Here at Beauty Lies Truth we believe that what you put on your skin is as important as what you eat. Emily Wright, a Global Media Relations Specialist at Whole Foods Market, couldn't agree more. Emily works with Whole Body, the beauty and wellness department at Whole Foods Market, and is passionate about sharing the best and safest products with her customers. I was fortunate enough to chat with Emily about the Whole Body beauty standards and products, as well as her own personal discoveries within the world of non-toxic beauty. Enjoy!! Xoxo Alexis
1. Define each in your own words: #truthbeauty and #beautybullshit.
When there is a deeper meaning behind beauty products and when companies are trying to move forward and educate consumers about what is really in their products. When I think of truth beauty I think of brands like Alaffia and Evan Healy: truly conscious companies that are creating safe and effective products for women.
The biggest beauty industry problem is with labeling and claims. Many companies are trying to capitalize on the word natural even though their products don't contain natural or organic ingredients. I also consider beauty bullshit to be any company that's trying to convince a consumer to buy a product without educating them about what's in it. Fortunately a lot of women are questioning ingredients and asking why certain ones aren't disclosed. More and more people are calling out ingredients that they are uncomfortable with and demanding companies reformulate and have higher standards.
2. What do you find most inspiring about the world of natural beauty right now?
The future is incredibly promising. There are more and more consumers that are buying great products and the formulations are getting better and better every year. Technology is improving and things that the industry didn't think were possible 5 years ago are becoming a reality. More natural beauty is now available and that's exciting.
3. Why do you think so many brands continue to formulate their products with toxic chemicals and synthetic ingredients?
Mostly because it's just easy and there is a customer base that will buy it no matter what. There is still a large customer base that isn't questioning the ingredients and they just want something that works well or they just want something that they've been buying for 10 years. I believe that consumers really drive demand and I think that as long as people keep buying the same stuff, companies are going to keep formulating that way if it works for them. That's the biggest bummer of all. You have all of these wonderful products on the market, but it's challenging to get the information about them out to everyone.How do you get customers to get super excited about an amazing, beautiful, pure product that comes from a great supplier, when it's so easy to buy a chemical-ridden name brand product in a drug store? We're figuring that out and working to drive that consumer change.
4. What part of your work with Whole Foods are you most proud of?
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently named us the safest leading national retailer for personal care products. I think that was a huge accomplishment and a testament to the great work being done by our quality standards team and the buyers for our beauty department. It was incredibly exciting to be recognized as THE destination for natural and organic beauty. We also recently discovered that the Environmental Working Group announced that we had the most "green" rated sunscreen. That was really exciting for the summer, because sunscreen is very much a hot topic with the introduction of different formulations and people really questioning what they're using on themselves and their families. Personally I've thought a lot about how much sunscreen I've worn over the years and I've had a shift as a consumer. I've realized that just because it's convenient and spray on and popular doesn't mean it's the best option. I now use physical zinc oxide based sunscreens and I'm open to buying a sunscreen brand that I've never heard of before. Just because it doesn't have the most buzz out on the marketplace doesn't mean it's not one of the best products.
5. What should beauty consumers be looking out for when it comes to buying natural and organic?
When you're looking to buy organic personal care products always look for the USDA organic seal. This way you'll know that the product doesn't just have 1% of an organic ingredient. With the seal you know it contains at least 95% organic ingredients and that the remaining 5% are monitored. They can't just put in anything. The ingredient has to fall within certain requirements to still have that seal. That is really important. At Whole Foods we have Premium Body Care Standards. They are our highest tier standards for beauty. We screen for over 400 ingredients that we don't allow in our premium standards. We screen for efficacy but we also consider environmental factors.You have to remember that the products that you put on your skin wash off and go down the drain, making their way into the environment. We really want people to think about that. The Premium Body Care Standards encompass several personal care products and it's easy to spot the seal when you're shopping. Also, make sure you research the companies that you buy products from. There is a wealth of information online, and if you just take a little extra time you might learn something questionable about the company or the product that you like. With some additional research you'll probably be able to find a more natural, safer alternative to what you are currently buying. There are so many great conversations happening online, especially on blogs like yours and people can use each others research to find a replacement product for something that they have always used.
6. What's your next big goal?
For me personally it's always just to help educate consumers and give them a destination. I want Whole Foods Market to be the destination for natural and organic beauty products. I want customers to think of Whole Foods not just as a place to buy food for dinner, but as a destination for wellness. You can pick up your kale here but you can also pick up "kale nail polish" (laughs) or you can purchase your favorite face wash. You can talk to us and we'll help you find the best and safest products.