Hey everyone!

For this post, I had to pleasure of interviewing Lauren, owner and creator of DressGreen. Find her at etsy.

Her products are 100% natural and 100% original. Her homemade collection spans from handcrafted soaps to toners to moisturizer and then some! And with almost 20,000 sales on Etsy and extremely high and positive feedback on her products, what’s not to love?

Enjoy folks! 🙂

1. What inspired you to get started to make natural products?

I first became interested in all natural products several years ago when I realized I had a serious case of sensitive skin. Everything from lotions to laundry detergent would make my skin react in negative ways. After trying several ‘natural’ products on the market, I found that they either weren’t the quality I needed (still had parabens, overwhelming fragrances, or other bothersome synthetics), or didn’t work as effectively as I hoped.  To top it off, most of these commercial ‘natural’ products were priced well outside of my fresh-out-of-college budget. This led me on my DressGreen quest – to develop natural, super-effective, and safe products that were not only enjoyable to use, but affordable as well.

2. Could you briefly explain why you think natural products are better?

There are several reasons that I recommend and personally prefer natural skin care products over products based mainly on synthetics.  The first and probably most important is seeing the overwhelming, positive results in skin health produced by naturally-based products.
I’ve always felt that it’s important to remember that the skin is our largest organ – what we put on our skin is absorbed into our body.  We all need to ‘feed’ and ‘nourish’ our skin in the same way we nourish the rest of our body.  Natural ingredients contain the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nourishing components necessary in a healthy skin regimen.  So many of the synthetic chemicals used in commercial skin care have negative or unknown side effects, making them a poor substitute for natural ingredients.

3. What is your top selling product(s) and why do you think it is?

It’s really a tie between my facial creams and facial soaps.  I offer options for various skin types, with the top-selling creams being the Calming & Clarifying (targeted towards oily, combination, and breakout-prone skin), and the Pure Hydration (targeted towards normal to dry, sensitive, and maturing skin types).  Both the Charcoal Facial Soap and undressed Facial Soap are also customer favorites.  I think the popularity of these products comes from the quality and performance they provide.  Each product is free of parabens, petroleum-based ingredients, and other harsh synthetics. These traits can be difficult to find in other facial care lines.
Another important part of these products’ popularity is that each item in my line is 100% hand-crafted by me in my DressGreen studio – this is actually not as common in small natural skin care lines as you would think as many companies make at least some portion of their products from pre-made bases manufactured by large commercial suppliers.  This compromises not only the freshness of those other products, but also the quality, and the security of knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your products as well as where those ingredients are sourced from.

4. How do you come up with the combination of ingredients in your products? 

I first focus on what the function of the product is supposed to be, and what skin type I am working to create a new product for.  From there, I choose the ingredients most appropriate to those needs that at the same time will complement one another with their natural skin-enhancing qualities.

5. How much research and testing does it take before you release a new product?

After I finalize the general recipe for a new product (which can take months of choosing and acquiring ingredients, testing formulations, changing ingredient percentages, and finalizing aspects of the packaging and labeling), I then send out samplers to local customers, friends, and family.  After each person has had the opportunity to use the new product for some amount of time, I collect feedback from them on everything from the product performance for their skin type, to the packaging I have decided to use for that product.  At the same time, I’m also developing my own feedback on the product’s performance, how it holds up in different environments and climates, and the long-term integrity of the ingredients I’ve chosen.  I then return to my studio and make any necessary tweaks/changes, and finally send out another batch of samples.  Only after this process is complete do I release a new product in my store.  This full process generally takes anywhere from a few months, to well over a year depending on the complexity of the product.

6. Finally, what do you think the greatest health hazard in drugstore products are? 

The most dangerous aspect of commercial skin care products is that they are not regulated by the FDA.  Several ingredients can be used in the USA that have restrictions placed on them in markets like Europe, where the skin care industry and long-term health effects of skin care ingredients is taken more seriously.  This leads to harmful and inappropriate ingredients in everything from body cream to baby shampoo.  Commercial products frequently use the least expensive ingredients in order to maximize their own profits, and though some of these ingredients may perform decently in short-term situations, they begin to cause skin issues and sensitivities over time.
I also think it’s important to mention that the quality of drugstore products is severely compromised in that a product may be several months old before it even reaches the shelves of a drugstore, and then may sit there for several more months before being purchased by a consumer – who wants to get a ‘new’ body cream that was actually made a year (or more) ago.  The ingredients are aging and becoming less effective and heading towards rancidity during that entire time.

Please check her out everyone! I strongly recommend supporting this business, and a business operated and made by someone who actually cares about her customers and what she is selling to them. I am extremely anxious to use her products, especially the Pure Hydration Facial Cream!

Thanks again, Lauren!