All-Natural Beauty Startups Are Thriving Around Boston
After Fiona Barrett was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, she threw out all of her cosmetics.
Barrett, a health coach and Swampscott resident, had started reading Stacy Malkan’s book Not Just a Pretty Face after her diagnosis, through which she learned just how many chemicals are in makeup. “I threw away all my cosmetics and went completely natural, but I really missed my lipstick,” she remembers.
With few natural lip color options on the market, Barrett decided to make her own, and Super Natural Lipstick was born. Today, the company makes a full line of lipsticks, for sale online, that are free of hydrogenated oils, parabens—which have been linked to breast cancer—and toxic pigments, deriving colors instead from beets, red cabbage, and eco-certified shimmers.
“There’s a huge trend toward getting away from toxic lifestyles, toxic foods, toxic products, and it’s definitely a raised awareness toward that,” Barrett says. “People are very much more aware and conscientious of what they’re put on and putting into their body.”
Barrett and her customers are part of a growing trend in the beauty industry, one moving toward green, all-natural products and away from harsh chemicals. Aside from Super Natural Lipstick, the Boston area alone is home to 365 Lacquer and Delush Polish, two all-natural, vegan nail polish companies selling their products online.
Both 365 Lacquer and Delush make nail colors free of five chemicals known to be potentially dangerous to human health: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. They’re also vegan—and yes, most nail polishes do contain some animal products, says 365 Lacquer founder Megan Gutman.
Many nail polishes contain pigments carmine and guanine—made from beetle shells and fish scales, respectively—and many nail hardeners are derived from gelatin, Gutman explains. “We choose to use pigments that are not sourced from animals, like oxide and other minerals like mica,” she says.
And though the companies are focusing on health and eco-friendliness, they’re not sacrificing fashion and beauty. “By fusing our passion for color, fashion, and pop culture inspiration, we design shades that transcend the boundaries of traditional nail polish and bring the notion of nail art in a bottle to your fingertips,” says Delush founder Adriana Gonzalez.
It’s a combination that customers are embracing. Gutman, like Barrett, says she’s noticed a cross-industry movement lately, one in which consumers are looking for alternatives to the highly processed, chemical-laden products that dominate the market.
“People are just starting to learn that what they’re using around them can have an effect on their health,” Gutman says. “You can look in all industries and see that people are moving to greener products.”