As the beauty world explodes with more natural alternatives to the chemical ingredients often found in the cosmetics we buy for their promises of youth and good looks, Laguna Beach native Laura Linsenmayer knew it was time to bring these options together under one roof.
Linsenmayer, a licensed cosmetologist since 2000, opened ROOTS The Beauty Underground – a nontoxic cosmetic store and organic hair salon – last year on August 1 with a mission of offering “nontoxic, healthy yet high-performance cosmetics” to Orange County. Placing high priority on customer education, Linsenmayer thoroughly researches each brand and sections up products by price point and quality level to help consumers make more informed decisions. “There are so many wonderful cosmetic companies out there that are not filling products with carcinogens,” says Linsenmayer. “Why on earth would we slather ammonia on our body if there are alternatives?… It’s just plain logic.”
Linsenmayer took some time from searching for the best in nontoxic cosmetics to answer some of our questions about beauty toxins and the alternatives.
What are your standards for carrying a product?
Not everything in my shop is in fact certified organic. I feel it is my responsibility to make sure a product is of good quality as well as still high performance… I hand out “dirty dozen” cards: This is a list of the top 12 chemicals [anything ending in siloxane or methicone, BHA and BHT, DEA, fragrance, parabens, petroleum, phthalate lead compounds, PPD, PEGs, MEA and TEA, sodium laureth sulfate, triclosan] we should avoid in our cosmetics. Not every single thing in here is free of all 12. We are on our way, technologically speaking, to one day not having any of these chemicals, but until then, I am still a beautician first and foremost and will always offer my clients cosmetics that work really well but may not be totally free of the dozen.
It says something that a store can be built on nontoxic and organic products. How has the industry evolved in this regard?
We are so close to having all cosmetics created using nontoxic alternatives and/or certified organic ingredients, and when each one of the items that we need is available both clean and high-performance, I will have it. The beauty industry is going through a complete transformation as we speak. We as consumers are so much more educated and informed on our health and the available alternatives, whether it be foods, medicines or cosmetics. We are taking back control of our lives and health these days.
Are there any big differences for customers in using these products versus the toxin-packed ones?
Yes, absolutely there are differences. For example, I carry a water-based nail polish line called Acquarella. Now each time a client is interested in purchasing an Acquarella color I have to explain to them that Acquarella is perfect for someone who is dead serious about eliminating toxicity from their lives. A water-based polish is not going to have the staying power that say Priti NYC or Sheswai Lacquer, [both of which] I carry, have. I am explaining daily to my guests that by shifting over to nontoxic cosmetics, there will always be something that we will have to give up.
It seems that the healthier something is, the more expensive it tends to be. What can your customers expect price-wise for your products?
This is such a crucial element to the design and business plan of ROOTS. In my skincare section I have four different brands. Starting at the very top is my “top shelf” line Tata Harper. This is the best of the best, the most costly due to the high quality of ingredients and revolutionary research and tech that went into making it. So Tata is top shelf. Then we go down to the next shelf to Suti holistic skincare. This line is the best quality for a bit lower price point. Then down again to Pangea Organics. Pangea is the best organic skincare you can get in the $40 range. Then down again to Acure Organics. This is an entire line that is not only totally affordable ($20 average) but is a wonderful quality, great performance and also is a super philanthropic brand that works with numerous charities. I want every client to be able to find a product that they need, in their budget. I was very strategic in applying this tactic to all of my categories.
Go Underground :: Get some one-on-one help to detoxify your beauty cabinet at ROOTS The Beauty Underground, 384 Forest Ave. Ste. 9, located in The Lumberyard Mall in downtown Laguna Beach.
949.424.4266 :: roots-beauty.com