Navigating through countless beauty products on the market can be overwhelming, especially when you want something that is effective without toxic chemicals. I remember when Juice Beauty first launched and have been following them for years, plus like many of us, paid closer notice when Gwyneth Paltrow became their Creative Director. I knew they were dedicated to high-quality products without the toxic chemicals that are so pervasive on beauty store shelves, but didn’t know the vast range (cleansers, peels, serums, sunscreens…it just keeps going) that makes using Juice a comprehensive experience. What you may not know is that this groundbreaking company is Marin-based in an airy and chic former grocery store building, where clean desks and gorgeous displays of make-up meet you at every turn. Juice is led by an enterprising pioneer who saw something deeply wrong with the beauty industry, and took risks to change it. I was thrilled to meet with founder, Karen Behnke, at their corporate headquarters, who graciously welcomed photographer Jen Kay and myself for an engaging morning of learning and testing products. I have to say, I am hooked. Come read what this dynamic leader has to say and enjoy a peek inside at their pivotal work. Enjoy…
24 East: When you first launched Juice Beauty, what gap in the beauty industry were you aiming to fill?
Karen Behnke: You know it’s funny, when I first launched the brand the main gap was organic. I didn’t come from the beauty industry and let’s face it, [in] the beauty industry there’s kind of a lot out there.
I was really looking at it when while I was on the 24 Hour Fitness board. I didn’t read a beauty products label. I didn’t pay attention to household cleaning products. It was all about fitness and nutrition. Then when I was having my babies at 40 and 42 and started reading labels, that’s when I just thought, “Oh my God, and I’m putting this stuff on my skin.” That was really the start of it.
The gap was really high efficacy, healthful, organic products, but high efficacy because we all want products that work and we all want lipstick that’s vibrant. That was really the gap.
24E: What do most people not realize about the beauty industry?
KB: Probably the only regulation in the beauty industry is SPF. For instance, if this has SPF30 you have to have tests on file that say that it blocked SPF31, 32, 33 anywhere above 30 and you test. There are pretty strict regulations on that. They don’t care what you block it with. You could block it with led.
There is no regulation with “natural.” There is regulation with ingredients. You can have endocrine constructors, you can have artificial, anything. Any synthetic known to mankind. There’s no regulation. [We briefly talked about the need for regulation and Juice Beauty’s support of the Personal Care Products Safety Act that was introduced in May by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins].
24E: Many people have to come love Juice even more after launching the partnership with Gwyneth Paltrow as Creative Director. How did that relationship came about?
KB: Well Amanda Eilian is on Juice’s board, and she’s also an investor in Goop. I started talking about make-up and thought, “You know we are ready. Our products are selling really well. We’re ready to come out with make-up. But I’d love to have a creative director that’s actually aesthetically involved in the business and not just a face.” That somebody is going to be a true creative director. Authenticity is critical to us. Amanda introduced us and we bonded over that. She loved our skincare and we wanted products that are just a little nicer. She loved our philosophy of high efficacy skincare. You had authentic, organic and really helpful and we wanted to do the same thing for makeup and that’s what we do. She wanted makeup that lasted on the red carpet and under the bright lights, but also that wouldn’t compromise her health or Apple’s health, or her mother’s health.
For more information on Juice Beauty, go here.
Original images for 24 East by Jen Kay.