Beauty fans, rejoice. Cult natural brand Herbivore Botanicals has launched in the UK, meaning we no longer have to lust over the pastel-hued products via our Instagram feed and can start lining them up on our bathroom shelf. From small beginnings, it's fast become one of the most coveted beauty brands in the industry, thanks in large part to its non-toxic formulas.
Husband and wife duo Alex and Julia founded the brand from their kitchen in Seattle back in 2011, having bought $50 worth of soap to make their products. "We set off to build a brand that would be a cornerstone in the shift of the market towards naturals," explains Alex. "We didn't have a business background but we had passion, authenticity and a mission. We had no leverage breaking into this industry. We were just two people with a passion for beauty, wellness, sustainability, social justice, and animal welfare. We built our company on those values and people have responded really well to that."
From the Blue Clay Cleansing Bar, which sources a rare clay from the Siberian lakes and is the perfect gentle daily cleanser, to the Lapis Balancing Facial Oil, which has gained fanfare from editors and bloggers alike for its anti-inflammatory relief for blemish-prone skin, there's good reason for the anticipation surrounding the brand's UK launch.
Despite being an all-natural brand, Herbivore is fighting the greenwashing taking place in the industry. "We are definitely an authentically natural brand which goes a step beyond 'clean beauty'," Julia tells Refinery29. "In today’s market there is a lot of greenwashing going on...We decided to follow our values when we created Herbivore and have stuck to those values."
This level of conviction is one of the (many) reasons the brand has gained such a loyal following. "We love it when people try our products for the first time and report back that they are getting better results than they ever get with more clinical beauty brands. We believe in plant-based natural ingredients; they're more luxurious, more expensive and – in my opinion – certainly more effective," Julia says. "I think most brands skimp on them and add synthetics because it's cheaper and easier. This totally mimics what is going on in the food industry. What would you say is more healthy for your body? Eating fresh, organic produce or boxed food that is filled with preservatives and fillers? I think natural skincare is to your skin what fresh produce is to your body."
Thanks to a growing fanbase in the UK demanding this natural yet transparent approach to beauty, Herbivore Botanicals has launched exclusively with Space.NK. So where to start? You may have spotted the Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask on your Instagram feed, which ticks the soft pink aesthetic box as well as delivering seriously good results. We layer on ahead of an evening out for a quick fix or before bed to prep skin for other products; the pink clay helps to regenerate skin cells, rosehip, which is naturally rich in fatty acids and retinoic acids, fights premature ageing, and chamomile flower soothes and reduces redness.
For anyone who values toners and mists as a luxurious (if not essential, then at least therapeutic) extra in their skincare routine, Herbivore's Green Tea Balancing Toner is a glow-giving addition. Jasmine water, a centuries-old ingredient, soothes skin, while green tea detoxifies and white willow bark provides a healthy dose of salicylic acid, unclogging pores and ridding the complexion of dead skin.
The founders' hero product? "I would definitely recommend one of our facial oils," Julia tells Refinery29. "They are so concentrated and really get ingredients directly into the skin. Depending on skin type and current needs I would adjust the suggestion of which one to use, but, in general you can’t go wrong with our Phoenix Regenerating Facial Oil. It's a real treat for any skin type in need of cellular-level regeneration, and based on my experience, virtually everyone needs and wants that. It boosts the skin’s natural collagen production with a blend of vitamin C-rich rosehip, sea buckthorn, nourishing chia seed, and CoQ10. The lightly floral scent comes from the natural ingredients in the product and includes rose absolute oil – known for its moisture-retaining abilities – and neroli essential oil, which is excellent for rejuvenating and stimulating collagen production in the skin. Phoenix Oil leaves your skin glowing and as soft as butter."
With 242,000 Instagram followers (and counting), rave reviews and backing from industry voices like Caroline Hirons, there's no doubt about the quality and ethos of Herbivore. Now, do we 'gram our products before trying, or vice versa?