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Juice Beauty founder Karen Behnke is often described as a serial wellness entrepreneur, a title she takes in her stride. “It’s a fun thing to be called,” she told The Memo. “Wellness and sustainability form the entire basis of which I live my life, and since I always combine my lifestyle with business, I’ve spent 38 years in the industry.” At 22, Behnke founded an aerobics company in San Francisco. Next, she launched a wellness enterprise that offered worksite medical fitness screenings. It wasn’t until she became pregnant with her first child in her early 40s that she took an deep interest in the ingredients in beauty products.
“I was utterly astounded to learn that, even though skin absorbs what is placed on it, there were very few healthy personal care products that worked well,” she says, from her offices in leafy Northern California. Determined to change this, she developed a line of luxurious organic skin care that performed better than conventional beauty products. Independent laboratory clinical tests confirm this. “I always knew our high efficacy skincare products could beat the natural brands, but I was aiming for beating conventional chemical results,” she adds.
In 2015, Juice Beauty collaborated with Gwyneth Paltrow to expand into colour with its Phyto-Pigments makeup collection (launching at MECCA in April), and the products have achieved their own cult status among Hollywood greenies. Paltrow even used the products for her bridal makeup look at her wedding late last year. Seventy percent of what goes into a Juice Beauty product is certified organic, and organic formulas have much higher antioxidant levels to fight signs of ageing. And the formulas are filler-free, so every drop is working for your skin.
The line is cruelty-free, sustainably made (with wind and solar power manufacturing), and sans potentially harmful ingredients. With the exception of a few products that contain sustainably-sourced beeswax, it’s also vegan. The other thing about Juice Beauty is that it feels different. It absorbs faster than conventional skin care, feels lighter (some of the products have a subtle zing) and won’t clog your pores. To find out more about the brand, now available at MECCA, we spoke to Behnke for all the juice.
TM: What first attracted you to the wellness industry?KB: “Health and wellness was my original passion and I wanted to combine my career with my passion! My goal has always been to consistently marry my passion for helping people enjoy healthier lifestyles with my ability to build financially successful businesses that are mission-driven. My original interest was in fitness as it helped me overcome a lot of the terrible medical problems that I had as a child. Then, it was a step-by-step progression in becoming passionate about nutrition and subsequently the wellness of the planet. Juice Beauty is an amalgamation of everything I’ve learnt in the industry.”
How did you get Gwyneth Paltrow involved with the Juice Beauty makeup line?“Gwyneth and I met through a mutual investor, Amanda Eilian, and we immediately bonded over wellness and the desire to have beauty products that were amazing and worked well but didn’t compromise on health. Juice Beauty already had an entire line of successful skin care products, so we decided to launch a makeup collection together. Thus, Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Makeup was launched and Gwyneth became our makeup creative director for three years. She was incredibly involved with designing the look, feel, colour palettes and more, and I think the entire world knows Gwyneth has incredible and decisive taste! We were thrilled to work with her. She is still a shareholder in Juice Beauty, and Juice Beauty is a shareholder in Goop."
How do you know if a product is working for you, and how long should you use a Juice Beauty product before you can really decide?“That’s a great question that most people don’t really ponder. Many of our products, like our cult fave Green Apple Peel Mask will provide instant results but continue to improve your skin over time. The Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray is probably our most instant gratification product, it’s clinically validated, and when you use it you will see dead skin cells falling off! However, our serums and moisturisers really work as a system over time, so I would encourage our customers to use a cleanser, treatment or moisturiser for at least a month to assess skin tone and texture. The most frequent compliment our customers get is, ‘Your skin is glowing!’”
What ingredients are you particularly passionate about?“All aspects of organic grape (grapeseed, grape skins, grape ground seeds, resveratrol from grapes and grape stem cells), organic olive squalane and organic olive oil. These ingredients will all eventually come from our Juice Beauty Farm that we just established. Of course, I’m also quite partial to organic fruit acids. When they are formulated correctly they can rejuvenate your skin.”
What are the benefits of organic skin care and why should people make the switch?“Firstly, organically farmed ingredients can have up to 30 percent higher antioxidant levels than conventionally farmed ingredients. Antioxidants fight free radicals and free radicals are responsible for skin damage. So high antioxidant levels are fabulous! Secondly, as organic ingredients are farmed to limit toxic and synthetic pesticides, that residue is not left in your products nor in the earth!”
Can you use some organic skin care, and some not? “Of course! But my question would be ‘Why?’ It’s super important to use clean beauty products for anything that stays on your skin like serums, moisturisers and SPF products. Also, lip products — you are eating your lipstick all day!”
How do you feel about the beauty industry becoming more ingredient conscious and cleaner?“I think it’s terrific that it’s drawing more attention to the ingredients in products that can be harmful to the health of animals, the planet or the user. However, words like ‘natural’ and ‘clean’ that have come with the movement ... none of those words have solid definitions. That’s why we abide by the strict organic regulation guidelines. Juice Beauty is over 13-years-old — we were pioneers”
What does your morning routine look like?“I always drink a large glass of filtered water, followed by organic black tea. I go for either a run, bike ride or do yoga for approximately an hour. Then I cleanse, treat and apply an AM SPF moisturiser from either Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular or Green Apple collections.”
What’s one non-beauty thing everyone can do to improve their health and have it show in their skin?“Daily exercise. It gives you that glow.”
What’s your 2019 mantra?“Farm to beauty.”
Words by Alexandra WhitingFebruary 2019
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