Skin Care Blogs

Celebrate Earth Month—Meet Tara Foley, Founder of Follain

This Earth Month, we’re spotlighting brands that put conscious beauty at the forefront of their mission. To celebrate Follain Skincare’s launch on Dermstore during Earth Month, we sat down with founder Tara Foley to talk about clean beauty, transparency in the skin care industry, the future of clean beauty and more. Learn more about Follain and shop the brand below.

Question: Can you tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur and how Follain came to be?

Back in 2009, I was on a completely different career path, working long hours, and finding it hard to stay healthy. As I started to focus on fitness, healthy living, and what I was putting in my body, it occurred to me that I was not applying the same scrutiny to what I was putting on my body. I started asking questions about the ingredients in my beauty products and was so shocked by what I learned that it inspired me to launch a blog called The Naturalchemyst. The response showed me how many others wanted to find effective non-toxic options but didn’t know where to start. That’s when I decided to pull the emergency brake on my career at the time, in order to learn everything possible about the most nourishing beauty options for people and planet—from spending time with leaders in Green Chemistry and Environmental Health, to living and working on a lavender farm in France. As I started to incorporate clean beauty products into my personal life, I quickly realized that what made them special extended far beyond being non-toxic. I discovered the magic of clean beauty lies equally in the experience of the products themselves: indulgent, beautiful textures that worked even better than their conventional counterparts.

I founded Follain in 2013 to get as many people as possible to also experience and fall in love with the power of clean beauty. I chose the name Follain—the Gaelic word for ‘all that is wholesome, healthy and natural’—as a symbol of my belief that clean beauty should feel welcoming, happy and inclusive.

Question: What inspired your start in the clean beauty industry?

When we opened our first Follain shop in 2013 the term “clean beauty” didn’t even exist! We were part of a small group of industry leaders that helped shape the movement to change beauty for the better, beginning with our collective impact on the health of people and planet. Through our progressive ingredient policies and research, our doctor and scientist advisors, and our close connection to the health and wellness community, we continue to stay ahead of the pack of this movement. 

Like with many of our customers, I first came to clean beauty to protect my own health, but as I’ve grown personally I now understand how imperative it is for our collective public and environmental health that people use cleaner ingredients: each time someone uses and then rinses off a product, the ingredients go down the drain and have an impact on our overall ecosystem—which can be positive or harmful.

Question: How did you approach creating a clean skin care line that was also affordable?

Through the years I had personally consulted with thousands of people on the best clean, nourishing skincare for their skin types and concerns. Through these consultations I kept hearing the same thing over and over again: people loved the beautiful precious products in clean beauty, but also wanted some everyday essentials that were extremely effective but not cost prohibitive. We were committed to incorporating the best nourishing clean hero ingredients into our everyday essential products (like rosehip, bakuchiol, peptides and others); so it took a lot of time and effort to bring these products to life at the cost we were targeting. But our community gets what they want, and here we are today with a bestselling line of luxurious and effective everyday essentials!

Question: Can you explain the seals and certifications the brand has received, as well as the Restricted Substances List?

Follain Skincare is proudly EWG Verified (the highest standard for ingredient safety & transparency), Cruelty-Free Leaping Bunny Certified, Synthetic Fragrance-Free, and Dermatologist-Tested. Our Restricted Ingredients List was compiled (and continues to evolve) based on years of research and conversations with experts, along with stringent product testing.  At Follain, we have always said that our products are “uncompromisingly clean,” and we believe even more effective than most conventional beauty products on the market. No one should have to sacrifice their health for their beauty products. 

Question: What inspires you about the beauty industry as a whole?

I wasn’t in the beauty industry before starting Follain; I started the company in my effort to change the industry from within, by 1) offering effective luxurious products that made people believe in the power of clean nourishing environmentally friendly ingredients, and 2) empowering people to ask questions and learn more about the impact of their beauty ingredients. That said, I’ve always been inspired by the beauty industry’s playfulness, creativity, and fun. I’m even more inspired now, to see younger generations combine that creativity with values, in a way that I think the industry was ready for. I think the future is bright for the beauty industry!

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

At Follain, we’re all about helping our community “find balance, while making an impact.” This can be applied to your skin, your health, environmental impact and more. Luckily clean beauty ingredient innovation has come so far to be able to achieve this impact. 

That said, like much of the beauty industry overall, the term “clean beauty” isn’t regulated, and many brands and companies have begun using the term with no underlying policy defining it. Now we’re at a point that I think customers are becoming increasingly confused by what’s clean or not. Ultimately customers are so much more well-educated about ingredients, values, and preferences—when it comes to beauty and other lifestyle choices—that I think all beauty is going to become clean beauty and consumers will shop the brands that align with their own values and preferences. It’s incredible that we’ve made so much progress—and I’d like to think Follain played a big role in helping educate consumers to get us to this point for the industry. 

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

Oh, gosh, they are all so beautiful, how can I choose? I would definitely say that Bakuchiol and Sodium Hyaluronate are at the top of the list, because they are such powerhouse ingredients, and they showcase the major advancements in clean beauty—now combining the power of both natural and safe synthetics! Both of these ingredients can be found in our award winning Moisturizer, which is a must-have from the line.

Question: What are your holy grail products from your brand and why?

They are all so incredible and unique, so hard to pick only a few! I would definitely say the Moisturizer and Eye Cream are two of my everyday must haves, morning and night, cannot live without them. The ingredients profiles in both are so effective, and they are truly perfect for any skin type. I also love the ritual of masking, and our masks are *chefs kiss.* Our Dual Detox Mask has everything you want in a purifying mask like clays and resurfacing acids, without the mess! Our Ultra Hydrating Mask is the most beautifully nourishing product, and my favorite thing about it is that it can be worn overnight for deep hydration while you sleep. I especially love using these two masks, one after the other for a well-deserved biweekly spa-at-home moment.

Question: What’s next for Follain?

We’ll continue to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to the most nourishing clean ingredients, and stay close to our customer and community, in an effort to keep making the most elevated and effective everyday skincare essentials.

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