HOW TO MAKE A COSMETICS LINE

HOW TO MAKE A COSMETICS LINE

Interested in learning how to make a cosmetics line? Or are you curious how it’s done? Read this article from our founder, Sarah Biggers, on the steps she took to build the vegan, clean, and cruelty-free cosmetics line, CLOVE + HALLOW!

From the time that I decided I was going to make a cosmetics line, there was a period of at least four months when I had absolutely zero clue where to start. During this time, I typed vague searches like “how to make a cosmetics line” and “how to create makeup” into Google and called everyone I knew in manufacturing to get the scoop on terms I may need to know.

It was obvious that I needed to pick up the phone and start calling potential partners. Most of them shut me down after 30 seconds of explaining my business; a few outright laughed at me and said I had a lot of chutzpah before hanging up. In-between all of the rejections, a few of them gave me a moment of their time for direction and guidance. I am convinced they were angels in disguise.

If you know me in real life, you know I always say that after I got the ball rolling with those phone calls, I really don’t know how things went from point A to B. It just kind of happened. Having only launched on March 27th, 2017, I fully understand how overwhelming everything is, so I am going to break this down as best as I can with insight into the steps I took to make a cosmetics line.

Side note: beyond the following overview on how to make a cosmetics line, please understand that, just like any other business, getting off the ground is an intense process. I made some big mistakes and had bigger doubts. You will too. I wasted time and money. You will too. I sobbed, laughed, panicked, and celebrated too many times to count along the way – sometimes all within the same day. You will too. There were – and still are – many late nights. You will have them too.  There is no way to escape the rollercoaster. Buckle up, take a deep breath, and enjoy the hell out of this ride!

 

Step One: Narrow down your brand, market, and goals.

Before you make any big decisions in terms of manufacturing, partners, and packaging, you need a crystal clear vision of what products you want to produce, your branding, and your target market. These details will influence every decision you make moving forward; if you forget this step or overlook its importance, you will sink a lot of money into a line that lacks cohesion and people to sell it to. Lastly, you need to determine your goal.

  • Do you want a small cosmetics line that you run almost like a hobby?
  • Do you want to run a small business, online or with small retail partners?
  • Or, do you want to run a large cosmetics line that works with major retail partners?

For CLOVE + HALLOW, this step occurred organically – pun intended. I knew that I wanted to get a modern, pigmented, and affordable clean cosmetics line into the hands of as many women as possible. I also had a strong idea of who my ideal customer was. A vision board that I’d worked on for months helped me convey the physicality and aesthetic I was looking for, and a detailed presentation covering data points and market trends that I pulled from my own research pegged helped me make early decisions easily. Later, I utilized a market research firm to validate my concept; If you’re going to make a cosmetics line by cannonballing into the deep end like I did with an enormous (and expensive) launch, I highly recommend this step.

 

Step Two: Decide your manufacturing strategy.

There are many different ways to get a product line out the door, but I’ve broken down the three main approaches below. There are pros and cons of each, but I find that the best way to order them is from the least control and customization to the most:

  • Private Label. This strategy involves finding a company that produces its own formulas of cosmetics that you purchase from them at extremely discounted prices and apply your own branding. Private labeling is really useful for small businesses such as studios/spas/salons as it is quick and low cost, but is also surprisingly common amongst big name brands. If the idea for your product and packaging is standard, finding a private labeler who fits your needs isn’t difficult. Sometimes these companies will even allow you to sort through their catalog and tweak products as needed in order to create a semi-custom experience. The main pitfalls to this approach are as follows: you lack flexibility and creative control, and in today’s internet-enthused world, most people can spot a private labeled product simply by googling the ingredient list.
  • Contract Manufacturing. Most major cosmetic lines use this approach, in which you partner with a company that has its own manufacturing facility as well as R&D lab to create custom products from scratch. This option is fantastic for brands that want full control or have a unique vision for their packaging/branding. The downsides to this approach are time (projects can take 6 months to 2 years to make their way through R&D), logistics management (once a product is approved, it still takes a long time to get through production, so you have to ensure you have an optimized flow of inventory, orders, and production happening simultaneously), and cost (the cost per item is usually quite cheap, but most manufacturers require a minimum of 2500-5000 units per shade per product, so it adds up fast.)
  • In-House Manufacturing. This option has really taken market share in the last couple years; if you’ve come across brands that call themselves “hand poured” or “small batch”, they likely use this method. It is exactly as it sounds: they do R&D, ingredient sourcing, production, filling, packing, and labeling in-house. This option is awesome for smaller businesses that want total control, flexibility, and customization of their products without having to rely on a partner. (It also has a lot of marketing power – consumers love this concept!) However, this approach is not without its drawbacks: operations like this can be hard to scale if the line gains real momentum, quality control/batch consistency can be tough to nail down without a full-scale lab, and costs per item can be high since raw materials are purchased in much smaller quantities. It also requires a lot of logistics management.

As you can see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re stuck at this point, go back to step one and think about what your consumer would be attracted to. There is a reason I said you need crystal clear vision before continuing!

 

Step Three: Build out your products.

Now to the fun part! This step will vary depending on which manufacturing method you go with, but regardless, this is the time when you get to play with products, packaging ideas, etc. Since CLOVE + HALLOW uses a contract manufacturer for totally custom products, I always go into this process with a brief that summarizes everything I’m looking for from a product – qualities, price point, ingredients, etc. Simultaneously, I am working with a packaging vendor and design agency to come up with the physical housing of each product. Samples are sent to our office for testing, then tweaked for perfection, and re-sent for edits. To make a cosmetics line is an iterative process that can take a long time if you’re doing contract or in-house manufacturing (I’ve been known to make 40+ tweaks on one shade of one product) but it is worth every minute to finally get the perfect product that you were envisioning.

 

Step Four: Determine warehousing and fulfillment strategy.

Before continuing on into the fun world of marketing your cosmetics line, one last point needs to be considered. Where will you store finished products, and how will you get them to customers? Again, this is dependent on your manufacturing strategy. For CLOVE + HALLOW, we order bulk amounts of products at a time in order to hit manufacturer MOQs, so we have a large warehouse facility. In the beginning, I did all of the packing and shipping myself. Now, I have a team who help hand-pick and ship orders to our customers and retail partners. You will want to think about this well in advance of launch to ensure a smooth workflow.

Having trouble finding warehouse space or wrapping your head around the logistics of managing fulfillment? Consider using a 3PL (Third Party Logistics company) that specializes in dynamic storage and order fulfillment; there are plenty that work with small businesses/startups and can tolerate infrequent orders and exponential growth. (Honestly, between new product launches, reorders, and seasonality – space and hands-on-deck needed can fluctuate pretty wildly, so a 3PL has a lot of perks if you’re willing to relinquish some control!)

 

Step Five: Growth via marketing and sales.

I know this is getting repetitive but go back to step one. Refresh your memory on who you wanted to make a cosmetics line for and why. Do a deep dive into who they are, what they like, where they live and shop, their struggles and pain points, etc. Now go find them – directly, or via retail partners they shop with – and show them why they need your products.

Overwhelmed by where to start? Here are a few standard marketing/sales avenues to consider for your business:

  • Social Media – Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  • Paid Ads – Google search, Facebook and Instagram, AdRoll, etc.
  • Public Relations – agencies, freelancers, etc.
  • Email – MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.
  • Influencer – Affiliate and Ambassador programs, paid partnerships, etc.
  • Tradeshows – Indie Beauty Expo, The Makeup Show, etc.

 

And, voila – a cosmetics line is born.

Whew! From a very high level, that’s really all there is to it – but of course, in reality, to make a cosmetics line is quite complicated. It’s challenging to explain in greater detail because it’s an ongoing learning process that different brands take at different paces to different places. My goal was to write a high-level post that I would have found helpful when starting out, so hopefully, you found it helpful too.

Best of luck, friends!

Sarah
Founder + CEO of CLOVE + HALLOW

February 08, 2018
ORGANIC, NATURAL, GREEN, AND CLEAN. WHAT?

ORGANIC, NATURAL, GREEN, AND CLEAN. WHAT?

Now more than ever, understanding the differences between terms like “green”, “clean”, “natural” and “organic” is important. If you’re looking for a quick guide to green beauty terms and the similarities and differences between each claim, you’re in the right place!

First, it’s important to note that since there is minimal regulation – if any – over these terms, there will be companies out there who abuse and use them improperly. The only sure-fire way to cut through marketing fluff to determine if a product or company’s ingredients are acceptable to you is to read up on individual ingredients.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s jump into it!

Organic: This term can be both ingredient level which refers to the nature in which an ingredient was grown and harvested or it can be at a product level, such as USDA certified organic products which have to meet certain thresholds of organic ingredients to be considered. Whether referring to individual ingredients or a product as a whole, the term organic means that they are free of chemical substances and processes such as fertilizers, antibiotics, GMOs, etc.

Natural: This term is probably one of the most abused because it carries a lot of marketing weight but is completely unregulated. Technically, a product or company should not call itself natural unless they are all-natural, i.e. all ingredients are naturally derived and non-synthetic, however, you should read labels to understand if a company is calling their product natural because they’ve included two natural ingredients squished between a bunch of chemicals.


Clean: This term is a “middle of the road” term typically used by companies that are not 100% natural but use natural ingredients when possible plus an array of safe synthetics as needed. The goal is less about natural and more about safety. CLOVE + HALLOW falls under the category of a clean beauty brand! If you see a company or product touted as “clean” you should read the label and research the ingredients to ensure the product is up to your personal standard.

Green: When you see this term, it is usually referring to products and companies that are eco-conscious. This can relate to ingredients, production processes, packaging, etc. For example, an organic product or company isn’t necessarily green if they are harvesting organic ingredients in an unsustainable fashion, and a clean product or company can be considered green if they are using recyclable packaging.

So that’s it you guys – we know there are a lot of confusing buzzwords floating around in the beauty space so we hope this helped bring some clarity. Unfortunately, until these terms are regulated there will always be some grey area for unsavory people and businesses to exploit, so we suggest that anyone who is interested in this topic throw their weight behind the growing pressure on regulatory agencies to create legal definitions for these terms!

January 10, 2018
DAY-TO-NIGHT EASY GLAM MAKEUP USING 3 PRODUCTS

DAY-TO-NIGHT EASY GLAM MAKEUP USING 3 PRODUCTS

Taking your makeup look from day to night can quickly escalate from ambitious to downright intimidating. There are so many techniques and products out there to choose from! Fear not – our founder, Sarah Biggers, has simplified the process for you by demonstrating a super simple day-to-night look using only three products and four steps for an easy glam makeup look.

Yes, you read that right – THREE products! There’s really no need to complicate things when you’re going for an easy glam makeup look. Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1:

Start by applying your eyeliner to your upper lash line and outer third of your lower lash line. It can be messy since we’re going to smudge it out later anyways, so don’t stress about making it perfect.

quick and easy glam makeup using three natural products

Step 2:

Using a Q-tip, smudge the eyeliner along the lash line. Add more eyeliner if needed (if you have oily eyelids you will probably need to add more between qtip smudges.) If you like a cat-eye shape, extend the smudge past the outer edge of your eye at an upward angle, as if an extension of the lower lash line.

quick and easy glam makeup using three natural products

Step 3:

Rub a bit of lipstick between your fingertips and tap onto the apples of your cheeks for a healthy flush. Don’t be scared of this step – as long as you’re only using a little bit and letting the product melt between your fingertips, it will blend super easily.

quick and easy glam makeup using three natural products

Step 4:

Apply that same lipstick shade to your lips for a finished, polished look. You can experiment with a different lipstick shade, but using the same one keeps the process super simple and ensures that none of the colors clash.

quick and easy glam makeup using three natural products

TADA! See – We told you it was easy glam makeup 😉 Check out the video demonstration below to see a live walkthrough of these techniques with our founder, Sarah Biggers.

 

December 07, 2017
MAKE YOUR MAKEUP LAST ALL NIGHT

MAKE YOUR MAKEUP LAST ALL NIGHT

There is nothing worse than spending extra time to get ready for a holiday party or night out on the town and then realizing it wore off almost immediately. From my years of working as a makeup artist, I have a handful of tips and tricks that will increase the longevity of your look and make your makeup last all night.

make your makeup last all nightChoose Quality Products
I know this seems obvious, but it really does make a difference. Unfortunately, quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive; in fact, there are some really high quality and effective drugstore products out there. Select products that have quality ingredients in them that you know work well with your skin.

Prep Work
In order to make your makeup last all night when it comes to complexion, I suggest a two-part prep process for all skin types. First, apply a primer all over your skin. (You can use a designated primer or a moisturizer that works really well with your skin type and products.) Second, dust a translucent setting powder over areas where you tend to get oily and apply your makeup on top of this layer. If you are oily, you can use these steps daily in order to control shine.

Blot + Powder Lip Method
Lipstick is usually one of the first products to fade away due to talk, eating, drinking or – ahem – kissing. You can save yourself from worrying and hassle by using a long-wear liquid lipstick like our Lip Velvet, but if you prefer a lipstick here’s what you do:

  1. Apply lipstick to lips as you would normally
    Press lips together in a blotting motion with a tissue in-between your lips.
    Repeat 1 and 2 until you have desired coverage; this will create a longwear stain.
  2. Apply a little translucent setting powder to your lips if you’re going for a matte look. (I don’t recommend a glossy finish or lip gloss for an all-nighter look as they are difficult to keep in place due to natural oils.)

Setting Spray
Your final step is to create a barrier on your skin to prevent your makeup from transferring and fading. The best way to do this is with a dusting of setting powder, a spritz of a setting spray, or both.

 

I hope you all have the time of your life ringing in the new year! With these tips in your back pocket, you can make your makeup last all night and start the new year off right!

– Sarah Biggers, Founder and CEO

December 07, 2017
FIND YOUR ULTIMATE LIPPIE

FIND YOUR ULTIMATE LIPPIE

Choosing the right lippie can seem like a daunting task, especially with so.many.shades out there, but we’ve simplified for you with a quick graphic from our founder/makeup artist, Sarah Biggers. This infographic will help you find your perfect lipstick shade, whether for a work appropriate daytime look or a night out on the town.

As always, all the products listed below are made with clean ingredients, and PETA-certified cruelty-free and vegan!

find your perfect lipstick shade

We hope you found this guide helpful and feel confident in finding your perfect lipstick shade!

November 01, 2017
5 TOXIC MAKEUP INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

5 TOXIC MAKEUP INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

If you do a google search for toxic makeup ingredients, what to avoid in my makeup and skincare, or chemical free makeup (which always makes me laugh, since even water is a chemical), there is no shortage of blog posts and articles with answers.

So why is CLOVE + HALLOW publishing another one?

Because the CLOVE + HALLOW stance on clean cosmetics is a little different (read this article to understand what I mean) and many of our customers are new to the space and looking for a short-and-sweet list that can put into practice immediately.

So instead of providing you with all of the possible toxic makeup ingredients that may be lurking in your products, we’ve decided to simplify with a list of the five toxic ingredients you should always avoid in your personal care products. Beyond these, you should decide where your own personal line in the sand is and purchase products that fit within those parameters.

So, without further ado, here are the five toxic makeup ingredients that you should never let near your skin:

  1. Parabens – A paraben (methylparaben, butylparaben, etc.) is a very effective preservative to stop fungi, bacteria, and microbes from taking over your beauty products. And while truthfully they are pretty badass preservatives, using products formulated with parabens just isn’t worth the risk: they are highly absorbable (a recent study found high levels of parabens in young males just hours after they applied a topical lotion containing parabens) and they have been linked to estrogen-related issues and breast cancer. It just isn’t worth the risk, particularly when there are plenty effective but safe preservative options on the market. Even major retailers are seeing the truth: Target is banning products containing parabens starting in 2020.
  2. Fragrance/Parfum – Actual perfume products aside, most cosmetics have a scent. If you were to read the ingredient list for a standard beauty or personal care good, “fragrance” or “parfum” will be listed 9 out of 10 times. Why does this matter? Those terms are protected as trade secrets by the FDA and therefore unregulated, so the dozens of toxic chemicals (on average, at least 14) that comprise a fragrance do not have to be disclosed. These components are often derived from petroleum and contaminated with toxins that are carcinogenic and irritating, such as formaldehyde and acetone. I like to smell like cotton candy sometimes too, but is it *really* worth it?
  3. Oxybenzone/Avobenzone/Octinoxate – These are three common chemical sunscreens, which means they absorb solar radiation and transform it to prevent sunburn rather than physically deflecting it like a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. After a single application, these chemicals can be detected in the blood for up to two days and are known for interrupting hormone/endocrine cycles due to mimicking estrogen.
  4. Petroleum/Mineral Oil/Paraffin – These are petrochemicals often contaminated with carcinogens during processing and refinement. Additionally, they are occlusive which means your skin cannot breathe from under them and thus often cause acne, clogged pores, and irritation.
  5. Talc – This absorbent powder has recently risen through the ranks of ingredients to avoid due to some nasty new evidence that points to carcinogenic and irritation risks associated with usage. The main issue is that the mining and processing procedures of the talc we apply to our bodies (and accidentally, often inhale) are unclear, and while pure talc may not be an issue, talc contaminated with asbestos certainly is. The FDA does require testing talc for asbestos, but clearly, that is not enough: there have been multiple incidents over the last decade in which major cosmetic brands were tested positive for containing asbestos, including the most recent incident with the kids clothing store, Justice.

Of course, CLOVE + HALLOW cosmetics never contain the above toxic makeup ingredients and are PETA-certified cruelty-free and vegan, too. We’re not into fear-mongering, but we highly suggest combing through the products you use regularly to toss out any that contain the ingredients above.

We’ll create a more in-depth list down the road for those of you who are really invested (and willing to invest) in clean personal care goods. What are some of the big bad toxic makeup ingredients on your list to avoid?

– Sarah Biggers, Founder and CEO

October 27, 2017
CLOVE + HALLOW PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS

CLOVE + HALLOW PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS

In the early days of CLOVE + HALLOW, I told everyone that my goal for this line was an aura of welcoming inclusivity. In other words, I wanted to create a very real sense of community around my brand – and with real women, not just with elite influencers. With this goal in mind, we recently launched the CLOVE + HALLOW Partnership Programs – a collection of three different programs to suit a wide range of interests and skills.

Keep reading for details on the programs and how to apply!

Are you an Influencer, Ambassador or Pro?

The Pro Program is reserved for professional makeup artists. Having used my makeup freelance career as the launching pad for CLOVE + HALLOW, it’s very important to me that we recognize and support makeup artists looking to add clean, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics to their kits. To apply, simply fill out this application and email it to programs@cloveandhallow.com — we’ll be in touch within 3-5 business days with our decision. Once accepted, members of our Pro Program will get a 40% off discount code for purchases on cloveandhallow.com as well as access to insider exclusives.

Our Influencer and Ambassador programs are Affiliate Programs and perfect for those of you who want to promote CLOVE + HALLOW in exchange for some sweet perks – like early access to new products, discounted product, and insider exclusives. All that we ask is that you share your love for CLOVE + HALLOW as much as you can!

The biggest difference between the two programs is that Influencers need a platform – such as an established YouTube channel, blog, Instagram, etc. – in order to receive free product and commissions from sales that their promotions generate. To apply for the Influencer program, complete this form.

To be an Ambassador, the only requirement is that you love CLOVE + HALLOW and want to share it with your friends and family (awesome, right?!) As an Ambassador, you will receive insider exclusives, early access to new product launches, and a steep discount code for all your purchases on cloveandhallow.com. To become an Ambassador, please complete this application.

On behalf of the CLOVE + HALLOW team, thank you for all your support. We are so excited to share this journey with you – and the perks ain’t too shabby either 😉

x

Sarah, Founder and CEO

August 04, 2017
WHAT IS CLOVE + HALLOW’S CLEAN15™ GUARANTEE?

WHAT IS CLOVE + HALLOW’S CLEAN15™ GUARANTEE?

CLOVE + HALLOW’s Clean15™ is a concept that naturally raises many questions, so we thought it would be best to have our founder sit down and explain it in more depth.

At it’s most basic, the Clean15™ is our proprietary formulation strategy that guarantees 1000+ toxic ingredients are replaced with 15 or fewer safe ingredients per base formula. Known endocrine and hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and irritants are eschewed for natural butters, oils, and waxes that are gentler on the skin and safer for absorption.

The concept of the Clean15™ came to be mostly out of my own frustration as a consumer. Once I started to pay closer attention to the ingredients in my cosmetics and personal care goods, I was even more overwhelmed while shopping thanks to mile-long ingredient lists. (And it didn’t seem to matter if it was a natural brand or not; reading ingredient labels from almost every product I came across made me feel like I was in a PhD chemistry course!) So when I decided that I was going to launch my own clean, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics line, I knew I had to come up with a way to guarantee simplicity and minimalist formulas. Clean15™ is that solution.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, CLOVE + HALLOW wasn’t created to be the cleanest or greenest cosmetics line on the market; our goal is simply to create affordable, safe products that are up to my professional standards as a makeup artist, and the Clean15™ helps us accomplish that goal. That being said, we do have an expansive list of acceptable ingredients and an even more robust blacklist of ingredients we will never allow in our formulas. What are some of those? Scroll down to find out!

Ingredients we NEVER use:

  • Animal by-products
  • Parabens
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Synthetic fragrance
  • Synthetic flavors
  • PEG- compounds
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Talc
  • Bismuth Oxychloride
  • Mineral Oil
  • Paraffin Oil
  • BHA and BHT
  • Hydroquinone
  • Oxybenzone
  • SLS and SLES
  • Triclosan

Ingredients we DO use:

  • Jojoba, Castor, Sweet Almond, Argan, Coconut, and Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride oils
  • Cocoa, Shea, and Mango butters
  • Carnauba, Candelilla, and Sunflower waxes
  • Silica
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Boron Nitride
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Iron Oxidess
  • FD&C dyes (we start with iron oxides and supplement with such small percentages of lake dyes that we think it’s worth the tradeoff for awesome pigmentation and shade range)
  • Tocopherol (vitamin e)
  • Rice Bran, Rosemary, and Sunflower Extracts
  • Coconut Alkanes (a natural emollient with a silicone-esque feel, used primarily to reduce dimethicone concentration)
  • Dimethicone (a silky synthetic oil silicone used to create slip, adhesion, and smooth texture, used occasionally in our color cosmetics in small amounts typically as a dispersion oil for pigments)

While these lists are not exhaustive by any means, they are a good starting place of CLOVE + HALLOW’s basic YAY and NAY ingredient lists. When we do occasionally use a synthetic, it’s for a legitimate purpose in the formula such as texture, shade range, or wear-time, and never selected just for cheap filler like so many brands out there do. If you see an ingredient on here or in one of our formulas that you have a question about, please let us know so we can explain the purpose of that ingredient and why we chose to utilize it.

July 05, 2017
WHO IS CLOVE + HALLOW? 7 QUESTIONS WITH OUR FOUNDER

WHO IS CLOVE + HALLOW? 7 QUESTIONS WITH OUR FOUNDER

With so many cosmetic lines popping up each day – particularly in the rapidly expanding green beauty market – it can be hard to keep track of who’s who and what they stand for. We thought it would be best to sit down with our founder, Sarah Biggers, to discuss how CLOVE + HALLOW started and what makes it special. 

You weren’t a novice to the beauty scene when you started CLOVE + HALLOW. Tell us more about your background!

If you had asked me in college what I was going to be doing in five years, I never would have said anything related to the beauty industry. I had always been obsessed with makeup and had begun dabbling with doing makeup application on my sorority sisters, but I attended Georgia Tech – which is a renowned engineering institute – and figured I’d keep working for software companies or end up in some other tech industry. It wasn’t until I graduated and the weight of my “first job” really hit me that I decided to pursue makeup artistry. Within a few weeks I turned down my job offer, enrolled in some local makeup courses, and booked my first makeup gig. It was an eight hour unpaid shoot but I left feeling so happy that I knew I’d made the right choice; from there, I built up a great reputation as one of Atlanta’s go-to bridal and editorial makeup artists.

Tell us about the first time you thought of starting a makeup line. Why? What did you envision?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs; all of us are wired to think about building our own businesses in whatever industry we’re active in. While freelancing, I was already thinking about various ways I could shake up the beauty industry – and while I came up with some really great ideas, none of them spoke to me enough to pursue. It wasn’t until I came down with a mystery illness in late 2014 that forced me to quit working due to debilitating depression and panic attacks that I thought about my own cosmetics line. I had been sick for months and each doctor that I went to was flummoxed and sent me to another doctor who then sent me to another doctor and it just went on and on until I made my way to a naturopath. She encouraged me – ever the skeptic – to drastically reduce my chemical intake by overhauling my diet, cleaning supplies, personal care, etc. When I went to purge my makeup and skincare by trying out hundreds of clean alternatives, I couldn’t find many suitable replacements – especially for my professional makeup kit – and that’s when the light bulb went off.

What was the pivotal moment when you thought, “Okay, I have to do this?” and then actually pursued CLOVE + HALLOW?

I had drafted up a business plan for an unnamed clean cosmetics line but it was just sitting on my desk gathering dust because I was so busy running my makeup and lash extension businesses. It wasn’t until I found out that I was going to become an aunt that I really decided to go for it; the idea of kissing my nephew with toxic lipstick made me cringe and I was overwhelmed by the desire to make less toxic products for our future generations to use. A few months later – February 2016 to be exact – I incorporated to make it official and in June 2016 I took my last makeup client so I could work on CLOVE + HALLOW full-time.

CLOVE + HALLOW is a unique name. Tell us about the story behind it.

Honestly, it was a bit of a process. I was thinking about the C+H brand and what I wanted it to invoke and immediately went to a sense of natural warmth and inclusion, so I thought of clove spice and wrote it down. Then I reflected on my relationship with makeup – and most women’s relationship with makeup – and felt that it was almost ritualistic in nature. Wake up, wash my face, put on my makeup, go about my day, take off my makeup, go to sleep. Rinse and repeat. It made me think of almost a religious experience and I thought of “Hallow be Thy Name.” Smoosh them together, and voila!

Why cruelty-free and vegan?

To keep it simple and to the point: I am a huge animal lover and could never rationalize my business testing on animals or including animal byproduct ingredients in our formulas when there is simply no reason to do so. We will never engage in this kind of behavior, and if that means we will never expand into Chinese markets where animal testing is required by law, then so be it.

There are so many clean, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetic lines on the market. What makes CLOVE + HALLOW special?

I always say there are five things that make us unique, especially when you look at all five of them together and realize that no other business is doing what we’re doing:

  1. Modern aesthetic – I wanted to create clean products that were cool and pretty enough to display on vanities.
  2. Shade range – Inclusivity is everything to CLOVE + HALLOW, so we develop our shades with feedback from testers who encompass a huge range of skintones to ensure that we have a vibrant and diverse shade range that will suit most skintones.
  3. Pigmentation – Not all women want natural coverage or sheer payoff, and some of us (aka me!) can’t get away with that look because we don’t have flawless skin. CLOVE + HALLOW products were created with boldness and pigmentation in mind.
  4. Clean15 – Cosmetic labels are so overwhelming, and unnecessarily so considering the number of ingredients included on labels in such tiny amounts that they don’t really impact the formula. We clear the confusion and keep it simple with 15 or fewer safe ingredients per base formula.
  5. Affordable price point – More than anything else, the price point is what I love about CLOVE + HALLOW. It is my belief that high quality clean cosmetics should not be a luxury reserved for an elite few, but available to anyone who is looking to make healthier choices.

If there was one thing you could explain to potential customers that is difficult to get across on a website, what would it be?

When transitioning to clean beauty products, I was so annoyed by brands and businesses that misled consumers with scammy greenwashed marketing tactics. All I wanted was to find a cosmetics line at my local (non-luxury) store that was straightforward and not packed full of PEG- compounds, talc, parabens, and synthetic fragrance or flavor. When I couldn’t, I decided to make my own with that end goal in mind. So here’s the truth: CLOVE + HALLOW was never developed to be the cleanest, greenest or purest line on the market. There are so many incredible brands out there positioned that way and doing exceptionally well and I wholeheartedly support them, but that just isn’t us. In short, I launched CLOVE + HALLOW to create clean products that were up to my professional standards as a makeup artist without the crazy expensive price-point. Because of that, you may find a silicone or synthetic in some of our products and we may have less organic ingredients compared to some of our competitors. But, and you have my word on this, we only utilize synthetics when they serve a legitimate purpose in the formula – such as preservation, shade, or wear-time – and only the safest synthetics (below a 3 on the EWG) are allowed. CLOVE + HALLOW is truly revolutionizing clean beauty, and I am so thankful for all the support that has allowed us to do so. Upward and onward! x

June 30, 2017