Brand Break Down: Innersense Organic Beauty

Updated: Mar 28

*This feature is not sponsored or paid for in any way by Innersense or any other invested party

**This feature has had no input from Innersense and will be updated if/when they respond to requests for information


Innersense Organic Beauty might not be a new brand to those of you who are either really into clean hair care or have curly hair as this brand has gained a loyal following in these communities. Not only do they boast clean ingredients in their bottles, the fresh and straightforward packaging is something that graces tons of #shelfie social media posts as well.

They proudly tout their "conscious chemistry" as well the "conscious culture" that is at the heart of the Innersense brand. They assure conscious consumers that they have put a lot of thought into everything they do - from the ingredients, the formulations, the packaging, and their business practices to make sure everything's good for you, our human neighbours, our animal friends, and the planet we live in. Just what we like to hear.


So, they say they're clean and sustainable and have lots of wholesome, clean, goodness in their marketing and advertising, so we took a deep dive into the brand to see if they really embody what their marketing puts out there.



OWNERSHIP

Greg and Joanne Starkman started Innersense after their daughter Morgan, at 22 months old, was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality called Williams Syndrome and they started on a journey to live healthier and cleaner. With Greg's years of experience in "big beauty" and passion for product development and formulation, Joanne's experience as a stylist and platform artist, and their shared passion for hair and beauty, they sought to create products that have zero of all the well-known nasties while still performing at par with or better than the big brands.


We have yet to confirm if Innersense has a parent company or other investors involved in the business.



INGREDIENTS & RAW MATERIALS

Part of Innersense's "conscious culture" is the "conscious chemistry" of their products. They formulate with "the highest intention and purity, sourcing, harvesting and processing." And, like many clean/sustainable brands, what's not in the products are just as important - silicones, resins, plastics, and other unwanted synthetics.

According to their website's ingredient page, here's what you can expect from every Innersense product:

  • Organic and sustainably grown ingredients

  • Conscious formulation using cold-pressing, distilling, or synthetic-free processing to preserve purity

  • Zero phthalates, ethoxylates, sulfates, silicones, 1,4 dioxane, parabens, petro compounds, propylene and butylene glycol, PEG, MEA, TEA, MIA, EDTA artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances

  • High concentrations of key ingredients

  • *Gluten-free, cruelty-free and non-GMO

If you're looking for vegan haircare, some of their products might not be for you as they use honey and beeswax as humectants and natural resins. They do not use any other animal-derived ingredients or byproducts. (Click here for a list of their vegan products)


The Innersense line is not USDA certified organic, however, the ingredients they use are.


They provide an extensive list of their ingredients on their website with explanations as to why they use them, what they do, and which products contain them. Likewise, they have a list of ingredients they will never use and they explain why these will never be in their products as well.

Innersense website's Ingredient page: clicking on an ingredient gives you more information

*Innersense products are "formulated gluten free and manufactured in a designated USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) facility." However, said facility is not a Certified Gluten Free factory. For those with gluten allergies, they have some useful information on their FAQ page for you.



SOURCING & PRODUCTION

On their website, Innersense assures customers that their ingredients are "ethically harvested and sourced from trusted, transparent plantations, orchards and farms from around the world." This includes the honey and beeswax they use. They claim that these ingredients are sourced in the most bee-friendly way possible.


They state that they "go to great lengths to ensure our source partners act responsibly, and maintain a commitment to sustainability." All of this is great, of course, however we were not able to find any information on exactly how they do this.


On the safety front, Innersense is globally compliant and EU Certified. They have also adapted to meet the EU labelling requirements of listing all known allergens in their products (naturally occurring compounds from natural oils). This transparency is not just afforded to their EU market but all customers who purchase Innersense products. They now use this symbol to follow a particular ingredient that is a natural component of essential oils.


Innersense products are also Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free and if you have the Think Dirty app (they are Think Dirty partners), you can scan Innersense products to see their Think Dirty safety rating.



PACKAGING & RECYCLING OPTIONS

Innersense recently refreshed their packaging. It now features an updated logo and colour coded bottles which are easier to read and differentiate (shampoos vs stylers, for example). This packaging update is also the beginning of the brand's transition into 100% post-consumer recycled materials. The brand's packaging obviously will not be 100% PCR immediately, but the fact that they have started transitioning is a great sign.

If you order from their website, Innersense will not ship their products to you in bubble wrap, plastic pillows, or packing peanuts. Instead, they use recyclable paper and corrugated "Gemini" wrap for their glass bottles. Their boxes are sealed with paper tape as well. For domestic parcels, they also use ground shipping instead of air freight.



GIVING BACK & ADVOCACY

At Innersense HQ, they prioritise reusable materials - no single use items in the kitchen and break rooms. Their gender neutral bathrooms also do not use unnecessary paper products for hand drying, they use cotton towels instead. Also, they only have a single printer for the entire office to discourage unnecessary printing. Their employees are even supplied with reusable water containers and utensils to encourage the use of reusables even outside the Innersense office. Additionally, as their office is in Northern California, this means they can be judicious with the use of heating and air conditioning.


Their warehouse and office also have TerraCycle recycling bins throughout to encourage everyone to be responsible with waste disposal. These bins are also where they dispose damaged and empty product bottles. Employees are encouraged to dispose recyclable items from their homes into these bins as well.


Innersense also partners with many organisations for many different causes. We highlight some of them below.

BREAST CANCER PREVENTATIVE PARTNERS

Innersense has a strong connection with BCPP because of the work this advocacy group does to address the risks of chemical exposures from products, which them increases risk for diseases like cancer. Because of this, the brand supports the group's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which advocates for the preservation of consumers', workers', and the environment's health through "public education, corporate accountability, sustainability campaigns, and legislative policy designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products."


Founder Joanne Starkman even went to Sacramento to personally speak to California legislative staffers for the cause and pledge support for the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB574).


More on Innersense's advocacy for safe cosmetics here.



CALIFORNIA COASTKEEPER ALLIANCE

Innersense teamed up with CCKA, a coalition of 12 Waterkeeper Associations in California, "to support efforts for swimmable, fishable, and drinkable clean water." In particular, they are leading the effort to enact the California Trash Policy which, when enforced, will stop the flow of garbage into California's rivers, streams, and ocean by 2030. The organisation has developed a toolkit to help both private citizens and businesses do their part, and is helping the state install trash capture devices in storm drains.


Innersense is a member of the CCKA Blue Business Council and as such, they have signed a letter urging California's governor to not suspend clean water protections in the state.


More on Innersense's partnership with CCKA here.



WOMEN’S VOICES FOR THE EARTH

Innersense supports WVE because of a shared passion for advocating for a healthier world through education. By promoting increased corporate accountability and transparency, as well as enacting health-proactive laws, WVE aims to preotect consumers and vulnerable communities from harmful exposure to toxic chemicals - be it in the workplace or in products.



PLASTIC BANK

A company like Innersense will have produced a lot of plastic - the brand knows this. So, to take accountability for that fact, they've partnered with Plastic Bank to clean up plastic from the oceans equivalent to the amount they produce. They have, however, exceeded that in 2020, making them "plastic proactive" and they plan to remain so moving forward.


With Plastic Bank, they are also helping underprivileged communities in places like Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Brazil by creating economic opportunity from cleaning up ocean plastic.

Innersense has a few of these partnerships and if you're interested in learning more, they have a section on their website with information on all of the causes & advocacies they support and certifications & memberships they maintain apart from those mentioned above, such as:

Innersense has also begun the process of becoming B Corp certified and as such, they have adjusted all of their business practices to be B Corp compliant. That means, apart from other things, that 100% of Innersense's employees are paid a living wage - 75% above the California minimum wage, and both their part-time and full-time employees receive monetary bonuses at the end of the year.


UPDATE: As of March 2021, Innersense Organic Beauty has achieved their B Corp certification.



DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVITY

As the brand has not yet responded to requests for information, we have little to go on in terms of company diversity, apart from a statement on their website that says they are "passionate about social responsibility and supporting love and inclusiveness" and a statement of support for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement.


From what we can gather from their advertising, Innersense regularly features women and men of colour, as well as different hair and body types on their socials. They also regularly feature the founders' daughter Morgan, who was Williams Syndrome, on their socials.



EDITOR'S NOTES

As a woman of colour with thick, curly hair, I've struggled for a long time to find good products for my hair that I don't have to feel guilty about purchasing. Innersense products are now a regular part of my hair routine - with I Create Lift, I Create Volume, and I Create Hold being firm favourites. I sometimes also use their Hydrating Cream Hairbath and Conditioner, as well as the Hydrating Hair Mask and Quiet Calm Curl Control.

Some of my personal Innersense products

Yes, the products are on the expensive side, but as my hair is a bit unhealthy (still recovering from years and years of chemical straightening three or so years after I've last had it done), I feel that it's worth spending more on products that give me the best results - not just in terms of how it looks but also hair health. Apart from the obvious benefits of supporting a business that commits itself to being responsible for their impact on the environment as well as being transparent about what goes into their formulations, their products just work for me.


Again, Your Conscious Cart or I, personally, have not been sponsored or compensated in any way by Innersense or any other invested party. I just love this brand.



Innersense Organic Beauty is available via their website for USA customers. Their products are also sold in salons and spas as well as green beauty boutiques throughout the United States and Europe. They also have international stockists online and are available in select salons in Australia.



UPDATE LOG: This post was originally published in February 2021 and was last updated in March 2021.