5 Women Leading the Clean Beauty Movement

by Beth Wischnia March 05, 2020

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re honoring women who are at the forefront of the clean beauty space. Each of these leaders is deeply dedicated to advancing the clean beauty agenda and making clean the new standard. We chatted with five women in a range of roles—from our very own Biossance President to the woman who leads all things skincare at Sephora—to learn about their inspiration, what they love about clean beauty and their favorite Biossance product.

 

Catherine Gore, President, Biossance

Catherine Gore, President, Biossance

What inspires your passion and activism for clean beauty? 
"The idea that women can have their most beautiful skin ever, feeling more confident while doing better for the environment and future generations."

What do you want to share with other women in honor of International Women's Day?
Talk to yourself as if you’re giving advice to your best friend. You’ll notice how much kinder and supportive you are to yourself if you do.” 

Who is a woman you admire in the clean beauty space and why? 
"Michelle Pfeiffer. She could have created any fragrance brand like many celebrities, but she designed a beautiful, very clean fragrance collection called Henry Rose that is a step forward in clean."

What is your favorite Biossance product and why? 
“I love the immediate results with Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. I see a huge difference in my skin—it’s brighter, clearer and more radiant overall, overnight!”

 

Cindy Deily, Vice President, Skincare Merchandising, Sephora

What inspires your passion and activism for clean beauty?
“I believe that consumers deserve full transparency about the ingredients that are in the products they buy for themselves and their families, and that they should not have to have a chemistry degree to understand what those ingredients are!”

What do you want to share with other women in honor of International Women's Day?
“If working with mostly women for the majority of my career has taught me anything, it’s that we are an absolute force of nature in so many ways. I look forward to a future where more women are owning their power and creating a world where women’s voices and contributions are valued equally.”

Who is a woman you admire in the clean beauty space and why? 
“Tata Harper and Josie Maran for being so incredibly committed to bringing the world luxurious, clean and natural products way before it was the cool thing to do.”

What is your favorite Biossance product and why? 
Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum is my favorite product. I’m a huge fan of lactic acid and this serum delivers all of the amazing resurfacing benefits of this ingredient in a clean formula that is gentle on skin.”

 

Ramya Viswanathan, Senior Product Development Manager, Biossance

Ramya Viswanathan, Senior Product Development Manager, Biossance 

What inspires your passion and activism for clean beauty? 
"I like to be mindful in general of how my actions and choices impact what’s around me. This carries over to my work as well, where the idea of more thoughtful products has stemmed from consumer concern. I enjoy being able to hear our community out and make products that people feel good about using." 

What do you want to share with other women in honor of International Women's Day?
"When someone asks you why, ask why not?”

Who is a woman you admire in the clean beauty movement and why? 
"Katey Denno. She’s a phenomenal makeup artist we’ve worked with and she really walks the talk when it comes to clean beauty." 

What is your favorite Biossance product and why? 
"My favorite Biossance product is our Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen. It’s a sunscreen that doesn’t actually feel like a sunscreen. I love how it melts into my skin to keep me feeling hydrated and protected at the same time. It’s the product I look forward to using every day."   

 

Mollie Jensen, Associate Director, Sustainability & Claims Compliance, Biossance

Mollie Jensen, Associate Director, Sustainability & Claims Compliance, Biossance

What inspires your passion and activism for clean beauty? 
"Everyone deserves to use products that are good for them and don’t have an adverse effect on the planet. This is why I’m a strong advocate for cosmetic safety reform, taking trips to Sacramento and DC to speak to legislators whenever I have the opportunity. US cosmetic regulations are sorely lagging behind many countries around the world. Biossance self-regulates cosmetic safety through our 2000+ ingredient blacklist, one of the big reasons I work here."

What do you want to share with other women in honor of International Women's Day?
"Be yourself. While it’s fine to be inspired by others, there’s only one you. Be the best YOU. Stepping into who you truly give permission to those around you to do the same. How cool is that?" 

Who is a woman you admire in the clean beauty movement and why? 
"Eva Friederichs. While she may not have been part of the modern clean beauty movement, I had the pleasure of working with her and her product line, Eva’s Esthetics, which was way ahead of its time in regard to clean ingredients. She actually inspired her grandsons to start their own skincare brand, Youth to the People.”

What is your favorite Biossance product and why? 
"My favorite Biossance product is Squalane + Omega Repair Cream. I appreciate how it tackles dry skin. And it really does last ALL day. Definitely my desert island product.”

 

Nneka Leiba, Vice President, Healthy Living Science Team, Environmental Working Group

Nneka Leiba, Vice President, Healthy Living Science Team, Environmental Working Group

What inspires your passion and activism for clean beauty? 
"It inspires me when I see people empowered by EWG’s work to raise their voices and question the status quo. Whether it’s feeling empowered to demand safer products, stronger laws or otherwise prioritizing our health." 

What do you want to share with other women in honor of International Women's Day?
"Lean into your power. Speak up for what you deserve. And, don’t support companies or entities that do not have your best interest at their core. The positive changes we are seeing in the cosmetics market, with more companies manufacturing products without ingredients of concern, is almost entirely thanks to the thousands, if not millions, of people—mostly women—who are demanding better products for themselves and their families."

Who is a woman you admire in the clean beauty movement and why? 
"I admire Ami Zota, an associate professor at George Washington University. While not necessarily in the clean beauty movement in the traditional sense, Ami’s research has highlighted that ingredients used in personal care products have been linked to health harms and women of color may be disproportionately affected. Her research sheds light on a topic not often discussed and can further help us to move the market toward safer products for all people."

What is your favorite Biossance product and why? 
"There are a few! One of my go-to moisturizers is the 100% Squalane Oil, especially in the winter. But a close second would be the Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm. Not only do I love how these products perform, I know that they are made from good ingredients, and they’re made by a company whose mission aligns with my own.”

Beth Wischnia


Beth Wischnia
Beth Wischnia

Author

My industry experience includes years as a beauty editor and leading content for a wide range of skincare and makeup brands. Those experiences led me to Biossance—I was introduced to the brand on an editor press trip in 2017 and instantly fell in love. I toured the labs, created my own 100% Squalane with essential oils, and noticed a dramatic difference in my skin by introducing clean products (especially the Vitamin C Rose Oil) to my regimen. I’m excited to be on this journey with Biossance and be at the forefront of clean beauty innovation.



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