A World Wise Photographer from “Down Under” Captures Beauty From the Inside Out…

Apr 26, 2013 by

Photographer–Kira Likhterova

 

Featured Guest: Kira Likhterova, Award Winning Photographer

Location: Sydney, Australia

Special Focus: Capturing Beauty from the Inside Out…


Welcome to World Wise Beauty Kira
.
With no pun intended, you caught my eye with a video posted on LinkedIn of all places. Capturing beauty from the inside out is your specialty and World Wise Beauty’s mantra is to be “comfortable in your own skin”. Once I saw your video about your photography, personal philosophy and art, I knew I needed to share your work and your story with my readers! Being comfortable in your own skin is no easy task for most of us and you share this in your video from a personal perspective and via the female clients you feature. I will share your video later in post but first let’s have a chat and focus on how you apply your philosophy to your artistic photography.

 

Lauroly Q- We learn through watching your video that you really are a storyteller using the photography medium.  It’s interesting you did many other things before you became a professional photographer and received industry awards. You were a late bloomer! When did it all “click” for you? What lead you to the camera?

Photography by Kira Likhterova

 

Kira Likhterova: Yes, I did other things before taking up Photography, but almost always artistic. As a child I was training on the piano and even had a place ready for me at the Moscow Conservatory of Music; but an accident at school finished all that. I always drew and loved to sing and dance. I moved to Australia with my second husband almost 20 years ago; but that relationship became abusive, so I needed to find a release. To escape, I took an evening college course in painting; but was intrigued by the camera.

So I changed to a photography course, and that is where I first held a camera. For me, the connection was instant. While not technically proficient; I could always use it to see and capture the things around me. I started with landscapes, because that was a way of taking a few days away and alone; capturing beauty as a form of release for me. I tried to sell my images at weekend fairs and markets; but that never worked. I had already photographed some people, including one of my sons; whose picture won a local district award. So I managed to convince a couple to allow me to photograph their wedding free, so I could build a portfolio. I loved that. The romance and emotion of the day coupled with seeking out and finding beautiful light to capture who they truly are on their special day. That led to another wedding, and another; before I knew it I was regularly photographing weddings and getting rave feedback. My brides would tell me I had delivered their “dream”, their “fairytale” for their wedding. I was also able to grab those moments, so often missed; of powerful emotions. That was great for my self-esteem! So I guess it was about that time it started to “click” for me; although I always felt I was somehow a fraud.

During this time, I joined the peak Australian professional body [AIPP] as a student member; and was encouraged to enter competitions. That first year, to my great surprise I won NSW Student Photographer of the Year. Feeling that was a fluke; never the less I was encouraged to enter the second year, but was warned that no student ever wins twice. I was so convinced; I did not even go to the award ceremony; only to be called to say I had won again. I did not believe it, thinking that somehow I had deceived the judges and they would eventually find out I am a fraud! So it was adversity that led me to the camera; as an escape. A way to find something that expresses “me”. Despite having won many awards; I still struggle with belief in myself and my ability.

Lauroly Q- You emotionally connect with your clients and help them to connect with their sense of self from the inside. But you also are an artist with a wonderful rich imagination. You see things that others don’t see. This to me is a sign of a true artist. How do you come up with the creative concepts for the women you work with?

Portrait by Kira Likhterova

Kira Likhterova: This is hard to describe, as it comes instinctively for me. I know I need to sit and speak with the subject; to gain an insight into who they are. I ask questions and obviously listen to their answers; but I am also aware of the answers they do not give. This often reveals far more about the person than what they say. It allows me to understand and then encourage them during their photographic session with me. My clients trust me, and allow me to lead them to parts of themselves they may have forgotten; or perhaps believe they can no longer be. Nonsense, of course; everyone has something that is beautiful and wonderful; but this modern world with its vulgar advertising and brain-washing convince us all that we have nothing left. Nothing to compare to the ‘ideals’ of glamour, movie stars and contemporary “beauty”. I find people are so “down trodden” after years of daily mediocrity; they start to believe they have no hope. Because they believe it, they project it; and that becomes “truth”, verified each day, each moment with everything they do, how they present themselves and what think about. To twist the cliché, “As I think, therefore I am”; it becomes a cruel, negative presentation of themselves.

So the concepts I find are actually those within the person themselves. Newly rediscovered and released in a way that is undeniable. That is why I make sure my subjects see at least one image in the back of the camera early on in the shoot. They realize this is no post-production Photoshop “trick”; as many believe. This is actually them; shining through. The concepts I have in my studio, the props, sets etc are merely ‘fantasy’ tools that most people would relate to at some level; and these get applied in a playful way to a lot of clients. Sometimes, the simplest prop or set is the best.

Lauroly Q- Some might say you are creating another “persona” for the woman—almost like a reinvention. But I would counter this with the idea that all of us are multi-dimensional and sometimes we go through our entire life almost typecast into one look and part.  How do you feel about this and how would you address the idea of true natural beauty?

Link to Kira’s “Behind the Scenes” Video at Bottom of Post

Kira Likhterova: I get that a lot. People look at what I do and say “Oh, that’s Glamour”, “Oh, that’s Boudior”, “Oh, that’s Photoshop”. It drives me crazy; because it is none of things, and yet all of them in some way. That is why I came up with the name “Discover Sensual You”. Even that title scares some people, but I have no idea what else to call it! It is true, I encourage clients to ‘play’; and perhaps become a fantasy persona; but that is not the real point. Let me give an example. One of my brides, a young woman; absolutely stunning girl, whom I have photographed a few times; was tired of being told she is beautiful. That was what everyone expected of her. She needed ‘release’; so she wanted to be a vampish, lingerie-clad dark siren. Like something out of those modern vampire-movies like Underworld.

For her, this type of photo was a release; empowering her to break the mold her family and society was putting on her so she could be more comfortable in her own skin. If this were ‘simple’ Glamour or Boudoir, that would not happen, would it? This was not another ‘persona’ thrust upon her, was it? I can see that people would think this is ‘re-invention’ but in reality it is highly personal for the subject and ultimately comes from within. I simply take their hand and lead them to themselves. No two are ever the same, and thus can never be viewed as ‘formulaic’ where the subject is plunked into a set. That is what others do. That is not what I do. True natural beauty, is therefore inside us all.

Lauroly Q: Bravo Kira! I encourage everyone to read your personal profile on your website because it is so honest and so interesting! [Meet Kira] You were born in Moscow and then moved to Australia. Which culture shaped you and which one had the most influence on you as a woman? How did you become comfortable in your own skin and in touch with your own colorful dimensions?

Kira Likhterova: I’m not sure which culture influenced me the most. I refer to myself as a Russian Jew; so I guess I take a lot from that. Having my first marriage collapse in Russia, and the pain or persecution because I was “different” pushed me to escape to Australia. Then life in Australia brought many experiences. Amazingly bad and amazingly good. I think the experiences and adversity I’ve been through, shaped me as an adult. When I teach, I encourage people to go through pain and adversity; as without those challenges, how do you know what you are truly capable of? Failure and pain can be your friend. Recognizing and understanding the things in life that happened and incorporating them shape you. It is the scars on leather that make it unique and interesting; whereas manufactured leather is perfect, yet boring. Like a Barbie doll.

Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much for stopping by Kira and sharing your worldly wisdom with us! May you continue your exceptional creative artistry in photography. Your greatest legacy just might be touching so many women’s lives with your gift for seeing the “whole” person inside… and out! We all want to be “seen” for who we really are and ultimately loved.

As promised, here is Kira’s story and video Blog entry Behind the Scenes where you can learn more about her authentic passion for capturing beauty from the inside…out.

Trulyherself,
Lauroly

 

 

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First Rule: Flavor First! Author & “Biggest Loser” Nutritionist Shows us How to Be a Healthy Epicurean

Apr 15, 2013 by

Healthy Epicurean Featured Book:  Flavor First

Author, Nutritionist, Advisor; James Beard Award Winning Chef:  Cheryl Forberg, RD 

What does it mean to be a “healthy epicurean”? With a plethora of diet books to choose from, there is one nutritionist and author Cheryl Forberg who has recognized how important our sensual needs are. We learn in her book, Flavor First that our taste buds have been falsely trained by highly processed foods to expect extreme flavor because processed foods contain such high amounts of sugar and salt (and other additives). On the other end of the spectrum is diet food which can be bland, boring and tasteless—let’s call it an epicurean’s purgatory!

Dieters and foodies have no fear– Cheryl’s call to action is Flavor First! No one understands better than Cheryl how diets fail for so many. For thirteen season’s now, she is the official nutritionist on the hit NBC showThe Biggest Loser where she learned a lot about the typical American diet and how easily we develop unhealthy eating habits and pack on the pounds.  What I love about this book is how she walks us through the importance of flavor and our five basic senses. Let’s not forget smell and touch are also part of the healthy epicureans experience and “Flavor First” is all about the pleasurable experience of eating.  Here is a book for the “healthy epicurean” and I’m excited to present this author and expert to you!

Truly Herself,
Lauroly


Lauroly Q-
 
So glad you could join us Cheryl. I have been a big fan of your books over the years and I’ll definitely share them with everyone at the end of this post. You were also a keynote speaker for an event I produced called “Inside Beauty” in New York. Your career has really skyrocketed since then and I am so happy you found some time to visit us here at World Wise Beauty. Let’s get right to the great subject of flavor! Tell us more about flavor and how our sense of taste activates in response to different flavors. What are the five basic tastes?

Cheryl Forberg: Although we can potentially identify hundreds of different flavors, our tongue registers just five basic tastes. (If I had my way, I’d add a sixth taste to the mix—freshness. Though it’s hard to describe, without it the other five don’t mean nearly as much!) When we eat, the thousands of taste buds—tiny cells plugged into nerve endings on our tongue—send instant signals to the brain, contributing to the overall sensation of flavor. The five tastes we are able to discern are:

SweetIf you have a powerful sweet tooth, you’re not alone! Many of us (myself included) have an innate preference for sweet foods—that is, we naturally crave the taste. The good news is that white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy, refined ingredients are far from the only sources of sweetness. Fruit sugars, some alcohols, and even spices like cinnamon all taste sweet—giving us plenty of options for satisfying our craving healthfully.

Sour- The puckering reaction we have to acidic foods like vinegar, cranberries, citrus fruits, and even some vegetables (such as rhubarb) may seem unpleasant on its own. But sour notes can add complexity to a recipe and help balance out other flavors; and a mild tart taste can create a sensation of refreshment, as in a lemon sorbet.

Salty- Sodium chloride—table salt—is the most common source of salty sensation. Salt can enhance natural flavors and balance other spices, but it can also dominate our palates, so that we fail to notice other, subtler tastes. Reducing salt will not only open up a whole new world of flavor, it will also help boost overall health: Limiting sodium intake is an important way to control high blood pressure. This doesn’t mean we need to ban it from our kitchens. But learning how to coax the most flavor out of your ingredients makes it easy to cut back on the amount of salt we add to our food as a flavor enhancement.

Bitter-Our ability to sense bitterness may have originally helped our predecessors avoid plants full of poisonous alkaloids. While we still tend to avoid extremely bitter foods, there are plenty of milder variations of this taste sensation we’ve learned to enjoy—our morning cup of coffee or evening glass of wine both have bitter notes, for example. Grapefruit skin and tonic water (which contains bitter quinine) are other sources of this taste sensation we tolerate.

Savory (umami)-A relative newcomer to the roster of five basic tastes, umami, a Japanese word that translates as “savory” or “meaty,” was identified in the early 1900s, and has been gaining in popularity in recent years. The rich, silky taste is associated with glutamate, originally found in seaweed used to make soup in Japan, but which is also found in soup stocks, mushrooms, and many other foods that have a prominent place in the Flavor First pantry. Yeast extracts (available in health food stores) can also boost the umami taste—and are a healthy way to add richness without slathering dishes with fats. “

Lauroly Q- Wow, even with just five basic tastes we can experience so much! It’s interesting how our taste buds adapt to our food sources and culture. Some people grow up with intense flavor like chili peppers and the words “very hot” don’t seem to register. Others never exposed to the peppers might have a palpitation! In your book you highlight global food cultures such as Southeast Asia, Latin America and India as just some of the cultures bursting with aromatic flavor. What is it about the cultures you cover in your book that have allowed them to experiment with flavor more than others?  Is it just all about the terrain, climate and food sources available to them? Or is it about human creativity and our need for flavor?

Cheryl Forberg:  I think it’s really a combination of the two. Many global regions are blessed with a plethora of indigenous ingredients, seasonings and options to vary their culinary techniques greatly. Other regions – not so much! And just as our surroundings provide us with different pantries of ingredients, our cultures, societies and subsequent workloads allow each of us to have greatly different amounts of time to spend in our kitchens to be creative.

Lauroly Q- We can understand how our diet in America “went to pot”—no pun intended, because our food ended up in a “package” often filled with additives to try to make it taste good.  Fast Food take out is another American cultural phenomenon that took us away from real food and flavor. We are a tough nut to crack for nutritionist! Tell us about your experience with Americans and weight problems…

Cheryl Forberg, Author of Flavor First

 

Cheryl Forberg: My work with “Biggest Loser” has given me a lifetime’s worth of experience in understanding the dietary and health problems that Americans deal with daily because of their respective limitations on knowledge, time and financial resources. The insights I gained from my very first season with the show were stunning, and at the time, unbelievable. After 13 seasons with the show, I now understand that my exposure with this incredible group of people has given me valuable insights as to how much of America lives and eats. There is an awful lot of work to be done, but I feel so blessed that I now have the ability to influence and effect change. I am making this my life’s work.

 

Lauroly Closing- Thanks so much Cheryl for sharing your knowledge and wisdom about food and nutrition with us. Your work in the culinary field is so rich and multi-faceted. Our readers can learn more about your interesting career on your about page at your website www.cherylforberg.com. One thing for sure is we look forward to your next project whether it is a book or television show!

You can purchase Cheryl’s book by clicking this link Flavor First. You can also check out her  latest book The Biggest Loser: Six Weeks to a Healthier You and another very informative book is Positively Ageless: A 28 Day Plan for A Slimmer, Younger, Sexier You. What I love about Cheryl’s books is they all have a foundation of research and science behind them and ultimately her goal is for you to develop a healthy relationship with food and understand nutrition.  So World Wise Beauties– I encourage you to get busy discovering your amazing five senses and experience the healthy epicurean lifestyle where flavor and pleasure are celebrated.

 

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Diagnosis: Human–There’s a Pill for That? The Big Question for Our Time…

Apr 8, 2013 by

Keith Negley

 

“To feel or not to feel?” is the real big question of our time. I hope you read the essay below by Ted Gup and reflect on the bigger questions this brave, grieving man has asked. I certainly felt his pain and was also blown away by how many pressing societal issues were raised in one essay by a grieving father. At World Wise Beauty I am always interested in the experience of the individual within the greater context of our culture. For better and for worse, we shape our culture, and our culture shapes us. This excellent, heartfelt essay depicts the sad reality of how a drug culture is shaped over time and how we (as a society) are complicit in perpetuating it further. Yes there is an “app” for that and a “pill for that”. But do we always really need it? Bravo to Ted Gup for asking some big questions that only we as individuals can answer…

 

Truly Herself, Lauroly

Diagnosis: Human

By TED GUP NYT OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Published: April 2, 2013 

THE news that 11 percent of school-age children now receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — some 6.4 million — gave me a chill. My son David was one of those who received that diagnosis.

In his case, he was in the first grade. Indeed, there were psychiatrists who prescribed medication for him even before they met him. One psychiatrist said he would not even see him until he was medicated. For a year I refused to fill the prescription at the pharmacy. Finally, I relented. And so David went on Ritalin, then Adderall, and other drugs that were said to be helpful in combating the condition.

In another age, David might have been called “rambunctious.” His battery was a little too large for his body. And so he would leap over the couch, spring to reach the ceiling and show an exuberance for life that came in brilliant microbursts.

As a 21-year-old college senior, he was found on the floor of his room, dead from a fatal mix of alcohol and drugs. The date was Oct. 18, 2011.

No one made him take the heroin and alcohol, and yet I cannot help but hold myself and others to account. I had unknowingly colluded with a system that devalues talking therapy and rushes to medicate, inadvertently sending a message that self-medication, too, is perfectly acceptable.

My son was no angel (though he was to us) and he was known to trade in Adderall, to create a submarket in the drug among his classmates who were themselves all too eager to get their hands on it. What he did cannot be excused, but it should be understood. What he did was to create a market that perfectly mirrored the society in which he grew up, a culture where Big Pharma itself prospers from the off-label uses of drugs, often not tested in children and not approved for the many uses to which they are put.

And so a generation of students, raised in an environment that encourages medication, are emulating the professionals by using drugs in the classroom as performance enhancers.

And we wonder why it is that they use drugs with such abandon. As all parents learn — at times to their chagrin — our children go to school not only in the classroom but also at home, and the culture they construct for themselves as teenagers and young adults is but a tiny village imitating that to which they were introduced as children.

The issue of permissive drug use and over-diagnosis goes well beyond hyperactivity. In May, the American Psychiatric Association will publish its D.S.M. 5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is called the bible of the profession. Its latest iteration, like those before, is not merely a window on the profession but on the culture it serves, both reflecting and shaping societal norms. (For instance, until the 1970s, it categorized homosexuality as a mental illness.)

One of the new, more controversial provisions expands depression to include some forms of grief. On its face it makes sense. The grieving often display all the common indicators of depression — loss of interest in life, loss of appetite, irregular sleep patterns, low functionality, etc. But as others have observed, those same symptoms are the very hallmarks of grief itself.

Ours is an age in which the airwaves and media are one large drug emporium that claims to fix everything from sleep to sex. I fear that being human is itself fast becoming a condition. It’s as if we are trying to contain grief, and the absolute pain of a loss like mine. We have become increasingly disassociated and estranged from the patterns of life and death, uncomfortable with the messiness of our own humanity, aging and, ultimately, mortality.

Challenge and hardship have become pathologized and monetized. Instead of enhancing our coping skills, we undermine them and seek shortcuts where there are none, eroding the resilience upon which each of us, at some point in our lives, must rely. Diagnosing grief as a part of depression runs the very real risk of delegitimizing that which is most human — the bonds of our love and attachment to one another. The new entry in the D.S.M. cannot tame grief by giving it a name or a subsection, nor render it less frightening or more manageable.

The D.S.M. would do well to recognize that a broken heart is not a medical condition, and that medication is ill-suited to repair some tears. Time does not heal all wounds, closure is a fiction, and so too is the notion that God never asks of us more than we can bear. Enduring the unbearable is sometimes exactly what life asks of us.

But there is a sweetness even to the intensity of this pain I feel. It is the thing that holds me still to my son. And yes, there is a balm even in the pain. I shall let it go when it is time, without reference to the D.S.M., and without the aid of a pill.

Ted Gup is an author and fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

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WWB’s Culture Wise Report: Beauty Consumers Seek Wisdom in 2013

Apr 5, 2013 by

Well let’s hope wisdom doesn’t trend downward as we enter 2014! I thought this was an interesting report coming from the beauty industry to share with my World Wise Beauties but as always I have questions and want to explore the findings further. I thought the conclusion that youth is a powerful force was an obvious conclusion as youth will always create the future. But I also question the idea that youth and older wisdom must be in competition. Must we be an either or society? As the report shares many cultures appreciate their older citizens and still value the wisdom they share.

My inner guru tells me “wisdom” is  trending with both youth and baby boomers. The reason is we are living in a global society and sharing each others cultural wisdom.  As transparency continues to trend worldwide we as individual consumers can steer clear of mis-leading advertising and make wiser choices. We also have more access to knowledge and information via technology. I happen to think our youth is just as wise today, if not wiser than generations of the past because they have been exposed to marketing early on and taught to be savvy and question “spoon-fed” advertising.  Below is an encouraging report but I don’t think there has to be a tug of war between age groups. What do you think? Is wisdom only for the old? Or is it a state we can all achieve at any age? Would love to hear from you all…

Truly Herself
Lauroly

Global Trends Show More Consumers Seeking

“Older, Wiser” Outlook

Posted: February 5, 2013 GCI Magazine

Anthem Worldwide found in its most recent consumer insights study that “older and wiser” trumps youthfulness as a trend in 2013. Anthem Worldwide identified 10 consumer and shopper trends and countertrends and fielded a study to get a pulse on these sentiments in the U.S., U.K. and China. One of these, “Youthfulness vs. Older and Wiser,” related to who consumers are. Consumers were asked which they believed would be more prominent in 2013: “a youthful spirit” or “an older, wiser soul.” The study conducted by Ipsos from December 17–25, 2012, included an international sample of 1,500 people (500 from the U.S., U.K., and China, respectively) from Ipsos’ online panel. The results of the study support the conclusion that in aggregate, across all three countries, more than half of respondents, 59%, believe that “older and wiser” will be a more prominent trend than youthfulness in 2013.

While U.S. consumers were split more evenly between older and wiser and youthfulness (49% versus 51%, respectively), consumers in the U.K. and China weighted the results more towards older and wiser. Sixty-two percent of U.K. consumers and 66% of Chinese consumers believed that “an older, wiser soul” would be a more prominent sentiment.

Kathy Oneto, vice president, brand strategy, of Anthem Worldwide, noted, “In China, this is likely due to the deep-rooted family tradition of having respect for one’s elders, along with the forecasted fast rate of growth of its elderly population given the country’s one-child policy and improved life expectancy. In the U.K., the high unemployment rate of youth, at about 20%, and older people staying and having more presence in the workforce longer may be influencing this sentiment.

“Boomers around the globe still have great influence,” added Oneto. “Older age isn’t what it once was, especially for women who find their next act and really come into their own in this stage of life. Vibrancy and energy are still critical and possible with people in this age group not weighed down by expectations and judgment. The lightheartedness that supposedly is present in youth is actually practiced at an older age, with boomers having more presence to shrug off the unimportant.”

Oneto concluded, “While not considered to be as prominent, youthfulness will still be in force to some degree, as the youth movement has been impacting elections, creating movements, and stopping businesses over the last couple of years. And while youth around the globe are more challenged and stressed than in generations past, they are also more entrepreneurial and motivated to make a difference in the world. The youthful spirit shouldn’t be underestimated; in truth, we all want a piece of it.”

 

 

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WWB Ideal Find: Introducing… “INNERSENSE ORGANIC BEAUTY” Safety & Purity, the New Indulgence in Haircare

Apr 1, 2013 by

 

WWB Ideal Find: Innersense  Organic Beauty (haircare)

Authentic Dedication: Ingredient transparency and consumer education. Innersense Organic Beauty is proud to be a Certified Green Company and Compact Signor of both Safe Cosmetics & Truth in Labeling Acts, Member of the Organic Trade Association and CCIC Certified Committed to social and environmental sustainability.

Founders: Greg and Joanne Starkman (Greg present)
 

Welcome to the “Ideal Finds” department of World Wise Beauty.  One way to be “comfortable in your own skin” is to align your consuming habits with your personal values.  As a conscious lifestyle consumer you want to know whether the brand your buying authentically reflects the values you care about deeply.  At Ideal Finds I’ll  help you get to know brands and their founders more intimately who are authentic and true to the cultural ideals they are inspired by. Hope you share simpatico with any one of my Ideal Finds but always be your own guru and follow your wise inner GPS…

I am excited to introduce“Innersense Organic Beauty” because this is a brand that “walks the talk” and demonstrates what true transparency is when producing and marketing  organic and “natural” products. Tune in my World Wise Beauties and learn why safety and purity matters when purchasing your beauty and personal care products!

Truly Herself
Lauroly

Lauroly Q- Greg, welcome to World Wise Beauty. Well, if there was ever a “model company” dedicated to the principles of organic beauty it is definitely Innersense Organic Beauty. I chose you as an Ideal Find because of your dedication and willingness to be transparent at every level of consumer engagement. I love the section on your website where you answer the question “Why Organic?” You share a study by the Environmental Working Group which shows that women use an average of nine personal care products each day, exposing themselves to 126 unique chemical ingredients. And 25% of women use 15 or more products daily! You make all your ingredients very clear on your website and take the time to educate consumers about the importance of organic ingredients. Bravo! Let’s start with a mini-education of all your certifications mentioned in the introduction. What is a Certified Green company? And tell us more about the Safe Cosmetics and Truth in Labeling Act.

Greg Starkman: It all starts with a deep passion and an unwavering commitment to who we are and who we want to be. When Joanne and I created the vision for Innersense our primary goal was to be authentic, to build community and be transparent in who we are and what we do. Being a Certified Green Company is a part of that vision. Cities across the US, and California in particular have adopted green standards related to how one conducts and operates their business. Every practice and process must meet strict environmental standards. Innersense is audited bi-annually in order to maintain certification. We are proud to be among one of the early adopters to strict EU cosmetic standards, which is the charter of Safe Cosmetics, the Environmental Working Group and Skin Deep. These organizations act as consumer advocates in driving consumer awareness of the unsafe use of toxic ingredients in cosmetic products.

Most consumers are unaware the cosmetic industry is un-regulated by the FDA or EPA. The organizations noted above hold companies accountable and serve as a consumer resource. Truth in Labeling also serves as a consumer advocate similar to Leaping Bunny or PETA. We are currently working to expand our certifications through the NPA and NOP programs coupled with becoming Fair Trade Certified.

Lauroly Q- It is amazing how many harsh chemicals are in most cosmetic, hair and personal hair products. Your clean and easy to read website walks us through all the “offenders” which are absolutely NOT in your products. It’s refreshing to view all your products individually and learn exactly what ingredients are in each one. Innersense Organic Beauty offers a complete haircare line. What are your best-selling products and where can consumers find them beyond the web? I love the lovely names of your products and I am immediately transported to a wellness retreat when I see them.

 

Greg & Joanne Starkman

Greg Starkman: We respect our consumer and know they want clear concise information. We strive to provide that. The words Natural and Organic mean little when toxic or synthetic ingredients are present in products. Numerous companies work hard at hiding or word-smithing their ingredient information to confuse consumers. We tell consumers that they need to be their own advocates. Our Hairbaths and Daily Conditioners along with our Sweet Spirit Leave in conditioner are very popular. Our products our sold through Organic Salons and Spa’s, better specialty Natural product stores including Whole Foods.

Lauroly Q- I am going to ask a few tough questions which may be on many people’s minds. I have great confidence you can answer them. If we know how to produce products for women the right and safe way, why don’t all companies get on board? Europe has a standard across the board for their cosmetic and personal care companies. Why don’t we? I will state the obvious, your products are not inexpensive, and I would imagine it takes great care and effort to produce the quality products you do. Are the products you see in a typical health & beauty drugstore so cheap because they throw all these cheap but potentially harmful chemicals into their products? What does the gal on a budget do?

Greg Starkman: Great questions and one that challenges us daily. The answer is multi-faceted and also taboo. One to be Pure and Clean requires an unwavering commitment to the purity of your ingredients and the removal of all synthetic and toxic ingredients. This commitment comes at a high cost. The reason more companies do not get on board is consumers resistant to paying for higher quality products. What consumers fail to understand is that what they are actually buying is products heavy in water content and low in plant-based ingredients. In order for those products to perform they need to thread in synthetics to make them work. As I note there is no oversight or standards in the US. Companies can do what and say they want which creates a great deal of confusion. However consumers and retailers also play a part in the process by supporting the companies that fall short. As a consumer you need to be educated and as the demand for pure clean products grows more companies will respond. Regarding Safe Cosmetic legislation there are two competing bills before congress, one presented through the EWG and Safe Cosmetic.org and the other through the Cosmetic Alliance which represents cosmetic companies. These cosmetic companies are spending millions on lobbing efforts. Needless to say it’s like Big Tobacco and the NRA.

 

Lauroly Closing- Greg, you are so rightwe don’t realize how much power corporations have and this is why  as consumers we need to take an active role in making sure there are regulations and standards protecting us. Thanks so much again for taking the time to educate us on what authentic organic beauty commitment really is. I know you and Joanne are a real team and I wish we had more time to talk about your personal story but I will send our readers to your ABOUT page where they can read about your spiritual journey together. I have an “inner sense” your path ahead will be fruitful and rewarding! Happy Spring to you both…

To find Innersense products feel free to visit Innersense Organic Beauty or click my Amazon Beauty shop on the sidebar directly to your right. As mentioned earlier, you can find Innersense Beauty products in fine salons and spas as well as better natural products retail stores such as Whole Foods.

 

 

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