Interview: Kathryn Dickinson, Aillea

CD:  There seems to be a lot of recent buzz around chemicals in our beauty products. What do you think is generating this? 

KD:  Honestly I think people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Chemicals in our products have been linked to increases in cancer rates, ADD, Autism, Infertility, allergies and a host of other medical maladies. Realizing that the government isn’t taking steps to protect consumers, people are taking wellness into their own hands as can be seen with the explosion of organic food, clean restaurants, boutique fitness and that also includes excluding the chemicals in our personal care products. The US has 11 ingredients banned from our personal care products and practically zero oversight of existing and new products - the EU has over 1500 banned ingredients from their products. 

CD:  When and why did you become interested in clean products and what inspired you to start Aillea? 

KD:  I have been in the beauty industry most of my professional career. First As the VP of Marketing and Sales for a national brand in NYC, then as a consultant and working for a PR agency. It was when I started getting sick 8-9 years ago and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, but proceeded to prescribe very powerful medication to me. What ended up being severe late in life food allergies (which I had to discover on my own) made me an avid label reader. After reading the ingredients on my shampoo in the shower one day I was alarmed at the horrific ingredients listed. I decided to change everything in my bathroom to clean products that worked as well or better than the ones I had come to use and love. I did not want dreads or to smell like patchouli. I still wanted a great smokey eye and red lip! The amount of green washing, pink washing and ineffective products left me frustrated and angry. I finally decided we needed a store like AILLEA - where every product is clean and free of toxins (we use the EU list and then some). I believe I have curated the best of the best of clean beauty products and am so excited to share them with everyone!

CD:  If women were going to change one product in their makeup bag or skincare lineup what would you recommend they start with and why? 

KD:  I have 2 :) Our body absorbs more than 60% of what we put on it directly in to our blood stream. (think about how a hormone or nicotine patch work). So to me - I think anything we put all over our body - such as body lotion or sunblock - is very important. The other is lipstick. We end up ingesting our lipsticks and lip glosses, so to me this is also very important. But really I could make a case as to why every product is important :)

CD:  There is a lot of confusing information out there about what is harmful in our products and it can be overwhelming.  Where can we find reliable information?  What should we be looking for when reading labels?

KD:  I think Think Dirty and EWG (environmental Working Group) Skin Deep are great free resources. They allow you to look up bar codes of products to see their safety. However these won’t pick up smaller, niche brands and products. 2) Find bloggers you trust like Green Beauty Team that really vet the ingredients in their products. 3) find brands that really stand behind their mission. I love brands like Indie Lee that was created by a cancer survivor and RMS or Kjaer Weis that were created by makeup artists that are truly called to the clean and organic beauty movement.

CD:  What product is currently your favorite? 

KD:  Suki facial exfoliator,  Indie Lee Swiss Apple Serum and Mun Youth Serum are my current go-to face treatment. I may switch it up some with the arrival of fall/winter. for Makeup - Ilia Foundation, Vapour Aura blush, RMS Buriti Bronzer, Kjaer Weis Mascara and Lipstick or the NU Evolution Glosses for my clean “day” look. I add some drama with the Lily Lolo or Nu Evolution shadows and a great liner from Vapour at night.