Last week in New York City, I spent two days at Indie Beauty Expo, a showcase of independent personal care brands, many of which are natural or organic.
This has become one of my favorite events of the year because unlike the other shows or conferences that I attend, which are geared toward organic food, policy or soil, this one is solely focused on beauty care. As such, I can get valuable insight into this emerging and increasingly important sector.
I had three key takeaways from the show.
1) LACK OF CERTIFIED ORGANIC BRANDS
Out of the more than 200 vendors at the show, I only encountered two that were USDA certified organic, although a few had obtained organic certification in their local countries.
Overall, I would estimate that only 2% of the exhibitors were certified organic, a number that I found to be incredibly low.
That being said, many brands were using organic ingredients and seemed to have a commitment to sourcing responsibly.
2) ACTIVATED CHARCOAL WAS EVERYWHERE
Without a doubt, activated charcoal seemed to be one of the most ubiquitous ingredients at the show. It was in bars of soap, liquid soap, deodorant, facial masks, toothpaste, and dental floss.
3) CONFUSION ABOUT (OPPORTUNITY IN) CBD
Just like last year’s show, CBD was another very hot ingredient, but the information that was being disseminated by brands was alarming.
I had one vendor tell me that there was “no such thing as certified organic CBD. It doesn’t exist.” And another one told me that, “All hemp is organic because it all grows in the ground.”
Additionally, numerous individuals I spoke to were not aware that because hemp is a bioaccumulator, this makes the consumption of organic hemp-derived CBD even more important.
My guess is that most people, even those outside of the beauty industry, do not know about this aspect of hemp, and therein presents the opportunity for organic brands.
Any organic brand that is selling CBD or a product infused with CBD will be well-served by educating people about the bioaccumulation properties of hemp and the necessity for organic hemp products.
Below is a list of the 10 Most Compelling Products from Indie Beauty Expo 2019, which are either certified organic or use large quantities of organic/sustainably-grown ingredients.
BIODYNAMIC BUG SPRAYS FROM ERBAVIVA
Founded in 1996, Erbaviva is one of the most impressive personal care companies I have ever come across.
And I was floored to see that they offer two Biodynamic, Demeter-certified bug sprays.
Since the show, I have been using Erbaviva’s lemon & sage organic deodorant, which I absolutely love.
SERUM FROM ROYER COSMETIQUE
Certified organic in France (Bio), the serum from Royer Cosmetique is made from organic snail slime, or the saliva from organically-raised snails.
The slime from the snails is humanely extracted and offers effective anti-wrinkle, anti-brown spot and natural exfoliating properties. It is also rich in antioxidants and other active ingredients.
HONEYSUCKLE AND TURMERIC FACE OIL BY THE ORGANIC SKIN CO.
Made with 72% organic ingredients, The Good Oil is from New Zealand-based The Organic Skin Co.
It contains two supercritical extracts — calendula and turmeric – and 5 enriching oils, including jojoba, almond, apricot, sunflower, and honeysuckle. This product is vegan and comes in recyclable packaging.
FERMENTED SERUMS AND OIL BY BIOPHILE
The brainchild of clean beauty veteran Alison Cutlan, Brooklyn-based Biophile may have been the most innovative product I saw at the show.
Each of the company’s three formulas (two serums and one oil) are built around proprietary Biotic Broths, which are made with probiotic bacteria and botanicals, fungi and superfoods in a unique bio-fermentation process that works with the natural biology of the skin.
Credit goes to Organic Insider subscriber and Plum Organics founder Gigi Lee Chang who urged me to check out the Biophile booth. Super-interesting brand.
Biophile is expected to launch in January 2020.
SELF-TANNING SOLUTION BY TANORGANIC
Certified organic by EcoCert, TanOrganic is the only organic tanning solution that I have ever seen.
The full kit is comprised of a self-tan oil, self-tan lotion, self-tan mousse, and an application glove. The company also offers a multi-use dry oil, which is made from 11 plant oils with a subtle citrus fragrance.
The before and after pictures are really impressive. Streak-free.
HORMONE BALANCING ELIXIR BY BOOTSY HEALTH
Bootsy Health founder Siena Dixon, who suffered from severe period pain, PMS and irregular cycles for most of her adult life, decided to take matters into her own hands.
After much research, she ended up developing a hormone balancing elixir made from organic chaste tree berries.
This berry, which is native to and sourced from Croatia, has been clinically shown to inhibit prolactin production and to indirectly balance estrogen and progesterone levels.
FACE POLISH BY TRUE NORTH BEAUTY
Frustrated with how her skin was looking in her 40s, True North Beauty founder Heather Lux turned to something that was growing wild in her backyard in Maine: chaga mushrooms.
Known for its medicinal powers, chaga is the foundation of True North’s Face Polish, which also contains Manuka honey and green tea extracts.
Additionally, True North developed a proprietary extraction method for the chaga, so that it didn’t have to use traditional fermentation.
FACE & BODY TAMANU OIL BY CAMILLE OBADIA
The face & body tamanu oil by Camille Obadia is USDA certified organic and is produced in Madagascar, a tropical island off the coast of Africa and one of the most pristine, pollution-free places on the planet.
Traditionally used to soften irritated, dry or damaged skin, this hydrating tamanu oil is also great for acne and over-exposure to the sun.
HAND BALM BY TERRES D’AFRIQUE
Made with 88% organically-farmed ingredients and 80% Fair Trade ingredients, the hand balm from South Africa-based Terres D’Afrique contains jojoba oil, baobab oil and kigelia.
Essential fatty acids in baobab oil penetrate deep into the epidermis and help restore the integrity of the skin cells membrane, while the active compounds in kigelia offer anti-aging properties.
Terres d’Afrique is the result of a yearning to understand the full impact of what the African plant kingdom has to offer. Very cool.
RAW JUICE MASKS BY ELINA SKIN
Wanting to apply the purest ingredients to a person’s face, Elina Skin has introduced raw juice face masks that utilize organic plants, fruits and vegetables. The company offers several different varieties, including Green Reset, Pineapple Bliss, and Strawberries & Cream.
The company said that USDA organic certification is in process.
Most of us have heard of this ancient health system, but not too many people in the U.S. truly understand what it is about.
Fortunately, Sahara Rose has made it her life’s mission to demystify Ayurveda, and she has done it in a way that is very practical in today’s day and age, taking into account GMOs, pesticides and the growing trend of a plant-based lifestyle.
Having become obsessed with Ayurveda at an early age, Sahara Rose went on to write two best-selling books on the topic, the first of which was The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda and her most recent one is Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary, Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook. And for both of these books, Deepak Chopra — her idol since she was a teenager — wrote the foreward.
In this week’s episode of The Living Maxwell Podcast, Sahara talks all about Ayurveda and gets very honest about her journey to where she is today.
This is one inspirational and impressive woman.
Max Goldberg, Founder
Alleging abuse and a lack of oversight, Cornucopia has filed a legal complaint against both Natural Prairie Dairy and its USDA organic certifier.
Whole Foods prices are down roughly 2.5% on average from last year, according to a note published yesterday by Morgan Stanley.
Canadian farmers are saying that regenerative farming techniques are replenishing the soil and bringing back the bees.
PURIS has raised $75M from Cargill, one of the world's biggest players in GMOs, to expand its organic pea production capacity.
20 French mayors have banned glyphosate from their municipalities and are now facing legal action from the federal government.
Vermont Village and its product portfolio of organic apple cider vinegars and applesauce have been purchased by Stonewall Kitchen.
As corporate boards have been slow to reflect the composition of America’s consumers, some natural products industry leaders are pushing for more diversification.
Gallup is reporting that 81% of Americans say they never order groceries online, while 11% say they do so at least once a month.
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* Is the USDA National Organic Program doing its job?
At the recent NOFA-Massachusetts Summer Conference, Dave Chapman of The Real Organic Project debated this subject with the Organic Trade Association’s Johanna Mirenda.
* Bernie Sanders said that factory farms are a threat to America.
* Urban Remedy and Full Harvest have saved nearly two million pounds of produce from being thrown away.
* Congrats to Stan and Kathy Smith who are celebrating 30 years of Silver Hills Bakery.
* Joolies has become the first organic farm to receive Glyphosate Residue-Free certification.
* Gerald A. Herrmann of Germany’s Organic Services GmbH has written about OPSON VIII, the joint effort of Interpol and Europol to fight organic fraud in Europe.
* Forbes highlights the world’s best fine dining sustainable restaurants.
* In Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the 99 Cent Organic Bodega offers fresh, affordable food to anyone that wants it.
* In Europe, non-organic meat has been imported under the ‘Bio’ label into Belgium.
* Vegans now have their own cryptocurrency.
* Central Iowa’s first ‘agrihood’ focuses on putting the farm first in this $260 million project.
* Humano the Tribe, which offers luxury tents and campers ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, as well as “raw and purely organic foods” made by private chefs, has been banned from Burning Man.