Beauty Lies Truth, A Kickstarter Campaign You Need to Know About!

Let me ask you a couple of questions: Do you know what ingredients are in your nail polish? How about your lipstick? What about your your conditioner? Mascara? Lead singer of Sleigh Ball, Alexis Krauss and Harvard Business Student, Jessica Assaf were so curious to see if other people knew the answers to these questions and took it to the streets of New York. No surprise that a handful of strangers had no idea what their makeup is comprised of. The most common answer was, "they are probably filled with chemicals". That stranger for the most part is right. Many of the generic skincare, haircare and beauty products on the market are made up of chemicals, colors, and all sorts of nonsense. I've heard many people say that "chemicals are everywhere and the beauty companies are so big, we have little power, why bother"? Alexis and Jessica decided to be bothered and do something about it.

Being the badass chicks they are, they created an awesome blog called Beauty Lies Truth to speak out and educate anyone willing to listen. On the site they provide information about what actually is in these products, how unregulated the beauty industry is and what healthy alternatives actually exist. This is such valuable information and it's free! What's great is that there are healthy, easy and cost-efficient alternatives. It's a well known fact that everything we put on our skin is rapidly absorbed into our bodies. We want to literally "feed" our skin good ingredients. Many of the healthier alternative products derive ingredients from real foods like avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil and honey, etc. I recently learned you can mix Vitamin E with coconut oil and it's acts like a makeup remover and a good one at that! It felt so good to make my own skin care and this is just the beginning! 

These girls are creating a viral movement with their recently launched kickstarter campaign. Those who donate will receive an awesome makeup bag from Baggu and are filled with products from brands like Ilia, Beauty Counter, S.W. Basics, Jane Iredale and more. These are some of the leading clean beauty brands and we have access to it by supporting this project.  

We are so lucky to have women like Alexis and Jessica who are here to guide us and make our lives a little bit easier. I know I'm backing these rockstars, how about you?

Q+A with Jessica Assaf of Beauty Lies Truth

Q: How did you start Beauty Lies Truth?

A: I have been an activist trying to improve cosmetic safety since I was fifteen years old. I spent years practically begging people to care about the ingredients in their beauty products, but because the mainstream media is essentially funded by corporate beauty advertisements, no one would even mention this issue in the press. I started Beauty Lies Truth out of this frustration, and when I met Alexis Krauss, front-woman in the band, Sleigh Bells, I knew we actually had a chance to make an impact. Alexis read a New York Times article about plastic micro-beads in exfoliants, and she was outraged that as an artist and public figure, she had never considered the safety of the beauty products she used every single day. Alexis contacted S.W. Basics, the all-natural skincare company I was working for at the time, and we met at a coffee shop in Brooklyn that we later realized was two blocks from both of our apartments. I invited her back to my place and we talked for hours about how we could build a viral movement of women passionate about beauty and health. A few days later, we launched the blog. 

Q: You are currently attending Harvard Business School, with some of the most intelligent minds on the planet, are they all using clean products and aware of your mission?

A: When I arrived at Harvard, I assumed that every girl in my class would be fully aware of the importance of natural products, just like most people are aware of the importance of organic food. I was so wrong. The majority of the female students I met had no clue that the beauty industry was unregulated. It's funny because multiple girls have told me that when they first heard me talking about cosmetic safety, they assumed I was another crazy California hippie who needed a reality check. This makes sense considering the first day of class I asked our advisor how I could get all of the Purell hand sanitizier dispensers banned from campus. I later realized that I needed to tone down the aggression and actually understand that it is very overwhelming to hear about this issue for the first time. Within months, every girl approached me to ask about safer product recommendations, and now everyone is on their way to shifting to better brands. 

Q: Are there good beauty products on the market that still work?

A: There are tons of amazing, safe products that really work. The biggest challenge is finding affordable green beauty products, because the market is still so small and demand is low. The reality is, the most nourishing ingredients cost significantly more than the bulk industrial chemicals that make up most mainstream products. We are advocating for widespread consumer awareness that ultimately translates to more conscious buying choices, but this can be a difficult process for a student like me with no current source of income. So if people who can afford more expensive products are empowered to change their buying choices, eventually with a spike in demand, the price point will decrease for safe, effective products. We want to make safe beauty products a permanent trend, and as accessible as the drugstore brands. 

Q: What is your face routine?

A: At night I take off all of my makeup with organic, extra-virgin olive oil and sometimes leave it on as a moisturizer. I wash my face with S.W. Basics' cleanser, then spray my entire face with rosewater spray, and finish with an organic oil like Rose Hip or unrefined Shea butter if my skin feels extra dry. In the morning I usually spray more rosewater and then apply Jane Iredale's BB cream, RMS Lip2Cheek for blush and some lip color, Beautycounter eyeliner, and Ilia mascara. 

Q: What's a good starting point for someone who wants to change their beauty routine but doesn't know where to start?

A: The first thing I would do is assess the safety of your current beauty essentials. Research the ingredients in your favorite products using the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database and the Thinkdirty App. Check out our #Truthbeauty Guide for more information. Once you get a sense of the ingredients in your products, then develop an action plan. For most people, it is not possible to simply throw out all of your products and buy safer alternatives. There will always be some conventional beauty essentials you can't live without, and that is totally okay. As a next step, I would slowly start to replace the products you use most, like a cleanser and moisturizer. These are the products that soak deeply into our skin every single day and are absorbed directly into our blood streams. The good news is that some of the best skincare products can be found in your kitchen cabinet. When you are feeling adventurous, try taking off your makeup with an organic oil like avocado oil, coconut oil, or olive oil, and leave it on as a moisturizer. You can use these oils all over your body. From there, vow to become a more conscious consumer and think critically about your options the next time you run out of a product. The process is slow, but it is extremely rewarding. 

Q: Do you feel a difference once you have made that change? How long does it take to see/ feel a difference?

A: The change you feel is both physical and mental. It really is a spiritual journey to overall wellness. Once you stop to actually turn over a product and read the ingredients list aloud, you start to question where you derive the value of your beauty products, and all of the products you consume in your life. Many of the best raw skincare ingredients are food-grade, so it is comforting to realize that your products are literally feeding your skin. But the results are undeniable... We just posted a story about a brave young woman who documented her skin's progress after switching to all-natural products, and the results are incredible. In some cases, your skin can totally transform in days or weeks. Think of it as a juice cleanse for your skin! 

Q: How has social media played a role in helping you grow awareness and create change in the world of beauty? 

A: Social media is the reason why people are listening to the importance of this issue. We use Instagram as a major platform for our ideas, and in only a few months we already have over 5,000 followers. Social media is the most powerful tool in building a movement and connecting to your audience, especially in the beauty world because we have to compete with the beauty advertisements that dominate every magazine. 

Q: What are some of your top trusted beauty brands?

A: My top trusted beauty brands include Jane Iredale, Ilia, RMS, Au Naturale Glow, and Beautycounter for cosmetics, and S.W. Basics, EO Products, Pomega5, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, Alaffia, and Pangea Organics for skin and body care. 

Q: Who are some of your beauty heroes?

A: My beauty heroes are Rachel Carson and Theo Colborn, two fearless activists who dedicated their lives to fighting for chemical policy reform and legislation protecting our health. Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring and helped ban DDT, the most powerful pesticide in the world, and Theo Colborn was the first one to alert the public about endocrine disruptors. These women are at the core of the movement Beauty Lies Truth is trying to build. 

Q: What's the most valuable advice you have ever received?

A: “If more women are in leadership roles, we’ll stop assuming they shouldn’t be.” -Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In. Sheryl is changing the game for businesswomen, and she means every word she says. In fact, I just spontaneously emailed her and she responded in minutes! 

Q: What is the most surprising fact you have found out about through your research?

A: I recently learned that women currently hold only 4.6% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. Not surprisingly, all of the biggest beauty companies are run by men. This fact needs to change now. 

Q: What's your favorite DIY skin recipe?

A: I love this DIY body butter recipe because it is such a rich moisturizer and you can custom scent it with any blend of essential oils. You combine 1/4 cup Shea butter, 1/4 cup beeswax, 1/4 cup sweet almond oil, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small pan on low heat and mix the ingredients until they are melted. All you have to do is pour the mixture into a jar or container of your choice (even a bowl if it's just for you!) and you can scent it with 10 drops of essential oils. As soon as the mixture solidifies, it is ready! 

Q: Tell us about your kickstarter?

A: Alexis and I just launched a Kickstarter to "give your makeup bag a makeover." We are combining the safest and highest-perfoming products in a bag to give our followers access to the best of green beauty, while also promoting the brands we believe in. Follow @beautyliestruth on Instagram to learn more! 

Q: What is your grand vision for BLT and the world of beauty?

A: My goal is to help women realize that it is up to us to change the beauty industry. I think of consumerism as activism, because in an ideal world what we buy should reflect what we believe. Hopefully we can bring back the power of boycott and recognize that if we collectively stop buying the products with the most harmful ingredients and demand reformulation, companies will be forced to listen. We don't have to wait for legislation for this issue to change because we have all of the power in every purchase we make. The sooner we join together and set new beauty standards, the sooner we can start a revolution.