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Molly Hart is the founder and CEO of HIGHR Collective, a certified B Corp beauty company reimagining the lip category. She and her team take the terms “clean” and “sustainable” to new heights, whether it comes to formulating products or supply chain considerations. See what the process entails and how HIGHR is reinventing what it means to be green in the beauty industry.

What inspired you to create HIGHR Collective?

While working in social media for all the big beauty brands, I had a direct line of communication to our customers on a daily basis.  Everyday, I was fielding questions from our customers about ingredient safety, environmental impact and shade frustrations.  When constant customer concerns went ignored by decision makers, I knew there was a gap in the cosmetics market for a cleaner, greener product line.

What do you think most clean and luxury lip companies lack, and how does HIGHR Collective bridge that gap?

HIGHR is different because our focus is lip products.  Our founding purpose was due to the lip category being the most invasive category in the beauty industry (the only category we directly ingest), thus giving us a clear mission to switch as many cosmetics consumers into cleaner lip options. 

We also started with one hero product (HIGHR Lipstick), and we gave ourselves the challenge of building the cleanest supply chain around this one product.  That led to solar powered formulation, wind powered packaging, removing all pervasive synthetic ingredients in lip formulation, and tracking and offsetting all remaining operational CO2 to produce the world’s first CO2 neutral lipstick.

By working this way, we also became the first certified B Corp™ in our competitive space, meaning that we have met the highest verified standard of social and environmental impact, transparency and accountability.

How is HIGHR Lipstick CO2 neutral—and the world’s first lipstick to be classified as such?

We use as much renewable energy throughout our supply chain as possible, and then offset the remaining footprint with our friends at Native Energy.  As I mentioned, we use solar and wind in our immediate supply chain.  The tricky part then is finding partners, representing our Scope 2 and 3 emissions, who have the same values as we do.  We vet our partners and their operational ways of working relating to energy consumption before bringing them onto team HIGHR.  

We’ve also found some great gold standard projects to support in North America that are working to expand the use of renewable energy.  Our most recent project, the Crow Lake Wind Project in North Dakota, keeps as much as 430,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually!

Our total product footprint is calculated by tracking all CO2 emissions from the beginning of product development through to final product, negated by our renewable use, and then coming to a total footprint left to offset (all calculated by Native Energy).  Once the offset is complete the product is officially CO2 neutral – meaning that we saved as much CO2 as we created making the product.

What kinds of ingredients are on your “never” list and why?

I didn’t start formulating with a “never” list, per se.  I thought that lip product formulations were corporately irresponsible so I started by making a 100% organic product, and then working back from there to achieve a professional standard.  Our products are between 60 – 74% organic, with the remaining formula made of plant derived emollients and actives.  

We’re lucky in that there’s some great innovation happening in the creation of coconut derived silicone replacements, which give the silky texture of a traditional silicone lipstick.  In my view, there’s no excuse to put silicone, synthetic wax, mineral oil or polyethylene in a lip product.  Those ingredients also have no place near or on your mouth.

What’s your brand’s secret to balancing the beauty needs/goals of the consumer with sustainability and clean formulation considerations?

At HIGHR, we want to focus on a tight range of product that are as universally flattering as possible rather than create newness for the sake of it.  We’re finding balance by formulating different lip product formats so that we have a lip product for everyone.  

We start each product the same way – organic.  We then work back from there until we achieve a professional level product that customers will love.

What’s been your most rewarding moment with the brand to date, and what do you still hope to accomplish?

There are highs and lows with all startups. HIGHR has been worn by some very recognizable faces, and we’re starting to partner with retailers – these have all been great moments.  But the most rewarding moments hands down are the emails I get from customers with kind words on the business and product.  It always grounds me and reminds me why I started, and it’s so thrilling to know that people across the world have incorporated our products into their lives.  Our goal is to reach 1 million cosmetics customers with HIGHR lip products in the next 5 years.

What are your skincare and self-care non-negotiables?

Hyaluronic Acid is my number one.  During the pandemic, I royally messed up my skin barrier by using too many acids and HA was the only product that would help.  Since then, I’ve switched my chemical exfoliant to the physical Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub.  It exfoliates and has the added benefit of retexturizing my skin.  

The biggest part of my self-care routine is family.  I walk my children to school every morning, which is the best start to the day.  Children are tremendous sources of joy, and I find it easiest to switch off from the ups and downs of business when I’m with them.

 

 

SHOP LAUREN’S PICKS

The Kids’ Gift Guide

Mini Bloom: If you love your Goldfaden MD products, I guarantee that you’ll enjoy Mini Bloom for the kiddos in your life as well… and I’m not just saying that as a founder of both brands! Rooted in nature, formulated to nurture (even for the most sensitive skin), Mini Bloom’s bath, body, and baby care products are wonderful staples in any and every holistic-minded household. After all, we all want the safest and most efficacious products for our little ones!

Yumi: Truth be told, conventional baby food products can be a bit too suspect for my liking, which is why I highly recommended the Clean Label Project certified eats by Yumi. Nutrient-dense whole foods minus the junk? The kiddos in your life will truly eat it up—and their parents will be ever so grateful.

Maison Rue: I didn’t know that kitchenware for kids could be calming—that is, until I discovered the Nordic designs from Maison Rue. Aesthetically pleasing and made from non-toxic materials, the plates, cups, and toys from this brand make for a happy, healthy and functional home.

SunnyLife: If your kids are going to be playing around, they might as well do it in style, which is where the colorful and wonderfully whimsical lucite and timber game sets and puzzles from SunnyLife come in.

Super Smalls: My kids love the fun and playful accessories by Super Smalls, which encourage imagination and creativity.

BURSTkids Sonic Toothbrush: The bright colors and easy-grip handle of this electric toothbrush will make twice-daily brushing a breeze for kiddos and their parents alike. Better yet, Burst simplifies things thanks to their refill plan, with which you’ll get a new brush head replacement every 12 weeks.

The Hosts’ Gift Guide

The Culinistas: Private chefs will come to your kitchen and get to work on weekly meal prep, whip up a feast, and/or work with your dietary restrictions and goals. Need I say more? It’s genius.

Heather Taylor Home: The quaint “cottagecore” handwoven linens from LA–based brand Heather Taylor Home make for a terrific gift for any hostess with the mostest.

Goldfaden MD Let It Glow Candle: If you ask me, candles are always a welcome gift to add warmth and aroma to any home—and I can’t wait to share Goldfaden MD’s own Let It Glow Candle with everyone in my inner circle.

Brightland Olive Oil Duo: I’ve been a fan of Brightland’s since they came out with their EVOOs a few years back. The home chefs in your life will love this set, which includes AWAKE for cooking and ALIVE for salads and baking. Even the packaging is utterly delightful.

The Sill: A green home is a happy home, which is why I highly recommend gifting The Sill’s houseplants, planters, planting supplies, and more.

The Wellness Gift Guide

Ghia: Ghia makes it all too easy to get you in the holiday spirit… minus the alcoholic spirits. The elevated beverage flavors are free of alcohol, caffeine, added sugar, and artificial flavors—and their products are vegan-friendly to boot.

Remedy Place: If your wellness-obsessed loved ones are based in LA, gifting a membership to West Hollywood’s Remedy Place is a no-brainer. Temptation- and toxin-free, this exclusive social wellness club facilitates a deeper connection to oneself as well as their health-minded community.

Goldfaden MD The Body Glow Set: Winter or not, dullness is never in season—and Goldfaden MD’s Body Glow Set will help you combat dry and lackluster skin from the neck down day after day.

Perelel: As a mother of two little ones and an entrepreneur in the mommy and wellness spaces, I’ve done my due diligence on the best products for mamas and kiddos. The prenatals and postnatals from OB/GYN-founded brand Perelel get my full seal of approval, which I don’t dole out easily. I’ll be sure to gift their supplements to the expectant and new mamas in my circle, and I suggest you do the same.

Bandier: For the ladies in your life who love fashion as much as they love fitness, Bandier is always a safe bet. Whether you personalize your wellness gift haul with sneakers, sets, or accessories or opt for a choose-your-own-adventure gift card, you really can’t go wrong by looking to this always-on-trend retailer. Of course, I recommend browsing their sustainability edit!

Depending on who you ask, glowing, radiant skin is priceless. But when it comes to the wonderful world of skincare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of products at your disposal. That said, if you’re new to skincare or otherwise want to simplify your routine, there are a few tried-and-true staples you’ll always want on hand.

If your goal is to know which types of products deserve prime real estate on your bathroom shelf, consider this your ultimate guide to skincare essentials.

4 Essential Steps for a Simplified Skincare Routine

Exfoliate

Sometimes overlooked yet essential nonetheless, exfoliating just might be the magical step that’s missing in your current skincare routine.

Simply put, the benefits of exfoliating are plenty. (And, if you ask me, they’re too good to pass up.) Among many things, exfoliating:

  • clears away dead skin cells
  • promotes skin cell turnover
  • smooths skin
  • evens tone
  • boosts radiance
  • helps reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • allows other products to penetrate better and work more effectively

Luckily, there are different options to choose from when it comes to finding the best exfoliator for you.

First, there are physical exfoliators that manually polish your complexion. Remember to exfoliate gently with only light pressure.

If you prefer to go this route, make sure to choose an exfoliating scrub with perfectly round exfoliants—rather than jagged shells that can inflame the skin, or plastic microbeads that can threaten the environment—such as the ruby crystals in our Doctor’s Scrub. (Bonus: The Doctor’s Scrub also contains hydrating powerhouse hyaluronic acid and moisturizing jojoba oil.)

P.S.: Don’t forget that all your skin could use some love, too! Add on the Doctor’s Body Scrub for smooth, glowing skin from head to toe.

Second, there are chemical exfoliators that polish your skin with AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, and/or fruit enzymes. Personally, we love lactic acid for its gentle yet still potent properties. Luckily, lactic acid also happens to be one of the best exfoliators for sensitive skin. You can find it alongside citrus fruit enzymes in Fresh A Peel, which promotes a fresh, youthful glow—sans irritation. (Note: You’d use this type of exfoliating treatment only after cleansing.)

Cleanse

Cleansing is arguably the most important step in any skincare routine.

A good cleanser is your best bet to remove surface oils, dirt, and impurities from both daily and overnight buildup. After washing your face with a high-quality cleanser, you’ll have a clear, fresh canvas that’ll allow the next products to work their magic.

For a gentle, gel-based cleanser that’ll delight your skin and senses alike, Pure Start is your best bet. For those who are acne-prone, we also have the Detox Clarifying Facial Wash with a blend of exfoliating AHAs and antioxidants for a deeper clean.

Treat

This all-important step in your routine is all about you and will be specific to your unique skin concerns.

Such concerns may include:

  • blemishes
  • dryness
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • hyperpigmentation
  • an uneven, dull skin tone

Daily, semi-weekly, or weekly treatments are your best allies to supercharge progress to achieve your biggest skin goals.

As far as products go, skincare treatments often come in the form of a serum or oil. They’ll typically contain a concentrated amount of active ingredients to address your areas of concern.

When choosing the best specialized treatments for your skin, here’s a quick primer with a few star ingredients to look out for:

  • hyaluronic acid for dry or dehydrated skin
  • retinol for rejuvenation and anti-aging
  • alpha arbutin for natural lightening of dark spots
  • antioxidants (such as CoQ10 and vitamins C and E) for brightness and protection from free radicals

Apply your treatment after cleansing and allow it to absorb fully before moving on to the next step of your simplified skincare routine.

Hydrate & Moisturize

Last but not least, hydrating and moisturizing products will keep your skin fresh and promote a healthy skin barrier.

To clarify, hydrators (aka humectants) help from within to infuse your skin cells with water. Meanwhile, moisturizers (aka occlusives) lock in the moisture you’ve achieved thus far.

Both provide a necessary one-two punch to encourage a fresh, glowing complexion both throughout the day and into the night. After all, if you’ve made it this far into your skincare routine, your progress will be for naught if your skin gets parched or goes unprotected.

Some people may prefer nourishing their skin with an oil alone, like Fleuressence, which replenishes hydration and softens skin with omega fatty acids. Otherwise, a tried-and-true moisturizer, such as Vital Boost, can provide a brightening glow for all skin types.

To get even more granular, you can also use a moisturizer tailored to your skin concerns. Additionally, you may choose to use a richer formula, such as the Plant Profusion Night Cream, to boost moisture and radiance even further while you get your beauty sleep.

Final Thoughts

For those who are new to skincare or simply want to pare down their shelves to the essentials, these four pillars get the job done to inch you closer to your ideal of great skin. (And don’t forget, applying SPF daily is the ultimate insurance policy for skin protection.)

It’s also worth noting that when you revamp your skincare routine, you should integrate only one new product at a time for at least two weeks. A more ideal time frame would be a month, which will permit a full cycle for skin cells to turn over. Doing so will allow you to witness progress in the making, as well as understand which new products yield results.

Finally, once your skin starts to improve, you’ll probably start to wonder what other goodies you’ve been missing out on. (I’m talking mists, masks, eye creams, and the like.) As terrific as these other products are, start first with the basics and then feel free to work your way up.

Author Bio
Michele Ross is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about clean skincare and hiking in the California sunshine (with adequate SPF, of course).