Kale: Check. Coconut milk: Got it. Wrinkle-fighting facial cream? Despite the growing natural personal care category, the list stops there for many health-conscious shoppers who still don’t believe “natural” and “efficacious” co-exist, particularly when it comes to results-driven beauty products such as in those in the antiaging category.

Mychelle's VISIA dermatological But behind the scenes, Colo.-based natural skin care manufacturer MyChelle Dermaceuticals has been proving otherwise for years, using an advanced dermatological machine called the VISIA to test results of products featuring plant stem cells, peptides, fruit enzymes and other bioactive ingredients.

The VISIA—which scans skin to offer a personalized analysis—is at many dermatologists’ offices (with a hefty per-session price tag). Last February, MyChelle made it accessible to natural products customers, selling the machine to Whole Foods Markets' Lamar store and 16 more locations in 2011 and early 2012. Each store offers the customized analysis, product recommendations and follow-up scans as a free service to customers.

Changing the natural skin care paradigm

“Ultimately, this is a big picture piece for us,” said Kristine Carey, vice president of marketing for MyChelle. “We look to build the idea of skin care not having to be either effective or natural.”

This technology is at the core of MyChelle’s plan to educate retailers and customers not just about its line but also the entire natural personal care category. After a year in Whole Foods stores, and now available to independent retailers, this technology and the accompanying business strategy is showing serious results—of MyChelle’s products on skin and of innovation and education on the company’s sales. It also may be what customers need to put natural skin care on their shopping lists.

“We’re about growing MyChelle. But we’re also about growing the category and helping the retailers bring their department to a different playing field,” Carey said.