• Featured Brands: Loli Beauty

    What happens when you mix a DIY attitude with all-natural ingredients? LOLI Beauty. We meet up in NYC with brand founder Tina Hedges who shows us what goes into each of LOLI's do-it-yourself beauty boxes, and find out what it takes to create an organic empire.
    Photos by Anna Ottum

    Hi Tina! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    I am an Island girl at heart with a global sensibility. My parents are Cuban and I was raised in Jamaica and NYC. I have spent many years traveling and living around the world (including China!). During my corporate beauty career working for companies like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal, I scoured the global market for new ingredients and spent numerous hours inside labs directing chemists and understanding why the science works. Chances are you either currently own or at some point in the past have used one of these products.

    In 2004, I went on a personal beauty and wellness quest after finding out it was neither stress keeping me up at night, nor jet lag from accumulated years of international travel, but rather a hormonal imbalance. Doctors couldn’t explain it but I intuitively knew that being a guinea pig for all these new beauty products didn’t help matters. All my searching for trustworthy beauty advice came up empty so I was motivated to go back to my roots and the DIY beauty recipes I had learned from my travels, using effective, pure and potent oils, and to personalize my own beauty rituals.

    How did you get your start in beauty?

    My first job in beauty was as a fragrance salesperson for Christian Dior at Macy’s Herald Square. I spent four months behind the counter and that was absolutely one of the hardest jobs I ever had – ladies, be kind to your beauty sales assistant! From there I made my way into advertising and corporate communications and then into product innovation and global brand marketing. I was lucky to train at the best in beauty.

    For people who may not understand what LOLI Beauty is, can you briefly explain it to them?
    Think slow food meets farm-to-table for beauty. LOLI stands for “living organic loving ingredients” and we like to say that we are the “Blue Apron” of beauty. We send you a carefully curated beauty parcel with raw, food grade, wild harvested organic ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes so you can whip up your own skin, body, bath and hair treatments at home. Blending your own beauty with LOLI Beauty can happen in your bathroom or kitchen, as we make it super easy for you. Many of the ingredients we send you are also good-to-use just as they are and we give you quick tips on how to mix or apply as-is to make everything from a face oil to a hair conditioning pack. Our boxes allow you to personalize your own treatments, mixing and matching, so you get multiple uses and benefits from each month’s LOLI beauty parcel.

    What made you decide to start LOLI beauty? Where did the idea come from?
    I was advising a start-up brand in the face oil category, and sipping on a $12 juice smoothie while staring at the olive oil casks at a retail outpost in Chelsea Markets. All of a sudden, it hit me: I knew right then and there that my mission was to launch a kitchen for beauty-crafting, one where it would be easy for you to discover, enjoy and share beauty ingredients, recipes and rituals at home and online with a community of fellow beauty-blenders.

    Honesty and authenticity are fundamental principles in my personal life, so I also use these criteria to sort through the clutter of everything from relationships to life experiences and even what I eat. Prior to the emergence of the farm-to-table movement, we were so detached from the provenance of our food. The past decade opened our minds to the understanding that food is medicine. Then, in the last five years, we began to eat for beauty – from bone broth packed with collagen builders to leafy greens full of anti-oxidants to repair the damage we inflicted on our complexions after years of unprotected sun exposure. In Eat Pretty, Jolene Hart says that science is finally offering the proof to what we already know “we are what we eat” and that “beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty.” I concur wholeheartedly.

    How do you decide what ingredients and recipes will be included in each box?
    Our first step is deciding what the monthly LOLI beauty parcel focus will be (either skin, body, bath or hair) and then we choose a mind + body + soul theme that is complimentary. We also look at the time of year, what is in season and what is readily available for local, organic or Fair Trade suppliers. Then we start crafting the recipes and choosing ingredients – we look far and wide but locally too to find our living organic loving ingredients.

    Where do you source the ingredients for each?
    Our ingredients come from so many wonderful, diverse places – from Sri Lanka, Bulgaria and Thailand to local farms – like our honey, pollinated from the Star Thistle flower on a farm in Michigan and is only harvested once a year. Wherever possibly, we source directly from Fair Trade organizations helping support women and children and the stopping of people trafficking. Our Shea Butter, for example, comes from a Fair Trade Co-operative in Ghana.

    For our partnership with Urban Outfitters, our Tamarind Face Paste was inspired by a trip to India where we learned about the amazing skin healing benefits of Tamarind and Turmeric. We also looked to Japan for inspiration, incorporating the wisdom of Geishas to blend Camellia Seed Oil with our own twist – Flax Seed & Apricot Kernel Oil. We say with each LOLI box you can experience beauty “made in the free world” since our ingredients come from countries far and wide but are not involved in people trafficking and support Fair Trade organizations too. In fact, we are the only beauty company to be a member of Made In The Free World so we make sure there are no people trafficking involved in our ingredients or packaging.

    How did you decide what you were going to put in the UO exclusive box?
    We have been admirers of Urban Outfitters for years and love their curated sense of style and keen aesthetic eye. The brands they choose to support in beauty are brands we love too – like Moon Juice. We also think the Urban shopper cares about all the things we care about (transparency, simplicity, mindfulness) and are up for making her beauty routine an experience by blending-it-herself.

    What’s in store for the future of LOLI?
    We have so many wonderful recipes to share and ways to simplify the BIY (blend-it-yourself) experience in beauty. We have some great pop-up experiences in the works so you will be able to shop beauty the way you shop food or get a custom, fresh beauty product made for you in our kitchen of beauty.

    Favorite organic beauty tip you’ve ever gotten?
    Having developed and launched award-winning sulfate and vegan hair brands in the past, of course finding the best no-poo, better for you hair shampoo recipe is one of goals. But ladies, do not substitute Castille Soap for shampoo. The pH is not the best for hair and will leave your hair brittle with the cuticle open. Seriously bad hair move.

    One thing people may not know about LOLI Beauty that you’d like to share?
    We care about everything we do – that a spirit of beauty happiness influences our decisions and actions. What this means to us is a commitment to fresh, transparent, personalized, handcrafted, healthy, ethically sourced and mindful beauty experiences. Our customer knows that wellness is a fundamental right, not a luxury. Our dream is for LOLI beauty to be the recipe for beauty. Un-bottled. And along the journey we hope women find beauty in happiness while they make valuable connections with other like-minded beauties.

    UO Custom Recipe
    (using ingredients from your LOLI Beauty + Urban Outfitters box)

    Raw, dark and creamy Turbinado sugar is a natural exfoliant and skin rejuvenating ingredient straight form Mother Nature’s beauty kitchen. Sugar contains glycolic acid (which is an AHA) which helps to break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. Using sugar as an exfoliator means you get double the power — in addition to removing dead surface skin cells when you gently rub the sugar onto your skin you help stimulate your circulation and rid the body of excess fluid too. Dark, molasses scented sugar is softer and less harsh on the skin — so please don’t use processed white sugar! Here, we'll show you how to make a tamarind and sugar hand and body scrub.

    -2 tbsp. tamarind face paste (if you want to use for other parts of your body, increase ingredients x2)
    -1/4 cup Turbinado dark sugar
    -2-4 tbsp. camellia, apricot and flax seed power face oil

    Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Adjust by adding more POWER FACE OIL until texture is thick and oily, but not too runny.

    Apply to the back of your hands and gently massage for 1 minute. Leave on for 5-10 minutes for extra help with those spots on your pretty paws!

    Rinse well and apply a few drops of power oil if your skin is extra dry. If you have very oily skin and are using this on problem areas like your chest or back, reduce the amount of oil called for in this recipe — or you can leave it out completely.

    Shop LOLI Beauty