I was introduced to Jeannie Jarnot by Jillian Wright, founder of the Indie Beauty Expo. The IBE brings together some of the smartest and most dedicated women in clean beauty and Jeannie Jarnot is one of those women. Her company Beauty Heroes offers women a simple solution to safer skincare by delivering subscribers one non-toxic beauty product each month. Jeannie thoughtfully curates the Beauty Heroes collection and believes that making the transition to safer skincare should be easy and affordable. I'm thrilled to share this exclusive interview with Jeannie and I hope after reading you'll sign up to receive the March Beauty Hero product. Xoxo Alexis
How is Beauty Heroes making the "beauty discovery process" less overwhelming for women looking to clean up their beauty routine?
The idea for our service was came to me over 10 years ago, when I was the Spa Director at The Carneros Inn in Napa. I knew there were harmful ingredients in beauty and spa products and I wanted to make sure the products we were using on our clients in the treatment room were good for them, not harmful to them. There was a lot less information than there is today about ingredients, and it was hard to get clear information about what was actually harmful. As a spa director, I was being a pitched product every day by different brands and every one of them had a different story of what was harmful and what wasn’t. It was overwhelming and confusing.
I thought, if this is confusing to me, I couldn’t even imagine how confusing it is for the everyday consumer. My goal with Beauty Heroes, as a whole, is to be a trusted source or beauty that is more than safe, but healthy for you to use. So whether you are a member of our monthly beauty discovery service or shop in our online clean beauty store, you know that we have a clearly defined ingredient standard that you can trust.
In the spa setting, women would tell us about their beauty routine and the vast number of products they had, but that they really no idea how to use them or what was in them. During a service we would talk to them about their primary skincare concern and based on that consider a Hero Product that had the right ingredients to treat their concern and educate them on just one beauty product. We would earn their trust so they could come back to learn more. We’d slow it all down a bit. That is what we do with our subscription service by delivering one, full size healthy face, body, sun or hair care product each month to our members. For $39/month you can try a top-selling, carefully selected product delivered with ingredient information, details about how the product works, where and how it’s made so you understand what you are putting on your body. You can add this product into your routine, and maybe replace a product that is not clean or hasn’t been as effective. And if you love the product and the results, you may look into discovering more from that brand, now that you know more about them from all the information we share about them. We only deliver 12 Hero Products a year to our members, so we put a lot of time into selecting them with our members in mind.
How do you choose each month's Beauty Heroes product selections?
Because we feature only one maker and their Hero Product each month, we co-create an intentional and focused experience for our members, together. Every selection has a different story as to how the product came to us. For our March, as I wrote in my introduction for the Q+A with March’s brand Founder, I met Annie Tevelin of SkinOwl at last year’s Indie Beauty Expo and found her to be magnetic, with an awesome approach ingredients and beauty. In this case we discussed which of her products were her top-seller, and most universally appropriate for our members. Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM was the Hero Product we settled on, and it was an easy choice. When I touch, smell and feel a few drops, it just feels pure, fresh and alive. It is a great example of a Hero Product I want in my routine always and that’s made of the highest quality botanical ingredients that are effective in supporting skin health and vitality.
Tell us about some of your favorite "Superpower" ingredients.
There’s not enough room on our Ingredient Intelligence Pocket Guide for all the healthy Superpower ingredients, nature is just so abundant with good stuff. Besides the ultra precious Mangosteen Oil in March’s Hero that is extracted from the skin of this Southeast Asian super-fruit, I also love Tamanu Oil, Honey, Jasmine and the lesser-known, but super-effective Prawn Sage.
I only discovered Tamanu Oil a few years ago and I love it for its amazing acne-fighting powers. This super-oil has made a huge impact on my skin as it’s in Laurel Whole Plant Organic’s Antioxidant Face Serum and Mahalo Skincare’s Vitality Elixir.
Honey is one of my very favorite superpowers for skin. I love products that contain honey and my favorite way to us it is to mix it into my face masks. It adds some texture to the mask, is a great exfoliator, moisturizer and antibacterial. It’s super skin food, no doubt.
Jasmine essential oil is a new ingredient love for me. It was one of the key Superpowers in our October 2015 Sidekick, In Fiore’s Lustra Illuminating Essence and our December Hero Product Award Winner, Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Face Serum. Besides being a great skin healer, it works to calm the senses and relieve stress, which ultimately shows up in your skin.
I also love a little known herb called Prawn Sage Extract, which was the superpower ingredient in our March 2015 Hero Product from Bottega Organica. Studied and celebrated for it’s ability to reverse the damage of cancer cells, the doctor advising Bottega Organica decided to study its’ effects on reversing skin damage, and the results were profound. Prawn sage extract is pretty special and we are working with another product from Bottega Organica later this year that will feature it and I’m really excited about that.
Beauty Heroes champions clean beauty brands and helps women discover brands and products they would otherwise never know about. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges facing clean beauty brands?
The way I see it they have three challenges. The first is overcoming the belief that truly clean beauty, completely free of toxic ingredients, isn’t as effective as products made in a lab with patented ingredients that have complicated names and have been scientifically studied and on and on. It’s simply not true. Not only are natural products more effective, over time, the toxic load from our environment and personal care products is taking a toll on our health which correlates directly to our appearance. There is so much slick marketing around mainstream beauty, tons of celebrity endorsements and article upon article about how beauty products containing a certain patented ingredient can get us to look a certain way, it’s hard to overcome that. Getting women to take the long view when considering what they put on their bodies isn’t easy, we want instant gratification.
The second challenge is changing the expectation that we should have from our products to and re-framing it so that we are taking a realistic view of what products can and should actually do. Beauty products should support our skin in it’s optimal health, not make it go back in time. For me I was really focused on products that would support my skin in clearing and healing. Having suffered from severe acne stemming from an endocrinological disorder, I feel like at 42 my skin is the best it’s ever been and the best it can be. A lot of times people tell me they can’t tell I had severe acne, and it’s because now my skin is healthy and supported by products that support it in healing itself.
And the last challenge will be to be able to source quality ingredients at an affordable price. There is not an infinite supply of botanicals, particularly organic and sustainably harvested botanicals. Just last year there was a world wide shortage of rosehip oil that left a whole lot of beauty brands scrambling. I think with the increasing demand for natural actives, this challenge will become more frequent. If I were to guess, I think that brands will begin growing and harvesting their own botanicals, some already are, and the price will probably increase.
Tell us a bit more about your mantra "Use less. Love more."
This ‘tag line’ was plucked out of a conversation I was having with one of my colleagues in the very early stages of Beauty Heroes. I was passionately describing how I hoped Beauty Heroes would impact others and it came out naturally; I want to simplify beauty discovery so we can all use less, and love more. We wrote it down and it has become the cornerstone of my vision. It’s a little counter-intuitive because we are selling products and we are operating a business, so people are always asking me how I plan to grow a business by telling people to use and buy less. But, his message is important to me because we are over-consuming. And I know that women, who make the bulk of purchasing decisions in our homes, are the ones who will start to shift our planet and culture from over-consumption to mindful consumption. And what I mean by this is not that we stop buying or consuming, but that we don’t spend our energy and resources on things that we don’t really want, need or will truly enjoy. There is a shift in consciousness, I think many of us can feel it, and I just want it to keep on growing.
What are your thoughts on anti-aging products? Are their natural, safe and effective alternatives to conventional anti-aging formulations?
The short answer is yes, there are a so many Superpower ingredients that repair, protect and enhance skin function, giving it a smoother, softer and healthier appearance from carrot seed oil, prawn sage extract (as described above) and even peptides. And we can’t discount the importance of eating healthfully and sun protection which both contribute to the appearance of our skin. But in reality, skin care products can only help your skin look its best, they can’t reverse or stop aging. I don’t mind the term anti-aging, because we all know what it means and we all want to look our best. But I think as women we will all do ourselves a service to embrace our skin at every age, protect it, take care of it and celebrate it. Many conventional anti-aging formulations have ingredients that may have adverse affects that can lead to health problems, hormone imbalances and even cancer. And if you’re not healthy, who cares what your skin looks like. I believe that at any age, the women who care for their health and embrace their beauty are the most youthful and genuinely gorgeous and attractive.
Lastly, tell us about March's Beauty Hero Product!
I am so excited about our March Hero Product Award Winner from SkinOwl, Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM, because it is one that I want to have in my life forever. It consists of only two very high quality cold-pressed organic superpower ingredients, Mangosteen Fruit Oil and Baobab Seed Oil. This face oil is unlike anything I’ve ever put on my skin. First, the natural sweet scent that comes from the peel of the mangosteen fruit is so enticing. It smells like you just peeled the fruit and have it fresh in front of you. And the consistency of the oil is clean and spreads beautifully. I massage it from my chest up to my forehead at night after cleansing. I usually layer it over a face serum, I’m big on layering product at night before bed. It’s paired with a Sidekick (every Hero needs a sidekick) of a one or two time use of SkinOwl beauty steam. Annie Tevelin, the founder and wise woman behind SkinOwl created an exclusive-to Beauty Heroes blend of seasonal herbs called Heroic Helichrysum. So with our March beauty discovery box our members can enjoy the self-care beauty ritual of creating a face steam followed by using Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM. Through our collaboration, Annie and I set out to convey the SkinOwl philosophy, that skin care is heroic act of self-care.