The safe and effective family brand biz is expected to reach almost 16 billion dollars by 2020 and The Honest Company has a big chunk of that momentum. Reportedly worth 1.7 billion dollars, the company helmed by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan (FYI: he also happens to be Jessica Capshaw’s huzz) carries everything from tampons and diapers to deodorants and laundry detergent. Jessica and Christopher made a media stop in Toronto a few months ago to celebrate their retail growth across Canada. Now you’ll be able to stock up at select Whole Foods, Babies R Us and Sobey’s stores. (We’re also keeping our fingers crossed for an Honest Beauty store to descend on local turf too).
We quizzed Christopher about The Honest Company’s clean living products and here’s what he said…
Q: There’s a misconception that natural products don’t work or aren’t as effective or reliable as conventional products. What would you say to those who are skeptical about making the switch?
A: Until recently, the market demand hasn’t required companies to be innovative with more natural materials, so the selection of ingredients that met the same standards of performance was very small. Now, the demand is there so we’re getting more creative with the chemistry to make sure plant-derived ingredients perform the way people are accustomed to. It’s hard work, and requires a lot of determination and out of the box thinking, but with the right mindset and the right resources, we’re proving it can be done!
Q: So many haircare products rely on silicones to make our hair smooth and shiny. Why did you take it out? What have you replaced it with?
A:We removed them because they aren’t as readily biodegradable and can form an occlusive film on your hair [BTW: That’s beauty speak for an air or water tight seal which means your hair can droop and feel weighed down] . When we dug into the science, we found that there are plenty of alternatives that don’t rely on silicones to deliver softness, detangling, and shine. We’ve replaced silicones with modified vegetable proteins, guars, and extracts that are also effective.
Q: Antiperspirants and deodorants rely heavily on aluminum compounds to perform. What ingredients do you use to help control sweat and odour?
A:First, it’s important to understand that our deodorant is not an antiperspirant. It won’t block the sweat (like traditional aluminum-based antiperspirants), but rather works to control odor without clogging pores. We do this through our use of organic alcohol, which helps control odour-causing bacteria (fun fact—that’s what makes you stink), and essential oils and extracts to provide a delightful scent experience. Personally, I love our Vetiver Deodorant—I wear it every day.
Q: You created a laundry stain remover without bleach. Tell us more about the formula and the active ingredients in it.
A:Instead of using traditional chlorine bleach, we borrowed a bit of chemistry from trends in skin care and crafted a micellar system (which attracts dirt and grime) that utilizes a sugar-based cleanser. We then boosted the stain and odor fighting power with a mineral cleansing salt. By being creative with the chemistry, we were able to create a safe and effective alternative to bleach that delivers excellent results.
[FYI: Micellar cleansers are popular among supermodels and profesh makeup artists. It’s made of microscopic molecules that not only attracts dirt and grime, but also dissolves them without stressing out your skin. You can read more about them here].
Q: How do you create safe products that actually work?
A: Every product that we tackle has its own set of challenges as we look to benchmark against conventional products using ingredients that meet our Honest health and safety standards. That’s why we show up to work every day and do the work that we do. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Our scientists work rigorously and we invest heavily in chemistry research and development to bring creative thinking and problem solving to the table. It’s a constant learning curve, but we’re committed to continuous progress and that’s how we overcome barriers and create truly innovative products.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: I’m most proud of our standards. In a world where the bottom line is really driving companies, we really maintain, uphold and focus on this level of integrity around our ingredients. What’s inside, what’s it preserved with, where is it sourced from, is there fair trade and labour involved—really keeping a consistent supply chain. Anyone can make a super expensive shampoo and super cheap shampoo. But can you make a high quality, super effective and non-toxic shampoo? It’s hard to do and we work just as hard to bring high quality goods and accessible pricing to you and your family.