Have you ever dreamt of a website that only carries the most luxurious, effective, non toxic skin care and beauty products? A place where you could trust that each product has been vetted out by someone who believes that high performance skin and beauty products should also be non toxic to us and the environment? Well, your dreams have become a reality with Spirit Beauty Lounge. I had the pleasure of meeting Spirit Demerson, founder of Spirit Beauty Lounge, at the NYC Premiere of my documentary, GMO OMG. She is a natural beauty (inside and out) and I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her company and her thoughts on skin care and make up. I told her how I have managed to switch to non toxic products in almost all areas of my life, but that there are still a few make up products that I just haven’t been able to find healthy alternatives for. Spirit generously offered to take the list of products I wish to replace and send me a bunch of new, healthy alternatives to try out! I just received the glorious box of goodies in the mail this week and I am SO excited to give them all a try! I am going to chronicle my experience with the transition, as well as share any products I find that I think are must haves for all of you. So check back soon for updates on my journey!
Is your real name Spirit?
My real California-hippie-parent-given name is Spirit Ireland Demerson.
What inspired you to start Spirit Beauty Lounge?
I spent a lifetime trying to reconcile my love of luxury beauty products, with my commitment to health and sustainability. I longed for a place where one could shop for products that were all as green and clean as they were beautiful. That didn’t exist, so I created it!
Is it possible to get the same performance as conventional products in natural skin care and make up products?
Generally I wouldn’t say the “same” but in most cases I would actually say natural performs better – it’s our expectations that tend to be off. Especially with skin care, many conventional products are formulated to give the immediate appearance or sensation of improvement, but not long-term, skin balancing, nourishing and strengthening results that we get from natural. There are certain areas where natural will never compare to synthetic, but by and large it has always been superior. We should remember, the reason chemists in labs synthesized most of the cosmetic ingredients out there was not to improve on nature, or because effective natural ingredients were lacking, but rather to mimic nature, at a much, much cheaper cost.
What is the worst common ingredient that people should avoid and why?
I wish this were an easy question to answer. Just for perspective, the EU bans over 1,000 ingredients from use in cosmetics, the US bans 10. Even the new Whole Foods Premium Body Care Standard bans over 400 ingredients. It would be careless to pick one, or even 12, and think that everything is OK except for products that have those ingredients. With thousands and thousands of unregulated ingredients in use in US cosmetics, I believe the better solution, for women who aren’t completely obsessive ingredients researchers like myself, is to look at this backwards; If you can’t memorize a list of several hundred ingredients to avoid – buy only the ones you know and trust. In most of the products you’ll find on spiritbeautylounge.com, you’ll recognize 90% of the ingredients as the types of things you’d eat (think: argan oil, licorice root, sea algae…). Anything you don’t, look it up. You’ll start to get familiar with the chemical-sounding-but-good-for-you ones like “Caprylic Capric Triglycerides” (a fraction of coconut oil). This is why starting in a store that’s already done a lot of the work for you is so helpful, if you’re looking to shop better.
What are your top three favorite natural beauty products of the moment?
May Lindstrom Skin Clean Dirt
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence
Kjaer Weis Blush in Desired Glow
Why are natural products more expensive than conventional products?
They really aren’t. I think that’s a misconception. The more you know about the cheap synthetic stuff that goes into products, the more you’ll find that what’s really overpriced is most everything you find in department store beauty counters. Their minimal-benefit ingredients cost a tiny fraction of the markup you pay. With a jar of RMS Beauty Un Cover Up you’re getting skin nourishing, anti-aging natural ingredients, that can cost nearly what you pay! With a silicone based designer product of the same price, it’s not multi-benefit or skin nourishing, and what you pay can be 20 times the cheap ingredient cost.
What is your recommendation for women who want to start the switch to natural products? Where should they begin?
I know it can be overwhelming, you start to look around at everything you’re using and think “Oh no! I have to start all over figuring out what works for me!” This is why I like to think of SBL as a service, and not just a store. Our beauty experts, and myself, know exactly what that’s like and we specialize in transitioning. You tell us what you’re using now, and we find the best way and the best products to crossover!
What is the best way for us to find out if a product we are using contains harmful ingredients?
Statistically, (if you use conventional personal care products) the odds are, it does. The questions is: to what degree are you being exposed to them? I used to challenge my loved ones to pick any product they use daily – shampoo, lotion, lip balm… and look up the MSDS and research data on each ingredient in just that one item. Then ask, “Am I OK with this going into my bloodstream?” There are some products you may use on special occasions, and even then, only apply them to your nails or eyelashes – I’d say the exposure there is not something to stress about. But think of the products you use frequently, in particular those you apply to and leave on the skin, knowing that you’re absorbing up to 65% of that into your bloodstream. Toxins are a part of life on this planet, and unavoidable. But consider the cumulative effects of that amount of exposure through the skin, and whether that’s something you’re really comfortable with.
If you could give some beauty advice to my readers, what would it be?
It’s cliché, but I learn more and more every day, that it truly comes from the inside out. Making your health and vitality a priority as a woman, will without question, lead to you being more beautiful, and radiating more beauty, than anything you’re “giving up” ever could have.
What is a saying you live by?
Beauty is as beauty does.