How is Beauty Heroes making the "beauty discovery process" less overwhelming for women looking to clean up their beauty routine?
The idea for our service was came to me over 10 years ago, when I was the Spa Director at The Carneros Inn in Napa. I knew there were harmful ingredients in beauty and spa products and I wanted to make sure the products we were using on our clients in the treatment room were good for them, not harmful to them. There was a lot less information than there is today about ingredients, and it was hard to get clear information about what was actually harmful. As a spa director, I was being a pitched product every day by different brands and every one of them had a different story of what was harmful and what wasn’t. It was overwhelming and confusing.
I thought, if this is confusing to me, I couldn’t even imagine how confusing it is for the everyday consumer. My goal with Beauty Heroes, as a whole, is to be a trusted source or beauty that is more than safe, but healthy for you to use. So whether you are a member of our monthly beauty discovery service or shop in our online clean beauty store, you know that we have a clearly defined ingredient standard that you can trust.
In the spa setting, women would tell us about their beauty routine and the vast number of products they had, but that they really no idea how to use them or what was in them. During a service we would talk to them about their primary skincare concern and based on that consider a Hero Product that had the right ingredients to treat their concern and educate them on just one beauty product. We would earn their trust so they could come back to learn more. We’d slow it all down a bit. That is what we do with our subscription service by delivering one, full size healthy face, body, sun or hair care product each month to our members. For $39/month you can try a top-selling, carefully selected product delivered with ingredient information, details about how the product works, where and how it’s made so you understand what you are putting on your body. You can add this product into your routine, and maybe replace a product that is not clean or hasn’t been as effective. And if you love the product and the results, you may look into discovering more from that brand, now that you know more about them from all the information we share about them. We only deliver 12 Hero Products a year to our members, so we put a lot of time into selecting them with our members in mind.
How do you choose each month's Beauty Heroes product selections?
Because we feature only one maker and their Hero Product each month, we co-create an intentional and focused experience for our members, together. Every selection has a different story as to how the product came to us. For our March, as I wrote in my introduction for the Q+A with March’s brand Founder, I met Annie Tevelin of SkinOwl at last year’s Indie Beauty Expo and found her to be magnetic, with an awesome approach ingredients and beauty. In this case we discussed which of her products were her top-seller, and most universally appropriate for our members. Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM was the Hero Product we settled on, and it was an easy choice. When I touch, smell and feel a few drops, it just feels pure, fresh and alive. It is a great example of a Hero Product I want in my routine always and that’s made of the highest quality botanical ingredients that are effective in supporting skin health and vitality.
Tell us about some of your favorite "Superpower" ingredients.
There’s not enough room on our Ingredient Intelligence Pocket Guide for all the healthy Superpower ingredients, nature is just so abundant with good stuff. Besides the ultra precious Mangosteen Oil in March’s Hero that is extracted from the skin of this Southeast Asian super-fruit, I also love Tamanu Oil, Honey, Jasmine and the lesser-known, but super-effective Prawn Sage.
I only discovered Tamanu Oil a few years ago and I love it for its amazing acne-fighting powers. This super-oil has made a huge impact on my skin as it’s in Laurel Whole Plant Organic’s Antioxidant Face Serum and Mahalo Skincare’s Vitality Elixir.
Honey is one of my very favorite superpowers for skin. I love products that contain honey and my favorite way to us it is to mix it into my face masks. It adds some texture to the mask, is a great exfoliator, moisturizer and antibacterial. It’s super skin food, no doubt.
Jasmine essential oil is a new ingredient love for me. It was one of the key Superpowers in our October 2015 Sidekick, In Fiore’s Lustra Illuminating Essence and our December Hero Product Award Winner, Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Face Serum. Besides being a great skin healer, it works to calm the senses and relieve stress, which ultimately shows up in your skin.
I also love a little known herb called Prawn Sage Extract, which was the superpower ingredient in our March 2015 Hero Product from Bottega Organica. Studied and celebrated for it’s ability to reverse the damage of cancer cells, the doctor advising Bottega Organica decided to study its’ effects on reversing skin damage, and the results were profound. Prawn sage extract is pretty special and we are working with another product from Bottega Organica later this year that will feature it and I’m really excited about that.
Beauty Heroes champions clean beauty brands and helps women discover brands and products they would otherwise never know about. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges facing clean beauty brands?
The way I see it they have three challenges. The first is overcoming the belief that truly clean beauty, completely free of toxic ingredients, isn’t as effective as products made in a lab with patented ingredients that have complicated names and have been scientifically studied and on and on. It’s simply not true. Not only are natural products more effective, over time, the toxic load from our environment and personal care products is taking a toll on our health which correlates directly to our appearance. There is so much slick marketing around mainstream beauty, tons of celebrity endorsements and article upon article about how beauty products containing a certain patented ingredient can get us to look a certain way, it’s hard to overcome that. Getting women to take the long view when considering what they put on their bodies isn’t easy, we want instant gratification.
The second challenge is changing the expectation that we should have from our products to and re-framing it so that we are taking a realistic view of what products can and should actually do. Beauty products should support our skin in it’s optimal health, not make it go back in time. For me I was really focused on products that would support my skin in clearing and healing. Having suffered from severe acne stemming from an endocrinological disorder, I feel like at 42 my skin is the best it’s ever been and the best it can be. A lot of times people tell me they can’t tell I had severe acne, and it’s because now my skin is healthy and supported by products that support it in healing itself.
And the last challenge will be to be able to source quality ingredients at an affordable price. There is not an infinite supply of botanicals, particularly organic and sustainably harvested botanicals. Just last year there was a world wide shortage of rosehip oil that left a whole lot of beauty brands scrambling. I think with the increasing demand for natural actives, this challenge will become more frequent. If I were to guess, I think that brands will begin growing and harvesting their own botanicals, some already are, and the price will probably increase.