These big brands said WHAT about natural beauty?

Colorful selection of natural lippies. Shown here: ILIA Beauty, Axiology, NU EVOLUTION Cosmetics, nūdus, Lily Lolo


When brands make misleading statements about natural beauty in the press, I find it highly unsettling. Here are two examples that come to mind.

Drunk Elephant on essential oils & natural skincare

In a recent interview for W Magazine, Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson said that she’s the only one in the industry who removed irritating ingredients from skincare. In her words: “The most surprising thing I’ve found is that I don’t understand why I’m the only one doing this. It’s crazy.”

She then proceeded to connect the use of natural skincare and essential oils with causing sensitive skin. (“I also couldn’t believe how marketing steered people with sensitive skin towards natural skincare which is the main cause of sensitive skin!”) Of course, anyone who uses well-formulated natural skincare can attest that there’s no validity to that claim. Based on her concern for sensitive skin, you’d think that her line would be devoid of harmful ingredients, but surprisingly, it’s not.

(In fact, there are many claims in her interview which beg further discussion, so there will be a continuation on Monday explaining the truth about essential oils and sensitive skin. So stay tuned to The Hub!)

Juice Beauty & Gwyneth Paltrow

At the launch of her collaboration with Juice Beauty in January 2016, Gwyneth Paltrow lamented the absence of decent natural makeup brands as the motivation behind her partnership with the company.

“I couldn’t find anything high-performance enough to achieve the results I was used to,” she told Forbes in this interview. Ms. Paltrow also projected to Fortune in 2015: “I think in the next 20 years, Juice will be referenced as, hopefully, the first mass-market organic high-performance makeup and skin care.” (Italics mine.)

What’s the problem?

Simply put, these women have got it all wrong. Myopic statements like those above damage the efforts of many other authentic natural brands and experts. For one, promoting their own businesses by denying the strength and success of the many eco-conscious brands that came before them is uncalled-for.  Secondly, where have they been in the last 15 years? They have certainly missed a few things.

I’m tired of hearing celebrities or elitist beauty brands with bigger PR budgets using the press to slander other natural beauty brands—or issuing statements that are completely false and uneducated. What they’re forgetting is that it is because of the hard work and perseverance of those original grassroots companies that the natural beauty market has expanded into a billion dollar industry.

It is because of the hard work and perseverance of those original grassroots companies that the natural beauty market has expanded into a billion dollar industry.

That’s no exaggeration. According to a new market analysis released by Persistence Market Research, the global organic personal care market is expected to reach USD 22 billion by 2024. Based on that figure, it is safe to presume that the products have been working well enough to satisfy the rest of us.

Once exclusively relegated to health food stores, green beauty brands like May Lindstrom, Tata Harper, True Botanicals, Leahlani Skincare, and others, are being snapped up by iconic shops like Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Anthropologie, J. Crew and—as of 2017—Nordstrom’s.

The visionaries

These big brands said WHAT about natural beauty?

We owe it to visionaries like Jane Iredale, Logona, Intelligent Nutrients, Dr. Alkaitis, Anne-Marie Borlind, Weleda, and so many others that newer labels find an established platform on which to stand today.

In fact, it has taken them years to deconstruct the conventional beauty model, which still resorts to using potentially carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting ingredients. It has taken years to teach consumers that natural alternatives are not only a viable option, but also profitable.

These companies paved the way by proving that toxic ingredients do not need to be in a product for it to perform as well as or even better than their conventional counterparts. Their early efforts showed everyone that people do care about what they’re slathering on their skin and hair. People do want to know what they’re applying to their lips or spraying in the air or burning in their candles.

Clearly, natural and organic products passed muster with most of us discerning folks a long time before Drunk Elephant and Juice Beauty came along. So please, Gwyneth and Tiffany. Before you open your mouths to shun an entire industry—and smear decades of groundbreaking work—remember to thank them. You’re here today because of them. Make no mistake about it.

Rant over.