The last few weeks have been an intense time of listening, learning and awakening. As I took time to really listen in the weeks following the death of George Floyd, and the growing understanding of how I am a part of the privileged systems that need to be dismantled and rebuilt to include all people, I realized that Beauty Heroes had a huge blind spot when it came to our attention to the environment; the intersection of environmentalism and social justice. I became upset – with myself – and curious. I knew there was a direct connection between the health of the environment and how it disproportionately affects Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), but why hadn’t I addressed it specifically. The answer that I came up with is that, while I knew it to exist, and I cared, it doesn’t affect me every day, because of my privilege.
A Hero’s Journey
If you’re new to Beauty Heroes, I’m excited for you to get to know one of my everyday Hero products, Velo from Ayuna. If you were with us last May, when we first introduced Velo in our monthly Beauty Discovery, this will be a welcome reintroduction. If you’re new to Beauty Heroes, I’m thrilled to share the journey of Velo from where it was last year, to where it is today. Ayuna, the innovative Spanish skincare brand is one of my favorite brands. Known for their philosophy of ‘less is beauty’ they believe in giving the skin only what it needs, and nothing more. They refer to this as topical fasting. Founded by a leading edge green cosmetic chemist, Isabel Ramos, and master esthetician and global educator, Begoña San Juan, Ayuna has been on the forefront of green technology and innovation for the last three years.
Being from Hawaii myself, it’s no surprise that over the years, we’ve featured Hawaii-based and inspired artisan beauty. Hawaii is a special place on this planet, a healing place. If you’ve been there, you know. If you’ve lived there, it’s always in you. Over the past months, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Leah Klasovsky, a licensed esthetician who moved to Kauai from the mainland when she was 21 and never left. Like many Founders, Leah began making products for her clients, and as demand grew, so did her offering, which organically grew into the company it is today, Leahlani Skincare, that serves up holistic accessible luxury beauty from a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.
One of the most common questions I get is, what exactly does blue beauty mean? Instead of answering that question today, I thought it would be best to take a closer look at a brand that has been working diligently at going blue. Beauty Heroes has been in partnership with Innersense Organic Beauty for almost six years. Over that time, we’ve grown together and evolved. I have seen Greg and Joanne Starkman, the co-founders of Innersense, take on initiatives with heart and sweat, and it’s been rewarding to see the commitment they have made to their customers, the causes that are important to them and the environment.
This summer, LILFOX, the brand synonymous with green beauty luxury, decadent aromatic rituals and coquette whimsy introduces their newest skincare series, appropriately titled the LILFOX Couture Collection. The debut includes two layering pieces that elevate the line with carefully selected and sourced high potency active Vitamin C and botanical Vitamin A chosen by formulator Alexis Rose for their results found in clinical studies and in her own rigorous testing. To me, LILFOX has always married experience and function seamlessly, but these two new additions take us all to new heights.
As Blue Beauty has evolved from a conversation into a movement, a common question remains: what is the difference between Green and Blue Beauty? Perhaps the best way to answer this question is by way of an example. The month, in a very special Blue Beauty Limited Edition, we showcase a true Blue Beauty innovation: Cleo+Coco’s Zero Waste Deodorant Bar.
You may think we planned it this way, but the truth is we didn’t see this coming. Who knew that sending out a rainbow waved bottle of soap as our Hero product could be as relevant as it is in this very moment? I remember the first time I saw Bathing Culture on a shelf at a store, the rainbow across their small 100% recycled plastic bottle caught my eye.
You’re doing all the right things: you shop local with a reusable bag, you’ve sworn off plastic and single use items and impulse purchases, and you salvage items from the Goodwill pile to reuse, rewear and rescue from the landfill. But what do you do with all the other stuff? The old computer keyboard, the tangle of cords in the garage, your miscellaneous cleaning and beauty products or your dull razors? The season is ripe for any solution that attempts to inspire unity and to relax our anxieties during social, political and environmental unrest. And this is when we turn to art, ‘blue beauty’ and nature for a moment of reprieve. Enter Pantone. For 20 years, Pantone has announced a Color of the Year, based on global trend analyses across fashion, beauty, entertainment, travel, and social and economic conditions that inform the cultural zeitgeist of our time. The Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to effectively translate the power, psychology, and emotion of color in their design strategy. Who can forget the infamous scene in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly, claps back at Anne Hathaway’s fashion ignorance with the most perfectly delivered monologue about the power of Cerulean Blue (2000’s Color of the Year) to drive global commerce, from the runway all the way down to the clearance bin? The Pantone Color of the Year not only influences product development and purchasing decisions across industries, but it is also meant to reflect the psychological and emotional state of our time. The 12-day itinerary involved much more than the main event, which was to support Danielle Burden, Saalt’s Director of Impact, as she educated rural Kenyan women and girls on the transformative power of the menstrual cup. I also participated in a women’s day for widows and guardians of orphans, hosted by Outreach to the World (OWI). We celebrated at a day-long birthday party for the orphans, visited a free medical clinic that was open to the entire city of Kitale, and spent time at Sister Freda’s Medical Center and girls school, a day I’ll never forget. Needless to say, there’s absolutely no way I can share the full experience in one blog post. I have never been on a trip that was solely dedicated to social impact and service so I wasn’t expecting the lessons and gifts that came from it. The most remarkable experience was realizing that when we’re in service, we end up receiving so much more than we give.
Every once in a while, I discover a brand that’s been around for a long time but is new to me, and I wonder, why has it taken me so long to find you? That is the case with Mukti Organics, a fresh, gorgeous and super-conscious brand from Australia that’s been around for over 20 years.
When we were introduced to Free + True, we instantly knew that this brand was doing something different and right, and we dug it. This elegant and efficient brand intuitively positioned itself to sit between the single, multi-tasking product and the elaborate skincare ritual, filling a void for the skincare enthusiast who wants convenience and results in equal measure.