Thursday, July 6, 2017

Green Beauty Experts From Around the World Voice In!

Natural beauty is blossoming. What started as a small niche movement is now an 11 billion dollar industry, with the United States firmly taking the lead. Key to its success is the growing awareness of what's really lurking in your cosmetic products - no one fancies slathering lead, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and toxic dyes all over their skin! 

Empowered by a new generation of online influencers and eco-conscious beauty entrepreneurs who are making high-quality, ingredient conscious beauty accessible to all, more women are turning to natural alternatives that are as aesthetically pleasant as they are safe for all their beauty needs. 

Far from being an isolated U.S. phenomenon, the natural beauty trend is slowly growing all over the globe. To find out just how far it has progressed, we connected with five representative influential players from five countries: Amanda Jo from the U.S.A., Founder of the pioneering green beauty website The Organic Bunny; Pavel Dolzhenko, Managing Director or Nuciya Natural Beauty in Canada; Lena Lappalainen, Head of Distribution and International Sales at Naturelle Pro Beauty Oy in Finland; Caroline van Eeuwijk, Founder of C. Cosmetics and Care in Holland; and Wendy Thian, Founder of the hit beauty e-commerce site, Gourmet Skin Bar of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Gourmet Skin Bar landing page packed with info & reco's on natural, clean beauty.

The below findings are what we discovered from interviewing these experts: 

How Far Has #CleanBeautyRevolution Spread? 

Once relegated to the forgotten shelves and dark corners of small beauty stores, natural / green category cosmetics are now hitting the cyber shelves of major U.S. retailers, like Nordstrom and Sephora, at an ever faster pace. According to Amanda Jo, the U.S.A. has powerful online influencers that have fully embraced, and championed, the green beauty cause, to thank for it. 

“Women are noticing that their favorite bloggers are making the shift within their routines and this inspires others to give their own routine some extra thought.” 

Amanda Jo, Founder of The Organic Bunny in U.S.A.

Detoxing your beauty routine has never been easier, either. As Amanda Jo points out, “shopping for cleaner cosmetics is now just a click away.”

“Canada is pretty on par with the U.S. in terms of green beauty,” says Pavel. In recent years, he reported, the market has been flooded with natural, high-performing products. New independent producers of such cosmetics enter the market every day, making the competition fierce. Which in turn spurs a wave of innovation that results in higher-quality products with a more luxurious feel than the ones traditionally associated with natural skincare and makeup. 

Social media influencers, as well as traditional media outlets in Europe, are also raising awareness for, and educating people about, potentially harmful ingredients often found in traditional cosmetics, too.

As European consumers are becoming more conscious of what they are putting on their skin, they have been increasingly shifting to green beauty and personal care products.

Lena, Founder of Naturelle in Finland with Hynt's Founder Meryl Marshall
at their in-store press event in Helsinki, Finland

“The green beauty movement is seen everywhere here in Finland,” says Lena. “Food, clothes, consumption in general, and even in designing sustainable houses. Thanks to social media, the awareness of unwanted allergic reactions due to synthetic ingredients in cosmetic products has increased, forever changing the beauty routines of women all over the Nordic countries."

The picture in the Netherlands, however, looks a little more dire. While young women living in the bigger, more polluted cities are starting to veer towards a greener lifestyle, the rest of the population is still in the dark about the potential harm of traditional cosmetic ingredients. This slow progress, as Caroline explained, is attributed to the Dutch's “no nonsense” approach, a philosophy that causes them to question any new information they encounter for a considerable length of time before accepting it as truth. 

Once they have the full picture, though, Dutch women don't hesitate to make the switch. “They never knew what was going on with ingredients of cosmetic products,” says Caroline, “and are astounded when they are told about the toxins, risks and negative effect on the skin.” 

C. Cosmetics & Care in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Natural beauty is lagging behind in Hong Kong, too. According to Wendy, “the green beauty movement is still in its early stages in Hong Kong, but it is a growing priority for many women.” 

"The movement is particularly successful with the healthy crowd who regularly exercise, practice yoga and mindfulness, but we have no doubt it will spread to the rest of the population in the not so distant future."

Wendy Thian, Founder of Gourmet Skin Bar in Hong Kong

Green Beauty Trends Around The World 

Maybe it's because the industry is still so new. Maybe it's because organic beauty brands have seriously stepped up their game, offering new and unique products never before seen in this sector...whatever the reason, in the US and Finland, there is no particular product group that stands out as a category leader. 

As both Amanda Jo and Lena both pointed out, green beauty sections are now found in even the biggest department stores, which tend to grow on demand.

A demand fueled by green beauty bloggers, like Amanda Jo, who has 110K+ followers on Instagram and an active following on her blog. “I have worked hard to create a solid network of like-minded women, which ultimately led me to start my new online store,” she says. 

Photo by Kelsey Price, Green Beauty Blogger and Founder of Liberty Green who is based in Australia

In Canada, foundations and clean deodorants are the biggest sellers. “The variety of foundations, from liquids, creams and powders has given consumers a lot of choice in finding a foundation that will work with their skin type,” says Pavel. Clean deodorants come in different forms, too, “from clay, wax, baking soda and even charcoal, you can find deodorant natural alternatives offered everywhere, from farmers market brands to larger skincare companies.” 

Dutch women are mostly concerned with their sun protection being clean and non irritable and they usually will not purchase anything with a SPF lower than 20. They also snub creams in favor of facial oils, which is easier to create 100% organically or all naturally.

In Hong Kong, it's not cosmetics but inner beauty supplements and edible skincare formulas that are becoming more popular within the green beauty world. 

As Wendy revealed, it's a trend that started with “Hong Kong department store Lane Crawford's 'Let's Live Better' effort to promote both physical and emotional well-being through curated products” and is now leading women to look for “both therapeutic and luxurious products to nourish their body inside and out to achieve optimal vitality and health."

Sampling of Green Beauty Products at Nuciya Beauty in Canada, photo by NUCIYA

Now vs. Then: How Green Beauty Has Changed 

Green beauty has completely transformed during the years, but there's one thing that has stayed the same - everywhere. “Girls want performance, plain and simple,” states Amanda Jo. “If it's not performing, they're not likely to be loyal for life. Products like the Hynt Beauty's DUET Perfecting Concealer prove that women are happy to support green beauty as long as the products are carrying their own weight when it comes to performance!” 

Or, as Caroline put it, Dutch women who have become ingredient conscious, “know better what they do and do not want in cosmetics.” Out, to them, is anything with the remotest trace of toxins in them. In are natural products with a luxurious feel, classy packaging and an affordable price tag. 

Caroline van Eeuwijk, Founder of Cosmetics & Care in Holland
The bar for cleanly formulated beauty is at an all-time high, confirms Pavel. “Having clean ingredients has always been the most important factor, but now, there's a higher standard for green beauty. There's more attention paid on the quality and feel of a product; how it wears and looks," he continued.

The type of consumers roaming the aisles of stores looking for natural beauty products have changed, as well. “Ten, fifteen years back, it was a concise group of people with hemp bags and tie-dyed shirts,” says Lena. 

The only other group that paid attention to ingredients was pregnant women. Before, their choices were limited to a few big players like Weleda and Dr. Hauschka. Now, “many foreign brands are entering the market and new natural brands are also being established, offering a wider array of high-quality products for women to choose from."

The Future Of Green Beauty 

Green beauty may have gone mainstream but all our experts agree on one thing. The journey has just begun! 

“Consumer eyes are now wide open and the time is perfect for green beauty. The demand is already there and constantly growing”, says Amanda Jo. “The more time passes,” she continues, “the more perfect the formulas become. The more time we take to invest in getting it right, the more powerful it's going to be!” 

She also has a special wish. “My personal dream would be to see a transformation, where synthetic brands are the minority. What would be a better choice than a safe, natural product in a beautiful packaging?” 

Nor is the green trend confined to beauty only. “Green lifestyle products and services also only seem to be on the up and up in Canada; from juicing to yoga, every year seems to bring a new wave of businesses riding the tide of new interest from people wanting to make more conscious choices,” says Pavel. Caroline has seen a similar trend in Holland, where clean food and detoxing are the next big thing. 

One thing's for sure, green beauty is here to stay!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mom-In-A-Rush Clean Green Beauty Hacks

Mornings always feel like a mad scramble to get out the door. My little ones, who are seven and five years old, seem to move in slow motion: they take their sweet time getting out of bed, eat breakfast s-l-o-w-l-y, and can never decide what to wear. Which means that on some days all I have time for is sunscreen and a ponytail. But I try not to be so minimal. 
When I’m put together I feel better prepared to tackle my day. It’s like when your home is tidy and organized; it makes your life feel more organized. 

So to help you ‘keep it together’ during drop-offs, pick-ups, and all the running around in between, I want to share my Mom-In-A-Rush beauty routine! 

It takes ten minutes and relies on two main beauty hacks:
  • Multi-tasking products
  • Cream formulas for foundation, blush and eyeshadow that can be applied without a brush. 

After showering, I spray a facial mist over my face and neck to help lock in the moisture from my sunscreen (see Step 2). While the facial mist is absorbing, I brush my teeth and put in my contact lenses.

I apply a multi-tasking sunscreen that has the benefits of a nutrient-rich serum and a moisturizer. So instead of applying three different products I only need one. If your skin is very dry you might still need a moisturizer on top of your sunscreen, but at least you’ll have the serum part covered. And remember to apply sunscreen under the eyes, too! The skin around your eyes is thinner than the rest of your face and more susceptible to UV damage. 

While the sunscreen and moisturizer are absorbing, I do my hair. You want to let your skincare products absorb a little before applying makeup to avoid any pilling.

Use a foundation or concealer that works for both your under-eye area and all over your face. Almost any creamy concealer can be sheered out with a little moisturizer to create a liquid foundation. Opening only one product = time saved. I apply it around my nose, on any red patches, and under my eyes. 

Favorites: Hynt Beauty DUET Concealer (which can be mixed with moisturizer to create a liquid foundation), Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation.

There’s no time for contouring with bronzer and highlighter when I’m in a rush. Instead, I use a warm blush that gives me a tan-like glow rather than my usual pink blushes. And always a cream formula that I can apply with my fingers on the go! 

On days when I have more time to do my makeup I reach for powder-based blushes and bronzers. Using a brush definitely gives me more control when applying and blending and creates a truly seamless look. Powders also last longer than cream formulas because they absorb some of the oil on the skin’s surface, making them less likely to slip and move around throughout the day. 

When I’m in a rush I use a cream-based eyeshadow that I can swipe on with my finger. When I have a big event, or simply more time to apply my makeup, I use powder eyeshadows. Just as with powder-based blushes and bronzers, powder formulas allow more seamless blending and have more staying power.

Favorites: Au Naturale Creme de la Creme Eye Shadows in ‘Addiction’ and Palma’, RMS Beauty Eye Polish in ‘Solar’.

Mascara is mascara, so I just make sure that the one I’m using is good for my lashes, doesn’t irritate my eyes and doesn’t clump easily. Formulas that lengthen and define are great because your lashes are less likely to stick to each other, whereas volumizing formulas deposit fibers onto the lashes. Curl lashes, apply a few coats, done.

Apply a tinted lip balm that gives your lips a natural wash of color, conditions, and doesn’t require a mirror to apply. 

Favorites: Hynt Beauty ARIA PURE lipstick in “Pinkbelle” (Hynt’s lipsticks have a lip conditioner and application mirror hidden in the flip up cap for application on the go), Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in ‘Blossom Lady’Mereadesso Tinted Lip Treats in ‘Sheer Pink’

Usually by this point my daughter comes into my bathroom wanting to do her makeup, too. She’s only five, so I need to make sure she doesn’t get things in her eye and lipstick all over her face. I usually let her play because I know the products I use are safe. One of the many benefits of using non-toxic cosmetics is that you don’t have to worry about the ingredients your kids are exposed to when they (inevitably) get their hands on your products. While I'm wiping off the 'creative' makeup my daughter has just applied to her face, my son runs over to me crying hysterically because his favorite basketball shorts are nowhere to be found. But if I’m feeling polished and put together I can better handle anything! Almost...

Sonia Keuroghlian is a corporate attorney turned green beauty and wellness influencer. She is the founder of KEU (, a one-stop green beauty and wellness resource to help detoxify and optimize your beauty and wellness regimes with safer products, all without compromising performance. Sonia's perspective is that of a mom looking to fit her beauty and wellness routines within the demands of a busy family and work life. Combining her love of green beauty, passion for wellness, and fine-tuned analytical and research skills, Sonia educates and shares her green knowledge through her blog, workshops, speaking appearances, brand partnerships and live shows on the YouCam Makeup App. Sonia splits her time between Toronto and Los Angeles, and lives with her husband, son and daughter.