SF Whole Foods’ salad bars eating organic salads. I also love San Francisco’s The Market at 10th and Market Street which is a very hip place to eat and hang out at all the various purveyors of local food.

Any favorite spas in the area?

Ha—I will again, be patronizing spas someday but given running our high growth Juice Beauty business and that my husband and I have two very active teenagers at home, I don’t have much time; however, I receive regular facials from Juice Beauty’s amazing field team that service our Bay Area Retailers including amazing events at Credo Beauty on Fillmore Street and in our ULTA Beauty stores; and I visit Rancho La Puerta in Mexico as much as I can (a Juice Beauty retailer). My favorite home spa treatment is, of course, our Full Strength Green Apple Peel for a powerful facial exfoliation. Juice Beauty uses a massage service for our office who I also have at our house as often as I remember to book her.

Where do you take out of town guests?

We generally take guests on hikes on the open space trails next to our house. We then head up to Sonoma’s Ramsgate—a beautiful winery experience owned by one of Juice Beauty’s original investors where you can have a picnic prepared to relax and take time to breathe in the fresh air and beautiful vineyard views; then we head to Sonoma Square and visit another Juice Beauty investor’s winery, Three Sticks Adobe—a stunningly beautifully restored adobe original built in 1842. Both wineries have amazing wines to taste. Of course the Sonoma Square is fun to roam around.

Then back to Marin and the best way to get to the city is to hop on the ferry for a day in San Francisco to dine or exercise. My favorite fitness trek is to run from the Marina Green to the Golden Gate Bridge looping through the Presidio and back. If you don’t mind grabbing food in a sweaty state—it’s a short, but often foggy, walk to Chestnut Street for an organic tea latte at Peet’s where you can sit inside sipping organic tea next to the living green wall.

Where do you go to recharge? 

Anywhere in Italy and preferably Lake Como but most likely our house in Marin County. Our house is such a relaxing retreat with panoramic views of the Bay Area.

What does an ideal weekend look like?

Well, preferably I have somehow knocked off all my zillions of Juice Beauty emails then…the best case is that various teenage friends of our son or daughter are at our house Friday night. We’re fortunate that our kids have terrific and nice friends and we love it when our house is filled with activity and the need for lots of food.

Saturday morning is for cooking for our daughter's soccer team that may have slept over and then running in the hills with my husband ending with a dip in our salt water, solar powered lap pool and hot tub. Saturday nights are with friends cooking organic food or dining out and Sundays are generally filled with following one of our kids’ mountain biking competitions.

When you're traveling, what products do you take in your carry-on?

On the airplane I use Juice Beauty's Hydrating Mist constantly to keep refreshed on the plane, our Organic Lip Moisturizer for dry lips and our Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream as I try to wash my hands every time I get up. The best way to get off the plane looking fabulous is after at least 10-20 minutes with our Stem Cellular Instant Algae Eye Lift treatment. You’ll get off the plane looking refreshed and lifted!!

Do you have an airport routine when you're traveling through SFO? 

Grabbing a protein/almond coconut smoothie from the Plant Café in Terminal 2 or often an organic tea latte from Peet’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had enough time to check out a lounge at SFO!!

When on the road, do you have any hotel room rituals to make it more relaxing or like home?

Well, I can’t make it through the day without getting up in the morning to workout. I only stay in hotels that have great workout centers, healthful food and windows that actually open so I can get real air circulation. When the kids were younger, my husband always set up Skype sessions (including special appearances by our Labradoodle) but I can’t say that as teenagers, we get them in front of the computer much. I think I better start Facetiming at this point because I like to see their faces!!

Any particular habits or tips for eating healthfully on the road?

Try to have an organic bag of nuts in your purse just in case hunger hits and it will help avoid gorging on sweets! Always, always start the day with your workout as you might never get to it later in the day, followed by a healthful breakfast and drink enough water that you feel like your eyeballs are floating so your skin stays hydrated!


Have you tried any of Karen's favorite Bay Area spots? Let's hear about it in the comments below!