The Way This “Clean” Beauty Brand Is Putting Women’s Healing and Empowerment First
rē•spin your beauty regimens to prioritize your values.
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once wrote. In the case of the indie beauty brand, Saint Jane, there is actually great depth and significance in their name. It references a historical figure and saint, Jane De Chantal, a French baroness who dedicated her life to healing and uplifting vulnerable women outcast by society in the 1500s. This healing legacy alludes to the root of the founder’s mission and ethos, whose philosophy aims to heal sensitive skin and to empower women — giving back to non-profits that empower girls and women.
But as the mother of three young daughters, CEO and founder Casey Georgeson’s business decisions to prioritize women’s health are deeply personal. As you’ll learn, she aims to support women’s health, healing, and wellness through critical moments of pause and self-care set aside to nourish and rē-connect the mind, body, skin, and spirit. Georgeson’s story also provides insight into the growing “clean” beauty niche, which is slowly but surely transforming the billion-dollar industry, rē-spinning the way consumers think about beauty and personal care products.
The Founder’s Journey to “Clean”
“When I launched Saint Jane, I knew it had to be meticulously clean,” Georgeson tells rē•spin. “Creating a clean beauty brand was a very personal decision based on my own experience.” Also going out of their way to put ethics into their practices — working with small farms and vendors that share the brand’s commitment to nature — they purity test their products at four different points throughout the manufacturing process. “That is three times the industry standard,” she explains.
If you’re wondering why consumers are increasingly opting for products from brands that elevate industry standards, they could be for reasons like Georgeson’s — whose motivations are relatable, personal, and rooted in her maternal instincts. “When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I was working with a broad range of beauty products including nail polish and fragrance in windowless offices. When my daughter was born, she was tiny. She looked like a preemie and was considered small for her gestational age. One doctor suspected that my exposure to chemicals early on in my pregnancy could have been what caused her to be born small.”
Her daughter is now nine and thriving, but the experience and suggestion were profound enough for Georgeson to decide not to take risks moving forward. Thus began her journey towards becoming a clean beauty entrepreneur in a saturated industry with stark competition.
The Controversy Over “Clean”
Many deride the clean beauty industry, in part due to the fact that the term is still legally unregulated and thus can be used as a marketing ploy. Although a growing body of research exists, experts often disagree when it comes to what constitutes “safe” (with a major debate brewing over sunscreen), fueling discourse and continued research — but also divisive rhetoric among impassioned beauty consumers and commentators. If you’re one of the skeptics, try thinking of the push for “non-toxic” beauty in terms of consumer preference; just as some of us prefer organic, farm-to-table cuisine, opt to be vegetarians or flexitarians, or to practice yoga as opposed to pilates, it comes down to personal choice and sovereignty over one’s body — something that each of us is entitled to. After all, what makes a person feel safe is a highly personal decision. Even without industry regulations in place, you can trust that the products you purchase from Saint Jane adhere to Georgeson’s notion of “clean”; namely, “ingredients that are globally recognized to be less toxic.”
“For too many years, women didn’t know ingredients in their beauty products were toxic or dangerous, like Formaldehyde, which we now know is a carcinogen.” Talc is another common (and legal) ingredient that has been found to occasionally be contaminated with the carcinogen asbestos, and Johnson & Johnson has actually been ordered to pay billions of dollars in damages to cancer patients and their families due to suspected links between their talcum powder — yes, the same baby powder made for use on our babies — and the disease. (As recently as June 2021, J&J lost a Supreme Court appeal to overturn a $2 billion settlement awarded by a jury, after already having been ordered to pay $4.9 billion in damages for talc’s link to ovarian cancer back in 2018.)
Debates aside, growing consumer interest in personal care, fragrance, skincare, and cosmetic products that make their ethics part of their business models — from sustainability, to ingredient selection, to supply chain transparency — is apparent. “Brands are absolutely taking notice [of this growing consumer trend and] represents a significant shift that I believe will ultimately make the beauty industry safer and more regulated,” Georgeson says. She is not alone in her belief that beauty’s best practices should be aligned with wellness of the self, with that of the planet, animals, and the communities of people involved.
rē-thinking Beauty and Wellness as One
Let’s not forget that the world of CBD is often stigmatized still, and that championing this anti-inflammatory, wellness ingredient is aligned with the original Saint Jane’s efforts to serve the marginalized and shunned. Mostly, it is the multi-dimensional, more comprehensive approach to wellness — of the skin, of the self, and also of the planet — that is rē-spinning the way that we think about beauty brands.
But because the niche is unregulated, do not trust a label to tell you what adheres to these principles; it takes digging deeper to know what it is you’re investing in. “The wellness of our planet is integral to the brand,” Georgeson says. “We partner with companies and farmers around the world to support their diverse cultures and empower their rich traditions in a modern and sustainable way with environmentally sound practices.” Whether it occurs tomorrow or in the next 20 years, the industry is undergoing a shift that is being led by health-conscious entrepreneurs and brands like Saint Jane.