Monday, April 17, 2017

Interview with Dream-Manifesting Green Indie Beauty Queen: Jillian Wright

With more than 12,000 facials (and still counting!) under her belt, there is no doubt that Jillian Wright knows virtually all skin types. A quick glance is enough for this master skin expert to tell if her clients don't use sunscreen, haven't stopped smoking like they said, or are indulging in one hamburger too many. It's a skill she perfected (over 15 years!) at her eponymous spa in Manhattan where she helped celebrities and selective New Yorkers get their skin in their best shape ever.

Drawing from the know-how she gained as one of NYC's most sought-after facialists, the entrepreneurially-minded Wright decided to start her own skincare line in an effort to solve the skincare woes her clients were experiencing. Jillian Wright Skincare was born and Wright designed the collection around antioxidants, fruit enzymes and stem cells to naturally banish acne and keep premature aging at bay.  

As the creator of her own skincare line, Wright soon discovered that indie beauty brands lacked a place where they could showcase their products to buyers and other key beauty influencers so that they could take their business to the next level. Firmly believing that there is a solution for everything, Jillian quickly set out to fix the problem herself.

In 2015, she founded Indie Beauty Expo (IBE), a twice annual event in New York and Los Angeles that aims to level the playing field for small beauty businesses and give them a chance to be discovered in the overcrowded beauty space.

Hynt has exhibited at both the New York and Los Angeles events and loved them so we were thrilled when this (gorgeous) go-getter entrepreneur agreed to do an interview with us. During our chat, she shared what challenges she has encountered in building her green beauty empire and how she overcame them, what success means to her and what her secret beauty weapon is!  Read on: 

What was that decisive moment that led you to decide to focus on clean, green, ethical beauty? 

It was never an AHA moment. It was a way of life from an early age. When I was younger, I instinctively went for more natural choices in beauty. I didn’t like the feel of “chemicals” on my face. I immediately thought that I would breakout or become red - it wasn’t worth the risk. I don’t have sensitive skin, but I would experience a physical reaction to products that had intense smells. Other products would make me breakout or made my skin feel tight, inflamed and unhealthy. Knowing that my skin absorbs whatever I put on it, I've always questioned the purity of products.

As a celebrity aesthetician, spa and product business owner, and an advocate and “spokesperson" of the indie beauty market, what were some challenges you had to face to balance the three? 

I am very disciplined. I work 7 days a week, but I enjoy it because I know I’m doing something worthwhile. When I started my skincare line 10 years after entering the aesthetic field, my spa was already established and I had a full book of clients. This made it easier to develop my collection. My clients were my focus group and I knew exactly what they needed and demanded and what I wanted in the line to garner those results.

I’m not easily swayed by trends. I’m actually press discerning when it comes to products and their claims. This is why my line isn’t the “next best thing”, but it is a line- "Smart Skin Solutions" - that you can trust and use forever.
When I originally launched, I mostly sold it at my spa. I wanted to bring it to market but I simply didn't have the time for it. Performing facials took up a lot of time and energy, so I closed my spa February 29th 2016, and 8 months later, I stopped seeing clients. After 17 years in the treatment room, starting the Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) and redesigning my brand, it was time to let go of my security blanket and scale. There are always sacrifices, but ultimately they are moments of growth. These types of decisions should be embraced so you have no regrets. Finishing chapters and moving on, it's challenging but extremely healthy.

How did you overcome these challenges? 

By making sound, thoughtful decisions and taking the time to make sure it was the right direction to move through.

Do you have an ultimate “mission” or “philosophy” that fuels everything that you do? 

My drive is fueled by the desire to create something that benefits people on many different levels. Since I was young, I loved bringing good people together. I believe in experiences that are positive and make people happy. There is so much in life that brings us down. I always wanted to be the purveyor of a good time whether it was in the treatment room through a facial, or providing great skincare for home use or on a grander scale, creating something as massive as IBE so entrepreneurs could do serious business with buyers, press and consumers.

Before IBE, smaller brands were the wallflowers, the underdogs. We weren’t taken seriously and we were overlooked. Now we have a platform that takes small businesses seriously. There is a lot of power when something is motivated and fueled by a personal experience. 

What are some things that exhibitors and attendees have said to you that has really made all the hard work worth it? 

We survey the brands and the attendees after every show. We want to grow so we listen with big ears. We take praise and constructive criticism very seriously. We are going to Dallas because that is where the brands wanted us to go. We made the "Connect Indie" event a full day separate from the actual expo date because the brands wanted more thought-leadership and education. We also moved the presentation space on the floor plan because we received feedback that it wasn’t in the right place and they were right! 

You see, it is a collaboration. We are building a community that connects and takes everyone who wants to be involved. But the best feedback is when brands get picked up by their “dream” retailer or they have met someone meaningful that will help them grow their business. IBE isn’t an expo business, we are a platform and this means that we will continue to listen and tweak to provide the tools that the brands need along with catering to the press and retailers.

What's your personal secret beauty weapon? 

Sunscreen, water consumption, taking vitamins, very little to no gluten, exercise, travel, my happy marriage and family, moderation of all things pleasurable like salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol, managing stress, not sweating the small stuff, following a skincare regimen day and night, and ultimately staying happy by balancing discipline and indulgence.

What is your vision of success?

When I was 16, I wanted to open a shoe boutique and transform it into an art gallery at night in Soho. It was my mind combining two things that I love, shoes and art. It showed my entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. I went to the University of Arizona for Fine Art. I never went to a job fair, nor have I ever worked corporate. It wasn’t in my DNA. As my business partner Nader says, “Jillian, you are not employable.” FYI: This was his way of complimenting me.

Luckily, this has changed though! I was a free spirit, an artist, a traveler. But, reality speaking, I had to figure out a way to support myself. I had no help from home so I was on my own. I despised authority and anyone telling me what to do. This is a problem if you are looking for a career. I am very rebellious, but not destructive. There lies the answer. The answer lies within the negative space, the cracks and crevices of life. More often than not, you have to dig deep and think outside the norm.

For me, I wasn’t thinking about what I wanted to do, but more so, on how I wanted to live. I wanted to be around women, I wanted to raise a family, I wanted to be in charge of my own schedule and do something meaningful. I chose aesthetics because it fit the type of life I wanted to live.

When I graduated aesthetic school, I had the opportunity to work for a multi million dollar spa, but I didn’t. I decided to open up my own business right from the start. I knew it would take me longer to establish, but I didn’t care. I had no fear. I just built and built and built until I had a steady clientele.

So this is where the discipline comes in. I knew the type of life I wanted to live. I knew how I wanted to spend my time and I didn’t fear the hard work it would take to establish myself. I also believe that if you believe in what you want, you can manifest it and it will happen. You have to say it out loud, write it down, share it with your best buddy. When you put something in the universe, it usually happens. When you set goals for yourself and accomplish them through hard work, dedication, professionalism, then you will achieve something meaningful, whether large or small.  This is what success is.

A lifestyle change or habit that has most affected your everyday well-being? 

We eat at home. We rarely eat out which means we control the ingredients and portions. Eating as a family is also helpful in raising kids. We have 4 kids between me and my partner (8, 13, 14, 18) and it provides them a safe, judgement-free place to share ideas and experiences that have happened to them. Providing stability for my family makes me happy.

What do you most admire in a woman and why? 

I admire strength, intelligence, solid work ethic, no fear attitude, kindness, compassion, security, no bull-&*#$ attitude, creativity, independence, and a sense of humor. I sound like I’m on! Why? Because a person who possesses these traits is really fun to talk to and be around.

Books that influenced your life? 

I love the book “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

What's your motto?

There is a solution for everything.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 25 year old self, what would it be?

Save more money and don’t waste it on trivial stuff.

What makes you truly happy? 

When I make a difference in people’s lives ...and pedicures.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome in Spring with a Refreshing Matcha Green Tea Smoothie! Abby Phon's Original Hynt Recipe for Beauty & Health

Last month, we brought you Abby Phon's Hynt Original Recipe, the decadent yet healthy Chocolate-Covered Organic Raw Matcha Macaroons. The recipe, as always, featured a key botanical ingredient that we use to formulate our color and skincare collections and it was the powdered leaves of Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) -- Matcha! This month, she's whipped up a refreshing, light spin on the classic good-for-you drink with the Matcha Green Tea Smoothie.

Gram per gram, matcha has up to 20 times the antioxidant power of Blueberries, Acai or Pomegranates

Matcha is one of the key botanical ingredients that we use to protect your skin from environmental aggressors in our SUN PREP Broad Spectrum SPF30.

Along with other anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant-rich and soothing organic plant extracts such as rhatany root, wild pansy, and licorice, green tea plays the important role of helping to protect skin cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and stimulating microcirculation for healthier, better toned skin.

For the fascinating matcha tea benefits for your body, go to the original Matcha Macaroon post.

Here is what Abby had to blend this month:

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Gluten-free & Vegan


1½ cups almond milk
½ cup frozen green grapes
1 small frozen banana
1 tbsp chia
2 tsp matcha powder
1 handful ice


Blend all ingredients using a Vitamix or blender and enjoy!

Hynt Original Recipe by Abby Phon! Chocolate Covered Organic Raw Matcha Macaroons

The various plant, flower, nut and other botanical ingredients that we blend to formulate Hynt Beauty's products are as delicious for your skin as they are when holistic health and wellness coach, Abby Phon, whips them up into healthy, power-packed Hynt original recipes! This month, Abby focused on one of her favorites: Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea). Here is what she had to say & bake:

Green Tea has long been studied and reported for its various health benefits including long life, energy, and overall health and well being. It's biggest claim to fame is its high antioxidant content and of course, it's yummy flavor!

If you're looking to get the most out of green tea, the way to do it is Matcha. Matcha tea is made with powdered tea leaves, not just steeped and brewed leaves like "regular" tea. Because of this, matcha green tea is even healthier!

1 cup of Matcha has 10 times the antioxidants of Green or Black Tea.

Gram per gram, matcha has up to 20 times the antioxidant power of Blueberries, Acai or Pomegranates.

Because matcha is ground up whole leaves, you get dietary fiber and chlorophyll that you don't get in brewed teas, and better yet, it has L-theanine, which helps promote a calm and focused mind. This works to lessen the caffeine spike for a more sustained energy boost, too.

Besides a matcha latte with almond milk (one of my guilty pleasures), matcha is great in smoothies and baked goods. It's also delicious in raw treats like these vegan & gluten free Matcha Macaroons! The chocolate ganache is totally optional, but definitely recommended!

Chocolate Covered Organic Raw Matcha Macaroons Gluten-free & Vegan


1 cup organic raw walnuts
2 cups organic unsweetened finely shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup organic coconut nectar
1 ½ tbsp organic matcha green tea powder
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

1 pinch sea salt

Using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller, put balls onto a Silpat sheet or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

t Optional: run the mixture through the food processor again to ensure everything is well mixed, and green.

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.In a food processor pulse nuts until chopped very fine. Don’t over-blend, or you’ll get walnut butter!
Enjoy as is (they’re delicious moist!) or dry them out in the oven.

To oven dry them out: Put them in the oven on the lowest setting for a few minutes just to remove some of the moisture. For these to be “raw” you need an oven that can go down to 115 degrees F for 1 to 2 hours. You don’t want to actually cook them.

Cook's note: My oven only went down to 170F, so I baked them at 170F for about 5 minutes, turned off the oven with the tray still inside, and let everything cool back to room temperature. They were fantastic!

Homemade Ganache - optional

Gluten Free & Vegan


¼ cup organic coconut oil, melted

¼ cup cacao powder

2-4 tbsp organic coconut nectar or maple syrup


On stove top over low heat, whisk all ingredients together.

Continue mixing until smooth and well-combined.

Dip macaroons, and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Monday, February 20, 2017

GET TO KNOW: The Makeup Artist & Creative Director Behind Hynt's Looks

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you've likely seen the wide array of photos of real, beautiful women of various ethnicities, styles and ages, showcasing the versatility of Hynt's makeup in creating looks that can be natural, glamorous, ethereal, sultry, professional... Well, we are absolutely thrilled today to zero in on our very own Makeup Artist and Creative Director who has been creating all of these looks and showing us color and texture combinations that we would never have thought to pair: Leann Somes.  
Leann is one of the most skilled makeup artists we've had the pleasure to work with, not to mention one of the most adventurous women we know. After falling in love with makeup at the young age of 16 while attending a vocational high school in New Jersey, she set her heart on becoming one of the most versatile makeup artist in the industry. Never one to stand still and wait for opportunities to fall into her lap, Leann decided from the start to not limit herself to just one makeup artistry field. She opted to pursue all of it from bridal to editorial to brand consulting to elaborate special effects makeup (FX) for film to being an educator for a hair color line (!!) and has been nonstop learning and working since then. Talk about multi-talented! 

We also collaborate with Leann to formulate top-notch cosmetic products and new colors that never compromise safety for quality nor quality for purity. For this interview, we sat down with Leann to talk about how she got started, her reasons for joining the Hynt Beauty family and what her biggest dreams and goals are.

Tell us something we don't know about you!

My name is Leann but my friends call me LeeLee. I was born and raised in Pine Barrens, a heavily forested area of coastal plain that stretches across seven states in the south of New Jersey. When I was growing up, I absolutely loved spending my days outdoors to discover everything the world had to offer…it's no wonder that I fell into a career in the beauty industry where I can keep on learning and coming up with new visions and concepts that evolve around aesthetic beauty, every day. 

Has makeup artistry always been your dream? How did you get into this industry?

When I was a child, being a makeup artist wasn't in my plans. I actually wanted to be a dentist! As weird as it may seem, my childhood dream led to my current career. Growing up, I had to wear braces for many years and they made me feel very insecure. To take attention away from my braces, I started focusing on my hair and makeup. Then, I decided to attend a vocational high school that offered classes in cosmetology. I said to myself, “Hair and makeup, during school?! Sign me up!” and then the rest is history. In 2006 I graduated from high school and became a fully licensed cosmetologist.

Of all the makeup artistry work you do, what was it about Hynt that made you want to dedicate a lot of time to work with us? 

The people at Hynt Beauty are absolutely amazing to work with and the quality and purity of the products that it is able to create and share with the world make it truly special. Before I started to collaborate with Hynt Beauty, I had no idea how many products out there contain such harmful ingredients. I believe beauty products can and should be better and safer than that, and I know I can rely on Hynt Beauty to exclude nasty, potentially harmful ingredients from their formulations without compromising on the quality which of course I care about equally as a makeup artist. I'm proud to be part of the Hynt family and continue my education, as well as educate others, on the messy and often unsafe world of cosmetic ingredients.  

What is your biggest dream?

I honestly feel like my biggest dream keeps changing as I get older. The one thing I am sure about though, is that I can succeed within this industry. The beauty industry is one that I absolutely love and know that success in this area will keep me grounded, allow me to stay true to myself, do what I love to do most, and bring me happiness. And feeling happy and fulfilled does make me want to start a family of my own one there's also that to look forward to.

What's your life motto?

Push yourself, be humble, earn it, love. I believe the mind is an incredible thing. Do not waste it. Life is what you make of it so make it awesome, it is YOURS TO LIVE!

And, finally, any new goals you've set for the future?

My current goal is to keep busy doing what I know how to do best and that's creating beautiful things with my hands. I live my life with an open mind and am willing to explore all the possibilities that will come my way. I also try to think positive and create a warm and caring environment all around me. 

As for my personal life, I am getting married this summer so, at some point, I will have to fit myself and my wedding into my busy schedule!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Double Interview with the Founders of 2 Green Beauty Companies: Clementine Fields & Us

Clementine Fields, the Canada-based and Canadian-owned online "natural beauty store" is one of the first retailers that we decided to work with since launching our line less than two years ago. Since then, they have been a valuable partner to us not just in terms of sales but also in spreading the knowledge on ingredient safety and introducing luxurious, effective and clean beauty products from indie brands like ours that are trying to positively change the way women select their daily beauty products. They recently did a double interview story featuring the founders of Hynt and Clementine Fields, Ingrid Doucet and we wanted to share their post with you as well.  We think there are quite a number of good honest nuggets in there for any entrepreneurially minded woman (and man!)  Here goes: 

Hynt's Meryl Marshall and Clementine Fields' Ingrid Doucet talk about their inspiration behind launching their green beauty companies, balancing work and life, and their favourite Hynt beauty tips in this double interview.


1. What is the one thing you love the most about yourself?

The one thing that I love about myself is my resilience. I have been through so many challenges in my life -- some things absolutely surreal. No matter what the situation, I know I can find a way to pick myself up, brush myself off and persevere.

2. What was your motivation behind launching your company?

After my cancer treatment in 2005, I started questioning the many things involved in my daily life like the products I used to clean my house, my food choices, my cosmetics, my health supplements, many things. I was appalled to find that there was no one watching my back, or anyone else’s. I had thought that if a product was on the market, there must be regulations in place that deemed the product safe but this was not the case.

I searched stores looking for safer products, in terms of ingredient formulations, and it was not easy to find cosmetics in this category that still had the velvety-smooth textures, well pigmented colours and luxurious packaging that were similar to my prior conventional favourites. I knew that with enough research, partnerships with great labs and designers that I can work with closely and trust, I could create safer beauty products that worked beautifully in terms of colour, texture and finished look, housed in pretty, contemporary packaging.

3. What is your most memorable beauty experience from your childhood?

My mom did not wear that much makeup but she seemed to keep the neighbourhood Avon lady in business! She also liked Max Factor pancake makeup as well as Aziza mascara. She kept the products in the medicine cabinet in the one tiny bathroom we had in our Brooklyn apartment. I remember that I would often lock myself in there “creating.”

4. Can you share your favourite tip for healthy eating on the go?

I eat quite a clean diet. I stick to organic veggies, fruits, nuts for protein with the occasional splurges. Recently, I lost 17 pounds on Weight Watchers. I am a big fan of this method of weight loss and maintenance. It is so easy to keep track of my points on their phone app and I look forward to the meetings. I have met the most amazing people and adore my meeting lecturer, Amy. It feels good to have a lean body weight again and I feel much healthier and more energetic now.

My tip for healthy eating-on-the-go is protein which provides a longer, more consistent supply of energy! There are so many tasty protein bars on the market to grab and go. Many times, I pack a small insulated bag with a 100 calorie Greek yogurt and some low sugar fruit. Another staple for my handbag is a snack sized zip bag with some nuts that I’d pre-measured for a serving.

5. What wellness activity do you practice to maintain work/life balance?

I do enjoy a gym workout. Many times, due to my heavy work schedule, my workout end up being very short but I feel that a 40-minute workout is better than none. When the weather is nice, I swap out the gym for a hike to enjoy nature and fresh air.

I also belong to a book club and it forces me to cram in some reading time which is quite relaxing. I do miss knitting and going to the theater with my friends. This year, I am aiming to carve out just a bit more ‘me’ time which I think will ultimately help with the way I approach my business as well.

6. What have you learned about beauty from engaging with your customers?

I have learned that not every product works for everyone. Sometimes I find it confusing how a product gets so many great reviews, enthusiasm and feedback and then you get a couple that bash the same product with such emotion and disappointment. This disparity, especially from comments that at times can feel like personal attacks, was very confusing to me at first but now, I’ve learned not to take it personally, approach it logically, and in many cases have found that what the customer was complaining about can be resolved with some application tips or was a result of individual preference and there’s not much you can do about that but to listen and provide exceptional customer service. We aim to make our customers happy with products that they feel can be trusted and loved across our entire collection, but I think exceptional customer service is an important part of building that trust, too.

7. What is your favourite Hynt product?

It is difficult to choose just one of my favourite Hynt products but on a typical day, I wear just the basics so for me, it’s my DUET Perfecting Concealer, FINALE Finishing Powder as my foundation + setting powder, and a touch of our ALTO Matte Nude Apricot blush, topped with our FORTE High Definition Eye Liner in Brown and of course, our NOCTURNE Mascara. It’s simple, quick, safe and lasts all day.

If I had to choose one product, it would have to be our SUN PREP Broad Spectrum SPF 30 that I wear every day. I am a huge advocate of protecting our skin even if we are indoors all day and this one also acts as my AM skin serum and makeup primer, too. It’s super light and naturally smells elegant with all the organic botanical extracts and oils that are in the formula. My esthetician, Lillian is always harping her clients on this important step. She always says, “skin cancer is not pretty.” And, we all know what she means!

8. a) What makes your Hynt FORTE eye liner unique and special?

Hynt Beauty’s FORTE eye liner pencil is uniquely special for several reasons. For one, the ingredients are not only safe but free of ingredients that are known to be irritable on sensitive skin -- and I just love the smudger tip that’s in the cap. Not just because it’s handy but it works perfectly with this pencil to soften, blend and smudge, as much as you want to create your look. For longer wear time, I smudge a dark eyeshadow and the pencil line together.

b) Can you tell us about creating it?

There are very few cosmetic wooden pencil manufacturers, even less that do it well. Most consumers don’t know this but you can’t just build your own formula, it just doesn’t work that way. So the manufacturers have a ‘library’ of formulas to choose from and believe me, the more natural the formulations, the slimmer the options. I tried almost as many variations as was available and settled on ours.

The manufacturer gives you a ‘one sheet’ on the formulation that includes an ingredient deck, levels of stiffness, creaminess, wearing time and blend-ability. A conventional pencil with synthetic stabilizers and fixatives to increase the wear time can offer up to 12, even 14 hours. However, clean formulations can’t include them. I tried many, many other “green” pencils on counter, too, and in my opinion, ours is superior.

You can also pick from so many variations of each shade. For example, there are so many shades of black to choose from! A strong black can look fine at night but can be too harsh in daylight so, I opted for a ‘wearable’ black shade. I like makeup to look natural and not too mask-like.


1. What is the one thing you love the most about yourself? 

Oh my.. that's hard! I think I have a big heart but I'm also strong when I need to be. There are a lot of things to stand up for in the world right now. I have a daughter and I want her to grow up feeling strong and secure. We all have opposite attributes, and balance is good!

2. What was your motivation behind launching your company?
I had health issues and adopted a baby. My head was spinning with how to stay healthy and keep my family healthy. I am also very concerned about the environment and what is happening in ou r oceans, the air and wildlife. I love makeup and skincare, it all just kind of made sense. I had been an actress for years and I was becoming increasingly tired of waiting for the 'call'. I wanted to create more stability and security in my life, at the same time establishing a company that was good for the earth and people's health.

3. What is your most memorable beauty experience from your childhood? 

My mother was (and still is!) very glamourous so I remember seeing lots of gorgeous colours on her face. My father is in the beauty industry and I was surrounded by images of hair and makeup. There was a lot of conventions and hair shows. It was part of my upbringing.

4. Can you share your favourite tip for healthy eating on the go?
I have a lot of stainless steel to go containers and organic cotton snack bags. I usually keep a few filled with food in my purse as my daughter is a serial snacker. For her I have organic fruit and veggies, gluten free crackers and seaweed, while I enjoy smoothies or tea in a JOCO mug, brazil nuts or rice cakes with almond butter, banana and cacao nibs.

5. What wellness activity do you practice to maintain work/life balance?

I am a bit obsessed with self care right now. I know it's hard and time-consuming but it's so important. Exercise is essential, I either do bootcamp in the park, yoga, elliptical or Zumba. I try to have a massage once a month, get to Body Blitz every few months and do whatever I can to relax and practice mindfulness. I think technology is amazing but a slippery slope. I'm very concerned with its effect on our and our children's sense of empathy, wonderment and personal connection. Because of that I try to create technology free times, especially when I am with my family or in nature. If we need to take pictures for social media, we make times to do that so it's not always about spending time taking the 'perfect' picture.

6. What have you learned about beauty from engaging with your customers?

That people are generally good and lovely and desiring of beauty in their life, and I don't just mean skincare. That's why we try to make our packages special, personal and packed with care. Beauty is way more about how something makes you feel than look. If a product feels beautiful going on your skin I think it subsequently make you look beautiful.

7. What is your favourite Hynt product?

I love (and use!) the Nocturne Mascara, Forte Eyeliner and the Perfetto Pressed Eye Shadows, specifically Sunlit Dune, it brightens the eyes and is a great base for a smoky eye.

8. What is your favourite eyeliner tip? 
I love that the Forte Eyeliner has a little brush on it to help you smudge it. I like lining my upper and lower lashes for a subtle smoky effect. It's sexy and easy to do.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Get a Glimpse of Hynt Beauty's Black List

  Photo by ChutterSnap on Unsplash

We are constantly being told to be more conscious of the products we are using on our face and body, but how can we be careful if we don’t even know what to watch out for? There are a slew of ingredients, both natural and synthetic, that we should be aware of when buying every day personal care products. Many of these are questioned to have long term effects on the body and the environment, especially with daily use for a long time frame. 

As you may know, Meryl our Founder decided to create Hynt Beauty when she was battling breast cancer and she learned that almost all of her cosmetics products had potentially carcinogenic ingredients. However, it did take a lot of meticulous research, note taking and comparisons between the studies and claims made by various authoritative and other well intentioned organizations, until she felt she was confident enough to identify which products were "safe" to use vs. questionable. 

So, when it came to developing safe and healthy formulations for her own line of cosmetics, she decided the brand must do all the work for the customers so that women can rest assured that what they are wearing on their face each day is healthy, irritant-free and also gentle on the environment. 

And in keeping, we have a pretty intense Black List of "no no" ingredients, some of which, will leave you dumbfounded that they are still formulated into creams and lotions that we slather all over our body and face. Coal Tar? Formaldehyde? Check, check -- but under names that don't sound so repulsive. 

We could only select a few to highlight in this post but we'll follow up with more.  But, if you are interested in looking up other ingredients in the meantime, check out Skin Deep's product database for an ingredient hazard rating. They have over 64,000+ products rated on their site. We hope that this will at least pique your interest in better addressing those ingredient labels and help you make safer choices at the store! 

IMPORTANT NOTE for all our readers but especially those who are passionate about the ingredient toxicity debate; please note that the ingredients discussed below were questionable enough to us that we have chosen to not include them in our formulations. However, none of these have been sufficiently proven to directly cause the effects mentioned below when used in the quantities that are currently acceptable in beauty and personal care products. If they were, the FDA would have had to ban them already. Interesting to note however, some are restricted for use in cosmetics in other countries such as the EU nations and Japan. 


Isn't that what specimens are preserved in!?  Yes, it is and it is also a potential cancer causing carcinogen that are found in many nail polishes, hair straightening treatments, body washes and other hair products. Formaldehyde has also been linked to reproductive issues, leukemia and asthma1. Scary!

But wait, don't go looking for just Formaldehyde on the ingredient label list. In many cases, it is disguised behind different names like: diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, imidazolidinyl urea, hydantoin.  

A good take away from Formaldehyde is that Natural and Organic does NOT mean it is safe! 

The scary thing is, Formaldehyde can be called natural and it can even be called organic because the chemical is a naturally occurring organic compound. Even dangerous chemicals like Arsenic, which we all know is dangerous, is a "natural" ingredient so don't be fooled by those "natural" and "organic" marketing copy. Be sure to look on the ingredient list to make sure all your natural ingredients are indeed gentle and safe. 


The fact that an ingredient like Mercury can be formulated into any personal care or beauty product is shocking but it's actually hidden in mascaras, anti-aging products and other creams and lotion type products under the disguised name of mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric and mercurio.

Mercury is known to cause brain damage, hallucinations, muscular spasms and can contaminate breast milk in pregnant women. Random tidbit: In India & China, Mercury was used as an aphrodisiac in 500BC and Chinese women have been reported to consume Mercury as birth control 4,000 years ago2.


Shown, 3-Aminophenol, an organic compound with formula C6H4(NH2)(OH).

Hard to believe yet again but coal tar is quite often formulated into various hair products, colorants and shampoos. It's mainly used as a dermatological treatment. And since "Coal Tar" doesn't look so great on the ingredient label, these clever scientific names are used instead: aminophenol, phenylenediamine and diaminobenzene.

Coal tar, like Formaldehyde is a cancer causing carcinogen. People who have psoriasis sometimes use coal tar remedies for treatment but are warned by doctors that they run the risk of cancer in return3

So why would we willingly risk our health and beauty when we have no upside at all!? 


This is the one that you probably hear about and know about most; it's practically become the poster child for bad ingredients! That's because parabens are widely used as an effective, cheaper preservative option across the board in beauty, health and personal care products. Parabens often appear as Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben or Isobutylparaben on the ingredient lists. 

So why are Parabens so bad?  It is known to mimic the estrogen hormone which can mess with your natural hormonal system, which is of special concern with young girls and pregnant women.  And, paraben is believed by many to put you at risk for breast cancer, DNA damage and skin irritation at the very least with repeated longterm use. So that's why Paraben gets the bad rap but unfortunately, most conventional brands, even those that appear to be natural, have not yet excluded it from their formulas. Try taking a look yourself.


Triclosan is most commonly found in antimicrobial soaps, detergents, deodorants, shaving products, whitening toothpastes and makeup, too, as an anti-microbial to kill bacteria, fungus and deodorize. Listed as Triclosan, Triclocarban, Irgasan, Lexol-300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum or Microban. Triclosan is already restricted in cosmetics in Canada and Japan and Triclocarban is a restricted ingredient in all the European Union nations.  Where is the USA?!

So why is this ingredient potentially so terrible? It is known to cause the weakening of the immune system, interferes with muscle function, can alter hormone regulation and the kicker…it's a pesticide so it's toxic for the environment5.


Shown, Diethylphthalate (DEP), a compound that is a suitable solvent for many organic molecules and is often used to bind cosmetics and fragrances.

Used in nail polishes, hair sprays, perfumes, aftershaves, and lotions and creams, Phthalates are commonly listed as dibutylphthalate (DBP), diethylphthalate (DEP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), and benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP). DBP and DMP were more commonly used in nail polishes and hair styling products, respectively, but rarely make an appearance in cosmetics products. Only DEP is still widely used. 

Unfortunately, there's quite a loop hole when it comes to listing phthalates in the ingredient labels of cosmetics and personal care products because it can hide under the ingredient "Fragrance."  

Fragrance mixtures are considered proprietary blends that should not be copied by other companies. So, the regulations do not require the listing of individual fragrance ingredients. Phthalates often find themselves as a part of this blend but it can stay incognito behind the Fragrance mask. 

While the FDA states that the ingredient has not been sufficiently linked to any major health concerns in the quantities that are found in cosmetics and personal care products, studies have been published throughout the decades that suggest hormonal disruption, thyroid irregularities, and asthma and skin allergies in adults and children. Animal studies have also indicated that phthalates can trigger miscarriages and infertility in females7. While animals studies in themselves are horrible and animals are dosed in higher quantities than are formulated into human products, it doesn't seem right to slather these on our bodies, and our babies' bodies, either. 

  Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash


While we think it is important to at least equip ourselves with the knowledge of ingredient safety in order to be conscious consumers of products, many of these ingredients are so prevalent that it can be hard to weed them out completely overnight.  So, begin your "clean up" with the products that can make the most difference on an every day basis. For example, try replacing your daily face and body moisturizer, or anything daily that you use on a wider area of skin or even in your mouth (toothpaste), for a cleaner product with natural preservatives and natural fragrances.  It's ok to "splurge" once in a while on let's say, that liquid eyeliner or nail polish shade that you just can't replace with a naturals-based product. It's more important that you practice clean beauty on a daily, long term basis. 

Because the list is also constantly evolving, too, it's best not to overwhelm yourself. Get to know a few of the most common ingredients to start and add onto the list as you go. The aforementioned Skin Deep database is a great source, as well as plain old googling.  

More ingredients from our Ingredient Black List will be introduced in future blog posts so stay tuned and as "clean" as you can!  We're here to help if you have any questions. 


1. "Is cancer-causing formaldehyde in your cosmetics?" EWG. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

2. Donnelly, Tim. "History's 10 worst forms of birth control." New York Post. N.p., 29 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 Jan. 2017. and Czaika, Ellen , and Bethanie Edwards. "History of Mercury Use in Products and Processes." Mercury Science and Policy at MIT. N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Jan.2017.

3."Final safety assessment of Coal Tar as used in cosmetics." International journal of toxicology.U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

4. "Exposure to Chemicals in Cosmetics.", N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

5. "Triclosan: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics" and "The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps" by

6. U.S. Food & Drug Administration on Phthalates Ingredient as used in Cosmetics Products and Ingredients.

7. Environmental Working Group, "Teen Girls' Body Burden of Hormone Altering Cosmetics Chemicals" and other articles / studies on site: