In the world of haircare, Green + Glam CEO Tara Verkuil is a trailblazer, to put it lightly. The Marin-based full-time mom is on a mission to bring effective natural hair care to the mainstream. Key word: effective. After many years of research and determination, Verkuil is making a splash with Green + Glam, a green hair care line that goes toe to toe with the best synthetic products on the market. This year, the entrepreneur went big with the launch of 12-product range with high performers like shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, styling cream, volumizing spray, hairspray and a detangler. Verkuil sounds off on her road to creating a line that is green – and at the same time – glam.
What is your background and what inspired your interest in natural personal care products?
I have an art background with a focus on design, illustration and advertising. My ultimate inspiration to start this line was a very typical story for a lot of women. My daughter was born in ’06 and that’s when I started thinking about creating this line. As a first-time mom, didn’t know anything. I was shopping and it dawned on me how dangerous products were; this was at the height of greenwashing. Packages were so misleading to the consumers. Even at Whole Foods at that time, there were a lot of products that were slapped as organic, yet the first four ingredients were toxic. My interest in getting pure products out there was when (my daughter) Lucy was coming; that’s when it became important to me. I realized I wanted to provide a place where we do the research for you. So I started Organic Beauty Now in 2009 (Organic Beauty Now is an online marketplace for natural and organic personal care products, all curated by Verkuil). I research the products, so we only have products that were entirely safe.
How did you educate yourself on what ingredients were safe?
I just knew from googling the names of the ingredients. I was just looking at products that I couldn’t pronounce and I wondered, “What is that?” I knew that your skin absorbs 70% of what is put on, and I thought, “this is crazy.” What these brands don’t tell you is that you build a toxic load from the minute you’re born. So, if we can take care of babies and children from the time they’re born, we can decrease that load. It was a good journey and a lesson that led me to create my own brand.
Tell us about Green + Glam. What makes it different from other natural hair care lines?
I launched Green + Glam this year, although it’s been in the works for some time. There is a very big need in the market for an all natural organic line that performs as well as top level salon brands. When you look at the industry overall, there are lines out there that do a good job. I wanted to launch with a full line that included styling products, which are difficult to reproduce organically or naturally because they usually invovle some kind of sticky chemical. Working with some incredible chemists has taken some time and development.
What are the standouts in the line?
Salt sprays have been very big lately, but I found that salt is very dehydrating for your hair. We created a wave spray that is algae-based, as algae is very hydrating. It gives the same beach-wave look, minus the salt and plus the hydration. Also, our hair gel is great; it’s light, it’s hydrating and it’s aloe-based. It gives medium to strong hold without that dry sticky feel. Last year, we won awards for our shampoo, conditioner and masks.
What can we look forward to in the future?
In the Spring of 2015, we are creating a “Green + Glam” retail experience. It’s gonna be a unique, brick and morter space but also a place where people can experience the products. We are looking to launch on April 1 in Marin. The next space will likely be in Los Angeles. Five years down the line, I see numerous retail locations. We’re constantly working on new products, either “must-haves” or things that we’re creating that we think are really cool. After we launch our Green & Glam experience, we will continue to work with other salons to carry our line.
What are some of your coveted holiday offerings?
We’re doing a really cool travel kit for the holidays. Everything is packaged in 2-oz mini-aluminum bottles in an eco friendly pouch. Our travel pouch is really cool for holidays.
Where are you selling your products now?
We are selling online and in select salons. We are largely focused in E-commerce right now.
Auvê Daily picks:
While we adore all of the Green + Glam products, there are two products in particular that need to be in your haircare regimen, pronto!
1. Hair Repair Mask
The award winning hair mask is definitely a winner in our book. Take it from our team that includes a muriad of fickle hair issues ranging from color treated hair to heat-damaged and curly-swirly hair. The hair mask treated, detangled and smoothed all of our unruly, rogue fly-aways to leave us with silky, run-through-with-your-fingers, manageable hair. Ingredients like Acai Berry and ginger extract leave hair hydrated, soft and silky.
2. Replenishing Serum
Think silicone without the silicone. This serum is so light and silky, it’s the perfect product for heat-treated and color-treated hair. We tried it before flat-ironing as a protective serum, and voila! It did the trick of allowing the flatiron to do its work without burning the hair. It’s also a great serum for smoothing the hair without leaving it greasy. Jojoba and coconut oils are fabulous hydrators and tame those pesky flyaway.