Going non-toxic in beauty and in life is definitely an undertaking, especially for those of us who are used to just using whatever has the prettiest bottle in the beauty store or smells the best (yikes… we’ll get into fragrances later). Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to look to who has done it all – done the research, talked to the experts, tried every possible type of natural product out there, and even written a BOOK about the process and all she’s learned. Well, we’re lucky enough to have 2 of those ‘someones’ on our side in the non-toxic beauty world – Soibhan O’Connor and her pal Alexandra Spunt of the awesome, informative, fun and inspiring blog No More Dirty Looks . Maybe you’ve heard of it? If not, check it out!
For those of you who know Siobhan and Alexandra’s work, awesome – we love them too. For those of you who are new, be sure to check out their book, an amazing guide to navigating the cosmetics world; understanding the ins and outs of the industry, the ingredients, the way our bodies work and how we process those ingredients, plus great suggestions for going non-toxic, and many assurances that you’ll like what you’ll see once you make the switch.
Siobhan is a great friend of ours here at Tata Harper Skincare and so I thought we’d get in touch to get a little more background info on this great gal to share with you all. Read on!
You and Alexandra are such a great team of smart, inspirational ladies- when and where did you meet, and how did you discover you both had a passion for going non-toxic?
Oh, we go way back! We actually met back when we were teenagers in Montreal, and we moved in together when we were 17. We lived in a small apartment with two other girls and and a crazy number of cats. (Long story!) Soon after that, we both started working at the alternative weekly paper there, called the Mirror, writing articles about fashion, subcultures, politicsyou name it.
The thing is, even though we were yogis, on-and-off vegetarians and environmentalists at heartwhile also being total product hounds and girly girlswe’d never once thought about our beauty products until one fated day about four years ago, when we went for the Brazilian blowout in LA. After finding out that we’d had high levels of formaldehyde flat-ironed onto our hairbreathing in the fumes all the whilewe kind of panicked. From there, we left no cosmetic bottle unturned and decided that if we didn’t know what was in our products, other chicks probably didn’t either! So we decided to write a book about our transition to clean products, and now run a blog entirely devoted to healthy clean beauty and living.
What do you say to people when they say they don’t want to go natural because they don’t think it works?
This one kills me, but I totally get why people think that. For one thing, most of us have no idea what’s in our products to begin with, which means that what makes them “work” is a mystery to a lot of people. We’re not taught to flip over the bottle and read the ingredient list, and we aren’t encouraged to ask questions. Second, I think the misleading marketing of many mainstream brands contributes to this, too. So many companies use pseudo-science in their ad campaigns, assuming the buyer won’t understand the languagebut will be fooled by the all the technical-sounding words. Finally, and most important: naturals have changed! There was a time when the only things you could find smelled like patchouli and contained a handful of the same old botanicals. Now, truly clean beauty products can be incredibly sophisticated and high-performance. In fact, all of the products I use now perform better and have made me look better than anything I used before.
If you were to create your own natural beauty line, what would it specialize in and why?
But that would take out all the fun of doing what we do! We’re product and ingredient junkies, and we deeply respect what formulators do. That said, could someone please, please, please make the perfect natural mascara?
Could you share with all of us one handy natural-beauty tip that you can’t live without?
I’m in love with the backwards-hair-washing technique. We wrote about this on our site and in the book and it’s exactly what it sounds like: Condition first, leave it in for a minute or two (an organic conditioner, of course!), and then using just a tiny bit of shampoo on the roots, wash off the excess oil. This is my secret to air-drying in the summer and it makes my hair look like this, which I quite like.
If you could buy a plane ticket to anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Tibet. And then maybe Paris.
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.