The Chaga Story

Mark Picard Birch Trees in Winter Chaga True North Beauty skincar

I am fortunate enough to live in Maine and have the woods right behind my house. I love being able to spend time in the forest walking around my backyard and experiencing nature. I especially love it when I need a place to think or clear my head. There is something so soothing and calming about walking through the beautiful Maine woods and letting your mind and eyes wander. I often find myself out there when I am going through a difficult time and one of my favorite parts about my walk that cheers me up, is looking at a cluster of beautiful Birch trees that grows along my walking path. I always catch myself stopping to look up and admire them, and take in their beauty.

In 2012, I was going through a rough and emotional time so I set out to try different things that would take my mind of my stressors, but yet were still productive and allowed me to feel satisfied in life. I decided to take up soap and candle making as a hobby and found that not only did I enjoy it, but I was good at it too. I came up with a few different scents and gave my friends and family homemade gifts that year. Their feedback was so amazing that I decided to start selling my products and created a side business for myself. Things were going great but soon I found myself wishing I could spend more time creating and working on my side business and connecting with my customers and not spend all day stuck at a desk at work.

One day I decided to take a walk to clear my head and try to figure out how I could follow my passion full-time. I had just turned 40 and wasn’t sure if making soap and candles would allow me to survive without a steady job - I knew I needed something bigger and better to make a difference and be successful at this point in my life. So I decided to take a walk and think. I stopped to stare at the familiar cluster of Birch trees that I have passed by so many times and with all the leaves gone, I was able to really look at the trunk and branches of the trees and admire the structure of them. It was during this walk that I noticed a large black growth protruding out from some of the trees. At first, I was worried that the trees were sick and I would have to cut them down and lose a favorite part of my yard. But upon further inspection, I realized that what I was looking at was Chaga.

I had heard about Chaga before from vendors at farmers markets and knew it was a wild mushroom, but I had never seen it in my own backyard. From what I had learned, I knew that Chaga was very popular in Russian and Asian cultures and used for medicinal purposes that dated back centuries. It was during that winter walk, that I knew I stumbled upon something amazing and decided to do more research about Chaga and figure out a way to harvest it and use it. So I went back home and started learning what I could about this mushroom.

It wasn’t long before I came to understand how unique and potent this fungus was. I was learning all about its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and how it was dense in anti-oxidants. I found that it made a great tea and tinctures and that people even ground it up and mixed it with lard to make soap!

During this time I was also struggling with my own skincare issues and doing research on natural product alternatives. I was starting to consider making my own products after I found that I was not happy with the natural products available on the market. I knew that I needed something that was powerful enough to reduce fine lines and wrinkles while treating acne and redness. I thought about the Chaga in my backyard and started wondering if I could incorporate it into skincare. So I harvested some and started formulating the luxurious skincare products that I desired in my lab. The result was True North Beauty.

Today, we incorporate Chaga in all of our products and sustainably wild harvest it from deep within the forests of Maine.

To find out how True North Beauty evolved into the company it is today, check out

The True North Beauty Story.