Q&A with Shannon Mann, RIPE Skin founder

September 20, 2018

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Q&A with Shannon Mann

RIPE Skin founder

Shannon Mann, founder of RIPE Skin, a raw vegan skin care company based out of California (sourced from root-to-bottle in California + Hawaii), was introduced to me by a mutual friend a few months ago (thanks Cass Cleave!)

I had the opportunity to meet with Shannon a few times this year and each time I walked away more enlightened than the first–she is like my personal dermatologist, esthetician, and skin care guru all wrapped into one.  I officially interviewed Shannon last week for the podcast (stay tuned for her episode, she’s got a great life story!) but in the meantime, thought I would share some of her skincare practices, favorite non-toxic cosmetic products, and a bit about RIPE. the company she founded.

1. What are your favorite non-toxic, natural, beauty products (in addition to RIPE)? 

  • Shampoo and conditioner: Sisters
  • Body wash: For body soap I love to switch it up with supporting different small soap makers who use plant oils, goats milk, + herbs to make gentle body bar formulas. Every small town seems to have a good natural soap maker and most natural grocers have a selection.
  • Toothpaste: I use Toms for toothpaste but also make my own using coconut oil, baking soda + peppermint oil when I have time.
  • Deodorant: I use baking soda as deodorant.
  • Moisturizer: I love to use pure argan oil on my face + hands but sparingly since its not a domestic product.
  • Perfume: I make my own perfume using flower + herb oils. I make one called Cleopatra with bergamot + cinnamon that is perfect for Fall. For times when I run out of my own or don’t have time to make one, I always have a roller of Kai on hand. But I’m always sampling something new. Last year I fell in love with Olivine Atelier’s Amongst the Waves. There’s also a perfume called Kerosene I discovered at a shop in the Mission that blows my mind for male fragrance.
  • Skin cream: I mostly use plant oil on my body, but I sometimes keep bulk fair trade unfiltered shea butter and cocoa butter on hand.
  • Face mask: I use Aztec Secret bentonite clay and mix it with chlorella which is a powdered kelp for a super brightening nutritional face mask.

2. What does non-toxic beauty mean to you? 

It means using only things that pair with our biology. This can mean only things you would eat, but that’s also assuming you have a healthy plant based diet 🙂 Non-toxic means whole ingredients rather than a manufactured ingredient, i.e. one having undergone a lab process in which plants or animals (or other matter) are taken apart, refined or isolated. Typically it’s when we start messing with nature in this way that we start to see our bodies react in adverse ways. I believe non-toxic means using products that make common sense for consumption, have clear ingredient lists, and operate from a standpoint of purity. Non-toxic is effective if it means using what nature already made for us to use. I also believe non-toxic implies safe for the planet too, which means not created in a lab or factory that creates waste or perpetuates harmful manufacturing practices.

3. What do you look for in a product before you use it? 

I immediately find the ingredient list (usually on the back or bottom of a bottle) and I glance at the first five ingredients. The first ingredients listed make up the mass of the liquid in the bottle and thus get the most action with your skin. If one of them is water, I won’t buy it, I have water at home and water in a shelved product always needs preservatives so I automatically know what type of formula I’m looking at (not usually the good kind). If there’s any alcohol in it, I won’t buy it. If I can’t pronounce every ingredient, I won’t buy it. I won’t use anything with an unnamed ingredient listed as “fragrance”. I won’t use anything in plastic containers (lids are ok). And if it says “no chemicals” anywhere on the bottle I won’t buy it out of principle (I passed middle school, everything is made of chemicals, #h2o).

4. Do you wear make-up? If so, which are your favorite brands (mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, etc.)

Yes! I wear mascara almost every day because I’m a super Irish strawberry blonde and I like to show my lashes so I don’t look too washed out. I use a brand called 100% Pure that has a fruit pigmented formula. This is generally a great site for nontoxic makeup options.

I use Ayurvedic makeup called kajal, such as this one, that is made with ghee for eyeliner and shadow. Its super smudgy so I can use it for both.

For lipstick, I wear it so so rarely that anything goes with lipstick for me. I’ll spring for Mac or Bobbi Brown for those fun colors that you can really only get using real mica and staying power from goodness knows what – I guess lipstick is my exception product!

The key to makeup for me is that I want to find items with real mica, not synthetic, that are made with pure minerals. I use them sparingly during life for occasions that warrant some fun face art.

5. I am just about to transition to a non-toxic skincare regime, where do I even begin?

I know I’m supposed to say to start with RIPE 😉 but really my advice is to begin with nothing! Wash with just water and a cloth. Then add in raw honey + raw fruit as a cleansing rinse or a face mask, either together or separate. Do this for a month and see what happens, if you find that your skin needs balancing even after this detox, then by all means try using one of RIPE’s bespoke non-toxic regimens for your specific needs. 🙂 The point is you don’t know until afterward what your skin is actually like, so give it a break from the years of product to balance itself before only using pure plant ingredients from there on out.

6. What is RIPE?

RIPE is raw vegan skin care in planet-friendly sizes sourced from root-to-bottle in CA + HI. That’s a lot of jargon at once, but basically its the most sensitive pure plants that nature intended for us to use on our skin for softness + moisture. I truly believe there are flowers and fruits that evolved for us to use symbiotically like rose, kukui, aloe +avocado. RIPE is a minimalist line of shelf-ready staples that create a basis for a non-toxic regimen that also smell amazing and feel great.

7. What is your favorite Ripe Skin product?

The Healing Serum. Its also the most expensive, but for the size its actually way more affordable than comparable products. This one is my favorite because of the kukui nut oil. Everyone is raving about oils from overseas, yet we have this resource of Hawaii, that is still America, with amazing plants that for some reason we don’t access. Kukui is highly medicinal, it heals scars, calms inflammation and prevents acne. The clove in this serum really gets me too, its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. And, the scent is so perfect for nighttime – warm and calming. I love that every time I use it before bed, I wake up moisturized and supple- I swear this combo with the grape-seed and avocado oil has bought me years on my face and, at almost 34 now, I’m really glad that I found these plants when I did — ten years ago!

The Wise Consumer Ripe Skin

Shannon Mann, founder of RIPE Skin wild-harvesting ingredients. We talk about what this means in her podcast episode — stay tuned! (Photo by Cass Cleave)

The Wise Consumer

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