Category Archives: Founder Spotlight

Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Elaine Li from Iremia Skincare

#Founderspotlight - Iremia Skincare - Elaine Li

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Iremia Skincare - Elaine Li

Two of the best face creams in the clean beauty industry: Iremia Skincare’s Soothing Lotion & Protective Cream

Iremia Skincare is a Toronto-based, cruelty-free, small-batch skincare line created by CPG brand veteran, Elaine Li. After years of working in corporate marketing, Elaine went on a personal quest to create something that would work for her sensitive skin and launched a soothing skincare line. Named after the Greek word for calm, Iremia Skincare has been created to provide a solution for those who have highly sensitive skin and offers a luxurious yet conscious and calming solution for the entire family.

After hearing Elaine’s story behind each award-winning product, and why she decided to start Iremia Skincare you’ll love her as much as we do.

What inspired you to start your business?

Finding something that was suitable for my reactive and sensitive skin, and that I could also use while pregnant and on my small child was the driving factor. I had rosacea and eczema, and had taken prescription medications, used prescription creams, used natural and non-natural products to try to calm my skin with no success and was determined to find something that would fit all my needs. I was also coming out of two miscarriages and was watchful and sensitive of the ingredients I needed (and wanted) to avoid.

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

Finding suitable ingredients, especially when it comes to keeping the products fresh, for my extremely reactive skin has been a big challenge. I have been known to react to ingredients that may be ‘safe’ for sensitive skin, so finding the right ingredients in combination with the formula can be a very long process. We take a slower approach to creating new products, taking our time to look for the right ingredients, to perfect the formulas and packaging and test it on our skin!

Your products are Top 3 for the 5th Clean Beauty Awards – can you tell us more about these products?

Our Soothing Lotion was the first product that we formulated. Working with an incredible chemist, it’s the perfect solution to sensitive skin but also acts as an anti-ageing moisturizer. Our products need to have multiple purposes in order to cut down the number of products we use on our sensitive skin, which is part of our ethos. It has an incredibly smooth texture and calming scent and really helps calm redness while smoothing out pores, wrinkles and fine lines. It’s our best seller.

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What are your favourites?

Sea buckthorn oil is one of my personal favourites. It has so many nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial to your skin and your health. It has been used for centuries to treat burns and scars, and is rich in essential fatty acids, tocopherols, phytosterols, and carotenes. It’s one of the 11 oils we use in the Restorative Facial Oil and contributes to the improvement of scars and healing.

Another favourite ingredient isn’t widely talked about but it’s African Mahogony Tree Bark extract. It’s our star ingredient in our Soothing Lotion, our newest award-winner, making it extra special. African mahogany is a medium-sized tree which can grow up to 15-20 m height. It’s bark and wood is valued in traditional medicine where it originates from and widely used against fever caused by malaria, and against stomach complaints, diarrhea, dysentery and anemia. We wanted to include it as part of our Soothing Lotion as it is proven to have multi-dimensional anti-ageing efficacy on improving skin elasticity, smoothing effect on pores and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, making our product multifunctional.

In studies, after 28 days of treatment with African Mahogany Tree Bark extract, a 9.6% improvement of immediate elasticity was observed. This improvement was confirmed after 56 days of treatment, with an 11.6% improvement over placebo. It has also shown a 13% and 16.2% improvement of crow’s feet wrinkle area and volume respectively, after 56 days of treatment. It improves wrinkle area and volume, smoothing of pores and fine lines, for a complete rejuvenating effect.

We absolutely love the ethos of Iremia Skincare. Can you tell us more?

Our ethos is propped up by three pillars that help us make decisions – conscious impact, mental health, and calming wellness. These break down into choosing quality over quantity (minimal approach), positive mental health and balance, and calming holistic wellness that fuels our search for ingredients that help with soothing our skin.

Our creation process is long. It’s driven by questioning our needs and if we truly need to add something to our product line. With consumerism at a high, we want to take a different approach and slow things down. From our quest to search for ingredients that are non-GMO that can help calm our skin, support and nurture it, to whether we can incorporate it into our rituals and routines, even to the quality of our packaging, we make sure our products can contribute to your sense of well-being.

In the end, we look forward to contributing towards your journey, whatever that may look like and wherever you are in it. Our hope is to help evoke a complete sense of calm into your daily beauty routine.

Thank you Elaine for sharing your powerful story behind Iremia Skincare. Thank you for creating top quality products revolved around holistic wellness and balance, that is meant to soothe us! Round of applause!

See Iremia Skincare’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

See the winners below!

Iremia Skincare Soothing Lotion CertClean Winner product image

Soothing Lotion

2020 FaceCream 1st Place Winner

Price: $58 CAD

Iremia Skincare Protective Cream

Protective Cream

2020 FaceCream 2nd Place Winner

Price: $58 CAD

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Suzannah Raff from Cleo+Coco

#Founderspotlight - Cleo+Coco - Suzannah Raff

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Cleo+Coco - Suzannah Raff

This year, Cleo+Coco’s Aluminum Free All Natural Charcoal Deodorant is Top 3 in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards!

Cleo+Coco’s Aluminum Free All Natural Charcoal Deodorant is amongst the top performing clean beauty products in the industry! This is no easy feat!

We took the opportunity to interview the brains behind the brand, Suzannah Raff, to learn more about how the journey of Cleo+Coco all started. Cleo+Coco’s next generation of deodorant is natural without compromise. Their mission is to offer you Confidence that your personal care routine is Clean and effective.

Read on to learn more about the incredible story behind Suzannah’s mission, her most loved ingredients, and what makes Cleo+Coco’s products truly award-winning.

What inspired you to start your business?

Years before I developed Cleo+Coco’s award-winning natural deodorants, I was famous among my friends for smelling amazing, mixing and blending perfumes to make my own signature scent. When my father was recovering in the hospital from a serious illness, it was only natural that I found my way to essential oils and their beautiful scents and beneficial properties. I began to use them in my home, health, and wellbeing. Then along came the clean eating movement. Having been taught from a young age to eat healthy and take care of my body, I became an avid student of this clean movement, as well. When I got married and pregnant, I suddenly became very sensitive to and aware of the chemicals that I was putting onto my body. All of my perfumed skin care products and antiperspirants went into the garbage.

I’ll be honest, during this time in my life there was simply no aluminum-free deodorant that I could find to handle my fluctuating hormones, sweat, and odor. Having been known for my great scent over the years, this was not something I was happy about, especially as I was still a newlywed! So, I took out my essential oils and began creating my own deodorant that was natural, free from synthetic fragrance, sensitive enough for pregnant and nursing moms, yet still powerful enough to combat our odor. It took a good year of experimenting with the perfect mix of ingredients to get to the point where we could claim with complete confidence that Cleo+Coco offered all day odor control. Our deodorants work and we have won awards to prove it. Our thousands of happy customers demonstrate that.

Once I created the perfect formula, I had a vision for what deodorant should be. I saw that deodorant should be a product that you love to put on every day. Not just something that we brainlessly tolerate to prevent uncomfortable body odor. I saw that deodorant could feel, look, and smell luxurious.

After all, isn’t a product that we use every day on our sensitive underarms, so close to our delicate breast tissues and glands, critically important? Shouldn’t deodorant be a product that we think long and hard about before applying? Shouldn’t it be made with clean ingredients? And shouldn’t deodorant allow you to feel confident all day long? Confident that you aren’t compromising your wellbeing for effectiveness.

And that’s how Cleo+Coco 2.0, The Next Generation of Deodorant, came about. We had the perfect formula. Now we perfected the creamy application and improved the packaging to offer you the luxury experience you deserve.

Please tell us more about your All Natural Charcoal Deodorant! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?

We created Cleo+Coco to elevate the natural deodorant experience. We felt that deodorant needed to 1) work. 2) go on creamy clear and not irritate or stain. 3) it should smell uplifting and beautiful without any synthetic fragrance and 4) it should be a luxurious experience. We are the only brand who always used charcoal and magnesium rich clays in our formula because those are the best active ingredients to eliminate odor naturally.

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

There are a lot of roadblocks to overcome. It was hard to find a manuracturer who could produce the quality and quantity we needed. Today, its hard to fund the growth. The greatest obstacle is greenwashing by larger brands who claim to be natural when they are not. Its so important to read labels and understand that if the first ingreident is water, it is not an active ingredient and you are paying for ‘filler’ and that fragrance is a catch-all for anything synthetic and not natural. Competing with greenwashing from large brands is always difficult but we are proud of how consumers are demanding more authenticity and recognizing these qualities in indie brands like ours.

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What are your favourites?

I love activated charcoal and bentonite clay for their bacteria absorbing properties. They are miracle workers and such a small amount does so much. When my kids are sick I give then a bath with these ingredients and they immediately feel better. I also love essential oils. They are therapeutic and uplifting and antibacterial and give such beautiful aromas without synthetics that can potentially cause harm to your body.

We absolutely love the ethos of your company. Can you tell us more? 

We are cruelty-free, waterless, natural, clean non-toxic and have zero-waste options. We are authentic and transparent. We never use water or filler in our formulations since that introduces a lot of waste and leads to a diluted, less effective product that you need more of to get any results. Our products are very dense and every ingredient is active. We need no synthetic preservatives since there is no water to breed bacteria. We also never use synthetic fragrance but create beautiful soft aromas with only essential oils.

Thank you Suzannah for sharing your powerful story behind Cleo+Coco, and for creating The Next Generation of Deodorant that will propel us towards a healthier, eco-friendly future!

See Cleo+Coco’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

Learn more about the finalists below!

Cleo+Coco - Charcoal Deodorant

Charcoal Deodorant – Great Expectations, Grapefruit Bergamot

2020 OdourCare 2nd Place

Price: $18

Certifications: Think Dirty 0 rating, cruelty-free

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Lisa Strong from aiona alive skin care

#Founderspotlight - aiona alive skin care - Lisa Strong

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - aiona alive skin care - Lisa Strong

This year, aiona alive skin care’s e-citrus exfoliating cleanser has won first place in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards!

aiona alive skin care’s e-citrus exfoliating cleanser is amongst the top performing clean beauty products in the industry! This is no easy feat!

We jumped at the opportunity to interview the founder, Lisa, to learn about how it all began.

Hollywood makeup artist and creator, Lisa Strong has been a professional in film and television for 22 years. During her passion for the art, Lisa became aware of the effects of environmental toxins on the skin and was prompted to develop products that feel like a wearable, breathable, moisture mask. It was her goal to develop all natural, organic skincare products that not only reduce the appearance of fine lines, redness and rosacea, but also brings back the skin’s natural PH balance.

Lisa assembled a team of scientists, researchers and formulators together from Canada and Europe to create aiona alive. On her brand vision, Lisa writes: “My mission is to bring the beauty of smooth, glowing, hydrated skin in a healthy range to the forefront of the market. To provide anti aging products that help acne sufferers and bring alkalinity back to even the most sensitive skin.”

Read on to learn more about the incredible story behind Lisa’s mission, her most loved ingredients, and what makes aiona alive absolutely revolutionary.

What inspired you to start your business?

I have been a makeup artist in the film industry for over 20 years. During that time I gained considerable knowledge of the detrimental effects that chemical laden skin care products and cosmetics have on the skin. Which is why I developed an All natural skin care line with high performance ingredients. aiona alive is revolutionary – It brings skin care to a new level, by using a pure form of Collagen from the silver carp fish. This source of collagen is most compatible with our own triple helix, which allows for penetration to the epidermis. Creating a formulation with peptides and silver carp collagen with no petrochemicals and skin irritating preservatives became my mission. I found using these combined ingredients boosted the health of skin and healed skin conditions.

Please tell us more about your e-citrus exfoliating cleanser! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?

aiona alive e-citrus cleanser stands on its own! It already has a built in natural exfoliator( decyl glucoside). It removes waterproof mascara and all make-up without stripping your skin. It helps clear up mild acne breakouts and heals skin conditions. It has a refreshing natural citrus scent. You do not need a toner, this cleanser does it all!

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

I found trying to find a clean/green preservation system that could stabilize the collagen and peptides was not an easy task! It took me and my formulators 3 years to research ingredients/preservation systems and finally found a great fit. Definitely more expensive but worth the quality and is rated a 3 and under on the EWG’s skindeep.com.

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What are your favourites?

I love silver carp collagen! This source of collagen is most compatible with our own triple helix. The molecules are small enough which allow for penetration in the epidermis. Collagen plumps the skin and helps heal skin conditions. To add to mix of powerhouse ingredients are peptides! My night cream has 5 peptides; Pentapeptide-31 ( Rejuvenates our stem cells) Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (Tightens the skin) sh- Hexapeptide-2 ( Improves skin firmness and elasticity) Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 ( Helps to produce more collagen) sh- Pentapeptide-6 ( Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines) Removes Puffiness Increases elastin & Hyaluronic Acid Synthesis You can not forget the healing properties of plant extracts. These ingredients together created a powerful anti-oxidant and natural anti-aging skin care line, that works!!

Thank you Lisa for sharing your powerful story behind aiona alive. Your products are certainly bringing the beauty of smooth, glowing, hydrated skin in a healthy range to the forefront of the market! Well done!

See aiona alive’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

Learn more about the finalists below!

aiona alive skin care cleanser

e-citrus exfoliating cleanser

2020 FaceWash 1st Place Winner

Price: $45

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Chey Birch from Black Chicken Remedies

#Founderspotlight - Black Chicken Remedies - Chey Birch

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Black Chicken Remedies - Chey Birch

This year, Australia’s Black Chicken Remedies has secured 5 spots as Finalists in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards, and 2 of them are winners!

If you are in the market for a new deodorant, dry shampoo, hair treatment, or face serum, look no further! Black Chicken Remedies’ products are amongst the top performing clean beauty products in the industry!

Black Chicken Remedies is Australia’s leading creator of 100% natural beauty products for the face, body, hair and mind. All products are made using only Australian natural and certified organic ingredients. The range is exported to the USA, UK, Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand. In Australia it’s stocked at health stores nationally and available online at www.blackchicken.com Black Chicken Remedies is 100% Australian owned by CEO and founder Chey Birch.

After hearing Chey’s story behind each award-winning product, and why she decided to start Black Chicken Remedies you’ll love her as much as we do.

What inspired you to start your business?

Originally, I was seeking natural alternatives to solve my own health issues. My desires were to use organic and natural ingredients so as not to overload my system with toxins and chemicals found in everyday mass brands professing miracles and cures. I wanted people to have products for their body, face and mind on hand that worked, that weren’t going to cause toxic build up and be the cause of many allergies and health related issues e.g. endocrine disruptors leading to bigger health issues. It all started with a little bowl with a black chicken painted on the bottom – this is how I made my first body oil. I don’t make skincare with the intention to look, smell or feel good; it’s created to make a difference on a physical, mental and emotional level. After all, that’s what a true remedy does.

Please tell us more about all of your products! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?

Axilla Deodorant Paste

Axilla 100% Natural Deodorant Paste is one of our most loved products and has won numerous awards in Australia.  It contains only natural and certified organic ingredients and is free from harmful aluminium salts or sweat blockers. Our customers love that it is invisible upon allocation and doesn’t mark clothes, many customers have tried other brands but come back to us.  Axilla has cult following with men, women and teenagers, who are much more aware and critical of ingredients in products. The fact it rids smelly odours and there is no body harming has made this a massive hit worldwide and created Axilla fans!  We have literally thousands of reviews from around the world.

Axilla Deodorant Paste – Barrier Booster

Based on the success of Axilla 100% Natural Deodorant Paste, we created Axilla Barrier Booster for our sensitive skinned customers who needed some extra loving care!  It’s the same deodorant paste made with natural and certified organic ingredients but without bi-carb. It’s formulated to soothe and strengthen sensitive skin. It’s rich in lipids and fatty acids, (essential for healthy cells) that actually strengthens the sensitive armpit skin.  This product is a winner for those who are overlooked.  We love to hear success stories from people who have tried and tried many brands but discover that Axilla Barrier Booster actually works and smells good!

Nocturnalist Night Serum

When I created Nocturnalist I knew the skin’s cell production was at its highest and most receptive to absorbing and delivering vital nutrients while sleeping.  Every ingredient was researched  to serve a remedial purpose; prickly pear, rich in amino acids to encourage collagen production and elasticity to brighten and tighten the pores, lemon with vitamin C for anti-ageing, frankincense to promote circulation and reduce the appearance of sun and age spots.  The serum is rich with natural and organic ingredients, feels like silk and absorbs in a flash, leaving zero residue. The skin instantly looks brighter and feels soft and smooth.  It reduces the appearance of fine lines, brown spots and uneven patches too.  What’s even better is that it’s vegan and for all skin types!  Our reviews come from around the world – I think one of my favourites was the woman who said her forehead wrinkles had gone since she started using Nocturnalist! When your husband notices you know you are onto a good thing!

Natural Dry Shampoo

Like all Black Chicken Remedies products, we only use natural and organic ingredients needed to enrich and solve the problem at hand.  Many of our users rave about being able to travel with our Natural Dry Shampoo and freshen up when they land before their next big appointment, many just love the convenience and know they are enriching their scalp.  We use Bamboo to add lift and add volume and the silica helps improve damaged hair and soothe irritated scalps. The Rosemary and Clary Sage essential oils nourish the scalp and hair follicles, and help stimulate hair growth and prevent premature greying.  . We also do a full size and a travel size which is in high demand – there is just so much to love and our customer reviews tell us that!  The fact we don’t use environmentall unfriendly packaging is a win for many of our customers! No dangerous chemicals found in the spray products.

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

I was told I couldn’t make highly effective 100% natural products without using harmful preservatives or chemicals or water as a filler. But I was determined to. Our range only consists of powders, pastes, balms and oils for this reason. No matter how much demand for the products there is – There is absolutely no change to any formula – the only difference is the quantity made. We scale our production according to demand and it has quadrupled! We have a process of strict testing on each batch to ensure consistency. It’s the very same process – just on a larger scale

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What are your favourites?

From a healing perspective there are some amazing essential oils that I like to use, for example Myrrh essential oil is great for wet areas of the body for example in your mouth it can detox the mouth by stopping infection and encouraging tissue repair. It has the ability to expel mucus, so it is also a huge help in calming the respiratory system. Also Sandalwood essential oil has so many benefits from helping with scaring to being a great remedy for stress, depression and fear plus it smells amazing too! I also love Organic Sesame Seed oil for its antibacterial, antifungal and anti- inflammatory properties. It helps pull toxins from your pores.

We absolutely love the ethos of your company. Can you tell us more? 

Black Chicken Remedies is certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program – and would never test on animals – it goes against our ethos All Black Chicken Remedies products use only natural and organic ingredients. We hide nothing; every product lists the ingredients, no parabens, no toxins, no fillers, no preservatives. We source organic ingredients for their specific benefit e.g. for Nocturnalist we use Prickly Pear as it’s anti- ageing, encourages collagen production and elasticity. Our essential oils are the highest quality and not watered down. We use Organic Cypress as it will stimulate circulation, firm the skin and aids in toxin removal.

Our website lists the ingredients next to each product we create, and we say why we are using those ingredients. Total transparency!

Our Nasalettes use only the highest quality essential oil, each used for their specific healing benefit. When essential oils are inhaled tiny nerves send an immediate impulse to your brain to directly delivery the nurturing components of the essential oil. The aromatic molecules travel to the lungs where they pass into the bloodstream. We have created Nasalettes to deal with lethargy, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, congestion, irritation and calm!

All our packaging is recyclable, and all our products help the earth in that they cause no harm or stress to it. Should some of our product be washed down the drain, it’s not going to wreak havoc on the environment because it all came from nature in the first place. We believe in natural beauty care for all the family, we have created the Natural Beauty Guide so consumers can read up for themselves what they are putting on their bodies, whilst give them solutions and state where we stand in this equation. Black Chicken Remedies is committed to making a difference, we will not ever compromise on our product ingredients if they aren’t 100% natural.

What are Black Chicken Remedies’ key focus and brand attributes?

The intention of Black Chicken Remedies is to continue to innovate and make natural, remedial products specifically designed to complement your body’s own healing intelligence and reduce toxic load on your body. The intention is and will always be, to create products that are 100% natural, contain certified organic ingredients, are free of chemicals, fillers, perfumes and dyes, putting less pressure on the body, and adding vitality so you can do more, feel more, live more.

What is the meaning behind your brand name?

The first remedy I formulated was in a little bowl with a black chicken painted on it. My gut feeling was that this name was perfect for my skincare brand because it held the story of how it all began, so I went with it.  Some marketing experts I consulted at the time told me this was a bad decision and it would put people off buying my products – but I went with my gut and I’m so glad I did.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

So many challenges from making a few products for friends to making thousands to then making 20,000 of a product, is very challenging from managing production, warehousing and even sourcing ingredients. For example we use Milk Thistle oil in our eye serum it’s a powerful antioxidant but it was out of stock in Australia so we had to track it down to a farm in Europe and get it sent directly to us so we could meet demand for that product. Lucky we now have a demand that means we can source direct from farms as you can’t buy one litre you need to buy 25-50 Litres at a time!

What is your vision from here?

My vision is to continue to encourage people to question what they are putting on their bodies, to go natural, preservative free. We created ‘Your Guide to Natural Beauty which highlights what hidden nasties are in beauty products and what they do to us. We want consumers to start asking questions!

The skin is the largest organ of the body and what we put onto it is absorbed directly into it. Therefore we need to start paying attention to our skincare routine so we don’t allow the nasties to absorb into our bodies.

Toxins in skincare products don’t just affect us they can also have serious environmental effects. Lobby groups, such as the US based health and environment group ‘Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ continue to push for manufacturers to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer and other serious health and environmental concerns.

We are committed to growing our range, listening to our customers problems and helping them find solutions.

Thank you Chey for sharing your powerful story behind Black Chicken Remedies. Thank you for creating top quality products that take the skincare and hair care regime to the next level!

See Black Chicken Remedies’ website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

Learn more about the finalists and winners below!

Black Chicken Remedies Nocturnalist Night Serum

Nocturnalist Night Serum

2020 FaceSerum Finalist

Price: $99.00 AUD

Black Chicken Remedies - Natural Dry Shampoo

Dry Shampoo

2020 HairWash 1st Place Winner

Price: $24.95 AUD

Black Chicken Remedies - HairOM Restorative Hair and Scalp Treatment

HairOM – Restorative Hair and Scalp Treatment

2020 HairTreatment 1st Place Winner

Price: $39.95 AUD

Black Chicken Remedies - Natural Deodorant Paste Original

AXILLA Deodorant Paste Original

2020 OdourCare Finalist

Price: $18.50 AUD

Black Chicken Remedies - Axilla Natural Deodorant Paste Barrier Booster

AXILLA – Deodorant Paste – Barrier Booster –

2020 OdourCare Finalist

Price: $19.50 AUD

PurPicks
purpicks.com

PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

Follow us on Instagram!

Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Julie Levin from Leaf People

#Founderspotlight - Leaf People - Julie Levin

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Leaf People - Julie Levin

This year, Colorado’s Leaf People has secured 2 spots as Finalists in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards!

If you are in the market for a new face wash or face and beard oil, look no further! Leaf People’s Stem Cell & Peptide Radiance Face Cream, and Sandalwood & Cypress Face & Beard Oil are amongst the top performing clean beauty products in the industry!

Leaf People is plant based skincare for modern life. Founded by medical herbalist Julie Levin in 2003, the brand was inspired by Julie’s deep connection to the environment.

From growing up in rural Alaska and learning how to use plants for wilderness survival, learning cross-cultural herbal traditions during her extensive travels abroad, and integrating Buddhist medicine-making processes into the production of skincare, Leaf People is a culmination of Julie’s life experiences. After hearing Julie’s story behind why she decided to start Leaf People you’ll love her as much as we do.

What inspired you to start your business or to formulate your Radiance Face Cream?

One of Leaf People’s finalists, the Radiance Face Cream, is one of my most complex creations thus far. It marries an incredibly broad range of ingredients and knowledge into one light, nourishing and luscious product. My motivation to formulate this was the pure excitement from the challenge to make something better than I have made so far. Compounding the plant extracts, stem cells, peptides, essential oils etc. in just the right way and balancing the correct quantities was the ultimate mingling of art and science. It was very fun!

Please tell us more about your Radiance Face Cream! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?

Our Radiance Face Cream was also nominated for best in show, Indie Beauty 2019. It’s our new showcase face cream. The formula itself is incredibly balanced so that it effortlessly floats through the skin providing beautiful nourishing and skin smoothing properties. The focal oil comes from the wild in Namibia and not from a commercial farm, so its potency and nutrient profile is exquisite. Aside from the plant extracts that calm skin, yet boost radiance (another difficult effect to pull off), it has the added cell rejuvenating properties of apple stem cells, the firming effects of peptides and the extra juicy hydration burst of plant sourced hyaluronic acid. It really is the best of all worlds harmoniously colliding in one cream. It’s perfect for all skin types, age 30 years and above.

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

To start, green washing in the supply chain is huge, not to mention the industry in general. It was 20 years ago and it still is today, although how it’s done has changed a little. I have to be a watchdog constantly because there is no room to take your eye off the ball for a second. This is part of my motivation to utilize wild plants that I can ethically pick myself and I also take the time to develop real connections to the organic farmers and my other suppliers. You have to know where your ingredients are coming from and build trust with those sources, there is no other way.

Secondly, I would say educating our consumers. There is a multitude of layers regarding the quality of manufacturing, sourcing, packaging and so on, and in every step of the process, you can make good, holistic decisions or you can cut corners. Since most people do not see behind the curtain of manufacturing, it becomes our role to help them understand why we choose one thing over another.

At Leaf People, we are very clear about our mission to make the highest quality skin care as environmentally friendly as possible without breaking anyone’s bank. And being a sole owner, formally trained herbalist and a fully self-funded business, I am able to make the best decisions to fit our company’s mission and produce skin care that meets our vision without compromising for a bottom line, bank or investors.

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What are your favourites?

I love nutrient rich nettles to brighten and calm skin, perfect for redness prone complexions. Chrysanthemum is another favorite for taking out the heat, providing key nourishing factors and brightening skin tone. Kalahari melon seed oil from Namibia is chock full of fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acid while remaining feather-light and fast absorbing, perfect for all skin types. Swiss apple stem cells truly brighten and enliven the skin, they are little pockets of power to invigorate cells.

We absolutely love the ethos of your company. Can you tell us more? 

My goal is to walk my talk, not preach. I am a trained herbalist, I’ve studied herbal medicine all over the world, from formal schools to staying with indigenous plant medicine masters in the forest for lengths of time. My priority is the products and their benefit to people not on our bottom line. I see myself as a messenger of the plants, a conduit to the botanical kingdom so their message can be heard and my main job is to respect them and that process. Perfectionism does not begin to describe my formulating process, all formulas have gone through painstaking revisions. It took me 2 years to finalize my first face cream and with diligence, I nailed it perfectly and achieved my desired shelf life without any harsh preservatives. Although as time passes, my formulating becomes faster but it’s always a process that includes meditation on the idea, making several versions, using and thinking about those for a while, seeing what the plants want, continuing on. It really is the blend of art, science and spirituality and you have to lay down your own ego and preconceived ideas and dive into those three areas unabashedly. It’s an enormous challenge everyday!

Thank you Julie for sharing your powerful story behind Leaf People. Your dedication for creating top quality products that are kind to the earth and kind to people is absolutely inspiring!

See Leaf People’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

Learn more about the finalists below!

#Founderspotlight - Leaf People - Julie Levin

stem cell & peptide radiance face cream

2020 FaceCream Finalist

Price: $35-$70

Leaf People - men’s complete face + beard oil

men’s complete face + beard oil

2020 BeardCare 1st Place Winner

Price: $32.00

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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Evelyne Nyairo from Ellie Bianca

#Founderspotlight - Ellie Bianca - Evelyne Nyairo

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Ellie Bianca - Evelyne Nyairo

One of the best face oils in the clean beauty industry: Ellie Bianca’s Citrus Verbena!

If you are in the market for a new face oil, look no further! As a Finalist, Ellie Bianca’s Citrus Verbena is a judge favourite in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards this year – it has been recognized as one of the top performing face care products in the clean beauty industry.
Ellie Bianca has a vision of “cultivating a global connection that empowers women, creates resilient communities that exemplifies natural beauty”. After hearing the story behind why Evelyne, the founder, decided to start Ellie Bianca, you’ll love her as much as we do.

What inspired you to start your business or to formulate your Citrus Verbena oil?

Prior to venturing into the beauty industry, I operated an environmental consulting firm, supporting projects globally. On one of the occasions my consultancy work took me to Chad, Central Africa and I found myself doing fieldwork among the most beautiful wild mango trees. Never being one to pass up the opportunity to indulge in succulent mangoes, I had my fill courtesy of a family whose mother and children climbed the trees in the hot sun to harvest mangoes for me to eat. After eating to my satisfaction, I went to give the money to the mother who then told me, “You must hand the money over to the father as a sign of respect.” Sitting off to the side, never having lifted a finger or looked up to acknowledge my existence was the father. I felt both anger and frustration as I handed the money over to him. This happens everywhere around the world in different ways and it must stop. The experience took me back to the boardrooms in Canada where I had experienced instances of misogyny and gender discrimination. I felt compelled to make a difference. This was the genesis of Ellie Bianca. I was moved to create a brand that would be more than a beauty brand but a brand that would empower women globally.

The product line has been inspired by various experiences. I can vividly recall 6 years ago, along the halls of a hotel in the south of France, I caught the scent of a comforting aroma that my nose just couldn’t get enough of. The fresh, invigorating fragrance filled the halls in the hotel, and I was obsessed. I had to find a way to recreate it naturally and organically. Following this was a two-year journey of trials, ups and downs that helped birth the Citrus Verbena oil.

Please tell us more about your Citrus Verbena! Why do you think it was so well-loved by Clean Beauty Awards’ judging panel?

Citrus Verbena consists of base oil of 12 luxurious oils that are result driven.  It took as about 2 years to formulate this base keeping in mind the needs of customers.  We took our time because we wanted to formulate an effective product. We went through trials and testing, formulating and reformulating, trying different ratios and finally we were able to create a light, fast absorbing, non-greasy face oil. Furthermore, the scent had to be made from organic essential oils to ensure it measured up to our standard of 100 % natural.

This invigorating face oil helps reduce inflammation, improve skin texture and maintain a balanced complexion. Thanks to the unique blend of oils, it locks in moisture, improves overall skin texture and glides smoothly onto the skin resulting in a youthful and supple complexion.
Since launching the oil, it has received a lot of attention. It was nominated in New York at the Indie Beauty Expo and was a finalist in 2018. Additionally, the oil was a finalist for the clean living awards. When we submitted it for CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards we also submitted it along with the other scents in this collection and to our surprise it was shortlisted as a finalist for in the Facial Oil category for 2020.

As a formulator, you must have some special love for some ingredients. What is your favourite ingredient?

All the 12 oils that are part of the formula are special to me. Each ingredient is selected for its function, for example; Borage Oil is high in omega 6 fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid, beneficial for soothing dry, damaged or irritated skin. While  Evening Primrose Oil is high in essential fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and known to help with the overall appearance of the skin. It is beneficial to those affected by eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.  Rose Hip Oil has natural Vitamin A which reduces signs of aging and lightens age spots while balancing the skin tone. However, if I had to choose one, I would say Shea oil, which is our foundational ingredient;

It has been known to have natural SPF which protects against harmful sun rays

  • It boosts cell generation
  • It has high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins that make it great for the skin.
  • It also has anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties and it tones and soothes skin.

In your journey of creating natural products, what were some roadblocks or issues that you were faced with?

Misleading Information. Navigating this business, I have had to be almost like a myth buster; especially when it comes to oils and the face.
Many people are scared (especially those with oily or combination skin) to put oil on their face. It seems counterintuitive, but the truth is that stripping your face of oil is when most breakouts occur. Your sebaceous glands go into overdrive to produce more natural oil, blocking your pores. The right oil will help repair and protect your skin and can even regulate sebum production!
No matter what your skin type is, your face still needs oil. I consistently advice consumers to invest in the right products. The right facial oil will repair your skin, make it look more youthful and protect it from free radicals.

Educating consumers has been an equal challenge with misconceptions on creams and oils as causes of acne I have had to work hard in order to educate and build awareness. My background in Chemistry and Biology has given me an edge to be able to understand ingredients and how to use them effectively. My deep understating of skin anatomy and plant ecology plays a huge role in ingredient selection. For example lipids hold the cell structure together, and certain oils will nourish and promote cell renewal. We want to ensure that we are effectively nurturing the skin micro-biome which is connected to the gut microbiome; a healthy skin microbiome might protects against infection the same way a good gut microbiome does.

We absolutely love the ethos of your company. Can you tell us more? 

The beauty industry is awash with many products most of which are full of toxins that could be potentially harmful to the skin. That’s why it is important for us to have products that are non-GMO, environmentally friendly, vegan and cruelty free. At Ellie Bianca, we believe that beauty is more than aesthetic, and that’s why each of our products are scientifically formulated using all-natural ingredients that have been specifically chosen for their quality and efficacy.

One of the pillars that guides us is that we are kind to the earth, meaning, we are deliberate in choosing ingredients that are organically grown or organically certified. Conservation of ingredients in the beauty industry is important to us. Sustainability is at the core of our sourcing.

When it comes to the essential oils, our general practice is to use steam distilled as opposed to solvent extracted oils. We believe in being kind to the earth by taking what we need and ensuring that there is posterity for the next time.

Tell us more about the different pillars that guide your brand!

Ellie Bianca has 3 pillars that we use to guide our operations. Kind to your skin| Kind to the Earth | Kind to Women

Kind to your Skin | Beauty is so much more than an aesthetic. We want our customers to feel beautiful, inside and out, every day. Each ingredient has been analyzed at a molecular level with every unique skin type need in mind. At Ellie Bianca, we value clean beauty: effective, natural and using clean ingredients.

Kind to the Earth | When consumers use Ellie Bianca, they support a real, safe and non-toxic beauty industry. We actively implement conservation techniques from managing to manufacturing our product line. With the proper measures in place, we have control over ingredient quality and actively reduce our carbon footprint. Our products are centered around raw, unrefined African shea butter and oil sustainably harvested and prepared from women-run co-ops. Working with shea means nothing goes to waste. At Ellie Bianca, we believe a green earth equals green beauty products.

Kind to Women | Empowered woman, empower women. We actively seek to connect with and learn from other females. It is through this interaction and sharing of knowledge we grow as people and as a company. We are inspired to create a global community of empowered women. At Ellie Bianca, we wholeheartedly believe in the ability of women to work together towards a common success.

What sets you apart from other beauty brands?

At Ellie Bianca we are more than a beauty brand; we believe beauty is not just skin deep. We are guided by three pillars; Kind to your Skin | Kind to the Earth | Kind to Women.  Last year we launched the Ellie Bianca Women Foundation which administers post-secondary education scholarships. We sponsor both boys and girls in Africa because I know that lightens the burden off the mothers who are often stressed as they try to make ends meet. Furthermore, in Canada the foundation supports single mothers pursuing post-secondary education at a Canadian university. Statistics show that only 28% of single mothers enrolled in university complete their degree having walked through this myself as a single mother, I am fiercely dedicated to changing these statistics. Many times, women have been there for me, to uplift me, encourage me and support me and now that I have the ability, I feel like I must pay it forward.

Thank you Evelyne for sharing your powerful story and working towards women empowerment while producing highly effective, results-driven natural skincare!

See Ellie Bianca’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook

Learn more about the finalist below!

Ellie Bianca Citrus Verbena Citrus Skin Oil

Citrus Verbena Skin Oil

2020 FaceOil Finalist

Price: $64.99

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Amanda-Jane Healy from Everkind

#Founderspotlight - Everkind - Amanda-Jane Healy

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Everkind - Amanda-Jane Healy

This year, New Zealand’s Everkind has 2 products as Finalists in Certclean’s Clean Beauty Awards!

If you are in the market for a deodorant and or a beard balm, look no further! Everkind has you covered – its Ultra Organic Deodorant and Original Face and Beard Balm may just be what you need.
At Everkind, they’re on a mission to give you a kinder alternative to mainstream body care. Their certified organic, award-winning body care “brings a moment of luxury and total peace-of-mind to your morning routine”. You can not go wrong with a motto “we’re a body care that’s better for your body and better for everybody”!.
We are excited to share our interview with Everkind’s founder, Amanda-Jane Healy as she shares how she chooses to radiate kindness in all that she does!

What inspired you to create a natural skincare brand?

Everybody has a turning point. Maybe yours is a moment of realisation, a wellness awakening, or at worst a health crisis. This turning point pushes you to understand that what you consume and the products you use – it all matters! It impacts not only your body and your health but the people behind the products and our planet.
 
Once you’ve had this realisation, you can’t simply keep using conventional products.
 
For me, that turning point was becoming a mum. No matter where I looked I couldn’t find truly natural products that actually worked. My body care kept coming with compromises.
 

This problem set me on an incredible journey that led me to create Everkind – a better kind of body care that nourishes both you and your world. All of our products are body kind, people kind and planet kind – always!

Why does organic ingredients matter to you?

When my children were young we moved from the city to a small rural block. We wanted our children to grow up with the freedom and joy of living close to nature. Unfortunately we picked a block opposite a market garden. On the first morning there we were greeted by the whirring of a huge horticultural spray machine. That machine went up and down the crops so often that my daughter’s first word was ‘bayer’. Our health suffered. As a mum it also opened my eyes to what was really going on in conventional horticulture. I wanted a different future for my children and that’s what started me on this journey for practical solutions without compromise.

Why did you choose to get your products certified organic?

Greenwashing is a huge problem in body care products. How many times have you thought you were buying organic, only to get it home and read the fine print and it’s not organic at all. I wanted to create products that people could trust. Which is why Everkind is certified organic and certified cruelty free. Our whole supply chain is audited and monitored to ensure you get exactly what you paid for.

Please tell us more about Everkind’s Ultra Organic Deodorant! Why do you think it is considered as one of the best deodorant in the clean beauty sector?

Everkind Ultra Organic Deodorant is a world first. Made with a base of organic camellia oil and organic beeswax, it doesn’t go rock hard in winter or soft in summer. It’s gentle on the skin and won’t mark your clothes. The sodium bicarbonate is naturally occurring, not created in a laboratory and the unique essential oil blends have been created to not only smell amazing but also to maximise odour control.

Ultra won organic product of the year 2018 and 2019 and has been blessed with personal endorsements from top New Zealand athletes.

Curious, what are your favourite ingredients and why?

The highlight for me has been working with all the beautiful organic essential oils from around the world. Each one is like a little miracle, with its own scent and unique properties. We use Pelargonium roseum in Ultra. It has a beautiful rose scent not like other geraniums and blends magnificently with manuka and lavender true.

There is now so much scientific research on the antibacterial power of essential oils and their ability to calm and relax the mind. They really are a gift to humanity.

Why the name “Everkind”? Why does it mean to you to be “kind”?

Kindness can change everything. We believe bringing a touch of kindness to everything we do will help build a better tomorrow.
 
That’s why our products go beyond simply nourishing your skin. Everkind is about doing good for people and the planet too.
 
Everkind is sustainable by design – certified organic, certified cruelty free, using compostable and recyclable packaging. Everything we do is designed to be planet kind.
 
Our customers believe it’s not just what you sell but what you stand for that counts. And we’re on a mission to do good for people. Paying a living wage and giving at least 20% of profits to help make a difference for people in need.

We feel very fortunate to have such an awesome bunch of customers that want to conquer with kindness!

 

Thank you Amanda-Jane for sharing your entrepreneurship journey with us and being the change you want to see in the world! Thank you for your kindness!

See Everkind’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook!

Learn more about the finalists below!

EverKind Organic Deodorant - Ultra Stick

EverKind Organic Deodorant – Ultra Stick

2020 OdourCare Finalist

Price: $17.84 USD

EverKind Organic Face and Beard Balm – Original

2020 BeardCare Finalist

Price: $20.23 USD

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Marlene Sali from Idunna Natural Skincare

#Founderspotlight - Idunna Natural Skincare - Marlene Sali

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - Idunna Natural Skincare - Marlene Sali

This year, Idunna Natural Skincare’s Mushroom Night Cream is a Finalist in the 5th Clean Beauty Awards!

Idunna’s Age Prevent Triple Mushroom Revitalizing Night Cream with MultiPeptides and Fruit Stem Cells secured a spot as a Finalist in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards most competitive category – FaceCare!

Idunna Natural Skincare is an indie beauty brand family owned and operated from Saskatchewan, specializing in combining multiple very small natural peptides for deeper absorption and fruit stem cells combined with herbal, botanical and fruit seed oils and extracts to help with skin issues and prevent early aging. We have a special interview with Marlene Sali; leaving her abusive husband, the single mother of four, Marlene sets out to sell the natural skincare products she formulated for herself – Marlene shares her “accidental” entrepreneurship story, her favourite ingredients and more!

What inspired you to create this unique mushroom night cream?

I formulated this product for personal reasons. I absolutely hate retinol based products. They made my face itchy, dry and red. So knowing betaCarotenes are turned into usable vitamin a aka retinol by the cells I combined Chaga and birch extract for their replenishing, antioxidant and healing benefits with shiitake for its Hyaluronic acid like effect and healing Reishi. Putting in the peptides to stimulate collagen and elastin as well as antioxidant stem cells to help stimulate this process adds to the benefit of this night cream. As it’s so full of replenishing ingredients I made it a night cream to work while you sleep as it’s absorbs well and makes good use of both oil and water soluble ingredients.

How did you start your business? Did you always want to be a business owner?

The thing most people don’t know about my business is how it started. I didn’t just decide one day to start a business. I don’t buy my formulas, I don’t have someone creating products for me.
I started because well I left my husband about ten years ago with four kids to look after. He was an abuser and, I suppose, it’s been a matter of revenge for him to work the system like a pro and avoid his child support payments. He presently owes me around fifty seven thousand dollars worth of unpaid child support.
As a RN I was picking up overtime almost every week to pay our bills. Then three years ago I broke my ankle and ended of work for a while and used up my sick time. Something people don’t know about me is I have a cardiac arrhythmia and it’s idiopathic so it can’t be fixed except with a pacemaker some day. Anyway, I threw a clot and had a mild MI two years ago and so due to the missed time at work and my part time position I was not able to pick up shifts. So I was encouraged by my friends to sell my products to make ends meet, and I did. And here I am today.

And I’m feeling so honoured to be sharing this as I was just being me and thinking of what I wanted to see a cream do for my skin! I’m still feeling surreal… I originally wanted a peptide cream that wasn’t out of my price range; the brands out there were out of my budget and contain ingredients I wanted to avoid so I made my own. And, now I have a couple different lines of creams that all work in their own ways and this just reinforced to me that I’m doing the right thing!

You are definitely doing the right thing! Your mushroom night cream is amongst the best performing face cream in the industry! Tell us more about this product.

I entered this product because it’s full of healthy skin regenerating and healing ingredients, and it’s largely ignored for how beneficial it is! It’s like a vitamin A treatment product without the dryness, irritation and redness you can get from a treatment that focuses only on high levels of vitamin A. The Chaga mushroom, shiitake and Reishi mushroom effects are boosted with the betaCarotenes that the cells turn into useable vitamin A and the further help the multiple peptide and fruit stem cells combinations to help increase collagen and elastin formation.
This is great for most skin types over 25 as it can help prevent early aging and helps with many skin issues (I’m a RN and it’s a cosmetic license so I can’t say it helps with acne) I made it when I was fighting with cystic acne from the hormonal changes and stress I was going through when I was right around the late 30s to early 40s and it hasn’t come back now that I’m almost 47!
The original balm that became this product is the one that started my business a couple years ago. Then as I realized other people wanted the same cream I was making for myself I started selling the creams with the peptides and fruit stem cells

We have a feeling that your favourite ingredients include the Chaga mushroom. Are we right?

My favourite ingredients are Chaga mushroom. It’s in many of my products as is birch extract. For one I’ve been creating salves and lotions with it for years and years. It’s an antioxidant ingredient rich in vitamins and minerals and also extremely powerful antioxidants so it can reduce the look of aging in the skin. Blueberry extracts are also so rich in vitamin A and C that it’s also in most of my products for its absorbability and nourishing benefits to keep cells healthy. I love betaCarotenes to help speed cellular turnover and replenish the look of the skin, and I love pumpkin extract for its nutrient content and mild exfoliation as well to allow the multiple peptides and stem cells to be absorbed deep into the skin to have an effect at the dermal layer to help stimulate collagen and elastin. I choose to use typically three to four different types of peptides for their absorbabilty and different effects the studies of the suppliers have shown and that way you get a better effect than with only one in the long term..

As you know, our community is quite health/eco-conscious. What do you think makes you or your product different than others in the market?

This formula has been in the making since before I became a business to help myself and the friends who were asking. So it’s been remade so many times I can’t even count them. I took some online classes on how formulate with natural ingredients as I wanted to be sure I was doing it right, and had a good understanding of how the herbals work together and with peptides to make a quality product that absorbs into the skin instead of sitting on the skin wasting those valuable ingredients.
I use as many certified organic and gmo free ingredients as I can find and highlight them in the label. I also don’t do animal testing or use any animal or insect related ingredients as I believe with the lack of bees that honey, beeswax and the pollens and royal jellies should be medicinal until they are abundant again. I use glass packaging as much as I can to reduce the plastic I put into the environment even the body lotions. I know many of the plastics are recyclable but the problem is there’s too much plastic to deal with it properly at this point in time. Maybe that will change in the future but for now it’s a major world wide problem so I prefer not to add to it even though I am a very small business.

Thank you Marlene for sharing your inspirational story. And congratulations again on getting recognition on your Age Prevent Triple Mushroom Revitalizing Night Cream with MultiPeptides and Fruit Stem Cells!

See Idunna Natural Skincare’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook!

Learn more about the finalist below!

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

 

Follow us on Instagram!

 

 

 

 

Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Sandra Charbonneau from SanRe Organic Skinfood

#Founderspotlight - SanRe Organic Skinfood - Sandra Charbonneau

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we’ll get a small commission which helps keep us moving the dial towards clean beauty!

#Founderspotlight - SanRe Organic Skinfood - Sandra Charbonneau

Looking for food for your skin that nourishes? Let’s turn to SanRe Organic Skinfood as it secured 3 spots as Finalists in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards this year!

SanRe Organic’s Eye Candy, Supple Sunshine Solar (Spf30) and Rose Cleanse are amongst the top performing clean beauty products in the industry!

For those who don’t know, SanRe Organic was born in 2007 and is located in the north Georgia Mountains. Their products are certified USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and cruelty-free (and are included in the Leaping Bunny and PETA Cruelty Free Company programs).  For their products that do not contain organic beeswax and honey, they have also received Vegan. Random fact: Sandra Charbonneau is vegan!

We loved our chat with Sandra – the founder of Sanre Organic Skinfood! Sandra shares her entrepreneurial journey, her thoughts on why her products are so well loved by the judging panel and her approach to creating safer skincare for all of us!

What inspired you start a business in organic skincare?

I grew up in Lithuania where our food was always fresh and our skincare products were homemade.  When we moved to the states I was at first so excited that our groceries lasted so long, but when I started digging and researching all the additives and preservatives that are often used we quickly changed our food habits. My focus then moved to my big-brand skincare products, where I was shocked to see dozens of ingredients that were linked with cancers, hormone disruption, etc – which you would never consider putting in your body. Your skin absorbs about 60% of what you put on it, so why not FEED it well?! Hence began our mission in 2007, to produce only the very best skinfood for a wonderful health and natural beauty!

Having started in 2007, you could be seen as a pioneer in the clean beauty sector. What were some roadblocks that you faced at that time?

The biggest roadblock that we had early on was educating our beloved consumer! People were conditioned about big brands and trusted them (with their star-studded, million-dollar ads), even though they couldn’t read the ingredient label – let alone understand the toxic chemicals in the product. Conveying that the skin is our largest organ, that what we absorb through our skin and it goes right into our bloodstream, was our greatest challenge back in 2007. Everyone seemed to grasp the concept as applied to nicotine and pain patches but didn’t think further about their creams and lotions. Thankfully, we’re there today! Most people are looking for safe and holistic skincare for themselves and their loved ones – and once they get past all the “greenwashing” by the big-brands, many are gladly finding SanRe.

Congratulations again on having 3 finalists in the Clean Beauty Awards! Can you tell us more about the product? We’re sure our community wants to know some of the super powers behind the products and what skin type your products are good for.

Eye Candy is a gentle enough to use around the most sensitive skin on our body-the eye area. Since we don’t produce sebum around the eyes, it is extremely important to moisturize with a good quality eye cream. It is formulated with a super concentration of only USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Organic almond oil soothes and nourishes with anti-inflammatory properties, omega 3, and vitamin A and E.  Organic horsetail powder uniquely reduces swelling of the eyelids, calms irritation, and increases circulation. Arnica oil helps reduce dark circles. Great for all skin types.

Supple Sunshine:
Supple Sunshine was named one of the safest moisturizer with SPF30 by EWG.org and Livestorng.com. It was created to target dry, parched sun-exposed skin. Safflower and grapeseed oil provide the skin vital nourishment. Coconut oil improves skin complexion and reduces oxidation. Sunkissed skin can be relieved with naturally soothing and healing aloe vera. Great for dry/normal skin. Can be used alone or under the makeup.

Rose Cleanse:
As delicate as rose petals themselves, Rose Cleanse is gentle for even the most sensitive skin types. True to its name, it utilizes rose hydrosol and oil to soothe, calm, and replenish the skin. White willow bark refreshes the skin with its content of salicylic acid. Arnica and Calendula further soothe with anti-inflammatory properties. For all/sensitive skin.

What ingredients excites you and why?

I have many that I love and try to incorporate into many of our products. The few worth mentioning and I’m the most excited about is Baltic Amber Powder, Hemp Oil, Sea-Buckthorn oil, Turmeric, Green Matcha Tea.
Baltic Amber is special because of my heritage and newer science finds Amber contains 3-8% of Succinic Acid, a scientifically examined medical substance used in contemporary medicine. Of particular value are pharmaceuticals preventing the aging of human cells, which use succinic acid as an inhibitor (an agent slowing down or stopping the loss of) of potassium ions as an antioxidant – now scientifically described as a modern elixir of youth!

As you know, our community is quite health/eco-conscious. What do you think makes you or your product different than others in the market?

Most of our line is USDA certified organic, non-GMO. We have a good Certified Vegan selection (us being vegans ourselves), we test only on ourselves and our friends. J By having a vigorous third-party certification, we avoid a lot of guessing games when it comes to our suppliers. We only purchase certified organic, cold-pressed and unrefined oils, only therapeutic grade certified organic essential oils and herbs.
By choosing a certain ingredient, I always think of a skin problem I’m trying to solve or avoid. I want to have products that I want to use as well as our family, which we do! Some products took only a few times to perfect it and some took several years until I was happy with the formulation. We always try to better and improve formulations except for the ones that we have such raving results and reviews-we don’t dare change them!

We’ve all heard, “you are what you eat.” Well, our motto is expanded to include, “you are what you absorb, apply and beautify yourself with.” One doesn’t refrain from eating toxins, only to place them upon their skin, which is the largest organ of the body. Hence began our mission, to produce and supply truly organic skinfood for our health and beauty.
SanRe obtains all possible ingredients from USDA certified organic farmers and companies. Each product is “personally” crafted, tested, improved, finalized and produced by us. We make each product only in small batches to ensure utmost quality and freshness
Our products are cruelty-free and Non-GMO. We also package our products in Green Glass Bottles that help protect the products from light-induced break-down and our fully recyclable and non-leeching.

Thank you Sandra for pioneering clean beauty back in 2007! And congratulations again on securing 3 spots as finalists in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards!

See SanRe Organic Skinfood’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook!

Learn more about the finalists below!

Eye Candy

Eye Candy

Certification: USDA Organics

2020 EyeCare Finalist

Price: $35.99

Sanre Organic Skinfood Supple Sunshine

Supple Sunshine

Certification: USDA Organics

2020 SunCare Finalist

Price: $31.50 CAD

Sanre Organic Skinfood Rose Cleanse

Rose Cleanse

Certification: USDA Organics

2020 FaceWash Finalist

Price: $31.99

 

 

 

PurPicks
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PurPicks is the world’s largest directory of organic / natural / clean skincare products with thousands of reviews, like TripAdvisor for nontoxic skincare!

 

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Founder Spotlight: An Interview with Mila Ducheva from Neven Body Care

#Founderspotlight - Neven Body Care - Mila Ducheva

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#Founderspotlight - Neven Body Care - Mila Ducheva

This year, Neven’s Rejuvenate Face Oil is a Finalist in the 5th Clean Beauty Awards!

FaceCare is one of the most competitive categories in CertClean’s Clean Beauty Awards, and Neven’s Rejuvenate Face Oil has made it as a finalist in the Face Oil category!

Neven Body Care, an Oslo based company, formulates “junk-free” and soon to be certified organic skin care products. The brand aims to promote the balance between nature and humanity as key to social progress and environmental sustainability. Besides partners in life and in business, the couple, behind Neven, shares a deep appreciation of plants and their power to heal and provide sustenance for humanity and all living beings.

We had the opportunity to interview the co-founder, Mila Ducheva to learn about the spirit behind her brand, what makes their Rejuvenate Face Oil so extraordinary, why she has a special love of two ingredients – Bulgarian rose oil and cold-pressed oil from wild Rosehips, and oh-so-much-more!

What inspired you to create Neven Body Care?

I’ve always dreamt of running my own business, but never planned for it to be in the beauty industry. In a way, it happened naturally as a consequence of my transition to more connected and mindful living. In the context of what inspired me to start the company, I would say that I drew inspiration from a lot of things, especially from my cumulative life experiences as a student and young adult.

Being a part of the “Young Environmentalists” club in high school, I became more aware and passionate about respecting and protecting our beautiful planet as well as all living beings. Ever since I was a child, I felt that all animals were sentient beings that deserved fair and more humane treatment. I was fascinated by the concept of ecology and how all elements of an ecosystem work simultaneously towards maintaining balance. Around that time was when I first felt the responsibility that each person has as co-habitant on Earth. It became clear that a lot has to change in people’s mentality both in individual mindsets and in the way communities and society think or behave as a whole.

Later in my life as a design student, I felt compelled to “improve people’s lives” sort of like a mission, of which I wanted to be part. At that time, I approached that mission in the context of spatial environments, specifically interior architecture. The philosophy of my projects then revolved around bringing nature inside, using plants in the interiors to blur the outdoors indoor distinction and to emphasize the “green” in spaces that otherwise incorporated various sustainability principles and non-toxic materials to reduce the human impact on our planet.

Parallel to that, I was introduced to aromatherapy and started to include essential oils in my daily life actively. Meanwhile, I enjoyed outdoor activities and hobbies such as gardening and formulating blends of aromatic oils. It turns out I came to this world with a discerning and sensitive nose that helps a lot if you want to compare and contrast your aromatic blends. My love and appreciation for nature grew to a whole new level. As I was learning and experiencing the healing powers of plants, I recognized how profoundly unethical the industry is. Here I am talking not only about the cosmetic sector, but also the food and pharmaceutical. And that was a turning point in my career path. I knew I wanted to educate people about the benefits of using plants as a source of wellness, health, and beauty.

What were some roadblocks/issues that you have faced? During the start of your journey, were consumers receptive to your natural products?

There will always be challenges that small companies need to overcome along the way. Some of the initial problems we faced were determining the price of our products and positioning them well within the respective segments.
Another challenge was finding quality organic ingredients that were from a single source, reasonably priced, and closer to us. We wanted to have a low environmental impact by sourcing our raw ingredients or at least most of them from within Europe, and we also wanted to support small, family-owned producers like ourselves.

Also, in the beginning, the market and consumers in Norway seemed hesitant toward our holistic and unconventional approach. Many of them were reluctant to try facial oils, and not to even mention substituting their moisturizer for oil. Times have changed, and now, more than ever, people commit to living healthier and seek information to make responsible choices for themselves and their families. Subsequently, more and more individuals dare try new things while the facial oils have become some of the best selling products, both online and purchased in person.

Please tell us more about your Rejuvenate Face Oil! Why do you think it is considered as one of the best face oils in the clean beauty sector?

We are incredibly proud that our Rejuvenate Face Oil appealed to the panel of judges as much as our customers love it. What makes this accomplishment feel even more significant is the fact that the formula in its current form differs slightly from the one we used in the first trial batches. The prototype version of Rejuvenate was composed of some organic and some conventional oils. We have gone from that to using 99.95% certified organic ingredients, the crops from most of which are grown in Europe. Oils such as sea buckthorn, rosehip, or borage seed feature in formulations, as star ingredients, because their individual properties are potent enough to allow these “super” oils to shine above all others. In our formula, the star is the blend – the combination boasts higher power than the total sum of their attributes.
With that in mind, I must say that Rejuvenate’s development process felt effortless and pleasant as opposed to some other products where we faced numerous challenges. Initially, I made it for myself, my sister, and my mom, whereas now it connects our company to a significant number of women who now love and enjoy the oil as a primary product for facial care.

You use a lot of organic/natural ingredients! What are your favourite ingredients and why?

It seems like a tough question, but if I only had to name a few, I would choose two unique oils that are close to my heart – the Bulgarian rose oil and cold-pressed oil from wild Rosehips. I grew up around these plants, and they play a culturally significant role in Bulgarian folklore, medicinal practices, and the economy.

The ancient Greek poet Sappho described the Damascus rose as the “Queen on flowers” and many aromatherapists consider its oil as one of the fines. The fact that the chemical composition of its scent includes more than 300 different molecules that comprise it is astonishing. We see it as a gift of nature as the harvesting process is labor-intensive because roses need to be picked by hand during a particular time of the day. Also, it takes 65 rose blossoms to produce only one drop of the essential oil. In other words, you need tens of millions of individual petals to acquire a liter.

Rosa Damascena’s beautiful fragrance has honey-sweet and subtle fresh floral notes. One of the essential properties of rose oil is keeping our skin young. It moisturizes, soothes, and calms it, which benefits dry, maturing, and sensitive skin types. The oil also supports and strengthens the skin’s protective barrier on multiple levels like locking moisture inside the tissues, defending us from bacteria or other irritants, and preventing free radicals from entering our body. This barrier plays a crucial role in our immune system and helps the skin maintain its proper level of nutrients, softness, and health. However, when this protective shield is compromised and damaged, small, invisible cracks appear. That makes it vulnerable because moisture can escape quickly, and irritants can enter. Peer-reviewed studies have shown that the Bulgarian rose oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving acne or other skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Even more importantly, it heals and brings balance in our body, mind, and spirit. Rose oil also comforts the heart and a troubled mind, especially in times of loss and grief. One of the fascinating facts about this plant is that it simultaneously relaxes and uplifts, making it an important allay to address any hyperactivity, emotional heaviness or trauma, anxiety, sadness, and heartbreak. That is why many people associate rose oil with love, romance, and positive vibrations.

The second raw material we love working with is rosehip oil. The plant is a close relative to Damask rose and carries numerous health and wellness benefits. It bears small red fruits that find application in gastronomy as a superfood and the cosmetic industry as a valuable ingredient in anti-aging products. Both the fruits and their seeds are rich in prized nutrients like vitamins A, C, E with crucial roles in collagen production. As the structural protein in our skin, joints, and soft tissues, collagen keeps them firm and flexible. Our body synthesizes that protein, but as we age, this process slows down, causing loss of suppleness, sagging skin, and wrinkles. Vitamin C stimulates the synthesis of collagen, resulting in more youthful and revitalized skin. Also, rosehip oil nourishes and regenerates the skin due to its high content of Vitamin A, which increases elastin content and acts as an excellent alternative to retinol treatments. Rosehip oil proves effective and gentle on the skin, absorbing very quickly without a trace of oily residue. C and E vitamins also help slow down the aging process by nourishing the cells. As prominent antioxidants, they support the cells by binding to the free oxygen radicals that speed up aging and by creating a lipid barrier to strengthen the skin further.
Rosehip oil not only stimulates new tissue formation, but it heals and maintains the skin’s texture and softness. Deep wrinkles, UV injuries, dark spots, pigmentation, acne, and many skin disorders can improve by treating the area with this natural treasure.

How did you and Veli determine the ethos or philosophy of your beauty brand?

The first time Veli and I had a business meeting; we decided to take notes to differentiate that occasion from the conversation we have daily. It was then, and there we sat for hours brainstorming brand names and discussing the concepts and values that would eventually define Neven’s identity. To summarize, we generated a list of prerequisites we used as a measuring tool. It was something all products had to adhere to, and that list even determined whether or not we would go forward with a product we wanted to formulate.

Potential additions to our line had to be the product of 100% high-quality active ingredients; authentic and efficacious formulating; testing only by consenting individuals, never animals; environmentally friendly and socially responsible business practices; packaging with low environmental impact.

Also, what people can say about all Neven products is that they contain no toxins, no synthetic chemicals or fillers, no harmful substances, no artificial colorants or fragrances. For us, holding to these standards as guiding principles is like following a compass that will always show us the right direction.

Thank you Mila for sharing your story. We are glad that you were inspired by nature’s power to heal, nourish and rejuvenate our skin!

See Neven Body Care’s website, and follow them on Instagram or Facebook!

Learn more about the finalist below!

Neven Body Care Rejuvenate Face Oil

Rejuvenate Face Oil

2020 FaceOil Finalist

Price: $149-430 kr

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