Natural Skin Care and Beauty

Beauty Made Mindful: What Inspires These Five Conscious Beauty Brand Founders

As our attention turns more and more towards the impact we have on the world, many of us have become more mindful in our approach to beauty consumption. From more sustainable packaging & ingredient sourcing to cruelty-free practices & giving back, we have more choices than ever when it comes to beauty brands that align with our values.

We sat down with a few of our favorite conscious beauty brands on what inspires them, their favorite products and more.

Nancy Twine, Founder and CEO, Briogeo


Q: What inspired you to start Briogeo? 

I began my professional career in finance, but my world changed after I suddenly lost my mother. While reflecting on my mother, I reconnected with memories that brought me the most joy and happiness, like the times I spent with my mom when I was young, concocting beauty treatments from scratch in our kitchen.

My mother was a doctor and chemist, so she understood how to emulsify oil and water, create incredible textures, and make customized products from natural ingredients perfectly tailored to our needs.

Ultimately, I realized my desire to significantly impact the beauty world, so I embarked on a journey to develop my own line of carefully crafted, clean, and plant-based haircare. From day one, I knew I wanted Briogeo to be about more than just me. I wanted it to be about everyone, offering solutions for all hair types and textures.

Q: What are your holy grail products from Briogeo and why?

Healthy hair is rooted in scalp care. I use our Scalp Revival™ Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Shampoo once a week; it’s formulated with binchotan charcoal to remove product buildup and impurities, plus hydrating coconut oil. This scalp scrub is ideal for all scalp and hair types and it smells like mint-chocolate-chip ice cream!

Our Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask is a universal holy grail product because it helps restore moisture and rebalance protein levels in all hair types, which is crucial for warding off breakage. It also contains a complex of oils, butters, and waxes that really protect against dryness and damage, too.

When I’m wearing my hair naturally curly, I want it to look defined without feeling crunchy. Our Curl Charisma™ Leave-In Defining Crème gives me the perfect amount of definition while also hydrating my curls, leaving them soft and bouncy.

Q: Other than Briogeo products, what are your favorite beauty or self-care must-haves? 

Now that I live in Miami, I get a lot more sun exposure, so my skincare routine has evolved to focus on preventing sun damage and dark spots. I’m a big fan of skincare with vitamin C.  I try to have vitamin C on my face almost every day because deeper skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation. And, of course, I always use SPF; I really like Supergoop! Daily Dose sunscreen, and it works great for my skin tone.

 Q: What are some of your go-to ‘clean’ ingredients and why?

Our unique detoxifying binchotan charcoal helps draw out impurities from the scalp to provide a foundation for optimal scalp health. It’s a core component of our cult-favorite Scalp Revival™ collection.

Avocado oil is a miracle worker for fine, thin hair because it’s lightweight and rich, with reparative and hair-strengthening properties. Like avocados themselves, avocado oil is made up of fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and proteins—all essential nutrients for healthy hair, which is why we use avocado oil in so many of our Briogeo Superfoods™ products.

Shop Nancy’s picks:

Indie Lee, Founder, Indie Lee


Q: What inspired you to start Indie Lee?

In 2008, after losing vision in my left eye, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and given as little as six months to live. It stopped me in my tracks — I had been living a healthy life and at the time, I was growing edible flowers, herbs, and starter vegetable plants in the greenhouse in my backyard and selling them at my local Whole Foods. I was eating healthily and exercising, plus there was no history of this in my family. When I asked how this was possible, my doctor asked me a life-changing question – “What do you put on your skin?” That was my awakening. The truth was I had no idea what I was putting on my skin. I started researching and the more I learned, the more I knew that I had to make a change in the industry. After successfully surviving surgery, I started creating clean products dedicated to educating and empowering others to live the healthiest version of their life. I haven’t stopped since.

Q: What are your holy grail products from Indie Lee and why?

It’s so hard to pick just one! It’s like picking a favorite child. Our CoQ-10 Toner is a favorite of mine and I always have one on my vanity, on my desk, and in my car! It’s formulated with the antioxidant powerhouse CoQ-10, as well as Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid that hydrates, cools, and rebalances. It’s also alcohol-free so it won’t dry out the skin. It’s incredibly refreshing and effective. It can be used as a traditional toner or as a hydrating mist throughout the day.

I’m also OBSESSED with our new Cleansing Balm. I was never a double cleanser, but this product has changed me forever. I love how it goes on like a balm and then emulsifies into a milky cleanser when I splash my face with water. It literally melts away make up and removes any impurities from my skin while leaving it silky soft. The vitamin C-rich formulation is absolutely beautiful with a triple plum complex. Everyone who tries it falls in love.

Q: Other than Indie Lee products, what are your favorite beauty or self-care must haves?

I love all of Jenny Patinkin’s products. I can’t live without her Organic Bamboo Reusable Cosmetic Rounds and her Cryo Glow Globes. I use these products daily. I’ve also been a fan of Rahua hair care for years and my hair has never been healthier. I’ve recently been loving jane iredale’s pure pressed eye shadow triples. The colors are beautiful, and they blend so well.

Q: What are some of your go-to ‘clean’ ingredients and why?

They don’t call me the ‘Squalane Queen’ for nothing. I absolutely love this tried-and-true ingredient which is why you’ll find it in so many of our products. Derived from olives (or sugar cane in some of our products) it boasts incredible antioxidant and moisturizing properties. This lightweight, non-greasy ingredient effortlessly nourishes the skin, leaving it soft and smooth.

Shop Indie’s picks:

Jena Covello, Founder, Agent Nateur


Q: What inspired you to start Agent Nateur?

I was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis and adenomyosis, and after years of struggling with pain management and going the traditional western medicine route, I set out on a path of holistic healing and discovery. I was searching for a safe, effective and luxurious natural deodorant free of aluminum but couldn’t find any, so I began cooking my own in 2014. Aluminum is an endocrine disruptor and can mimic estrogen, which at the time, was not as widely acknowledged.

In my healing journey, friends began coming to me for help with supplement regimens and natural remedies. I joked that I was the “agent of nature”, which became the brand name, Agent Nateur! While we have successfully expanded our product range into supplements, hair, body and skincare, the common denominator for every product is a relentless commitment to quality and efficacy. I formulate in the south of France and Los Angeles, focusing on ingredients that are healing, nourishing, as well as free from GMO’s, soy, parabens, sulfates, aluminum and petroleum. Our products do not disturb hormones and are safe when pregnant and breastfeeding. This standard is what our customer deeply trusts in and why they trust our formulas as we expand across categories.

Q: What are your holy grail products from Agent Nateur and why?

It is impossible for me to choose just one! I am obsessed with holi (water), our high-molecular weight, pearl and rose hyaluronic essence. It is such a light but deeply hydrating essence, and applying it is a lovely daily ritual, it smells incredible. Mixed with holi (c), our dry vitamin c and calcium powder, it instantly brightens your complexion while working hard on discoloration, texture, and firmness long-term.

Lately, I am especially obsessed with our newest serum, holi (lift). It has a high concentration of lactic acid, which brightens and exfoliates in a gentle but transformative way. holi (mane) is our best seller. It is an incredibly high-quality marine collagen and pearl powder supplement. It’s the ultimate daily ritual for me and our customers. I mix it into my matcha latte with maple syrup, cinnamon and almond milk. The proof is in the testimonials I receive every day — the results are incredible when you commit to daily use. Your hair, nails and skin will be radiant. In addition to the beauty results, our collagen is incredibly powerful for gut health — it helps aid digestion and helps to prevent leaky gut by lining the gut with a gelatinous coating.

Q: Other than Agent Nateur products, what are your favorite beauty or self-care must haves?

I love the COSMEDIX Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser. My old dermatologist, who taught me so much of what I know, helped formulate this line. I’m still a big fan of it. It is a lovely exfoliating cleanser for when my skin needs a deep cleanse.

Q: Where do you see the future of the clean beauty industry going?

I see that bigger brands are adhering to green beauty ethos and becoming cleaner. “Clean” beauty will no longer be a subcategory of the industry, safe, effective, and transparent formulations will be table stakes for everyone.

Q: What are some of your go-to ‘clean’ ingredients and why?

Cucumber water is one favorite. It is bursting with flavonoids and antioxidants that promote youthful-looking skin, and is shown to alleviate swelling and soothe redness. It also smells so incredible. This smell gets people hooked on our face cream, holi (créme) filter face cream.

Another favorite in many Agent products is sodium ascorbyl phosphate. It is the best derivative of vitamin C for cosmetics due to its natural SPF of 8, its stability, and its bioavailability. It protects against environmental stressors that lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Our dry vitamin c powder, holi (c) is packed with this powerful active.

Lactic acid is one of my absolute must-haves. It gently exfoliates without drying skin or causing irritation, and can really transform texture, dark spots, and discoloration. Our newest face serum, holi (lift) has a high concentration of lactic acid to transform the skin along with aloe, rosehip, cucumber, rice bran and vitamin E to calm and nourish.

Shop Jena’s picks:

Helen Reavey, Board Certified Trichologist and Founder, Act+Acre


Q: What inspired you to start Act+Acre?

I’ve always had a passion for hair care and hair health, and throughout my 20+ years working as a celebrity hairstylist, I noticed an overwhelming commonality of poor scalp health. At the time (and still today), everyone was focused on their skin care and hair care, and no products on the market were prioritizing the root of it all — the scalp. So I decided to take a deep dive into all things scalp care and scalp health and learn as much as I could about its role in overall hair health. From there, we spent 18+ months working with leading chemists to develop clean, science-backed treatments made for the scalp. From there I launched Act+Acre and the rest is history!

Q: What are your holy grail products from Act+Acre and why?

Stem Cell Scalp Serum. This is truly my all-time favorite scalp care product and the one that’s made the biggest difference in the health of my hair. It’s made with Apple Stem Cells, which are clinically proven to lessen fallout and promote healthy growth. It also helps to hydrate the scalp and balance the scalp microbiome. It’s a fan favorite of our community and has sold out more than four times!

Q: Other than Act+Acre products, what are your favorite beauty or self-care must-haves?

Some of my skincare favorites include:

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask: I use this gentle exfoliator once a week in the morning to remove any dead skin cells or buildup that might be lingering on my face. It’s made with a ton of wonderful fruit extracts that leave my skin looking radiant and glowy.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm: There’s a reason this cleansing balm is so popular — it’s amazing. I double cleanse every night and start with this to remove any makeup or product from the day, and then follow with the Obagi Medical Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser. Both are extremely soothing on the skin and offer hydration and moisture so my face stays nourished.

Shop Helen’s picks:

Jules Miller, Founder, The Nue Co.


Q: What inspired you to start The Nue Co.?

When I was in my mid-twenties, I developed really bad IBS — I ended up being hospitalized a few times, and I was constantly bloated and uncomfortable. I was taking endless supplements to help deal with my bloating and cramps, which actually made them worse, but I didn’t give a second thought about what was actually in them. I researched formulations and ingredients and found as a general rule, 50% of the ingredients in supplements are composed of synthetic fillers, bulking agents, and processed ingredients. I was disillusioned by brands touting misleading messaging, using questionable ingredients, and producing poor quality products. Inspired by my grandfather, who was a chemist and lecturer at Cambridge University and would quite often create his own natural supplements, I then set out to create a line of efficacious supplements merging innovative science and nature.

Q: What are your holy grail products from The Nue Co. and why?

I swear by our signature Pre + Probiotic. As someone who suffered from IBS for over five years, I know the difference to your life a product like this can make. It’s a great introduction to supplements and something that everyone should start to incorporate into their routine for long-term gut health. Two capsules a day can help feed the friendly bacteria in your gut and allow them thrive. Rather than using live strains of bacteria which tend to die off, our formula works with bacteria spores — these lie dormant until they reach our small intestine where they “activate”.

I’ve also been using our BARRIER CULTURE cleanser and moisturizer for the past few years. They were developed to streamline routines, providing pre, pro and postbiotics to the skin to help rebuild your skin’s natural defenses, lock in moisture and reduce inflammation. I use these alongside our skin supplements, like Skin Filter, for total inside-out skin barrier support.

Q: Where do you see the future of the clean beauty industry going?

The gap between health and beauty is growing ever smaller, people understand that looking after their skin or hair means taking an inner and outer approach. The demand for transparency around ingredients, results and testing is growing — customers want to understand where they’re putting their money and the results they can expect to see.

Shop Jules’ picks:

Beauty Editor

Teresa Greenfeld

Teresa Greenfeld has worked in fashion and beauty for over 15 years as a writer, editor and content strategist. She has been privileged to work at Carbon38 as a Senior Editor, at as the Fashion and Beauty Director, and has amassed a resume that includes Vogue, Allure and Elle magazines. Her passions include back-to-back sheet masks, reading peer-reviewed papers on skin care, and obsessive sunscreen application. Though born in Manhattan, she currently lives in LA, and will always consider herself a New Yorker at heart.