An Undercover Report: The Elegant Side of Green Beauty

Posted January 5, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand

In last week’s episode, Undercover Report: Stalking the Best of Green, I left off as I began my adventure into the world of green (or organic) beauty products.  From time to time I go through phases where I decide it’s time to clean up my act as it pertains to what I put in and on my body.

The first of the year seemed like the perfect time for one of these phases. Plus, I scared myself last week after reading an article about a make-up artist who suffered from heavy metal poisoning, ostensibly after spending so much time around cosmetics.Certainly, the green trend isn’t new, but until recently, it occupied a niche segment. According to GCI magazine,

Organic beauty is fast becoming the hot growth segment in the industry. The supply chain for organic materials has improved dramatically, making the segment worth another look for those who have dismissed it in the past. There is an increasing consumer preference for certified organic products across nearly all beauty categories, but that also requires distinct work and investment on the part of beauty brands.

My first dilemma occurred when I tried to nail down the definition of “certified organic.” Currently, a lack of agreement exists on what the term means. Right now, it’s sort of a made-up expression – more of a marketing claim than anything else. As a beauty manufacturer I can claim anything I damn well please (when it comes to organics) because there is no agreed-upon standard in which to compare it.

However, in a sidebar, GCI defined it this way, so I went with it,

In this context, the USDA Organic certification is being regarded as “truth.” And while it could (and has been) argued that other certifications are equivalent (or even better) because they have been adapted to beauty products, we like the simplicity of saying we used the same certification standards as the USDA uses for organic fruits and vegetables (bolded text is author’s emphasize).

So, the same iffy standards that define organic fruits and veggies, also, for this purpose, define beauty products. Take a look at this pyramid for further clarification.

Now that I defined “certified organic” (sort of) I decided to make my way to Space519 – a general store that stocks all sorts of green beauty goodies. Two perfectly lovely sales women stood in store when I ventured in – they greeted me promptly as I found my way to the apothecary section.

I made a beeline to a brand called Rodin. The minimalist look of the packaging caught my eye (think Chanel 5’s Eau de Parfum bottle). The brand bases itself on the notion of Italian luxury – there is beauty in simplicity.

Linda Rodin, a former Beauty Editor at Harper’s Bazaar, founded the brand in 2007 when she became disenchanted with typical luxury skincare brands’ anti-aging claims and complicated regimes.  She developed a concoction of 11 essential oils and dubbed it RODIN Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil. (Please note, the website claims the luxury face oil as chemical-free, not certified organic; however, most retailers offer the product in their organic or natural sections. Buyer beware.)

I ADORE a great brand ambassador,  so I fell in love with Linda Rodin’s description,

In her sixties today, Rodin is the model of spare elegance: tortoise shell eyeglasses, ballet flats, and natural silver hair pulled back in a ponytail.

I wanted to be this woman — the model of spare elegance! How lovely is that picture?  Needless to say, I bought a pretty little Rodin starter kit for $85. The stuff is pricey, but ABSOLUTELY delightful.

Plus, I’m quite sure I appear more spare and elegant! Perhaps, even a bit Italian!

Ciao, Bellas!


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.