Super stylist, writer, founder of The Futurist Podcast, co-founder of Gaff Interiors and all-round wonder woman, Jo Linehan, explores the moments that inspired some of the clean beauty industry's most prolific founders to begin their journey.
Anyone who is exploring clean beauty has had some kind of inquisitive moment like this. So much of what we do in our everyday lives is automatic. We are on autopilot, doing and using the things that we always have, never needing to stop and ask how and why we do them, because honestly, who has the time? The incredible thing is, once you do start to question, or you suddenly have a niggling feeling that you should start to look under the bonnet of an everyday item you’ve been using, it’s impossible to look back.
For me, that one simple deodorant question sparked something in me. Suddenly, I was questioning everything; what’s in my shampoo? What’s in my foundation? If these products become a part of me each time I use them, I thought, I had better figure out what's in them. Fast.
Over the last year of clean beauty deep-diving, I’ve become fascinated with other people's A-HA moments. What was it that sparked their curiosity and took them from the main road down this botanically-bountiful side path of beauty realness?
For Juice Beauty founder Karen Behnke, hormonal changes during her pregnancies and the appearance of fine lines were what inspired her search for clean skincare solutions. “I was astounded to learn that, although the skin can absorb what is placed on it, there were very few available healthy personal care products that worked well," Karen shares. Determined to create meaningful change within the beauty industry, she set about starting her own beauty movement. “I believed that by formulating with an antioxidant and vitamin-rich organic botanical juice base, rather than PEGS/petroleum derivatives or water, and combining it with powerful skincare ingredients, would yield better results than conventional or natural products. Multiple clinical testing proved this premise to be true!”
Homeopath and pharmacist Margo Marrone became interested in the nascent organic food movement while pregnant with her daughter, as awareness around the chemical treatment of soil and crops started to come to light. Inspired and enlightened, she decided to clean up her beauty act too but struggled to find cleanly-formulated products. With her homeopath and pharmacy background, she began creating her own formulations and The Organic Pharmacy was born. Since then, she’s written a book, become a shaman and Ashtanga yoga teacher, and co-founding Charlie Co Naturals a 100% natural pet products company, and names Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Robbie Williams as fans of the brand.
While some of us have the luxury to choose a cleaner beauty routine, many more of us, including Agent Nateur founder Jena Covello, are called to action for urgent health reasons. "I am healing stage four endometriosis and needed to eliminate aluminium antiperspirant as well as other synthetics from my beauty routine that are endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen.” Jena told me, “Essentially, this disease is what sparked me to create Agent Nateur."
Likewise, husband and wife team Greg and Joanne Starkman were faced with a life-changing moment that forced them to co-found their cult organic beauty brand Innersense. “My daughter, Morgan, was 22-months old when she was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome," Joanne explains. "At the time of her diagnosis, I had many questions. Why did this happen? Was this a result of something I did or was exposed to? Could I have done something differently?” After Morgan’s diagnosis, Joanne became an avid researcher and a detailed label reader. “What I discovered shocked me. I learned toxic ingredients are used in food, personal care products, manufactured goods, and more. As a hairstylist, I discovered my exposure to toxic chemicals in the salon placed me at a much higher risk for diseases.” Joanne and Greg, inspired by what they learned and motivated by their daughter, decided to take a stand and set about creating a safe and healthy environment for their family, and in their salon. “Morgan and her diagnosis truly planted the seeds for our clean haircare revolution, and while Joanne began reading labels, I turned to my professional experience in the cosmetics industry where I focused on ingredients and clean chemistry,” Greg explains, “I always believed we could formulate toxin-free, salon performing hair care. Over 15 years later, I am humbled by where we have come from, where we are, what we have built, and what we are continuing to build. I have a huge sense of gratitude.”
It's not just our favourite founders who have had these experiences. I turned to an Instagram poll, where followers and like-minded clean beauty seekers shared how they began their quest. From health concerns to wanting to do their own part for the planet, the catalysts for clean change vary, but come back to one great truth; wanting the best for you and your body. Thankfully, today there is an army of like-minded people and a selection of incredible brands to help you get there.
What began as one massive chore, to slowly and carefully swap out my tried and tested beauty go-to's for brand new clean alternatives, has become one of the most exciting, enlightening and pleasurable pursuits of my life. Because like the founders I spoke to here, changing your beauty changes everything. It's an awakening that can only come with that A-HA moment. and once it does, and you decide to go clean, you never look back.
Have you made the switch to clean beauty yet? Check out some of our Bestsellers, New Beauty and Clean Beauty Basics to get started. Don't forget to join our Clean Team for exclusive rewards and savings!