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Posted by 06.15.14

A commitment to health and wellness has guided Terese Linke’s career path over the past 25 years. Currently, she is global education and spa training director for Amala, a natural skin care line used in spas and wellness centers across the nation. She works behind the scenes to make sure that the aestheticians that use and sell Amala completely understand the line and how to customize treatments for each individual client. Here Terese shares her natural skin care expertise with Beauty in the Bag and details the benefits of using only natural and organic products on your skin.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become involved with green beauty products?

Having a very strong interest and enthusiasm for health—wellness, sustainability, beauty, and fitness have been my life’s passion and inspiration. My primary goal in life is to be conscience of life, meaning, and destiny with a self-felt calling to cause good growth in my life and the lives of others. This has inspired me to follow a career that includes education and training, manufacturing, and sales, specializing in international training of products and healing lifestyle treatments, over the past 25 years.

In April 2006, I co-founded WPR Source, a world-class health and wellness education business development company that specializes in luxury spa and boutique retail. Prior to this, I worked for 11 years in the private education sector and during this time I become an accredited fitness instructor in 1988 and an esthetician and massage therapist in 2000. I have spent over 15 years in sales management and international training for several authentic green companies including Amala and PRIMAVERA. I have a real passion and enthusiasm for the training and education of others, which together with my commitment to my primary goal, has been a major force in energizing and inspiring others whom I connect with both personally and professionally.

Many active anti-aging ingredients like retinol or growth factors are not included in natural skin care products. How can natural products turn back the hands of time?

Rooted in nature’s wisdom, natural and organic products and treatments nurture and feed the skin with powerful plant botanicals. In addition to correcting problems, the right natural skin care products have the ability to create a more healthy and youthful appearance as we age. We need to remember that our skin is our body’s largest organ; therefore, our skin eats too. I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose only certified natural, organic skin care products as opposed to commercial products that are made with cheap, synthetic inorganic ingredients, where some of these ingredients have been proven to be harmful to our overall health and the appearance and health of our skin. Natural products that use organic seed and plant oils actually penetrate deeply into the skin to improve the structure and hydration of the skin rather than just sit on top of its exterior. Natural plant ingredients also help the skin to become thicker and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also help tighten and lift the skin, as well as improve discoloration and uneven skin tone that we all experience with aging.

Does Amala skincare have a hero product? Why is it so popular?

Our hero product is without a doubt Amala Rejuvenating Advanced Firming Complex. It  really stands out because it is our most results oriented, anti-aging product to date and the first Amala product with proven seven day clinical results. Since its launch in 2012, it has rapidly become Amala’s number one international best-selling product due to its amazing results. Our customers just can’t seem to get enough of it. I love the Rejuvenating Advanced Firming Complex not only for its fast and effective results, but also for its instant smoothing benefits and ultra-luxe texture. It’s very hydrating without being overly heavy.

Is the shelf life of natural beauty products shorter than traditional products?

Yes, it is. Certified natural and organic beauty products are made from ingredients from nature, therefore do not use any harmful chemicals, toxic preservatives, or cancer causing binders or fillers that you find in more traditional, conventional beauty products.

All Amala products are of 100% natural origin, free of petrochemicals, parabens, and synthetic or genetically modified ingredients. In the world of natural and organic skin care, Amala emphasizes quality over quantity in regards to a product’s lifespan. Synthetic products may offer an extended “shelf life” with chemically-based preservatives, but Amala’s all-natural preservation system allows the benefits of its living plant ingredients to remain fully intact and active. Natural botanicals, used in all Amala products, are the ideal preservatives. Amala’s cosmetic chemists are aligned with nature and use the intelligent properties of plants via extracts and essential oils to harness their innate    intelligent system of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. By using the highest quality raw botanical materials that are grown in their idyllic setting, Amala capitalizes on nature’s “logic” to naturally fight bacteria and preserve its products.

What is your beauty philosophy? 

I feel that many women these days spend way too much time worrying about their bodies and a few lines and wrinkles here and there. Beauty is so much more than just skin deep. I believe real beauty is a result of happy, healthy living, and doing good for yourself and others. It is about self-esteem, self-confidence, and being comfortable in your own skin. It is about how we feel about ourselves and how we also teach our daughters to feel about themselves. I believe in aging gracefully. It is not about looking “young,” it is about looking healthy and being the best I can be. Beauty is reflected from the inside, out. I focus on noninvasive alternatives to surgery, like using pure, natural and organic skin care, a healthy balanced diet that is rich in organic, preferably locally grown fruits and vegetables, and throughout my entire life I have placed a very high importance on personal fitness. I embark in daily exercise consisting of combinations of cardio, yoga, and Pilates.

What’s next for Amala and natural beauty?

The natural beauty category is really moving towards high performance skin care that is results driven, with proven benefits comparable to those from traditional beauty products. We are seeing more and more demand for active anti-aging and skin brightening products that deliver visible results without potentially harmful chemical ingredients. Amala is continuing to push the boundaries of what natural ingredients can do, and you can expect to see more and more highly advanced skin care products from our line in the coming years!



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Posted by 06.08.14

The saying goes that if you love your work, you’ll never work a day in your life, and that perfectly describes the passion that Jamie Kern Lima has for IT Cosmetics. The brand’s co-founder and CEO, Jamie was inspired to create the solution oriented makeup line by her own personal beauty challenges of covering up rosacea prone skin and enhancing sparse brows. She works with plastic surgeons to develop formulations toimprove skin and balance women’s needs for visual enhancement and solution oriented skin care. Here she tells Beauty in the bag how she transitioned from TV news anchor to cosmetic maven, and how she develops the best possible products.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into the beauty business?

Before launching IT Cosmetics, I spent several years as a TV news anchor. Looking awake for the 5am news wasn’t always easy, especially while dealing with rosacea and sparse brows. After accidentally wiping my brow off in the middle of a broadcast, and never being able to find products that gave true full coverage without creasing, cracking or making me look older, I was inspired to partner with plastic surgeons and create a line of problem-solving products. In fact, many of my personal beauty woes and those of women I know have inspired several of IT Cosmetics’ award winning products today.

What is the philosophy of IT Cosmetics? How does it differ from other cosmetic brands?

At IT Cosmetics, we believe every woman is beautiful, we believe great makeup can give you great skin, and we believe that when you get our products home, you don’t need to worry about being an expert because the products are superior. They literally are developed to do the work for you. That’s why we work with a team of leading plastic surgeons and for us we focus on developing clinically-proven color cosmetics and skin care products that are so cutting-edge in their anti-aging technology and formulations that you can see the results in your skin the first time you wear them. My goal is when you wear IT Cosmetics you get compliments on your skin. That is how we’ve built our brand—by this happening and by real women getting real results and spreading the word!

Does IT Cosmetics have a hero product? Why do you believe it is so successful?

We only launch hero products, which is what makes us different from most brands. We don’t do trend or a million eye shadow colors, as I feel there are amazing artistry lines out there that do this very well. I have to believe in every ounce of me that a product will change women’s lives and their skin or I won’t launch it. So we launch fewer products than most companies but when we do I have to know in every ounce of me that it will be a hero. But I guess our three most famous hero products include Bye Bye Under Eye® Concealer, which is a truly full coverage, anti-aging concealer that literally covers everything and is often imitated but never duplicated. Our CC+ Cream with physical SPF 50+ is a truly full coverage CC cream that is life and skin changing Our Brow Power® Universal Eyebrow Pencil truly looks like real hair. One thing I rarely get to talk about is that for the life of our company, for every Brow Power pencil we sell, we will donate one to the Look Good…Feel Better program to help women undergoing cancer treatment feel more confident. To date, we’ve donated more than $4 million in Brow Power pencils.

Creating new products is a blend of artistry and technology. What has been the biggest challenge for getting the formulations you want?

At IT Cosmetics we spend even more money on clinical research than we do on packaging or marketing. Every woman has a different set of skin care problems that she needs solved. We seek out these issues through our own research and talking with everyday women and our loyal customers. We then work with an incredible team of leading plastic surgeons to develop clinically proven solutions and formulations. And we won’t stop working or put a product on the market until the formulation is perfect and gives you powerful clinically proven results. We strive to find the most beneficial, healthy, safe, and rewarding solutions that will further IT’s position as THE problem-solving brand.

Please share a makeup secret with our readers for visually turning back the hands of time.

The easiest way to look youthful and full of life is by getting eight hours of sleep. Since that’s not always possible, I use Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer to cover any dark under eye circles, which can make you look tired and sometimes older. I also use Brow Power, which helps to cover grays or sparse brows. Eyebrows frame the face and create symmetry, and symmetry equates to beauty in the human eye. So many women forget about brows, which are one of the quickest ways to look younger. I was recently traveling through Asia and I was in such awe of the beauty there—everywhere I looked women had thick, full brows (often from makeup), flawless skin, and a flushed lip. As we age, we lose our brows—it can start in your 20s so just using a product like Brow Power, if you do nothing else, gives you the look of naturally full brows, and creates a frame of symmetry for your face. Brows are one of the easiest ways to look like your most beautiful you.

What’s next for IT Cosmetics? What would you like to be doing in five years?

I want to continue to change women’s lives every day, to remind them that they are important and that they are beautiful and that they are worth it. They deserve to find products that help them truly look and feel their most beautiful. I want to continue pouring my heart and soul into creating these products for them. I love showing women live on QVC why we often spend years developing a product and then showing them live how it works. I love that women can go to ULTA stores and touch and try IT Cosmetics and see for themselves how they work on their skin. When I hear from women of all ages about how we’ve solved their problem or simply that an IT Cosmetics product makes them feel beautiful – that is why I live and breathe.

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Posted by 05.18.14

Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo Hair Care, is an entrepreneur going places. She left a career in finance to launch a line of natural hair care products, based on the formulations her grandmother created in rural West Virginia. Nancy introduced the beauty industry to Briogeo as a Discover Beauty exhibitor at Cosmoprof North America 2013 and shortly thereafter launched the product line to the public in the Fall of 2013. Within 2 months of the product launch, Nancy secured the brand a Shecky’s “Best In Beauty” Award for Best Shampoo and landed meaningful retail placement in Fred Segal,, and The Cosmetic Market beauty chain.

Here, Nancy tells Beauty in the Bag how she prepared to launch Briogeo and her plans for the future.

Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to make the leap from Wall Street to beauty?

After finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia, I started my career working in the Commodities Sales division at Goldman Sachs. I spent seven years working in finance and my experience definitely taught me a lot about running a successful business. I’d always been interested in the beauty world and natural beauty products, specifically. Growing up, we made a lot of our own beauty and personal care products from scratch in our kitchen—it was a family tradition that was passed down through generations before me. When we were making our own natural beauty products at home, it was considered a very underground thing to do because the market for natural products hadn’t caught on yet. People weren’t as ingredient savvy and formula conscious as they are now. I always knew that I wanted to turn our family tradition of homemade beauty products into something bigger and fortunately we are now in a time where beauty consumers are actively seeking out natural product alternatives. After saving up for several years and gaining some of my own business savvy while working in the finance world, I decided to put my dream and passion into full gear and set out to develop the Briogeo hair care product line.

Please describe “natural” hair care and how it differs from traditional products?

To Briogeo, natural means formulas containing a high majority of natural and/or naturally-derived ingredients. The natural lifestyle is also about staying away from harmful or controversial ingredients, such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates—many of which have been linked to things like skin lipid damage, hormonal imbalances, and endocrine disruption. Many traditional personal care products contain these ingredients—often times because they are cheaper to produce and have become the norm in product formulation for so many years. At Briogeo, we recognize that product performance is key; however, we are very conscious about the types of ingredients that go into all of our products.

What’s the best way to enhance curls?

We spent a lot of time developing our curl-specific conditioner, Curl Charisma. In developing a product that effectively enhances curls, it’s important to understand the concerns that curly textures have in order to create products that target those specific needs. We understood that three major factors could get in the way of a good curl day: frizz, inconsistent curl formation, and dryness. We spent many months in the lab researching the best natural ingredients to target these issues and we developed a unique blend of rice amino acids, tomato fruit ferment, mollis leaf extract, and shea butter—which help deter frizz by sealing the hair cuticle, promote consistent curl formation, and enhance the moisture and softness of curls. Moisture balance is key in keeping curls looking healthy and lively. We suggest that those with curly hair types use a regular deep conditioning mask for enhanced moisture retention. Outside of using a good curl-specific conditioner and regular deep conditioning treatment, we also recommend using a diffusing blow dryer attachment to dry curls as the diffuser helps curls form more uniformly.

What do you think about Keratin, Brazilian, or Japanese hair straightening systems?

These systems can definitely cause damage to the hair and those who use them should ensure that a trained and experienced individual performs the procedure. Those with already processed or color-treated hair should be extra cautious. If you are currently using these types of straightening systems, the good news is that many         of the damaging effects can be lessened significantly by using the right regimen hair care products. Finding a good sulfate-free shampoo is crucial in ensuring your hair is not further stripped by harsh detergents and a deep conditioning mask will help restore moisture and combat the drying effects of these systems.

Does Briogeo have a “hero” product? Why do think it is successful?

Our hero product is the Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask because it is really a transformative product that everyone, no matter what hair condition, can benefit from. The mask is geared towards those with dry, damaged, chemically or color treated hair because it restores a balanced moisture and protein level that helps decrease breakage and enhances the natural luster and healthiness of the hair. People who may not necessarily have damaged hair also benefit from the product because it acts as a preventative treatment that helps preserve the look and shine of already healthy hair. During a product focus group we initiated on this product before it was launched, we received such overwhelmingly positive feedback on the treatment that we took it to an independent lab for testing. A variable vs. control study on the product showed 81% less breakage after 3 uses, which is very significant for a product with a 95% naturally-derived ingredient base.

What‘s on the horizon? What would you like to be doing in five years?

In five years, I’d love to take Briogeo internationally and grow the presence of the brand beyond just the US. Given that we are so new, it makes sense right now to focus on building a presence here in the states before making the leap overseas. In the more near term, Briogeo is gearing up to launch our first series of styling and finishing products which will extend our line beyond just cleansing and conditioning—it will offer our customer the ability to complete her hair care regimen from start to finish. Currently, our full collection of hair care products can be found at

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