Behind The Scenes: Innersense Organic Beauty

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Innersense Organic Beauty believes that hairstyling is a healing modality. I recently made a trip to their Bay Area headquarters/salon to chat with Greg and Joanne Starkman, the enlightened power couple behind the brand. Sitting in the salon’s meditation room (yes, that’s right – meditation room!), I was captivated by their views on hair (it can hold energy, emotion and history) and hair cutting and styling (a holistic healing art). I left the conversation not only energized by their heartfelt views but also with a much better understanding of how to achieve healthy, gorgeous hair and tap into my own “inner sense.”

JJ: What first inspired you to develop a non-toxic hair care line?

JS: We both have backgrounds in hair care, Greg in product development and I was a master stylist and trainer, so we were familiar with the chemicals used in hair care lines. Knowing this, it was clear that there was a huge need for natural, healthy non toxic hair products that would actually be good for you, not harmful to your health or the environment. So we set out to follow our dream of creating a lifestyle brand that pushes the envelope in creating the cleanest and purest non toxic hair products.

Innersense Organic Beauty 1JJ: How did you learn the art of formulating non toxic hair products?

JS: Formulating is in Greg’s wheelhouse. He’s worked with a number of big companies over the years and learned all about formulating products and how conventional hair care is made with synthetics, silicones, surfactants, petrochemicals and fragrance that can cause reactions and be toxic to the body and the environment. It’s taken a lot of research and trial and error to develop the non toxic hair products and formulations we have at Innersense.

GS: We knew we weren’t willing to compromise on the level of purity we wanted in our line, so we kept pushing to find ways to get high-performance products using natural and organic plant extracts to work in synergy with your skin, scalp and hair.

JJ: What’s your process for creating products?

GS: Our customers tell us what they want next from us, so we respond to a need. We don’t make products to make products. We like products that are smart and mix well with other products.

JJ: So have they asked for anything that we can expect to see anytime soon?

GS: Yes, just a few. We plan on launching a couple of new texture-based styling products in the near future. And our customers have been asking us to make some body and skin care products, so we’ll be adding a few well-developed products to round out the line.

Innersense Organic Beauty 2JJ: I love your workspace. How did this evolve?

JS: The room we’re meeting in now is our meditation room, a place where clients can sit for quiet reflection before or after a service and where I actually do angel card readings for some of them. I believe that hair is power and energy and is surrounded by aura. I help my clients see something deeper in themselves that comes through in their hairstyle. I believe that hair styling is a healing modality and I want to inspire others to see their work with hair as a healing arts form. While we work very closely with our lab in Washington, Greg spends at least a week a month on site there, this is where we collaborate on product and training development and work with products and ingredients on our clients before we share it with our partners.

JJ: You named your company Innersense. What does that mean to you?

JS: To us it means that beauty comes from within and that we all need to look for the beauty inside ourselves. When working with hair, I incorporate sacred geometry, chakra balancing, and the meridian lines. Our goal is to inspire, educate and support other stylists in taking this approach when working with their clients. Our company is about building a community of stylists and customers who look for beauty within and learn to trust their inner senses.

JJ: What’s been the biggest discovery for you lately in terms of the creative process – or in creating a specific new product? 

GS: We’re continually doing research on new ingredients and I’m excited that, as green chemistry continues to evolve, new, natural and safe ingredients that give hair slip and shine without the use of silicones are beginning to emerge. These developments will further reduce the demand for and use of synthetics.

JJ: Now that we know a little bit about how you work, at the end of day — how do you relax?

GS: Running a business and raising my two kids doesn’t give me a lot of time to relax. But “my time” is when I’m watching my son play baseball. I enjoy it fully and that’s when I completely relax. Joanne’s a different story. She actively practices meditation, is an avid reader, gets massage regularly and takes time to re-charge and relax. She really embodies our Innersense beauty philosophy, and as you can see for yourself, it really shows.

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