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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!
Learn more about the finalists below!