Beauty Heroes’ Jeannie Jarnot Wants To Kick Fear Out Of Natural Beauty Shopping

Jeannie Jarnot, founder of beauty product discovery service Beauty Heroes, is our beauty hero. She broke down the personal-care ingredients to avoid in a simple pocket guide when clean beauty was a mere blip on the beauty industry’s radar; she was a devoted meditation practitioner before meditation became the province of SoulCycle-like studios, and her call for women to rethink their things presaged Marie Kondo’s cult of tidying up turning Americans into crusaders for clearing closets. Jarnot assembled these ideas and more into an e-book entitled “Be Your Own Beauty Hero,” an easy-to-read primer on the fundamentals of healthy beauty. We caught up with her to discuss the book, well-considered product purchasing and kicking fear out of beauty shopping.

Content is king and queen

Jarnot came up with the concept for her e-book during the process of writing an upcoming tome on conscious consumption. Her writing coach pointed out that Beauty Heroes had accumulated a vast amount of content on its website that could be compiled into a single, straightforward resource. “People are very interested in it,” says Jarnot. “It hits that sweet spot of giving people enough information so they feel that they understand products, but not so much that they are overwhelmed.” To meet consumer demand for the content, she released the e-book for free and translated it into Kindle, PDF and iPad formats. “People are posting on Instagram that they are reading it on their Kindle, which is awesome,” says Jarnot. “We are creating connections with readers in a meaningful and intentional way.”

Scary beauty terminology is suspect

Jarnot is increasingly staying away from the term non-toxic in favor of healthy beauty. She figures non-toxic doesn’t have much meaning because manufacturers can claim any product is non-toxic. She also contends the descriptor takes a fear-based approach to ingredients that should be toned down. “It doesn’t elicit a positive response,” says Jarnot. She’s sensing consumers’ desire for an encouraging discussion around beauty product choices and is focusing on educating rather than spooking them. “People are already hip to non-toxic,” asserts Jarnot. “They want to know if something is beneficial to them.”

Mindful beauty maintenance

Beauty Heroes’ philosophy is a great product that delivers results is better than several subpar products. Jarnot recommends customers stick to those great products and shed the excess. “Being mindful of the products and ingredients you love will help you make smarter, fewer purchases and have you focusing on products that make you feel and look your best,” she writes in “Be Your Own Beauty Hero.” It might seem counterintuitive for a seller of beauty merchandise to suggest people shrink their beauty stockpiles, but Jarnot isn’t in the beauty business for a quick buck. In the long run, Beauty Heroes wins by cultivating loyalty to products customers buy repeatedly. In the e-book, Jarnot emphasizes, “I encourage you to spend less, and love more of what you do purchase.”

In praise of good ingredients

Traditional beauty marketing fostered mystery around what’s inside bottles. Jarnot believes the veil of mystery should be removed. She urges beauty brands to be completely transparent about their ingredients. Above and beyond transparency, Jarnot counsels them to exalt their formulations. “Talk about your ingredients as loudly as you can and be proud of them, and that you are creating products made from good stuff,” she says. Jarnot is happy to highlight that good stuff on Beauty Heroes, where she pays particular attention to so-called superpower ingredients such as carrot seed, coffee extract, licorice root, calendula and white willow bark that support the skin. “Indie beauty brands are doing a good job talking about ingredients and how they source them,” she says. “Indie beauty is leading the way. It’s changing the industry.”

Clean beauty isn’t all or nothing

Jarnot often hears from beauty shoppers that they’re stressed out about cleaning up their beauty routines. She’s aghast at the sentiment. “You’re not going to die if you don’t clean up your beauty products, and you’re not a bad person,” underscores Jarnot. She advises following an 80/20 rule to leave room for conventional beauty products while trying to mostly stick to a clean regimen. Beauty Heroes suggests customers identify three beauty products they slather on their skin a lot and examine those products’ ingredient labels. If they contain potentially harmful ingredients, then the products should be replaced. It’s a pretty painless process that allows people to not forsake favorites. “I really live a Beauty Heroes lifestyle, and I dye my hair and haven’t found a clean mascara that works for me,” says Jarnot. “I use products that maybe aren’t 100% clean, but I use them consciously. I might be using mascara that has a certain ingredient in it, and I don’t care what anybody else thinks.”