Kathryn Murray Dickinson was sick and tired of needing a magnifying glass or PhD to interpret what was in her skin care products and she wasn’t going to take it anymore.
And now no one else has to either. She started a beauty e-tail site called AILLEA, selling only natural, organic and toxin-free luxury cosmetics and skincare products. Soon after she opened her first brick-and-mortar shop in Denver, CO with plans for more to follow.
Yes, you can find some of the SKUs sold by AILLEA at other retailers, but no other vendor houses only this category all together in one place, AILLEA allows women to make conscious and thoughtful choices without a ‘Where’s Waldo’-style hunt.
She chatted up Beauty and the Bag about AILLEA and the changing face of green cosmetics.
Here’s what we learned:
1. How can someone start “cleaning up” their beauty routine? What are the first steps?
I think the most important step is finding a place you trust to provide you with pure products you don’t have to research yourself. That is exhausting. Second, to avoid being overwhelmed, go category by category. Start with the product categories that have the biggest impact e.g. those that are applied all over your body (soaps, lotions), ones you use in the shower when your pores are open from the heat (shampoo, conditioners, scrubs) or ones you might ingest (lipstick/gloss). After that just replace items like mascara as they run out.
2. Why is it important to clean up your beauty routine?
Sixty percent of what we put on our skin is absorbed in to our blood stream. Chemicals in our beauty and household products have been linked to cancer, allergies, asthma, reproductive issues, thyroid problems and autoimmune diseases … and the list is growing. In addition, the incidences of these health issues are growing at an alarming rate. It’s important to counter the increasing environmental exposures we can’t control with the ones that we can – specifically our food and beauty products.
3. Why did you start AILLEA?
After trying to clean up my beauty routine two years ago, I was floored at how difficult it was. There was no place to shop a curated collection of luxury, artisanal, effective, and clean products. I would be sold a “natural” product at a major beauty retailer, only to find out that it had sulfates and carcinogens. As a long time beauty industry veteran, I decided to create a safe haven where people could know that ALL products are safe (I have over 1,000 banned ingredients from the store), but still work and are effective. There are some AMAZING brands on the market, with more launching every day, and it is so exciting to share them.
4. What is green-washing?
Green-washing is the sleight of hand being used by some companies to deceive customers and lead them to believe their products are safe when they are very toxic. The words organic, natural, clean, green and eco are not regulated and thus don’t mean that the product is, in fact, 100% clean. Brands will call a product organic when only a portion of their products are organic, but the remainder is still very toxic or dangerous.
5. Tell us what products you rely on each day and why.
The Indie Lee Coconut Body Scrub and Lemongrass Citrus Shower Gel are the best way to start my morning in the shower. I am in love with the Pure and True Infuse Moisturizer right now; it’s perfectly hydrating for the arid Denver climate and can be used both morning and night. At night, I use the Dr. J Oil Cleanser to take off my makeup. Everything Kjaer Weis does is magic. For my makeup – a quick and clean five-minute look that leaves me naturally glowing: Kjaer Weis foundation, RMS Buriti Bronzer, and Ilia Lipgloss in Peek-a-Boo – THE perfect nude. I’m blonde so I can’t walk out the door without mascara. Kjaer Weis’ is bar none the best I have tried and for night, the W3ll People Liner and Lily Lolo eye palette in Enchanted.
6. Any tips on how to get our glow on naturally?
Drink lots of water, eat well and sleep well. And when all else fails the natural cheats are always great! Mix a tiny bit of luminizing powder like the Lily Lolo Stardust into your moisturizer for a subtle glow. Strobing with products like W3ll People Bio Brightener or RMS Living Luminizer give that sexy radiant glow everyone wants to achieve.