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Transitioning into the natural beauty world can be overwhelming to say the least. Finding the right products, steering clear of the natural wannabes, and, if you're like me and take your beauty products a bit too seriously, trying to find high quality, luxe products... it can be rough. Enter Claire Molyneaux, my good friend, amazing lady entrepreneur, and the solution to our natural beauty problems.

Claire is the founder of Art of Organics, a natural beauty box subscription program. I asked her about her thoughts on the importance of natural beauty and skincare, how to make the transition from main stream products, and to share her most beloved products.


What inspired you to start Art of Organics?

I actually owned the domain for 4 years before I ever did anything with it. I knew I wanted to start my own company around the idea of educating people on the realities of the beauty industry and introducing them to amazing clean beauty brands, but I hadn't quite put all the pieces together yet. I have a degree in fashion merchandising and worked as a buyer for Anthropologie and merchandiser for a small southern California women's ready to wear brand. I loved being a buyer so starting Art of Organics and the monthly Clean Beauty Box was, for me, creating the dream job.

It doesn't hurt that I've had incredibly inspirational role models. My mom is a creative visionary and my dad was an entrepreneur and ran his own company. I remember him telling me it was the best way to maintain happiness in your professional pursuits. He loved what he did and was an expert in his field. I admired his tireless work ethic and had so much respect for him. He regularly encouraged me to strike out on my own and fiercely supported all of my ideas. When my dad passed away 4 years ago after a short illness it made me realize I needed to make things happen. It's cliche but true, life is short. Without my parents and now my husband, Derek, by my side, I'm not sure I would have had the courage. They are the people that make me feel that anything is possible.

When and why did you begin the switch to 'clean' products?

I started to become more aware of the ingredients in the products I was using about 5 years ago. Through my teens and into my early twenties I was fortunate enough not to battle major acne, but my skin would get little bumps and feel congested after using certain products. I'd randomly break out in a red, swollen rash over my entire face and my eyes felt itchy all the time. It was not normal, but I chocked it up to allergies and the unfortunate circumstance of having sensitive skin. Around the age of 25 I started to become much more conscious of the ingredients in my beauty products. I'd grown up in a household that was really healthy and ate organic food. I remember my mom telling me about parabens 15 years ago (she was and still is a woman before her time). It finally caught up to me that it might be just as important to be conscious of what you put on your body as what you put in it.

For those skeptical of transitioning their products, what would you say to them to understand the importance of clean beauty?

I think a reason why many are hesitant to transition is because they have already found a routine that works and their thought process is along the lines of "what are a few chemicals in the grand scheme of things?" It's easy to think that a few chemicals here and there aren't going to negatively affect you. And you're right, using a moisturizer with a small amount of chemical preservatives, emulsifiers or synthetic fragrance isn't going to make a big impact on your health. Our bodies are pretty efficient at eliminating toxins. The thing is that we don't just use a little bit. Over the course of one day women use an average of 12 beauty products containing as many as 163 ingredients total, many of which aren't doing your body any favors and some are proven to be carcinogenic. How many times do you apply hand cream in a day? It really starts to add up. Then you add the environmental toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis into the equation. We can have a defeatist attitude that "everything causes cancer" or we can work on eliminating the toxins that we have control over. There are so many standout clean beauty brands on the market these days. It's becoming much easier to swap out conventional products for cleaner alternatives that actually work and are good for your skin.

What do you say to those who feel overwhelmed by making the switch? How do they get started?

Transitioning your products doesn't need to happen overnight. For me it was a process that took almost a year. Try replacing products with clean alternatives as you run out. In order of importance I would say to focus on products that are intended to sink into your skin and spend longer on your skin like moisturizers, deodorant, and foundation. Shampoo, conditioner, and body washes are important, but less so because they are wash off products and spend less time on your skin. Though it's important to know that it only takes 26 seconds for a product to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

It can take a little bit of trial and error as does trying any new product lines or brand. Following a few respected clean beauty bloggers can be helpful. They have tried a lot of products and can often hep you sort through the ocean of options and present you with tried and true products and honest reviews. A few of my favorite bloggers are The Edible Facial, Beauty by Britanie, and of course the Art of Organics blog :-) We've outlined a list of ingredients to avoid which makes it less daunting when scanning ingredient lists and knowing what to look out for. The website is another great tool that I use regularly. You can type in almost any ingredient and get info on the safety level 1-10, 10 being the most toxic. I try to stick with ingredients and products that rate a 3 or below.

What are your natural beauty essentials?

Multi-tasking products are my go-to probably because I'm usually running late and less products = less time! I carry hand/face balm with me everywhere. There is at least one jar in every purse. My current favorites are Kahina Giving Beauty Hand & Body Balm and One Love Organics Skin Savior. I use it to moisturize hands, lips, and face, as a cuticle treatment, makeup primer, makeup remover, luminizer, frizz tamer, you name it! Suntegrity makes the ultimate 3 in 1 sunscreen-makeup primer-moisturizer which I use over Little Barn Apothecary's Lavender + Frankincense Facial Oil. I'm also a huge fan of hydrosol facial mists. They work really well as a toner to remove any excess grime after cleansing, as a quick refresher throughout the day or before you touch up makeup when going from work to an evening out.

Coconut oil and raw honey are the best kitchen-to-beauty staples. Raw honey makes an amazing gently exfoliating and moisturizing cleanser or mask. I read about a super model who would put honey on her legs and rap them in cling wrap for 10 minutes to get them incredibly soft. Sounds like you'd need a lot of honey, but also probably totally amazing. We go through a large jar of Dr. Bronner's coconut oil every few weeks for cooking and DIY beauty treatments. I really don't think there is anything coconut oil can't do. My favorite uses are as a deeply moisturizing hair treatment and a luxe shaving oil. Best part of shaving with coconut oil is that you don't need to moisturize after, voi la! Multi-tasking!

Brilliant! So, we know that beauty really does come from the inside out. What are your favorite things to nourish your skin through healthy eating and living?

One of my biggest struggles is creating a work-life balance and making time to take good care of myself. I think that self-care is the ultimate luxury, but it can be hard to create a routine that makes time for it without inducing guilt. We all feel that if we're not "busy" we're not doing enough. We feel like we should be doing something more worthwhile like tackling the laundry, not reading a book in the tub with a face mask on or taking a walk that has nothing to do with burning off the calories from the tacos you had for lunch.

When I worked at Anthropologie I would work really long days amped up on coffee and then come home to a fishbowl of wine to de-stress and fall asleep. When I was starting Art of Organics I had this idea that my life would somehow magically become more balanced because I now had more control over my schedule. I turned out to be hilariously wrong. It took a long time to let go of those habits and convince myself that I'm as important as my job (obviously even more so). Yoga has helped me tremendously and when I make it a priority I absolutely see and feel the results. It makes me feel more vibrant and like the best version of myself.

For healthy skin I try to drink as much water as possible, make green smoothies daily and limit my alcohol intake. I love a glass of wine as much as the next girl, but unfortunately glowing skin the morning after 3 glasses of wine doesn't happen at 30 the way it did at 22.

Uh, we hear you on that...! Now, tell us about this amazing Beauty Box! What are your offerings and what do the different subscriptions entail?

The Clean Beauty Box is a themed monthly delivery of 2-4 full-sized organic, natural and cruelty-free beauty, make up and lifestyle products. Each box is intended to create a mindful self-care ritual that is safe and healthy. We find and feature the most incredible brands with amazingly talented makers and founders. The best part of the job is hearing that we introduced a subscriber to her new favorite beauty product or brand. It makes all the insanity of being an entrepreneur 100% worth it.

The box is $38 per month with an average value of $85. You can also purchase 6 months at a time to save.

For 15% off your first month, use discount code LWWELLNESS

Amazing! Thank you, Claire.


Check out Art of Organics on Instagram and see their gorgeous gift boxes here.


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