June 24, 2021
In a market bulging with as many “clean” and “low-tox” products, it’s rare that something comes along that makes you sit up and take notice – but that’s exactly what Ingredients® does. Because not only does the genderless brand use 100% plant-based ingredients in high percentages – with no filler products – , it puts each of those ingredients and their correspeonding percentages on the outside of the packaging instead of hidden away on the back. This is just one of the ways Ingredients® is doing things differently; educating the consumer so they know exactly what they are putting on their skin. This is true radical transparency. This is empowering the consumer. And this is the way forward. Meet the powerhouse couple disrupting the skincare industry with nothing but the most powerful Ingredients®.
Tell us a little about the Ingredients® backstory...
When we first met (at 19 and 26 respectively), we shared a passion for natural wellness. It became a driving force in our lives, as a couple and as business partners. We had both suffered from digestive issues in our younger years, and after selling our first brand, The Art of Shaving, to P&G in 2009, Myriam experienced health issues caused by environmental toxins. This pushed us to immerse ourselves in expanding our studies of nutrition, wellness, meditation, sleep, and home detox.
Through this, we discovered that existing “clean” brands didn’t meet our standards of efficacy, safety, and transparency. We knew we had the expertise to create a breakthrough innovation for consumers and had a clear vision for what it should be. We wanted to create a wellness brand that redefined transparency and raised the bar on purity, safety, and efficacy on behalf of consumers.
We filed a trademark for the name in 2010. We called it Ingredients® because what we put on and in our bodies is our passion. Our goal is to refocus consumers on what matters most when they purchase a personal care product – the ingredients. We knew we wanted to put each ingredient with its exact percentage on the front of the bottle for that reason. This puts the emphasis back where it should be – first on the formula and what is inside, then on our packaging, which is eco-friendly, and our labeling, branding, and marketing. Ingredients® is a chemical-free line of daily essential products formulated with only organic, plant-based ingredients in high concentrations to deliver optimal benefits.
How did you make the jump from a shaving brand to this?
In 1996, we started The Art of Shaving from our kitchen. Myriam was an early pioneer of Green Chemistry and took courses in Herbology, Eastern medicine, and aromatherapy. During this time, she created a botanical blend (pre-shave oil) that became our first product. We sold our car and used the money to open a tiny, little store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Myriam started developing a full line of shaving products using only botanical ingredients and pure essential oils and at the time her clean approach to product creation was unheard of.
Eric led the company’s growth to become the top selling premium men’s grooming brand in the US. The company and expertise continued to grow, and in 2009, P&G/Gillette acquired The Art of Shaving. We stayed on to work as the CEO (Eric) and to consult for P&G’s research and development team (Myriam) for the next two years. After leaving The Art of Shaving, we trademarked Ingredients® and took time to focus on our family and our health again. We knew exactly what our next brand would be but didn’t start development on Ingredients® until late 2018. Our goal is to educate consumers about natural health and empower them to reduce toxicity in their daily lives while exposing the industry’s dirty secrets.
What came first: the philosophy or the products?
Our life’s work is the result of over 25 years of passion for natural health. The philosophy came first as it is the driving force of our career and family. We live by it every single day and want to empower people to lead a natural lifestyle in pursuit of optimal wellness. Every day, the average person comes into contact with hundreds of harmful chemicals in personal care products, household cleaners, foods and drinks and we want to change that. By limiting our contact with these harmful elements and using more products with only plant-extracted ingredients, we can empower everyone to adopt our same philosophy and passion.
Which product did you start with?
We started by creating a line of daily essential products. The best way for consumers to reduce toxicity in their personal care products is to replace the ones they use every single day with non-toxic, chemical-free products. This is why we offer everything from a face cleanser to a nasal spray, as we believe in a holistic approach when creating our products. We wanted to have products representing at least four categories – skin, body, wellness, and drinks (our tea). When creating a product, Myriam finds the best source for each curated ingredient and formulates everything in-house. This is rare in our industry as most brands today are private-labeled based on the lab’s pre-existing base formulas.
What makes your key ingredients different from others in the market?
We use 100% plant-based ingredients such as seeds, nuts, herbs, flowers, leaves, roots, bark, fruits, mushrooms, and natural sea sources or bee products. They are raw, refined, and cold-pressed. We chose this for our brand because humans have been using plants for self-care for thousands of years, so we know they are safe and effective. Plants are complex and offer a multitude of therapeutic healing benefits to the skin and a single plant can contain hundreds of phytonutrients. This means you get an array of nutrient benefits in a whole plant rather than the handful of isolated chemicals from synthetic ingredients. Our products consist of 100% active plant cell benefits because we’ve chosen to use plant hydrosols to replace distilled water in our water-based products. We also use lactobacillus which is a natural preservative and probiotic ingredient in place of synthetic preservatives and fillers and additives found in most personal care products.
What is on your black list of ingredients that you’d never include?
There are thousands of ingredients that we will not use in our formulas. So, instead of having a “black list” of ingredients and saying what we don’t put in our products, we decided to highlight what we do put in our products by listing the ingredients right on the front of the bottle.
We believe by exposing our exact formula, we expose everyone else’s as well. Only 1% of petrochemicals are tested for safe use on humans. The [US] Cosmetic Act of 1938 has never been revised, and it bans the use of only 11 ingredients in total. We decided to remove the use of petrochemicals altogether.
Green chemistry is our fundamental approach to developing and processing ingredients in a safe, environmentally friendly way. We utilise pure substances that are non-hazardous, non-toxic, and better for human health, the environment and the planet. Our skin is our biggest organ and for this reason we formulate all of our products with the safest and purest ingredients carefully sourced from the best producers in the world.
Unlike chemicals that are made in laboratories, plants are found where ideal soil and climate conditions are – we call it “farm-to-bottle”. Our non-negotiables are petrochemicals, synthetic ingredients, derivatives of natural ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, and distilled water. We believe distilled water has no added benefit to the end-user as it is completely inactive and commonly used in our industry to dilute formulas and reduce cost. We feel this is not fair to consumers that are often charged premium prices for personal care products.
What makes Ingredients® different from other low-tox brands on the market?
Most low-tox brands are diluted with distilled water and contain 30-50 ingredients. These contain either natural derivatives or “safe” chemicals including synthetic preservatives and fragrance, which is an umbrella term. The key to our formulas is that they are made with eight ingredients or less to maximise the concentration of each ingredient and to maximise our product’s efficacy and purity. We also do not use any water but instead use plant hydrosols, making our formulas 100% active.
What is the issue with using high amounts of water in products?
First, although distilled water is a safe and clean ingredient, it is inactive/filler and provides no benefits to consumers. Second, paying top-dollar for personal care products with 50-80% water content feels like a low value proposition.
What is your favorite product to use?
Eric’s are the shea butter stick, throat spray, and plant water mist. The shea butter stick is a unique product in the marketplace and is multi-purpose. By delivering it in a stick form, we can use it on the go, hands-free. It is non-comedogenic and can be used after sun exposure or cold winter weather. It is also amazing as a hair pomade. The throat spray is the first dietary product we’ve created. It boosts the immune system, soothes the throat, and tastes great. The plant water mist is Eric’s most favorite because he grew up in Morocco with neroli and rose hydrosols which are the two main ingredients in this product. It smells amazing and can be used throughout the day.
Myriam’s favorite products are the face cleanser, face serum, and oil complex. This skin care regimen is designed to detox, repair, boost collagen and elastin, and bring your skin back to a state of health and balance. When you balance the skin’s microbiome, you address all skin “issues” leaving your skin healthy, hydrated, and plump. Because our formulas are 100% pure and respect the skin’s microbiome, our products work for every skin type, age, gender, and race.
What does “radical transparency” mean to you?
Radical transparency means putting the exact formulation with exact percentages on the front of our bottles – an industry first. It means having nothing to hide, putting consumers’ interests before our own, and believing that everyone has a right to know exactly what they are putting on and in their bodies.
What is the best – and the worst – part about working with a spouse?
We have travelled this incredible entrepreneurial journey together as partners from the beginning and we complement each other with our opposing strengths and talents. The worst part is that it can be difficult to get away from work – it follows us wherever we go. We have had to become more disciplined about this to keep work and marriage compartmentalised.
The quick six… with Eric and Myriam
The podcast we’re obsessed with is...
Eric: I love Tim Ferris. He has super interesting guests and is focused on wellness.
Myriam: Evan Brand is a functional medicine practitioner and a nutritional therapist. I have a similar health approach, and I like the different subjects he covers on his podcast.
The one thing that would surprise people about us is...
Eric: I don’t like to shave! I never did. I enjoy the 5 o’clock shadow look.
Myriam: I like heavy metal music.
On our bedside tables are...
Eric: Alkaline water in a stainless steel or glass bottle
Myriam: Alkaline water, gummy vitamins for sleep, and ear plugs
For self-care we...
Eric: Run, workout, and meditate regularly
Myriam: Workout five times a week, sleep eight hours a night, drink alkaline water, cook and eat organic foods, take vitamins, supplements, and probiotics, dry brush, take baths, face and hair masks
If there’s one thing I could change about myself it would be...
Eric: be more patient
Myriam: To have straight hair instead of curly.
My personal mantra is...
Eric: Less is so much more
Myriam: Greatness is in the details