In a climate where clean beauty is becoming more and more of an industry standard, mother-daughter duo June and Rochelle Jacobs can look back at 20 years in the industry pioneering good-for-you products. The two co-founded June Jacobs Spa Collection, which championed efficacious, natural ingredients. More recently they launched Naturally Serious, a skincare brand which prides itself on having no B.A.D. ingredients, ones that can be considered “bad, ambiguous, and debatable.” I spoke to the pair to find out what makes Naturally Serious a truly clean beauty brand, and about their exclusive partnership with Sephora.
You’re a mother-daughter team and you’ve worked together for two decades. How did you arrive at creating a clean beauty brand together?
June Jacobs: There was a void in the marketplace and not that many people were doing clean beauty. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, I realized how important it is not to have any kind of toxins enter into your system. I went on a very clean diet, food- and product-wise. Everything is very thought out now for me, for example, if I buy something that needs to go in a container, I’ll make sure the container is glass. I’m very careful with what I put on my face and with what I eat. The toxins that you put into your body create issues.
Rochelle Jacobs: We realized that our manufacturing facility could get these hard-to-find ingredients. We also realized that with some pushing we could get the vendors that we were working with to come out with ingredients that would have the same efficacy as their chemical counterparts. We had already done this over the last two decades with the June Jacobs line and come out with natural ingredients. Now we wanted to take it a step further and get the newest technology out there to prove that you can have incredibly efficacious products that are also clean.
June: We feel that clean is the way of the 21st century, that everything eventually is going to be clean soon. We’re starting a trend here and expecting everyone else follows.
Your products are “clean and clinical,” and take things a step further. What exactly does that mean?
June: We have a 20-year patent on a proprietary blend of ingredients that are in our clean SKUs that we feel is very effective.
Rochelle: We basically have six antioxidants that are red, white, and green tea, goji berry, pomegranate, and grape seed extract. Together not only do they create an amazing antioxidant blend that really helps boost the efficacy of whatever the active ingredients are in the formula, it also kind of creates a suit of armor if you will, to really protect against the environmental toxins as well.
The standard for what’s considered a clean beauty product is constantly changing. What are the biggest challenges with creating a clean brand from a business perspective?
Rochelle: Very correct, it’s a daily battle because we’re learning new things every day and are adapting. When there are additional new ingredients available that are clean, we’re also adding those.
June: We’re exclusive to Sephora in the United States and they have their own list of what they consider to be clean. We fit into the parameters of what they’re looking for. That allows them to put us under the clean heading in stores.
Rochelle: Last year those parameters were different than this year. We were able to maintain the standards from 2018 to 2019 and I’m sure they’re going to get even tighter for next year. We’re thinking ahead and we have what we call no bad ingredients—banned, ambiguous, or debatable. For the most part the changes that we’ve seen we’ve been able to nicely adapt to because we already had that in mind when we created the products. For example, when we created our mineral SPFs, which are launching imminently, it was incredibly challenging to get the formula to our quality standards. We wanted a high SPF with natural ingredients that blends the way an oil could, and a product that spreads nicely on your skin without leaving a tint. All of that is always challenging when you’re doing product, and is even more challenging when you’re working with all-natural ingredients.
Can you tell me about the branding and packaging you have for the brand? Your packaging is also clean, correct?
June: The packaging is very eco-friendly and we’re using a box company that’s powered by windmill energy. On top of that all of the inks and paper we use are eco-friendly. From our initial launch we’ve changed from using a recyclable plastic to using glass. It has even more stability as the products are preserved beautifully in the glass and it’s also better for the environment.
What’s the aesthetic of the brand?
Rochelle: Green and clean are synonymous. I automatically look at the product and know it’s natural. The reason why we came up with Naturally Serious when we were brainstorming is because we mean it—it’s natural and serious.
June: Or we have the tagline it’s “Seriously Natural,” you can do it both ways.
Can you walk me through the products in your line and their benefits?
Rochelle: Skin Warrior is our number-one SKU and we say that all of our account executives who visit the Sephora stores are our skin warriors. Skin Warrior is a moisturizer that you can use every single day, morning and night. It gives incredible hydration, a different level than anything I’ve experienced in the past. Your skin really can stay hydrated all day long from using it, it’s quite incredible under makeup. I also love the serum because it’s a lighter version of the moisturizer and it goes right into your skin, making it silky smooth.
June: The cleanser is a very unique product because you feel like you’re always already hydrated before you put anything else on. It really keeps your skin feeling clean and soft. All the makeup comes off including eye makeup, even waterproof eye makeup. It’s been ophthalmologist-tested and leaves your skin so smooth.
Anti-pollution skincare is growing as a category, and I read that your products are anti-pollution. Can you tell me more about that?
June: Anti-pollution properties are in our patented blend. These ingredients form a barrier against the environment, whether it’s wind, pollution, or environmental factors that might impact skin. The second you open up your front door and face those harsh elements, you’re really protected when you have this blend that we have.
You’re sold exclusively at Sephora—how does your partnership work?
Rochelle: We’re doing extremely well at Sephora and we’re launching many more stores this coming March. We’re doing quarterly rollouts based on our prior success. We’re in many select doors right now and also on their .com because we’re also very much a digital brand. With the new rollout coming we’re going to hit almost every state, even Hawaii.
Is clean beauty equally popular across various states or are certain states more into the concept?
June: There are certainly niche populations within each of the different states, but the coastal states, say New York, Florida, California, really understand natural and clean beauty, and believe it works. I think we’ve seen, for example, Colorado, Arizona really have also come onto this bandwagon. I would say there’s been a couple of states I’ve worked with over the past where it’s little more challenging as they still don’t quite understand the benefits while they liked the idea of a product. They think of it more as a fluff product than a serious product. Our goal is working with people who really believe in green beauty, and making sure that that message is out there—that you can have really great skin using incredible products that are all natural and clean.
What’s your vision for the brand in 2019?
Developing our brand awareness and also getting awareness for how great clean products can be. I recently read that Procter and Gamble and some of the other big companies are looking into creating recyclable packaging. I love seeing an industry outside of food and beauty becoming greener and cleaner—that’s incredibly important on a bigger level. On a micro level looking at just our brand, we really like having the opportunity to work with a partner who believes in us like Sephora does. When we say we’re clean beauty, they’re really making us work to justify that we are in fact a clean brand. I believe that credibility goes a long way. We also want to use social media to spread the word, that’s also incredibly important to us.
Photo: via Naturally Serious