What motivated you to create your own skincare line?
I founded Kari Gran in 2011 after I battled for years with an autoimmune thyroid disorder that caused me to take a second look at the beauty products I put on my skin. What I found wasn’t pretty. Most beauty products on the market are full of parabens and endocrine disruptors, which can get into the bloodstream through topical application, and have been linked to very serious diseases and hormone disruption. I decided to adopt a clean approach instead, and after trying and failing to find a luxurious take on “green” beauty products, I set out to create my own with the help of my good friend (and “instigator” of Kari Gran) Lisa Strain.
You put a lot of thoughtfulness into education and the Green Beauty Barometer. Tell us more and how is this vital to your company ethos?
When we decided to commission the Green Beauty Barometer, we recognized consumers were becoming more aware and cautious about harmful ingredients (lead, aluminum, petroleum etc.) and there hadn’t been any other surveys out there reporting on such trends. We conducted the Green Beauty Barometer among over 1,000 U.S. women aged 18+ in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The 2017 results are available here.
Each year when the Green Beauty Barometer results came out, it continued to show us an increasing demand for clean, green products. Our eco-luxe offerings are handcrafted in Seattle from organic, wild harvested, naturally-derived and non-GMO ingredients, and are made without known endocrine disruptors like parabens, phthalates and oxybenzone. Nor do they contain mineral oil, known toxins, preservatives or synthetic fragrance.
How do you think sun protection should be viewed? Why is this important to you?
I believe facial sunscreen should be viewed just like a cleanser or moisturizer – a can’t miss step every day. Also importantly, while many women wear skincare and makeup products with SPF in them, it may not be doing the job. Typically, the added sunscreen is made with ingredients such as oxybenzone, which has been known to break down after a few hours of exposure and linked to hormone disruption.
Given the amount of effort put into beauty and anti-aging, it’s amazing the vast majority of women are not doing one of the easiest things—wearing sunscreen every day—to prevent their facial skin from photoaging. Most people don’t realize UVA rays are present every day, despite what the weather is, and these rays penetrate clouds and glass, so your face is exposed to potential damage every day, rain or shine.
When did you become aware of sun safety as it relates to beauty and health?
I believe that women have been conditioned to seek out anti-aging products from a very young age. I was 19 when I purchased my first jar of anti-aging cream. A few years after we started our line, we were getting questions from customers about what we had for anti-aging. We believe that skin health and aging is a part of a bigger lifestyle picture: real food, sleep, exercise and drinking water, just to name a few. There’s some really great science behind wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and the prevention of photoaging.
It seems to be widely recognized that sunscreen aids in the prevention of sunburn but there is no real discussion around UVA rays and the damage they are doing. I think it’s time to change the conversation.
How do you see your company having a voice for wellness?
We like to call ourselves the anti-beauty company, with our motto of “be kind to your skin” and a focus on health and well-being over the attainment of youth and perfection. Both Lisa [co-founder] and I didn’t appreciate conventional beauty marketing messages that inferred something was always wrong with you, and we want our people to know that. Along with external wellness, we are strong advocates for internal wellness, we recognize what you put inside your body is equally as important as topical products.
For more on Kari, go here.