Greg Starkman, founder and CEO of Innersense Organic Beauty. 
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Greg Starkman, founder and CEO of Innersense Organic Beauty. 

As both professionals and consumers seek clean and organic beauty products, they are seeking more information about what is in their products and how they are made. But they need the ability to read through the marketing claims to make sure they are really getting what they are expecting to get. 

In this frank Q&A, Greg Starkman, founder and CEO of Innersense Organic Beauty, helps owners and stylists on the right path to credible information: 

SALON TODAY: With all the different retail claims, it can be very difficult for both consumers and professionals to understand what’s in a line. What are the differences between natural, organic, green, clean and now blue beauty products?

Starkman: Many of these terms are highly subjective, with no established cosmetic standards or certifications. The lack of regulation allows brands to make marketing claims that sound good but are often vague with no real evidence backing them. This leaves professionals and consumers to decipher claims and labels for themselves. Fortunately, we are seeing professionals and consumers self-educating to cut through the confusion of so-called “clean” and “green-washing”. Both professionals and consumers are demanding transparency on ingredient safety, as well as claims of sustainability and blue beauty. Rather than sifting through these vague terms, it’s best to look for well known certifications for sustainability. Innersense is committed to being Plastic Neutral through RePurpose, Carbon Neutral through Climate Neutral, and we are a  1% for the Planet Partner. We provide transparent access to our ingredient information through Clear for Me and Think Dirty, and list our Certified Organic Ingredients on our bottles and website.

ST: Who is the typical client who seeks these products and is that population growing?

Starkman: We’ve seen the clean beauty market grow dramatically over the last 3 years, and especially since the start of the pandemic, as professionals and consumers become more educated about the products they use. We’re seeing this change driven by younger generations who tend to prefer natural, organic and sustainable personal products but the shift is happening across all age groups and demographics as information becomes more readily available.

 - As your clients become more educated about the products they use, the clean beauty market has grown dramatically over the past three years.

As your clients become more educated about the products they use, the clean beauty market has grown dramatically over the past three years.

ST: What are some of the ingredients that professionals and consumers want to avoid?

Starkman: The buzz words of “Sulfate, Silicone and Paraben Free” or even “Vegan” give the false impression that a product is natural, clean and safe. The laundry list of compromising ingredients that are suspect and known hormone-disruptors is long. We always recommend beauty professionals and consumers go to SafeCosmetics.org to get self-educated on the ingredients to avoid in personal care products. This organization is part of the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and a leading advocate in safe cosmetic legislation.

ST: How can carrying an organic/green/clean product line create a marketing point of difference for a salon? Can it attract a new demographic of client?

Starkman: We’re seeing a shift where consumers are aligning their dollars with their values and opting to purchase from brands that are clean, safe and sustainable. By choosing to carry a Clean line, you’re not only meeting the clients needs but also creating a safer environment for the stylist. These consumers are educated and willing to spend more on brands and services they trust and tend to be more loyal than the average client.

Today's consumers are aligning their dollars with their values, and are willing to pay more for clean products. 
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Today's consumers are aligning their dollars with their values, and are willing to pay more for clean products. 

ST: With all the greenwashing going on, how can you verify a product is what it states?

Starkman: “Green”, “Clean” and now “Blue-washing” is on the rise as brands look to capture market share as consumers become more concerned with sustainability. With no governing laws and limited standards, it’s up to both professionals and consumers to unpack claims, ask questions. In order to decipher these claims, it’s best to look for well known certifications for sustainability rather than a brand’s own labeling. 

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