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Filtering by Category: #girlpower

Meet LOLA, A Female-Powered Brand Simplifying Periods

Jessica Assaf

Meet Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman, two women making our periods so much easier with LOLA, a brand that promises 100% hypoallergenic cotton tampons delivered to your door every month in customizable shipments. Alexis and I both used LOLA tampons this month, and we absolutely loved the experience. The tampons are effective and clean (no chemicals, synthetics or dyes,) the branding is modern and chic, and we didn't have to run around our neighborhoods searching for bleach-free tampons that actually work. We are honored to share an interview with the founders of a female-powered company that is truly innovating in the beauty and wellness space in all the right ways. 

What inspired you to start LOLA?
A: We founded LOLA with a simple and seemingly obvious idea - you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to tampons. Like most women, we’ve been using the same feminine care products since we were teenagers.  But when we found out that feminine care brands – the same ones we were loyal to all those years – aren’t required to disclose exactly what’s in their products, it made us wonder: what’s in our tampon? Contrary to popular belief, cotton isn’t the primary ingredient in most tampons. In fact, they’re typically made from a blend of the artificial fibers rayon and polyester. To us, it just didn’t make sense. If we care about everything else we put in our bodies, this shouldn’t be any different.

So we set out to create LOLA, a modern approach to feminine care. Made from 100% cotton certified by Cotton Inc., our products are hypoallergenic and don’t contain any synthetics, chemicals, or dyes.  LOLA tampons are wrapped in a BPA-free compact plastic applicator so you don’t have to compromise simple and natural ingredients for comfort. In addition to full ingredient transparency, we provide women the freedom to easily tailor the absorbency assortment and frequency of deliveries to fit their schedules.

Why should we care about the safety of our feminine products?
A: Feminine care as a product category that has been very under-researched. Without the appropriate research or transparency around ingredient breakdown, it’s hard to make informed decisions. LOLA’s mission is to start a conversation about what’s in the products women use – and provide a simple and natural alternative to what’s on the market today. Our aim is to give women peace of mind about what they’re putting in their bodies each month.

What has been the most challenging part of launching a new personal care product?
A: The main challenge for us is education. Given that menstruation is not the “sexiest” topic, women don’t currently think about or discuss their feminine care habits or products with other women. It’s one of the very few topics that women don’t over-analyze together. Therefore we’re bringing not only a new product to market, but also a new way of thinking to market. Just as women consider what’s in the food they eat, the shampoo they use, the diapers they put on their babies, they should also be thinking about what’s in the feminine care products they use. This is an awakening for many women we talk to.

Q: What do you want future customers to know about your brand?
A: LOLA was created as a modern and transparent approach to feminine care.  Our tampons are made from 100% cotton certified by Cotton, Inc., and are completely hypoallergenic without any synthetics, chemicals, or dyes. Because we didn’t want women to compromise on natural ingredients in favor of comfort, LOLA comes wrapped in a compact plastic applicator. In addition to 100% ingredient transparency, we provide women the freedom to easily tailor the absorbency assortment and frequency of deliveries to fit their schedules.

Our vision for LOLA is to encourage women to ask more questions about their products, and empower them to make decisions in the most informed way. Above all, we want women to feel good and have peace of mind about what they’re putting in their bodies.

Q: What are some of your favorite female-powered products?
A: We have such a long list! When we're hungry, we eat Karlie's Kookies (what's better than wholesome and philanthropic). When we're thirsty, we drink VROU (cucumber lime is our fave). When we want to look pretty, we wear NOVIS dresses, Lulu Frost earrings and Glossier lip gloss. When we're breathing life into our workspace, we order mini plants from The Sill (love their eggplant pots). And, when we want to look our tightest (who doesn't)... Spanx to the rescue! 

Shop Lola and simplifying your period starting now! 

The Future is Female: Kiran Gandhi and Her Menstruation Mission

Jessica Assaf

When I met Kiran Gandhi at Harvard Business School in June, I was instantly hooked. She had just graduated from business school with honors, even though she spent her first year playing the drums for M.I.A. on tour. She considers herself a "liberated boss madame." She ran the London marathon in May without wearing a pad or tampon and bled freely, just because it was more comfortable (and to raise awareness for all the girls around the world who don't have access to any menstrual products.) Today, she joined women to rally for safer tampons and pads, for all women, period. We are so excited to share Kiran's experience. xoxo Jess

Photo courtesy of Harvard Business School

Photo courtesy of Harvard Business School

This morning, I joined a coalition of women from different organizations at the #detoxthebox rally at Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was organized by Women’s Voices for the Earth, a non-profit organization that has spent the past twenty years protecting women from toxic chemicals. Our mission today was to demand that Procter & Gamble disclose the ingredients in their Always pads and Tampax tampons. Right now the public does not have access to this information. The materials used to make these products are not available on the boxes themselves, online, or anywhere. Women’s Voices for the Earth recently asked P&G to provide a list of the ingredients for good measure, and in turn received a document with all the ingredients greyed out. Furthermore, they conducted tests via a third-party lab to find if always pads contained carcinogenic materials, and they tested positive. We had reason to be concerned. 

So we took action. Last night we gathered together at an AirBnB house we rented to strategize, eat, and create signs and banners for today’s rally. When we all drove to downtown Cincinnati together at 7am, P&G was waiting for us, along with several police officers. We started holding up our signs around 8 am, just as people were going to work, and we were met with only support – people would honk, take fliers, ask questions and engage. By 8:30am, we started speaking aloud on the loudspeaker. Since everyone in attendance had a diverse perspective, we were each able to highlight a different reason as to why this matters. 

When I got on the loudspeaker, I spoke about the corporate advantages for being proactive about an issue like this. I also talked about the underlying problem—that this topic is so difficult to talk about largely because talking about anything related to women’s reproductive organs is still so awkward. We have to keep quiet about issues relating to women’s bodies, so we all end up assuming that products like tampons and pads are clean, instead of feeling safe to openly question their ingredients and a corporation’s motivations in keeping this information private. 

We assume, if this really was a problem, wouldn’t it have been addressed already? We assume women just need something to cause trouble about, that this isn’t a real issue. We assume P&G probably has a moral or strategic reason as to why they don’t publish their ingredients. We assume, “Well if I haven’t experienced any problems using these products today, this must not be a real issue.” 

These assumptions keep us in the dark. These assumptions prevent women’s bodies from being protected, women’s voices from feeling valued and real change from being made.

In my mind, the many issues surrounding menstrual health today represent a symbol of the larger issues I am fighting for. I don’t like that in our society, it matters whose voice is saying what. I don’t like that if women get together for a meeting with P&G to express concern about materials in what should just be a cotton pad they are seen as rowdy. If the people who the product actually affects have something to say about it, it’s considered less valuable or valid than if someone who doesn’t experience the problem has something to say about it. Why is that?

One of my favorite parts of the day was when the P&G shareholders were leaving the meeting and many of them came to meet us. In speaking to them I found a lot of openness and mutual agreement that boxes do need to be labeled for both the company and for the women using these products. 

This is a feminist issue, a business issue, a health issue, a human issue. I stand firm in my belief that my generation will make the world a better place for women today. The future is female. #Detoxthebox.

Why does this matter?

The consumer case: 

  1. Consumers have a right to know the ingredients they put inside of their bodies.
  2. Women give birth. To men and women. Chemicals in our bodies mean chemicals in the bodies of future humans to come. Male and female. 
  3. Tampons and pads are used in the most absorptive part of a woman’s body. Unlike the skin, the internal mucus membrane ingests these chemicals far more than external contact.
  4. We have seen rates of cervical cancer, endometriosis and early onset menopause increase in the past 50 years, coinciding with the timeline of increased use of tampons. No direct correlation has been proven, but given that there are few other products that come into contact with women’s reproductive organs as frequently, there is reason to believe that tampons and pads on the mainstream market today are harmful.
  5. Women have historically been silenced – they have been told for generations that they are crazy and that their bodies are a burden to others. When large and reputable companies once again ignore the requests of their female consumers, it reaffirms this history of oppression, instead of seizing a business opportunity and paving the way forward.

The business case:

  1. As competitors in the market like Lola and Conscious Period emerge to provide women with non-toxic, all natural options for tampons and pads, the consumer population will become more educated about their choices. They will become concerned that P&G and other leaders in the market actively choose not to list the ingredients in their products. If they are clean and safe for women to use, why is it that P&G has refused to publish ingredients for years? P&G has a reason to be proactive instead of waiting to lose market share and then trying to compete later on.
  2. Time and time again we have seen companies sit back and wait for waves of consumers to get sick from certain ingredients before acting. Instead of waiting for generations to go by who can trace the cause of various health problems back to the regular use of Always pads and Tampax tampons, P&G could be a market leader, produce cleaner products, and re-educate the market about their own purchasing power.
  3. This is also a rebranding opportunity. P&G has long been American innovators, but new innovators will come. P&G has the opportunity to build upon its incredible Always “Unstoppable” ad campaign by continuing to support women, and very publicly promote the fact that they are publishing the ingredients in order to show love and safety to its female consumers. 


You can follow Kiran's work on her blog, Madame Gandhi. 

P.S. I got my period as I was posting this. #fate? 

DIY Friday: Lyz Olko goes "Back to the Land"

Alexis Krauss

When I think "Do It Yourself" I think Lyz Olko. When you walk into her NYC apartment/studio it's overflowing with hand-sewn tops, meticulously shredded vintage shorts, screen printing supplies, studs galore and piles of reference books and magazines. Lyz can literally do it all when it comes to designing and creating garments. Over the years I've watched her achieve incredible success with her company Obesity + Speed. Now Lyz is embarking on a new DIY designing journey and has recently launched her newest collection "Back to the Land" under the namesake line, "Lyz Olko".  We thrilled that Lyz has taken the time to tell us more "Back to the Land" and share some of her favorite natural beauty tips. Xoxo Alexis

Tell us a bit about your new collection and how your approach to designing changed this time around?

This is the first season of my namesake line, “Lyz Olko”. The title of this collection is “Back to the Land.” There are a few meanings attached to this phrase.The back-to-the-land movement calls for occupants of real property to grow food from the land on a small-scale basis for themselves or for others, and to perhaps live on the land while doing so. It also referred to Distributism, a 1920s and 1930s attempt to find a third way between capitalism and socialism. It was later used to refer to a North American social phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s. This latter back-to-the-land movement was a migration from cities to rural areas that took place in the United States, its greatest vigor being before the mid-1970s (there's also a comet bus issue called back to the land and the cover for some reason popped up in my head too while thinking of what to call the new line). I had these ideas in my head while trying to think of what to call this brand new collection, new mini-season, new concept, and new energy. What "back to land" means for me: back to the original reasons that inspired me to start making clothing in the first place.

I was in my early 20's, had no money but was inspired by the amazing designers who I was friends with and surrounded by, and began to develop my own love for fashion. So I used what materials I had, could steal, thrift or were given to me to start making pieces that referenced and were inspired by the garments around me. I remember I taught myself how to sew a pleated sleeve by studying a Preen top for hours (this was when Preen was a gothier line, and was mostly a lot of dresses and lace and sweat tops with amazing hardware and things sewn on). I loved staying home every night watching movies by directors I learned about in school (or from Tower Video employees) and sewing, honing my craft. I yearned for that simplicity once Obesity + Speed became so big. One of the many reasons I had to walk away and take a break was because I missed taking the time to get inspired and slowwwwwllly make each piece or create a collection. In a way back to the land means like a metaphorical "coming home" for me. 

 How is this collection more sustainable and eco-friendly than your past lines?

I think for some or all of the reasons above recycled and sustainable materials are an integral part of "Back to the Land". With O+S, part of the reason I needed to walk away, and return to a more authentic process, was I had a Lloyd Dobler type of of moment. After poly bagging my 400,000th O+S tee I was like "I don't want to buy, sell or process anything." I don't want to buy anything sold or processed. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed. I don't want to process anything bought, sold." etc.....

I mean I recognize these are all aspects of owning and operating a business, especially one that becomes a larger operation……but I think I just reached a boiling point in terms of how hard  I was working and the quality of how I was spending my time (poly bagging a million shirts was taking too much time away from actually designing…or well living my life). As part of starting a new line, under my own name, with a new energy, I wanted to kind of give new life to things that had already had a couple lives and use recycled fabrics and clothing for a larger portion of the line.  It also cuts down on costs for designer, retailer and customer. Creates less waste. Also I love vintage Levis and am obsessed with army surplus so I get to remake a ton of things I love. 

Anna Sheffield of Bing Bang Jewelry and of Anna Sheffield fine jewelry gave me a large selection of the coolest charms she had excess of to use for trim on all the jackets and denim.  New life! It takes a village!

Its also nice to be conscious and aware of the materials you are using, the longevity of what you are making, and the effect your actions have on others (in a larger sense as well) and the environment. 

Everything else is made in the USA, primarily in New York and LA. I hand dye and sew a lot of it all in my studio, with my assistant designer Nicollette. 

Do you think sustainable fashion will ever be mainstream? 

I really hope so! I think the sustainable trend is still growing and catching on, I also think people are still figuring out what it means. There are many ways of taking strides toward sustainability….using some eco friendly fabrics or methods of production and using even one element of a sustainable resource in your larger production is a start. Every little bit counts! Baby steps….

I feel the same way about personal lifestyle, one step at a time, if it’s cutting out dairy or cutting out buying plastic water bottles and using a refillable thermos….it all counts! 

 Fashion aside, what are some of your favorite clean/natural beauty products/companies?

  • Giovanni (eco chic hair care) I love the smooth as silk deeper moisture conditioner and tea tree oil shampoo.
  • Ling Skin Care
  • Burt's Bees: I'm obsessed with their chapsticks
  • John Masters hair care. Specifically the lavender and avocado intensive conditioner and the evening primrose shampoo.
  • Dr. Hauschka 
  • Derma e Skincare products : I love the evenly radiant dark circle eye cream. 


"Back to the Land" is now available at CURVE NY and LA stores.

Why We Are Launching #TRUTHBEAUTY On Kickstarter

Jessica Assaf

Today is a big day. We are launching a Kickstarter campaign that we hope will transform the beauty industry. #TRUTHBEAUTY is our curated collection of the safest, highest-performing, and most affordable beauty products on the market. We are using Kickstarter's platform to pre-sell our #TRUTHBEAUTY Bags, the 5 best and safest full-size, complementary beauty essentials in a bag by BAGGU that we are selling for 50% off the retail cost of purchasing all of the products individually. We are launching 2 bags: one with 5 skincare products, and one with 5 cosmetic products. 

Our mission is to support companies creating the safest and most effective beauty and skincare products and make these products accessible and affordable for all women. This is our chance to prove that there really is a market for safe products. #TRUTHBEAUTY is more than a business... It is a movement. We want to give women the opportunity to try safe products that really work, and we want to help our favorite companies grow.

Pledge to join the #TRUTHBEAUTY movement and help us make this happen! 

Cheers to women ruling the beauty industry once and for all! 

#Truthbeauty Challenge: Skin Cleanse

Alexis Krauss

In honor of Skin Cleanse, Adina Grigore's enlightening new book, we're challenging you to go makeup free for one day. Before you grab your concealer, foundation, blush or powder, think about letting your skin just BE. Give it a break from all those products and instead, share your beautiful, bare face with the world.

 For many women (including me) the idea of going completely product free can be pretty scary. Instead of thinking about this challenge as a parade of imperfections, think about it as a time to really get to know your skin. Does your skin need all those synthetic things you love to slather on it everyday? Definitely not! Use your skin cleanse as a time to experiment with nourishing food-grade ingredients. Try a honey mask or a sugar and coconut oil scrub. Moisturize with some organic olive oil or tone with some apple cider vinegar. Keep it simple! And remember, what you put in your body is as important as what you put on it. So for this challenge try eating clean. That means whole foods and vegetables, polished off with lots of water.

My Skin Cleanse selfie! Join me and take the #skincleansechallenge.

My Skin Cleanse selfie! Join me and take the #skincleansechallenge.

I hope you'll take this #truthbeauty challenge with me and share your clean, fresh face with the world. Together we can inspire others to be bold and celebrate their clear, calm, happy skin. Post a pic of your unfettered face and use the hashtag #skincleansechallenge. You might just win a copy of Skin Cleanse! It really is an eye-opening book. Check out this review Beauty Lies Truth reader Lauren emailed us yesterday...

Hey Alexis!!!

I am only a few chapters in, but let me just say how amazing it is. I feel as if Adina is sitting in front of me saying all of this to me!  I get very giddy over makeup and beauty products of all kind, so this is like I'm having a convo with my friends about this stuff!!  This time around things are different; I'm actually learning about MY skin!  

I LOVE putting skin shaming to a rest for good!  I'm equally as guilty in this department because I'm not 100% confident in my skin due to have some red blotches, and uneven skin tones. Realizing that it's not just about what you put on your skin, but what you put in your body. It's also not that I wasn't educated in this department, but reading about it and having it sink in is really changing my thoughts about food. We all love pizza, and a good BBQ, but in between we have  to make it important to feed our bodies the right kinds of food.

Months ago when you guys started Beauty Lies Truth, I was appalled at how many of my daily products were filled with chemicals and preservatives. It scared me more than anything seeing some ingredients were linked to cancer. Two of my close family members have both died from cancer, and I do not want to follow down that path. I knew I needed new products right then and there. My transition started with S.W. Basics and I've been in love since. 

Even though I haven't finished the book I did skip ahead and peek at the recipes.  They look amazing, and I cannot wait to try them all!  DIY anything is fun for me!  I'm big into baking so making things to put on my face/body sounds like a great day to me. I hope to finish the book within a weeks time.


#Truthbeauty True Skin Story

Jessica Assaf

We received an email from a brave young woman and we are so inspired that we want to share it with you. The most telling part is that when we asked her if we could share her story on our blog, she said, "I would be honored if you shared my story! Less is definitely more and the proof is in the picture! If it makes one other person change their beauty routine it's all worth it!" #GIRLPOWER.  

Here it is: 

Hey you guys! I just had to send you this before and after. Ever since high school I've been playing product roulette and destroying my face in the process. On December 8th it reached an all time freak out after a "skin clearing mask." Nothing was working and i realized I was doing it all wrong. I have been following you on Instagram and the blog since it started and reading labels, but was in denial that I couldn't make this change. It was daunting and intimidating to purge things in my bathroom that I thought were working and starting over. But I FINALLY did it. Each paycheck I added natural, chemical free products and made my own scrubs and moisturizers in between. I changed everything, makeup, hair care, moisturizers, body scrubs, and while I'm not 100% there yet, the results don't lie. Last week my glossier phase 1 kit came and I had a moment of panic. The "foundation" was super sheer and I had never worn anything like that before. But when I saw my face in the mirror when I woke up Tuesday morning, I started crying. I couldn't believe it. I knew making the change would result in a healthier me, but I had no idea that my skin would be this healthy in just under a month! I can't thank you guys enough for not only making me a smarter and healthier beauty consumer, but actually seeing how beautiful I could be! 

Amanda, we love you. Cheers to you and to all the unstoppable women like you who are changing their beauty routines and making all of this worthwhile.

Constance and Me

Jessica Assaf

When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be a doctor but I didn't want to go to medical school because it would take too much time. Specifically, I really wanted to cure cancer. Perhaps this was related to the fact that when I was six months old I had a rare blood virus that required multiple blood transfusions and a spinal tap, and my mom described the months sitting in the pediatric oncology unit of the hospital surrounded by infants and small children with cancer and their parents. I could not imagine a sadder place to be. 

When I was thirteen years old, I persistently called oncologists and asked how I could volunteer my time or help at the hospital to get a head start on my career, but no one had any options for me. Finally, I received a phone call from Dr. Arthur Ablin, a doctor at UCSF Hospital. Dr. Ablin kindly explained that until I was a trained physician, I could not interact with patients, but I could get involved in non-profits related to my interests. I became the youngest member of the Marin Cancer Product, a grassroots organization searching for the cause of the disproportionately high cancer rates in my hometown of Marin County, California. The first thing we did was walk door-to-door to over 100,000 households in one day and surveyed Marin residents about their histories, occupations, household products, and any incidence of cancer in their families. One of the questions was about cosmetics and personal care products, and as a makeup-obsessed eighth grader, I could not understand the link between beauty products and cancer. I quickly learned that the cosmetic industry was unregulated and most of my favorite products contained industrial chemicals that had not been tested for safety, some even linked to cancer. I was totally devastated. I knew I had to fight back, but I didn't know how. Maybe, I thought, if women joined together and demanded safer products, companies would listen. Ten years later, here I am, still figuring it out. 

One other relevant detail is that you could call me a "cannabis enthusiast." Growing up in Northern California, it is practically in the air I breathe walking down the street. Of course cannabis should be regulated and deemed illegal for minors, but overall I believe that marijuana is a plant (literally) with unrealized health benefits and potential for healing. So naturally, I made it my latest dream to create organic body care products infused with cannabis oil. I spent last summer in San Francisco experimenting with the highest-quality raw butters and oils and developing products inspired by everything I learned from my precious time working at S.W. Basics.

The results were fascinating: somehow, the cream I whipped up in the kitchen was able to heal and immediately eliminate all pain from a bad burn, completely get rid of a headache, and soothe sore muscles instantly, while also moisturizing the skin. The only thing I was missing was a reliable source of the highest-grade and cleanest cannabis oil, which is concentrated marijuana in the form of an oil, made popular by Rick Simpson's open-source guide on how to make it and the personal accounts of many who insist the oil has put their cancers in remission. I began collecting all articles I could find about the potential link between cannabis oil and cancer, frantically sending them to my skeptical family members, and my even more skeptical friends in medical school with the subject line: "OMG weed cures cancer!" They responded that I was probably stoned, and the authors of the articles were probably stoned, too. (Admittedly, I most likely was, which made it even more unbelievable!) 

Then I found an article that was published in San Francisco Weekly Newspaper in April of 2013 called, “‘Miracle’ Cannabis Oil: May Treat Cancer, But Money and the Law Stand in the Way of Finding Out.” A picture of Constance Finley, the main subject of the article, was on the front cover of the newspaper. Constance has been making cannabis oil for five years. Her story goes something like this: 

At the age of 44, Constance became very ill with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease and was housebound for ten years. A few years ago, she nearly died from a prescription drug called Humira that was used to treat her condition. Out of complete desperation, she began researching alternative medicines that could help her chronic pain and inflammation and discovered cannabis as a potential option. Though extremely hesitant at first, she tried cannabis and it immediately helped with her pain and insomnia. Her results were so remarkable that Constance enrolled at Oaksterdam University, where she studied cannabis cultivation and taught herself how to make cannabis oil. She spent years perfecting her oil recipes and ratios, and now she makes some of the best cannabis oil in the world out of her home laboratory with the help of a few assistants. She has been using her oil, called Constance Pure Botanical Extracts, to effectively treat hundreds of people with cancer, Lyme disease, epilepsy, ADHD, PTSD, and a variety of other health conditions. Constance operates fully legally, requiring an in-house visit or delivery by car only in California for people with a valid doctor's recommendation. 

I met Constance at her house on December 31st. I was immediately moved by her warmth, her witty sense of humor, and her sustained sense of calmness as she navigated twenty thoughts and phone calls at once. She immediately opened up to me, sharing the stores of people she saved from terminal cancer. These are the stories that give you chills, the stories that sounds too good to be real but you hope are true because they just give you hope in humanity. Constance explained that for years she was in hiding, scared of the cannabis industry and her innate responsibility to change it.

Because the public is still so doubtful of the benefits of marijuana, most cancer patients that find Constance are at the last stage of their illness, without any other treatment options to keep them alive. She said she learned primarily through trial and error (and not sleeping for years,) but in time she was able to find the perfect ratios of her oil to help hundreds of people. Many well-known oncologists now refer hundreds of patients to her for treatment, and two different groups of doctors are researching her oil. Unlike cannabis oil used in edibles and for recreational purposes, Constance's Pure Botanical Extracts Oil is produced and sold for medicinal purposes only. Her focus is cancer. She had a 96% efficacy rate in treating 26 patients with Stage 4 cancers, and she works with about 130 patients at a time. Constance receives hundreds of calls and emails every singly day from individuals and their families all over the world who believe she is their only hope. 

Constance Finley is not your typical cannabis entrepreneur. She has a masters degree in clinical psychology, spent many years working as a clinical psychologist and college professor, and then began a long career in finance and accounting. She has the confidence of an investor and the care of a mother as she speaks with persistence and elegance. Constance is my hero, in every sense of the world. She makes me proud to be a woman. I am in awe of her and I am so excited to work with her one day. 

And guess what? I'm not scared of cancer anymore. I'm not scared of evil corporations. I'm not scared of anything. Because fearless women like Constance are leading the way into a better future for everyone. 

Theo Colborn Lives On

Jessica Assaf

Just recently, I found out that Theo Colborn died. Theo is one of the most inspiring female scientists ever. I saw a list of her best quotes posted on Facebook, and then I saw the sad words beside them, announcing her death. Theo was so loud and alive in as a health activist, even at the end of her life when she was 87 years old. 

Theo was and still is the leader of our fight against industrial chemicals, specifically endocrine disruptors. According to  "A Brief Biography," written by Elizabeth Grossman, this is Theo's story: 

1927- Theodora Emily Decker Colborn is born.

1947- Theo earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Rutger's University and began her professional career as a lab technician and pharmacist. . 

1964- Theo and her husband sold their New Jersey pharmacies and moved to a small farm western Colorado. 

1970's- Theo began learning more about the science behind the area's environmental issues. 

Late 1970's- Theo and her husband separated and all she wanted to do was go back to school to study science. She started doing field work at the Rocky Mountain Biological Station, sampling water and insects for toxic elements released by mining activity.

1981- Theo completed her Master's degree in Science at Western State College, specializing in freshwater ecology. She was then accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison based on her impressive research examining the effects of cadmium and molybdenum on freshwater aquatic insects. 

1985- Theo was awarded a Ph.D. in zoology with distributed minors in epidemiology, toxicology and water chemistry at the age of 58.

She began her work with the White House's Office of Technology Assistance as a Congressional Fellow and then as an analyst, focusing on various air pollution studies.
She then worked with World Wildlife and The Conservation Foundation researching Great Lakes contaminants and wrote a paper discussing the persistent and bio-accumulative industrial substances that had entered the Great Lakes. These chemicals were later referred to as "endocrine distruptors." Theo and her team also fought for resources to support the research of chemicals found human blood, breast milk and fat tissue linked to "changes in body functions, such as the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems." 

1990's- Theo was invited to become a Senior Fellow at the W. Alton Jones Foundation, where she began thinking about bringing together scientists from different disciplines to discuss the prevalence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment. She was the first one to explicitly and publicly connect chemical pollution to hormone disruption and environmental distress. She collaborated with man scientists to write a paper that described how industrial substances entered the Great Lakes and accumulated in sediment, making their way up the food chain and ultimately ending up in our bodies. 

Theo's explanation of her work: 
"That little grid changed the world."

Theo's research concluded that our exposures to industrial compounds begin in utero, with maternal exposure to one or more toxicants and transfer of those toxicants to the egg or fetus. 

“We knew enough then to do something,”
said Colborn in December 2013. 

This work inspired the 1996 book, "Our Stolen Future." 

The book, co-authored with Myers and Dianne Dumanoski, describes the science behind endocrine disruption and the regulatory barriers inhibiting safety testing and adequate legislation protecting our health. 

Our Stolen Future includes a foreword by Vice President Al Gore and its impact can be measured in the 1996 launch of the EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee. 

In 2003, at age 76, Theo founded The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), a non-profit research organization devoted to “prevention driven” endocrine disruptor research. Soon after, Theo focused on the environmental health effects of the chemicals used in natural gas extraction, particularly through hydraulic fracturing. 

One of my favorite Theo stories comes from my fracking hero/friend, Josh Fox, the man behind Gasland the movie, and the national movement that followed. Josh was visiting Theo recently, to discuss the endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and he arrived at her house with his female colleague. As soon as Theo greeted them, she smelled the woman's hair and immediately asked what shampoo she had used. The woman replied that she had unfortunately used a popular commercial shampoo that is not natural because it was the only product available, and when Theo heard the brand, she actually refused to let the woman into her house. Theo was that serious about her work. 

“One of my biggest concerns is the next generation of science,”
says Colborn, in December 2013. 

At the age of 87, Theo was still actively trying to get the public to care about this issue so policymakers could properly respond. "I am thoroughly convinced this is all real," said Colborn. "The science is there. We don't need more science. We need working a different a different sphere entirely."

"My concern is that we've let this go on for so long that we're now into the fourth generation of those exposed to the post-World War II plethora of synthetic chemicals." 

Theo died at the age of 87, after relying on an oxygen tank for a long time. She blamed cadmium exposure during research for her lung condition. Until the very end of her life, Theo continued to work and discuss her dreams of starting a research institute for "inner space," the study of what goes on inside the human body. 

I am most moved by Theo's deep and infinite commitment to “find better, safer, more clever ways to meet basic human needs and, where possible, human desires," a necessity to preserving all life.

The book concludes, "We owe that much, and more, to our children."

Theo may be physically gone now, but she is certainly alive in the work we are all doing to fight and win against harmful and unnecessary exposures from our products and processes. 



#Girlcrush Rachel Peterson

Jessica Assaf

On one of my very first days of business school, after I had already made it obvious to my entire class that I was obsessed with cosmetic safety, one of my classmates asked me if I had heard of the second year student who was doing an Independent Study on the exact topic. The following day, I got an email from Rachel Peterson, a blonde bombshell chemical engineer from MIT who was also a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers (my home team!) and is currently finishing her MBA at Harvard Business School. Oh, and she is dedicating her semester to learning about the ingredients in our beauty products and coming up with an action plan to change the industry for the better.

I didn't believe she was real. 

image via Sports Illustrated 

image via Sports Illustrated 

image via Sports Illustrated 

image via Sports Illustrated 

Rachel is real. And she is beautiful and inspiring and she wants to make the safest and best products accessible to everyone. And she actually knows the science behind the issueShe even carries around notecards with drawings of the chemical structures of common substances found in cosmetics. To say she is our #girlcrush is an understatement. Rachel is our very own #GIRLBOSS. 

Today, Rachel was crowned the "Lovely Lady of the Day" by Sport's Illustrated. You can see the full spread here

Rachel shared her top 3 favorite products with us... 

    Stay tuned for more from Rachel and her perspective as a real scientist! 

    Let's Get Real

    Alexis Krauss

    Scarlett Newman

    There are a ton of beauty sites out there, but most of them aren't publishing the stories of REAL women. Here at Beauty Lies Truth we think that's #beautybullshit!  This blog is all about building a diverse community of women who don't normally get covered by trendy beauty sites, and who are passionate about safety and sustainability. Jess and I created Beauty Lies Truth as a space for women to learn from one another. It is a platform for sharing stories openly and honestly. Scarlett Newman is a dear friend of mine and was recently inspired to make some serious changes to her beauty routine. Over the next several months Scarlett will be documenting her real life journey through the natural beauty landscape. We are thrilled to have her posting and we hope you find inspiration in her path. Xoxo Alexis

    Hello to all of the faithful Beauty Lies Truth readers, and welcome to all of our new readers! My name is Scarlett Newman, and I’m here to share my natural beauty experiences with you. I’m originally from North Carolina (but born in Chicago!) and I’ve just moved to New York City for my Graduate studies. I study fashion at the moment, but I’ve always had a deep affinity for the beauty/skin care world. Like some of you, I’m still learning how to question what I put on my skin. Navigating the benefits and detriments of all the products I use can be tricky! I’m a work in progress, but I’m determined to access the best products going into and onto my body. Luckily, Beauty Lies Truth has created a space where we’re all able to learn and share our natural beauty journeys candidly and honestly.

    My Inspiration

    To be honest, before I got to college I wasn’t really concerned about natural beauty and all of the things it entails. When I was fresh out of high school and headed out on my own, my primary concerns were fitting in, staying on-trend and making as many friends as possible. I was using whatever cosmetics were the coolest and best looking, and I certainly wasn't concerned about educating myself on the harmful chemicals I was putting into/onto my body. Fortunately, once I stopped caring so much about what others thought about me, I finally started listening to my mom!

    My mom has always been a cheerleader for natural beauty. Ever since I can remember, she was always making her own soaps, shea butters, hair oils—the list goes on! As a health and fitness advocate, she always made sure that we had a membership to the local gym and she transitioned the healthy mindset into the kitchen. Sure, I was always aware of the things she did to contribute to our family’s health, but it didn’t really hit me until I got out on my own why she did those things. Everything she taught me has created a very solid foundation that’s benefited me to this day.

    It’s been almost a year since I “went natural” with my hair, meaning I stopped chemically straightening it. I wish I’d made this decision a bit earlier, because I’m actually OBSESSED with my hair—something that you would have never heard me say prior to doing this! I take so much pride in the way that I take care of it and style it, and it’s given me this boost of confidence and energy that I’ve never felt before. Now that there are no harsh chemicals going onto my hair, it’s growing like grass and it feels awesome! Although natural hair is not for everyone, it’s a change that I highly recommend. So, thank you mom, for inspiring me everyday and leading me down the path of making great choices!

    Why Natural Beauty?

    Like I mentioned above, I’ve always had an affinity for the beauty/skin care world, but it wasn’t until this website was created (which was a nice kick in the ass!) that I took a further, more intense initiative to research the chemicals that were going into some of the products I was using everyday. And you know, a lot of these global brands that claim to be “all natural” are complete bullshit. I could mention a specific brand that duped me (and by the way, broke my heart!) but I’ll save that for another post! I’m grateful that I get to work with the kick-ass ladies here at Beauty Lies Truth: this is the ultimate learning experience! So join me and let’s learn together.

    -Scarlett xxo