Name: Tina Hedges
Brand: LOLI Beauty
Established: Launched March 2018
Hometown: New York City
What motivated you to start LOLI Beauty?
At heart, I’m a beauty shaman – think of me as a combination of a magical herbalist meets former beauty industry executive inspired by pure, superfood ingredients and their potent effects for skin, hair + body. Of Cuban heritage, I grew up in Jamaica where I learned to use powerful botanicals harvested from the Caribbean sea and the Blue Mountain to help restore balance to both the body and the soul.
Then I ended up in the multinational beauty industry at companies like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal where I learned the science behind skin, hair, body and makeup products, before launching my entrepreneurial adventure with the first vegan, sulfate free hair care brand featured on Bravo TV’s reality show, Blowout, in 2005.
A few years and many start-ups later, it became apparent to me that I had unconsciously participated in the dirty business of beauty. It was at this moment, when I experienced simultaneously a crisis of health and a crisis of consciousness, that became the catalyst for my mission to make a clean + conscious change in beauty.
When the world is experiencing water scarcity and there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish for 2050, why are we encouraging consumers to purchase beauty products diluted with 80-95% water, polluted with toxic chemicals and synthetics and over-packaged in single use plastic? It’s so obvious that it’s time for a new, truly sustainable approach to beauty.
LOLI Beauty (www.lolibeauty.com) is my dharma. Even the name encompasses our mission – LOLI stands for Living Organic Loving Ingredients. I knew that I needed to create the world's first zero waste, superfood skincare brand. Our MADE SAFE® certified products are upcycled from organic food supply, waterless, vegan and cruelty free. Our packaging uses recyclable, reusable and garden compostable materials.
What would you consider your hero product from your brand?
Our Plum Elixir is truly unique – it’s a multitasking beauty oil that instantly hydrates skin, hair and lips, and restores suppleness. It’s upcycled from the kernel of a very rare, organic French plum called the Ente plum. Plum kernel oil is a superfood oil that’s even more powerful than argan or marula. Just a few drops is all you need and it even replaces both your serum or moisturizer. It’s also waterless, food grade, MADE SAFE® certified, vegan and cruelty free.
What standards/non-negotiables do you take into consideration when thinking about enhancing or developing new products?
For LOLI Beauty, our zero waste commitment is non-negotiable – we consider all our touchpoints. We source by upcycling pure and powerful ingredients from organic superfoods, we formulate without water and with minimal processing so our ingredients are raw and potent, and then we package using recycled, recyclable, refillable and garden compostable materials. We’re also plastic negative and offer carbon free shipping. If it’s diluted, toxic or polluting it’s not for us. Our philosophy is that we won’t build our happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for "beauty/wellness" brands today?
With the increased attention on clean beauty, it’s super easy for a brand to fall into “greenwashing” of ingredients or even “plastic washing” for packaging. Too many brands rely on their suppliers and vendors for the information on ingredient purity or packaging sustainability and they don’t do their own investigation. Everyone needs to educate themselves and take responsibility for the facts – like the debate on aluminum versus plastic. We looked long and hard into what was the best alternative and found that mining virgin aluminum was far worse and had a more negative impact on the planet than using recycled and reusable plastic for our caps. We only use aluminum if it’s recycled.
What has been one of your proudest moments since creating LOLI Beauty?
Wow. There have been so many, but truly for me it was when we won the CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Beauty Award for Sustainability Excellence beating out several multinational and huge brands. That was our David & Goliath moment.
What can we expect in the future from LOLI Beauty?
Our focus is to bring the waterless, food grade and zero waste approach to categories like soap, deodorant, hair care and even some select color & lip care products.
For Spring 2021, we’ll be launching a super innovation in the anti-acne moisturizing space we’re super excited about too.
We’re also working with lots of cutting edge packaging companies to transform packaging into worm food and fertilizers.
What advice would you give customers who want to make the most out of your brand?
Less is always more. We develop our products so that they’re the ultimate multitaskers – you can use each product to replace 2-3 items in your beauty cabinet. And since we only use potent levels of our ingredients, and never dilute with water, a little goes a long way.
How do you start your day?
Since COVID-19, I’ve found my need to be in nature unquenchable, but my options in New York City are somewhat limited. So I start my day with a walking meditation in Central Park. It gives me a moment to unplug and reset – which is helpful not only for my overall wellness but for jump starting my working day with a bit of clarity. If I have enough time, I’ll combine that with the 5 Tibetan Rites. Amazing for your immune system and balancing your chakras.
Do you have a morning/evening ritual?
Although it’s not the healthiest way to begin my morning, I do really love my coffee ritual. I’m just not by nature someone who rolls out of bed chipper and ready to go (it must be my Cuban heritage but I come awake at night!), so I relish my warm cup of café au lait in bed reading the news. It’s a few moments of quiet time that help me gather my vitality.
At night, I love to take an Epsom or Himalayan salt bath and if my energy seems “off”, I’ll add in some apple cider vinegar. This ritual replenishes lost minerals like magnesium, helps relax and soothe my body and forces me to detach from email and text.
What is your daily skincare routine?
Morning and night I cleanse with our Chamomile Lavender micellar. If I’m wearing heavy makeup or my skin is on the drier side, I’ll use our Date Nut Brulee miracle melting balm instead. I’m very much against “soapy” or detergent cleansers for your face or hair.
Next, I’ll splash some rose or sweet orange hydrosol on my skin and then follow with our instantly hydrating Plum Elixir as my serum and moisturizer. At night, I’ll also layer on some Chia Carrot Brulee, a super antioxidant moisturizer that’s an overnight moisture pack.
A few times a week, I’ll use our Purple Corn Grains gentle scrub and our Matcha Coconut Paste mask. I like activating these with our hydrosols or our Coconut Vinegar.
Do you have a daily wellness routine?
Lately, I found my energy is super topsy turvy and I’m more sensitive to others’ energy, too. It must be a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. So I’ve been trying to make time to do some pineal breath work before meditating. Even for 3-5 minutes, it really takes the edge off.
I’ve also rediscovered some amazing books on my bookshelves for natural healing through foods and have begun slowly boosting my immune system using some of the recipes. Like a daily liver flush with a drink made from fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice with ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, crushed clove and olive oil. It sounds terrible but its oddly yummy and helps to decongest your liver.
What is a beauty product or tool you can’t live without?
Oh! I have a few. At the moment, I’m into face massaging using a crystal stone that I keep in the fridge. It’s not an expensive gua sha tool – it’s a flat, rounded crystal that I bought years ago and it works beautifully. I also love my decanter for water that has a wand infused with malachite to charge the water. I drink this water but also use it to mix-up my masks and scrubs.
What do you do for R&R when you need to reboot?
As a founder of a start-up brand there’s so little down time! But my happy place that I try to go to once a year for a re-charge is Harbor Island. It’s a magical strip of 3.5 miles of pink sand and the most turquoise water. It also reminds me why I’m so passionate about cleaning up the oceans and the planet from plastic waste.
What are your must haves when traveling?
I think during this COVID-19 world, our travel must-haves are very different than they were a year ago. Now it’s our moonshine based hand sanitizer, Grape Hand Tonic, several masks, and minimal “stuff” as the thought of all the potential ways your stuff can get contaminated is mind-blowing. I do love my Kindle and tucking into a good book.
What selfcare advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago?
Find at least one thing everyday that you love about yourself. It’s so disheartening to look back to images from a decade ago and remember how I hated that image because I thought I didn’t look pretty enough. Now I look at them and I’m like “wow, look how young my skin looks!”.
We waste so much energy in finding out what we need to fix, actually looking for all our possible flaws and that prevents us from celebrating what we have to begin with… so I guess what I’m saying is accept yourself with grace and ease. Be kind. Be patient. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen when we make small edits.
Do you have any beauty / wellness advice for our followers?
One of my pet peeves is washing your face or hair, with foaming detergents or stripping soaps. All you’re doing is removing all the healthy microbiomes and disturbing the gentle pH acid mantle that your skin needs to help protect itself from irritations and sensitivities, as well as to maintain moisture. Try oil cleansing, like with our solid oil Date Nut Brulee, toning with a hydrosol like our Blue Cornflower or a diluted vinegar when skin needs decongesting, and a micellar for everyday like our Chamomile Lavender. Even splashing your face with pure water is fine. Just please ditch the detergent.