This week, S.W. Basics announced that Target will be carrying their products online and in stores.
Let me repeat that. One of America’s biggest and most beloved retailers has picked up an all-natural, indie darling, and they’re giving the general public real options in green beauty — not that greenwashed variety. This. Is. Huge. News. Between this announcement (which you can read on S.W. Basics blog) and GOOP’s declaration last week that they are all about clean beauty (yo, they have a lot of sway), it feels like there is real momentum behind our clean beauty movement. While we need to keep putting pressure on companies to use non-toxic formulas and be transparent about their ingredients and business practices, it’s important to celebrate these victories for health, too.
We are thrilled that Target is taking consumer demands for safe and healthy personal care products seriously, and we wanted to get the scoop on how this partnership came about. Would it mean big changes for S.W. Basics? Do you have to sell-out your company values or change what makes you special in the first place in order to work with a big corporation like Target?
I had a Google chat with Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics, to find out more.
me: Hello Adina!
Adina: Hi!! So fun. Who wouldn’t want to talk about things over chat? It’s how all things should be done.
me: Right?! Have people been blowing you up today after you sent out your Bullseye newsletter?
Adina: Yes! Feeling super famous, and very supported. More so than I was expecting actually.
me: Oh wonderful! Were you expecting some kind of revolt from your fans? Like “noooo, indie forever!” or something?
Adina: Absolutely. At least from a few. The worst we’ve gotten has been, “Congrats! Keep your SW integrity.” Which is nice, that we have special integrity. I think people are surprised/relieved that Target didn’t make us change anything. We are, too.
me: Yes, I admit I was holding my breath on that! I mean, for some reason I just assumed that there would be some pressure to change something about your line — mostly related to ingredients. Is that weird? There’s the whole issue of producing so much more to meet the demands of Target, right? So how does scaling up production like that affect your business?
Adina: It’s definitely weird. I really meant what I said in the letter. Virtually every retailer we’ve ever met with has wanted to change us. Even the ones that “support” natural brands. Scaling is a huge issue. We’ve borrowed and raised money. I’m not really sure how people do it otherwise. It’s clunky and painful.
me: Can you describe what’s involved?
Adina: So even today, some of the products are handmade in house. We have outsourced a few, and were continuing to do so, but slowly. Very slowly. It’s so hard to meet the minimums that manufacturers require. The nice part is that now the minimums are no problem. And you’d be floored by how differently a conversation goes when you start with “We’re working with Target.” It’s been a whole new world for us in that regard. But, it’s sales that are coming. It’s minimums that are still huge for us right now; they just won’t be in a few months. So you’re spending before you can afford it, and suddenly you’ve become a distributor, not a producer, which is a whole new set of operating rules. Essentially we’re having to learn, scale, and manage things all at the same time. I guess all businesses do though!
me: Wow, that sounds like quite a challenge. Are you growing your staff, too? And can you say more about what it’s like to move toward being more of a distributor? Do you think that will give you more freedom to create and expand?
Adina: Not growing staff yet because it’s too expensive. So we’re all just working way more than we should. (We have a joke about this with other friends in start ups where we’ll email from the office late and sign it hashtag startup life.) I mean I’m hoping it’ll give me more time, but it seems to only get busier… it’s very early though. We’re not quite at the point where we have the cash to go, “Let’s hire eight people to do all the things we need help with so I can go work on new products on a beach somewhere.” Just kidding about the beach. Sort of. I think being a distributor is harder in a lot of ways because you can’t bury yourself in making products, which is a very safe space for crafters. But spending each day managing people and inventory and sales… woah. The pressure is huge.
me: Yes, and totally different! How was the process of outsourcing production? Are there good options for companies with all natural formulas?
Adina: Hm. Yes and no. There are definitely amazing options out there when you’re ready to place huge orders. The places that make or made brands like Burt’s Bees are legit. They’re innovative and clean and efficient and have been around for way longer than people probably realize. But when you call and say “I don’t want to use any preservatives, not even the natural ones,” no one acts happy. You can hear them roll their eyes.
me: Did Target need any convincing about your formulas and the lack of preservatives?
Adina: Not beyond us explaining the shelf life and reasons. There was no scoffing or disbelief — only, “Makes total sense.” Truly magical. We were emotionally jaw-dropped when we left, like “What just happened?”
me: Did Target speak to why they are moving in this direction when they reached out to you? And how did this all come about anyhow? When did Target first call you up to discuss?
Adina: The first call was from a broker team (they’re also amazing) who has been working with Target for like three decades. They said, “Target is looking for new brands and they’re hosting a beauty fair, can you make it out?” And we were all “That’s funny but sure! Thanks for thinking of us even though there is no chance in hell!” We went out and it was instant. I’m talking the event started at 9:00 am and by 9:05 we were all best friends. We don’t really push them for information because they’re still scary to us, but we know they are really excited about the growth in their natural category, in their premium category, and that their customers are asking for more organic, healthy products. The whole team really gets what Target is and what Target is capable of, and their responsibility to their customer and the future. The whole store is becoming more and more sustainable. In a sense, it’s funny that we’re so surprised. You know? This whole time I keep changing my mind between being blown away and being like duh this is exactly how they should be!
me: Yes, I agree about being surprised, but it is surprising. This is a really big deal for green beauty. You’re really charting new territory here by partnering with a huge corporation like Target. This puts truly natural products in the hands of the masses.
Adina: I hope so! If it goes well…!
me: Can you tell us what store locations you’ll be in beginning in March? What does “select premium aisles” mean?
Adina: 337 locations total that have a special new aisle where the price point is slightly higher, and the products are more… premium. Fancier! I don’t know how to describe it. Laneige. Vichy.
me: But you’ve lowered the prices for the Cleanser, Toner, and Exfoliant, right? Will the price go down everywhere?
Adina: Yes. We actually did want their advice on our prices, and I’ve always always always wanted to come down in price. I want natural skincare to be affordable, not a reach. I’m not trying to be a luxury brand. It kills me how expensive it is to make our products. They advised us that those three products were a little above what they thought would do well, and we agreed. And thanks to the scaling, we were able to actually improve our costs, which made the lower prices possible.
me: I like it! Pricing is often a hurdle for people trying to clean up their beauty routines, so it’s interesting that one outcome for you here is being able to lower your prices somewhat.
Adina: Yes. I wish we could do it more. A lot of people push back because they think it’s expensive for having so few ingredients. (In fact, I regularly check posts about us on NMDL and get sad about those types of comments.) They don’t understand it’s so, so expensive to use high quality ingredients and not add any fillers. You think that raw argan oil deserves that price but what about fresh rosewater distilled from the petals and imported from Bulgaria? When you buy a “rosewater cleanser” with 50 ingredients… that’s not a lot of rosewater. But a cleanser where it’s 1 of 3? I’ll stop I’m rambling! I just really want people to know we’re trying.
me: Yes! I want all the rosewater from Bulgaria! Or I want it to be 1 of 3 ingredients.
me: I think it’s important to continue talking about why we pay more for these high quality, organic when possible ingredients. It’s part of the education process about why the conventional stuff is so bad for us. The problem is that we’ve all been led to think of cosmetics and personal care products as inherently cheap, like $4 bottles of shampoo and lotion, but that’s only possible because of the cheap filler that’s inside the bottle. It’s the same story with processed, packaged food versus fresh, whole foods. Yes, it’s going to cost more.
Adina: Of course! And no, the prices will not go down until everyone is buying them.
me: Good point. This has been such an enlightening conversation! What else would you like NMDL readers to know about your collaboration with Target?
Adina: Well, that it’s in large part because of them, because of sites like NMDL, and because of the number of people who care. That they need to keep at it. Not about our brand necessarily, but about natural products in general. Because it’s working! And that I love them and that I read all of their comments.
me: I love them and their comments, too. Before I let you go, could you ask Target to add product ingredients to their site?
Adina: Ha! When I’m less scared of them, definitely.
me: Thank you so much for talking with me and sharing this story!
Adina: Thank YOU. I love you and what you guys are doing. Fighting the good fight!
So what do YOU think about this news? Share with us in the comments!
Are you the type of person who piddles about in the morning? Or are you the type of person who has a routine and sticks to it, moving at a quick pace to get out of the house and on with your day? Linda is up and out in 40 minutes flat, but she doesn’t play when it comes to clean beauty. Linda, we whole-heartedly share your body oil addiction.
City: Boston, MA
Weather: Crisp fall weather right now…the perfect time for layers, boots and tights
Hair: Asian hair that is going gray on the right temple…but I’ve embraced it and no longer color it. I love my gray streak now!
Skin: Pale, sensitive and unfortunately with lots of hyperpigmentation
My morning needs to be speedy…I need to be up and out the door in 40 minutes so I can get to work on time. I take a shower every morning since it seems to loosen up my muscles and get me going. I wash my hair with Acure Volumizing Mint Shampoo and then follow it with Rahua Volumizing conditioner. I find this combination gives me volume without looking too flyaway. I leave the conditioner on my hair and then use the Strange Invisible Perfumes Frankincense & Coriander shower gel. I got this product in A Night for Green Beauty box. I love the smell of it… not too herby or too floral… a perfect scent. If I don’t use the shower gel, I use Osmia Organics Lemon Cedargrass soap — one of my favorites. I next plan on getting Osmia’s Chamomile Sun soap… I got to sample it at a friend’s house and loved it…. very sudsy and moisturizing.
I must confess — I have a body oil addiction! After my shower, I use one of my oils depending on my skin/mood of the day… my choices are: One Love Organics Rose Serum, Primavera Rose, One Love Organics Pineapple, Osmia Light, Osmia Wood, Meow Meow Tweet Cedar Sage, Meow Meow Tweet Lavender & Lemongrass, Meow Meow Tweet Chamomile & Calendula, Beridan Naturals in Floral, Beridan Naturals in Fresh.
Next I brush my teeth… this is still a non-green product — I use Sensodyne. I haven’t found a green alternative that I like as much as this paste. Then onto my facial stuff. I either apply One Love Organics Chia Oil or MUN No. 1 Aknari onto my skin, then I follow it with Primavera Revitalizing Eye Cream. I follow that up with Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream all over my face and neck. I finish up with swiping CV Skin Labs Balm onto my lips. I then try to figure out what I’m going to wear for the day and when I’m done, all of the good stuff has soaked in.
Now it is time for makeup — I put Vapour Organics Stratus Skin Perfector in shade 902 on and then follow it up with Kajer Weis Foundation in Paper Thin. This foundation is a ‘my skin but better’ product. I never thought I’d find something that worked as well for me especially with the hyperpigmentation. I then dot on RMS blush in Demure and RMS Living Luminizer and blend both with my fingers. Next is eyeliner — my other non-green product – Revlon Color Stay Eyeliner. I’ve used some other green eyeliners but they don’t seem to last as long as this product. I finish up with RMS Finishing Powder and W3LL People Lip Balm in 7.
Lastly but not least, I blow dry my hair. I prep it with John Masters Organics Sea Salt Spray, which gives it a little oomph. I’m still looking for a great green styling product that doesn’t leave hair gloopy and flat. So far this is the best I’ve found but I’m always on the lookout. After drying my hair, I spritz some Yarok hairspray on my brush and run it lightly over my hair so that it stays in place during my speed walk to work.
Love it? Us too! Share your morning routine with us — email@example.com!
The very first reason I got interested in natural, non-toxic beauty was because my sensitive skin threw an angry, stressed-out fit at me for 1. applying products that were too harsh for my skin and 2. trying too many things at once. If there’s anything a sensitive-skinned gal should know, it’s that her skin flourishes when she sticks to a consistent skincare routine.
Changing things up, whether that be products, environment, amount of sleep or water consumption, wreaks havoc on my skin. So last year, when I returned from my honeymoon, dove into product testing for NMDL, took myself off of birth control for health reasons and prepared for a holiday trip to see my new in-laws, my face went haywire.
Then I discovered my allergy to beeswax and things started to look up a little, but even eliminating that from my skincare and makeup routine didn’t completely clear my skin. What actually started to heal it was something counter-intuitive for anyone who’s struggled with blemishes: moisture.
Usually, truly acne-prone skin is skin that’s also on the oily side. Extra sebum production causes clogged pores and underground infections that can bring painful bumps to the surface. In my case, my bevy of bumps was caused by the opposite issue. My skin was dehydrated and craving more water-based moisture than I was giving it.
For me, the culprit was too many oils. Now, I have yet to really dive into the science or chemistry behind my theory, but my experience has been that when I use too many oils on my face (via oil cleansing, oil-based moisturizers and makeup, and oil treatments or serums), my skin becomes a breeding ground for blackheads and under-the-surface bumps. It’s like the topical oils trick my skin into thinking it doesn’t need to produce as much of its own oil, in turn causing dehydration and lack of skin cell turnover as my face tries to balance itself out.
To combat this, I pared down my skincare routine, stopped using any products that touted acne-fighting benefits and started hydrating with aloe or water-based moisturizers like ARONCA’s Chamomile Balm. This seemingly unassuming moisturizer is one of the products I credit with changing the tone, texture and look of my skin. When I use it consistently, my skin clears up, has less overall redness and is far more balanced, glowing and healthy.
Aloe, a key ingredient in this balm, is such a good remedy for sensitive skin. It’s soothing, calming, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. When you pair it with super hydrators like shea butter, you end up with a product that can be used to combat extremely dry, inflamed skin (think after-sun or wind-chapped). Blue chamomile essential oil is a super-soother too, with anti-inflammatory and skin-healing properties. In fact, some herbalists breed German chamomile plants to have a higher azulene (the blue color) content because it’s used so frequently in medicinal skincare products (and it has a lovely, light, calming scent).
Butchers broom, another medicinal herb, increases circulation to your skin, while helping to relieve redness and reduce swelling and itching. It’s also great for repairing capillary damage. White tea, apple extract and vitamin E help to neutralize free radicals, promoting anti-aging benefits and combating environmental effects.
The thing about this balm and all of its ingredients is that it actually works. It hydrates more than any thick cream (it comes in a pump and has a dense-but-light texture) I’ve used and I’ve seen a reduction in blackheads, blemishes and redness in the five months that I’ve used it. I even used it during the summer, when you don’t really think you need an intense moisturizer–mixing half a pump with my hydrosol or toner was the perfect amount of hydration for my skin.
This calming moisturizer has passed the truest test as well: I’ve re-bought this product more than once already and I will keep re-buying it through the winter. It’s hard to argue with that kind of all-year-round effectiveness.
What do you use when your skin acts up? Do you have water or aloe-based moisturizers that you love? Share your story in the comments!
It’s clear that every detail matters with True Nature Botanicals, and you need only hold one of their solid perfumes in your hand to know. The solid perfumes are the first new release from True Nature Botanicals since the company split from Marie Veronique Organics, taking the Pacific line with it. Expect delightful things from this original debut. Housed in gorgeous refillable packaging, True Nature Botanicals solid perfumes slip into any clutch or pocket for a discreet application wherever you are. Just swirl your index finger in the perfume to warm the solid a bit and then dab dab dab on your pulse points, behind your ears, along your clavicles, or even under your arms or inside your belly button. Those last two spots may not be the norm, but your body heats up in those areas, which helps bring the scent to life even more. Try it.
These solid perfumes were one of the new launches featured at A Night For Green Beauty, and we dashed over to the True Nature Botanicals table to smell them as quickly as we could. Each is fresh and intoxicating, and we especially love how a solid wears on skin.
We’d love for you to try the Noble perfume collection, and here’s your chance. Three lucky No More Dirty Looks readers will win one of True Nature Botanicals solid perfumes — Noble Woods, Noble Floral, and Noble Citrus. Enter by next Thursday, November 6th for a chance to win this luxe treat.
The details: From now until midnight next Friday (like when the clock changes from Thursday to Friday) you can enter to win. You have a few options for how to enter, but the more you complete, the more chances you have to win: follow True Nature Botanicals or No More Dirty Looks on Twitter or like True Nature Botanicals or No More Dirty Looks on Facebook, or tweet about it. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One of our discoveries at A Night For Green Beauty was the brand new liquid foundation from Gressa Skin. When we applied a drop to the back of our hands to swatch it, we gave a collective ooooooh as it blended effortlessly into a powdery satin finish. Could it look as flawless on the face? Yes! Nicolle reviewed this bad girl plus the bronzer not long ago, and we’ve been cooking up a Friday Deal for you ever since. So here’s the deal…
Gressa Skin is giving No More Dirty Looks readers a free MINIMALIST Illuminating Serum ($45 value) when you purchase the MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation and the MINIMALIST Contouring Serum Bronzer. Put all three in your basket and use the code GLOW at check out before the deal ends this Sunday night. International orders welcome.
Run, don’t walk, because this natural makeup is unlike anything you’ve tried. Not only is application a breeze — this stuff literally melts into your skin — but the formulas were created to nourish and heal. Basically, you’re getting a high quality treatment serum disguised as makeup, and it just so happens that the makeup is crazy good. You have to see the ingredient list for the MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation for yourself: *Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Silica, GRESSA Healing ComplexTM *Silymarin, *Neem (Azadirachta indica) Extract,*Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Extract, *Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis) Extract, *Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) Extract, *Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Seed Extract, *Elder Flower (Sambucus nigra) Extract, *Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Extract, Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate Non-GMO, Coenzyme Q10, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, (Vitamin C), *lecithin, *glycerin, mica, iron oxides, titanium oxide. *CERTIFIED ORGANIC
Impressed? Us, too. Have you tried anything from the Gressa Skin MINIMALIST collection? Tell us what you think in the comments!