Ever wondered how a brand came to be? Wondered about the person or people behind the brand? Us too. Welcome to Behind the Brand, a new series giving you the chance to get to know the people behind some of our favorite clean brands.
The search for the perfect natural nail polish is not without it’s challenges and no one knows that better than Lauren B Beauty founder, Lauren B. As a little girl, she often set up a nail salon in her garage, where she performed manicures for her grandmother, and any other family member willing to play along. By the age of 15, she was yearning for the hottest colors and obsessing over the newest nail trends that kept her scouring Cape Cod convenience stores all summer while everyone else was at the beach.
After a brief foray into a career in medicine, Lauren began working for a luxury hair care brand, and learned the ins and outs of the industry. Lauren seized this opportunity, and as she moved into the high-end beauty world, her knowledge for luxury brands, and interest in nail care evolved. “I was traveling a lot internationally, so I got to try polishes and ingredients from around the world,” she remembers. “If we were in a salon that had a manicurist, I was right there picking her brain and getting insider tips and tricks. The first thing I realized was that there was no perfect brand: Some lines had great colors but they didn’t last long enough. Others stayed put but contained harsh ingredients or gradually lost their shine. None of them offered the right balance of luxury and ease. That’s when the light bulb went off: I can make what’s missing.
With the support of her husband, parents, close family and loved ones, Lauren carted her demanding wish-list to the world’s top chemists and set about creating the perfect brand. The result, she says, is “the perfect, two-week, do-it-yourself manicure for busy women. The polishes swipe on expertly, easily. They dry fast, stay delightfully glossy and chip-free for at least 14 days, and don’t cost a fortune. Every color is one that I’d wear; every treatment is one that I swear by. There is even a collection of perfect nudes for every skin tone – though actually, I wear them all.”
They’re all a joy to use and we love that they’re all inspired by the beauty of L.A.– the place Lauren now calls home. Her products are proudly made in the U.S.A. and never tested on animals. Everything is vegan-friendly and 7 free– meaning they’re free of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor.
Read on for more about Lauren, her favorite foods (we’re totally digging her hot fav hot cocoa!), how she handles cravings, and a few of her clean heroes.
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Have you always been clean/health-minded or was it an intentional decision at some point in your life?
I have not always been health minded, I have always struggled with my weight and was a typically yo-yo and fad dieter. I hit a breaking point about 3 years ago, when I was at my heaviest weight and this time vs the others I was feeling ill, and experiencing pain because of my weight. I knew I had to make important changes in my life for good. This is when I began my journey of changing my life through food, and eating clean. I made the commitment to myself to stick with it for my own health. I had a realization and eye opener but committed to changing my lifestyle and dove both feet in. I always had an interest in following a healthy lifestyle but for me this was mainly started through my focused on diet. I didn’t know how to make meaningful changes, or where to start in other aspects, it felt overwhelming. After some time and submerging myself into this healthy lifestyle, my eyes were opened to products and chemicals that were in so many of the common products we used on our bodies, in our homes etc. When I started Lauren B, I promised that I would stick to my standards and create the best products that are free of harsh chemicals and toxins. I believe women should not have to compromise their health to feel and look beautiful. This remains important to me to continue to learn about ingredients and products and making changes, not only for myself and what I use but also for my brand and customers.
What is harder – starting to live clean, or maintaining that life?
Starting was hard, but maintaining the initial changes was harder for me. Giving up things that were once so important to my life was difficult. Shifting my mindset about food and clean living was a challenge for me to maintain, and I am still constantly working and checking myself. Once I started to feel better and see results more then just what had motivated me to start, but secondary benefits this made me keep going and excited to see how I could turn my life around. I felt amazing, so continuing on only fueled my desire to learn more and dive deeper in.
How do you differentiate between a really good, clean product and a product that just trying to lure you in with good packaging? What are buzz words to look out for that aren’t necessarily describing something actually clean?
There is a lot of importance in my industry with good product packaging. I always say be smart about it. If something initially attracts you to it because of its packaging, thats okay but look further into it. Read labels, and ingredients, know what you are looking for, make sure claims are backed up by accurate research etc. With Lauren B we choose not to spend extra-ordinate amounts of money on packaging because we choose to invest more in our ingredients and formulas, but we are a smaller company and this is what I am committed to. Normally larger companies, or companies controlled by larger companies have many more stipulations and layers in producing a product. For example, they have shareholders to answer to so many companies may not be able to use high cost or high quality small-batch ingredients. They also have larger budgets to allocate to packaging, and more resources to spend to make their packaging look fancy just to hide a mediocre product. Look for packaging that uses potential “greenwashing” terms to meet the demand for environmentally friendly products. Words like “natural” “eco friendly” “recyclable” all can be used very vaguely and have become buzz worthy. Beware of fancy seals with awards, and celebrity claims. In nail polish there is a whole set of buzz words and ingredients to look out for, in fact each category has its own specific lingo. Do your research and be smart about what you buy, don’t be afraid to ask or questions about products.
What foods make you feel your best?
– My morning green juice or green smoothie.
-Fresh fruits also make me feel so hydrated and refreshed. My favorites are berries, grapes, and peaches currently.
– I have recently discovered the brand foursigmatic. I am using one of their calming hot cocoa blends at night and when I travel, and love how I feel and sleep after sipping on their elixirs.
– Avocado. I am slightly obsessed.
Who is your health/clean hero?
It is hard to choose one, I have many that I go to for advice or look to for information. From authors, to podcasters, I try to keep it diverse, and constantly like learning or meeting new people in the community that support each other.
Sophie Ulano – health and wellness expert
Stacey Stilts – founder of Green Line Beauty, and natural beauty expert.
William Davis MD – Cardiologist and Author of The Wheat Belly
Allison Melody from Food Heals Podcast
Jackie Johnson from Natch Beaut Podcast
Megan and Beck from Detox and Chill Podcast (and all of their guests who are experts in their field)
A slew of influencers on instagram that I look to daily for recipes, health food trends, etc and of course my most amazing chemists who work tirelessly on formulating and keeping up to date with research on ingredients and technology etc.
What do you do when you crave something unhealthy/not totally clean?
Depends what it is and when. I learned to take a step back and ask myself do I really want this, or am I bored, stressed etc. Normally I am stressed, so I then go for a quick walk or do something to address that behavior. If I still really crave that same thing, I may give in– knowing that I consciously want it, and allow myself to indulge in a small amount with the knowledge that I have to get back on track.
Is there a balance to strike between living clean/healthy and over-doing it by worrying?
Yes I think so, and what works for me may not work for everyone. I believe in life in balance, but also for me living my best life so I can enjoy every moment, means adapting the changes that I have incorporated. Every person is different and what may work for one does not work for another. Finding that balance is key and being happy with where you are.
Where do you like to shop for fresh produce and pre-packaged foods?
I try to shop local, so love going to my local farmers market for fresh produce. I go to Erewhon, or Vintage Grocers in my town for special things I cannot find at the farmers market. I really try to limit pre packaged foods, and I try to stay away from processed foods.
What are your favorite companies for health/wellness/beauty/food?
Beauty: Lauren B (of course!) for all things nails, hands, and cuticles, Suntegrity for spf, Lume for natural deodorant, kvoss for lip care, Luzern is my current skin care obsession along with my jade roller. I love using essential oils straight from the sources and always playing around with different native flowers and essential oils to make amazing products that work.