Posted By: Katherine Price
Recently the world has started to become aware of the cosmetic industry’s toxic impact and at Sol Inspirations we feel it is not only our responsibility to educate you about conscious fashion but also about holistic beauty. The toxins that are put onto your skin end up in your body. Anne Lenard does a nice video that talks about the problems in the cosmetics industry, watch it here.
Luckily for us the Twin Cities has a few great companies that are providing us with not only safe products, and their being local means a huge reduction of a product’s carbon footprint, one example is AROMI. This cosmetics company is owned by Hannah Follis, a chemist from a small town near Superior, Wisconsin. Follis currently resides in Bloomington and from there creates a wonderful line of products.
Follis and I had coffee at Red Stag Supperclub, before heading over to see the products, I wanted to hear the story of how AROMI came to be. Follis had intended on being a dentist but after a senior year realization she took a different direction, which we should all be thankful for because now we have this great line of products. Follis told me that through out her formal studies she never had a class that talked about the toxicity of ingredients, she learned about toxicity through working in labs while formulating products and through conferences and seminars. Out of school Follis worked in a few different labs and even taught ‘Green Chemistry’ classes, her love of beauty products ultimately lead her to creating her own. From day one being aware of toxicity and ingredients was part of AROMI’s mission and Follis took ample care to make sure that her products lived up to a standard she set herself, but one that is higher than the EPA enforces. I imagine with a large bank of chemistry knowledge it would be hard not to be conscious of what you’re enabling people to put in their bodies.
KP: Can you talk about the ingredients that you use at AROMI?
HF: “I like to use plant based products whenever possible – I really like to formulate with plant-based waxes, oils, and butters. I believe that it is important to look at the chemical as a whole – there are many natural ingredients that can also be skin irritants so really doing research is really important. Just because a chemical or ingredient is considered natural doesn’t mean that it is guarenteed to be safe. I also like to research what has been done to the chemical in the production process. Just as an example, you can get something like cocoa butter that has been processed, refined, bleached, etc.. I like to use an organic cocoa butter; this type of cooca butter isn’t as white or easy to work with as the processed cocoa butter, but I believe its worth it in the long run. I also do not use animal-derived materials. There are a lot of ingredients out there that are derived from animals that are quite surprising – especially in perfumery and cosmetics.”
“I worked many years formulating cleaners and personal care products that I taught classes on as well. I really believe that if people understand how a product is supposed to work and why a chemist designed the product they way they did, it can really help the customer. There are usually reasons why each ingredient is added into a product formula so I think its useful for people to understand those reasons.”
I Like You was the very first retailer that carried AROMI products, the women behind this shop curate a lovely assortment of Minnesota made products, AROMI being one such locally owned company. If you haven’t been to I LIKE YOU then I seggest next time you are in NE you do just that, if you have to shop then support small, local and adorable.
Interviewing and photographing Follis was a joy, she is a beauty and is really proud of her brand. Follis’ light and friendly personality really shines through in the naming of the men’s solid colognes, they are all called after nicknames that you would give a boy: Sexy Man, Hipster and my favorite (for it’s name and the scent) Douchebag.
Sol Inspirations is so glad to have made a friend in Hannah Follis, she is super smart, beautifully put together and really takes pride in the fact that her products are handmade and conscious to avoid toxic ingredients. We hope to be working with her more in the future and we wish her luck with the new line, that will be coming out this summer if all goes well. We can’t wait to get a peek!
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