Coming Clean is a monthly series where we interview people about their relationship with clean beauty - the good, bad and ugly. We hope these interviews will serve as a platform for raw and vulnerable discussion, but if you only take away one thing, it should be this: there is no right or wrong way - there is only your way.
Kathryn is the owner + founder of clean beauty retailer AILLEA. Check out our interview with her as part of CLOVE + HALLOW's monthly Coming Clean series.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO USING CLEANER BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
About 10 years ago I was getting really sick and had developed severe late in life allergies. As a result, I became an avid label reader. When I started paying attention to the ingredients in our products, I was appalled. Retailers would sell me a shampoo and tell me it was “natural” but when I researched the ingredients, I couldn’t believe the toxic sludge that was in there. I decided then to switch every one of my products to something that worked as well or better than the conventional products that I loved, but had nothing bad in it for me.
WHICH BEAUTY PRODUCT DID YOU SWAP FIRST?
Shampoo was my first switch. 9-10 years ago, retailers like AILLEA didn’t exist so it took extensive research deep in the corners of the internet to find the truly natural products. It took me 3 months and $150 to find a shampoo that worked to my standards. I kept wanting to shop my store - a place where everything was clean but worked as well as the conventional products I had grown to love.
"I THINK NATURALLY PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY PUT IN THEIR BODY FIRST."
WAS BEAUTY THE FIRST THING YOU SWITCHED WHEN MOVING TO A CLEANER LIFESTYLE?
Food was actually the first step. I think naturally people think about what they put IN their body first. The effect of changing your diet to clean eating is something that is so transformative for so many people that it naturally leads to seeking other places to make change that will positively impact how you look and feel!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CLEAN BEAUTY STAPLES?
ILIA True Serum Foundation and Kjaer Weis foundation - and I am LOVING the CLOVE + HALLOW Hydratint and Hydraglow! Lily Lolo's Mascara is a must and then for lips, I rotate between CLOVE + HALLOW Desert Rose Lip Creme, Kosas Rosewater Lipstick or Kjaer Weis Lipgloss.
WHAT DOES YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
My skin is incredibly reactive so my cleanser/moisturizer routine is pretty simple. I am currently loving the Josh Rosebrook Complete Moisture Cleanse and the Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition and Daily Vitamin Infusion. What my skin DOES love are masks! The Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, the Kypris Deep Forest Clay and the May Lindstrom Honey Mud (technically a cleanser but I use it as a mask) are currently on high rotation!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE IN THE FUTURE FROM CLEAN BEAUTY?
There are still a few white spaces that clean beauty has not caught up with conventional. A great gel and/or liquid eyeliner and great fragrance are high on the list. But in general, the accelerated innovation of product we have seen over the last 5 years has been mind boggling - in the most amazing way! I think I am most excited to see that are the items that I couldn’t even begin imagining years ago. Brands are developing such innovative and creative products that I think outpace even conventional beauty, that clean beauty is quickly becoming the thought leaders of the beauty industry!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO TRANSITION TO CLEANER BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
I usually tell people to take a 3 fold approach. 1. Since we absorb what we put on our body, products that go on our whole body or large surface areas are incredibly important. Re: body wash, body butter, face moisturizer, sunscreen. 2 would be what I call 'sensitive areas'. Re: deodorant or lipstick/lipbalm (which you also ingest). and 3. would be high rotation items that are easy to swap out. We naturally go through our shampoo, foundation, mascara and toothpaste every few months so that is an easy place to make a quick change. Then the rest you can change slowly.
"SINCE WE ABSORB WHAT WE PUT ON OUR BODY, PRODUCTS THAT GO ON OUR WHOLE BODY OR LARGE SURFACE AREAS ARE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.."