It’s Only Natural

East Sac family handcrafts bath and body care

By Jessica Laskey
June 2024

It’s fitting that the name for Angela Borge’s all-natural bath- and body-care company came from her parents’ garden.
“I had been wanting to start an herbal business, but the names I’d come up with just weren’t connecting,” the Sacramento native says. “Then I was outside at my parents’ house in East Sac and suddenly heard ‘Humble Bee Herbal’ in my head. It was perfect.”

Borge is a devotee of natural skincare, mostly out of necessity. An almond intolerance led her to study herbalism and make her own skincare for years. But it wasn’t until she joined forces with her mom Jeanine, a retired third-grade teacher, when Humble Bee Herbal took off.

After moving to New York for fashion school, Borge discovered snow depressed her and she preferred a career where she could “help people feel good about themselves,” she says. After returning to California to study social work at Humboldt State, Borge and her mom were browsing in a bookshop when they found a book on soap making. It was 2012, and a business was born.

“The first time we made soap in our kitchen, we stirred it for hours and hours, looking for ‘trace’ (the stage at which the ingredients have emulsified enough to be considered soap),” Borge recalls. “We stirred all day and at the end, we had soap. It didn’t look great, but it smelled wonderful and it was just the coolest thing. We were hooked.”

For the next several years, Borge and her mom made soap for everyone they knew and gradually expanded their lines. Now they make all kinds of soaps, from facial to shampoo, plus skincare products for everyone. “Skincare tends to be female-focused,” Borge says, “but we wanted to do the whole gender spectrum.”

As far as what’s in their products, more important is what’s not in them. They don’t use artificial scents, colors, palm oil, almond oil or animal fats. They opt for natural colorants, pure essential oils and ethically sourced ingredients such as local beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter and herbs from their garden to make luxurious-feeling products with a minimum of potential irritants at an affordable price.

“Everyone should be able to afford good skincare products,” Borge says.

In keeping with their all-natural aesthetic, Humble Bee Herbal products are sold in eco-friendly packaging that’s mostly glass, metal or paper that can be reused, recycled or refilled. The adorable logo was designed by Borge and brought to life by her brother Matteo, an artist who relocated from Oakland to East Sac to join the business in 2019.

Humble Bee Herbal products are available online, at Oak Park and Midtown farmers markets, and in local stores including The Bee Box (where they buy beeswax for soaps), Unseen Heroes, The Atrium, Summer Moon and more. High demand means the trio works every day in Matt’s converted garage.

“My brother and I have a vision of one day not only having a store but also a community center where people can come and take classes on how to make their own skincare, bring their art to sell and just be together—a gathering spot around being creative,” Borge says. “Returning back home and feeling supported by the community has been really wonderful.”

For information, visit

Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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