Earth Day Warriors: Stories From the Men and Women Behind the Brands That Champion Mother Nature

BY Dermstore Editors · April 20, 2017

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant resurgence of the green beauty trend. While some people were quick to dismiss it as another Hollywood invention, it has managed to transform itself into a formidable movement. And by all indications, it’s here to stay. Not that we’re complaining, of course. As responsible consumers, we’re all for products that deliver its promised benefits using only the highest-grade natural ingredients, while committing to sustainable and environment-friendly business practices.

As more and more brands tout themselves as “natural” and “organic,” only a few really live up to the labels they brandish. Fewer still are the brands that go beyond providing effective all-natural products. In the green scene, the true standouts are not the ones who have the most expansive line or the most following. Instead, it’s those brands that have committed to elevate beauty and skin care as an integral part of a healthy, balanced and harmonious life while nurturing a deep understanding, appreciation and respect for the greatest healer of all—nature.

In honor of this year’s all-too-important Earth Day celebration, we shift the spotlight to the men and women behind these brands as they share their stories and their commitment to their brands’ ethos.

Drunk Elephant Tiffany Masterson - The DermStore Blog

Tiffany Masterson
Founder, Drunk Elephant

As a stay-at-home mom fascinated with skin care, Tiffany Masterson spent hours and hours looking at ingredients of the products she used and needed, researching how they worked and answering skin care questions from other women. She found herself asking what she would do differently if she had created those products herself. Eventually, the wondering stopped, and she went on to start her own skin care line under Drunk Elephant (because elephants appear tipsy after eating the marula fruit, the source of the brand’s hero ingredient marula oil)—a name she took a risk on and had to fight for. “I felt it was memorable and that people would want to know—they would ask about it, and it would create enough curiosity that it might just work to my benefit. It was a risk, but I think it ended up paying off.”

Her guiding mission: “I think typically when someone like me starts a skin care line, they go to a chemist and ask them to help formulate a product. But I didn’t do that. I spent months and months and months researching. I would take a typical vitamin C serum and I would create charts, detailing the role of each ingredient in the serum. I soon not only understood every ingredient, but I realized I wanted to make a line of products in which every ingredient mattered.”

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Indie Lee - DermStoreIndie Lee
Founder, Indie Lee

Eight years ago, on Earth Day, Indie Lee woke up from a successful brain surgery after only being given a few months to live. Several months before that, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor that was potentially linked to hidden environmental toxins in her everyday skin care products. “What I learned, among other things, is that up to 60% of what is applied to the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. It was during that aha moment that I realized that I had to do something.” After overcoming the odds, Indie went on to create her eponymous skin care line with which she aims to empower others to make healthier choices.

Her guiding mission: “Some people are given a new lease on life. Mine began on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. I have committed myself wholeheartedly to empowering others to make healthier choices and to creating luxurious, natural, effective products that don’t require a sacrifice in health, savings or product enjoyment.”

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Q&A With Herbivore Botanicals - The DermStore Blog

Julia Wills and Alex Kummerow
Co-founders, Herbivore Botanicals

Effective skin care can be powered from nature. This is the idea that propelled Julia Wills and Alex Kummerow to create a unique skin care line that prides itself on being ethically sourced, thoughtfully formulated and lovingly crafted with a minimalist aesthetic. From their humble Seattle kitchen, the husband and wife have gone on to develop a range of all-natural and highly effective products that deliver tangible results—no fillers, just active ingredients. “Ensuring these standards is of paramount importance to all of us at Herbivore. Our brand is uncompromising in its commitment to source only the highest-quality natural, nontoxic ingredients in order to produce the safest, most effective products.”

Their guiding mission: “Nature has something for everyone, and we are determined to use this incredibly diverse wealth of remedies to create treatments that will benefit the entire spectrum of skin types. We hope that every woman will be able to create a skin care experience to bring out her healthiest beauty and, ultimately, to cherish as a daily wellness essential. It is this unique diversity of well-researched, high-quality products that we hope will define Herbivore as a leader in natural skin care.”

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Juice Beauty Karen Behnke - Dermstore Blog

Karen Behnke
Founder, Juice Beauty

Karen Behnke built one of the country’s first corporate wellness companies, but it wasn’t until she became pregnant with her first child at age 40 that she started paying closer attention to the ingredients in her beauty products. She knew that as the largest organ in the body, the skin absorbs over 60 percent of anything you put on it, and yet there were very few options for safe, healthy and effective personal care products. She knew it was time for change. In 2004, she bought the name Juice Beauty and launched it from scratch a year later with one goal in mind: to create organic and natural formulations without compromising potency, effectiveness and the experience of luxury. Since then, Juice Beauty has grown into an award-winning skin care, makeup and hair care line that continues to deliver on its promise while maintaining the highest standards.

Her guiding mission: “Knowing that our skin absorbs over 60% of what is placed on it and that our body was being exposed to toxic ingredients, I was determined to radically transform the chemistry of beauty. I set out to grow the Juice Beauty brand with a mission to create luxurious formulations, made with certified organic ingredients that perform just as well, if not better than conventional chemical beauty.”

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Suzanne-Leroux-One-Love-Organics-1 | Dermstore Blog

Suzanne LeRoux
Founder, One Love Organics

One Love Organics is a revolutionary, all-natural skin care line that delivers visible beautifying results with ingredients that are kept as pure to skin as possible. True to its name, it was borne out of founder Suzanne LeRoux and husband Chase’s belief that love is the grandest, most powerful force on the planet. As someone who has always nurtured an interest in the power of nature and urged by her deepening commitment to health and wellness, Susan has translated her passion for holistic healing and desire to provide a clean and healthy lifestyle for her family into a brand that creates wholesome, effective, and socially and environmentally conscious products. Proof of the brand’s unquestionable integrity and standards is its manufacturing facility’s ECOCERT ® license, the first and only one in Georgia and only 1 of 10 facilities to be certified in the United States.

Her guiding mission: “Women today want to look and feel as healthy as they do beautiful. I created One Love Organics to offer a simpler approach to beauty: a sensitive yet effective alternative to all those ubiquitous bottles and the mysterious stuff they contain. Our philosophy is focused on a few supreme, certified natural and organic plant-based and cruelty-free products that make skin care fun, easy, healthy and effective.”

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Tammy-Fender-holding-a-white-flower-1 | Dermstore Blog

Tammy Fender
Founder, Tammy Fender

While working as an aesthetician in Palm Beach more than 25 years ago, Tammy Fender wanted to provide pure, all-natural solutions to her clientele, but she soon found out that products she could believe in were few and far between. After making a personal commitment to genuinely care and invest in the happiness of people and share her quest for harmony and balance in mind, body and spirit, she turned her passion for holistic living into a skin care line that guarantees true healing and real beauty that radiates from within.

“At that point, after completing much research in plant science, traditional healing, holistic medicine and medicinal chemistry, I made the leap. I began mixing up my own custom-blended formulas in my kitchen, using the most potent and pure botanical ingredients available. Thanks to the success of those early formulas, the word spread!”

Her guiding mission: “When I began, you could find a small selection of all-natural skin care products at your local health food store, but there was nothing elegant or refined about them. On the other hand, there was also a variety of luxury products available elsewhere, but these ignored even the most basic tenets of holistic care. For me, luxury is purity. I was so drawn to the Pure Living Energy of the botanical extracts used in traditional healing, and I put my heart and soul into tracking and sourcing the most exquisite botanical ingredients to use in my formula blends—those that preserved the molecular integrity and unadulterated beauty of nature’s most potent healers.”

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Lena-Korres-of-Korres-Skin-Care-1 | Dermstore Blog

Lena Korres
Co-founder and Director of Brand Development, Korres

From a small apothecary in Athens to the internationally acclaimed brand it is today, the success of Korres is perhaps best attributed to the dual philosophies within its core. It successfully and expertly merges traditional Aegean homeopathic remedies with scientific research and innovation, mirroring the complementing partnership of founders Lena Korres, a chemical engineer, and husband George, who has an extensive background in pharmacology and a deep understanding of natural ingredients and their application.

After emerging on top of their game at a time when “natural” and “organic” were far from being the buzzwords they are today, Lena faced yet another challenge: the creation of their exclusive Greek yoghurt skin care line. “With a lot of research and patience, we developed a stable cosmetic formula that preserves all of the ‘live’ yoghurt’s benefits. Incorporating edible yoghurt was a true innovation and a first in the global cosmetics industry!”

Her guiding mission: “When we started 20 years ago, natural products were not as common as they are today. We wanted to create products that were natural, yet most importantly still effective and safe. Today, we continue to make best-selling innovative products with this same mission. We know how plant extracts work in our bodies and on our skin for maximum results, and develop products based on both primary and applied research to understand the clinical benefits of natural ingredients in relation to skin biochemistry.”

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Kathy-Phillips-of-This-Works-2 | Dermstore Blog

Kathy Phillips
Founder, This Works

While serving as the beauty director of Vogue, Kathy Phillips had seen the launch of just about every high-end and up-and-coming beauty product in the market. But even then, she still found herself going back to the specially made solutions created for her by her local aromatherapist. As a global health and beauty expert, Kathy is a firm believer that sleep is still the number one ingredient for healthy and beautiful skin, leading her to develop an innovative product line that align with the body’s biorhythms. With its intelligent and innovative approach to anti-aging skin care, Kathy ensures each product delivers the results it promises—evidenced by the bold declaration that the name This Works claims.

Her guiding mission: “I was frustrated with the marketing of brands who didn’t (in my opinion) take into account what women really need and want, often using focus groups and—I’m being sexist here—marketing men to decide on the products they made. Ultimately also, making promises I didn’t feel their products delivered. In addition, I had been interested in the use of bioactive natural products, plants and herbal medicine since I started practicing yoga, now over 35 years ago. The lifestyle of a yogi is not just about the postures—the philosophy urges clean living and a gentler, more holistic way of looking after mind and body.”

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Oliver-Sweatman-and-Emily-Doyle-of-Ursa-Major-1 | Dermstore Blog

Oliver Sweatman and Emily Doyle
Co-founders, Ursa Major

After leaving busy New York City for quiet Vermont, co-founders Emily Doyle and Oliver Sweatman committed themselves to pursuing a simpler, healthier and more active lifestyle. This led to the creation of a brand that encourages a more conscious, follow-your-heart way of living. Using the latest advances in green chemistry and formulation, Ursa Major harnesses the potent healing and rejuvenating powers of nature. “When we set out to develop our initial daily face care regimen, we established a few key criteria that we needed to meet with every new product. First, does the product work well? Second, is it a healthy product, free of known toxins or irritants? And finally, does it deliver a delightful experience?” With a name that conjures up images of constellations, mighty bears and adventure, Ursa Major is every bit as enchanting as its name implies.

Their guiding mission: “On a brand level, we wanted to be as transparent as possible with our process and [to] also make sure we were giving our customers great one-on-one service. Plus, we believe in living a courageous, authentic life (not always easy!), and we wanted to try and inspire our customers to do the same. We call this ‘living major.’”

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Dermstore Editors

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