Higher standards for beauty products are gaining quick popularity in the US with natural, organic and paraben-free makeup and skin care products popping up everywhere. But while companies are starting to slap these “natural” labels on everything from lipstick to face wash, we can’t help but wonder if it’s really true.
Well, one store hopes to help Denver shoppers stop worrying with the opening of AILLEA. Located in the Cherry Creek mall on the upper level next to Macy’s, AILLEA is a skin care and cosmetic boutique dedicated to products free of parabens and sulfates in the hopes to help us feel less guilty about sleeping in our makeup (though we don’t recommend it). With their second Denver location opening this week, we thought we’d sit down with founder Kathryn Murray Dickinson and give our readers the scoop on AILLEA.
303 Magazine: Tell our readers more about AILLEA and its background.
Kathryn Murray Dickinson: AILLEA is a toxin-free beauty retailer that features over 40 of the top clean beauty brands. They are all eco-friendly, cruelty-free and most importantly they perform as well or better than conventional brands. A few years ago I developed severe food allergies and became an avid label reader. One day I was reading the back of my shampoo bottle and couldn’t believe what was in it. I then went to a local beauty store asking for healthier, cleaner alternative and was sold a product that claimed to be “natural” yet contained two sulfates and three ingredients that are banned in the EU. One month, four shampoos and $150 later I realized that no one had the time or resources to spend on finding clean products, and the idea for AILLEA was born.
303: What is AILLEA’s beauty philosophy?
KMD: Our motto is pure, trusted beauty and we live by that every day. We want our customers to love the simplicity and pureness of the ingredients, place their trust in our commitment in providing clean, non-toxic products and use our products to enhance their natural beauty.
303: We always about talk about Denver style, but how would you describe the Denver look in terms of beauty?
KMD: I think Denver’s style is very diverse and covers the whole spectrum from totally natural to wild fun colors, which I love. Many of the women at AILLEA are looking for a clean, dewy/healthy, fresh face. Even when they are doing a dramatic evening look, they don’t want to be overly caked or an overly contoured look; they want to look like themselves.
303: Many of us know about chemical and paraben-free makeup. Can you tell us about the long-term effects of natural makeup and why it is so important?
KMD: Chemicals in consumer products have been linked to the dramatic increase in cancer (women’s breast cancer rates have gone from 1 in 20 to 1 in 8, childhood cancer has increased 40%) as well as a host of other issues: infertility, autoimmune disease, ADHD, autism, allergies… the list is endless. Our skin, our largest organ, absorbs more than 60% of what we put on it directly into the bloodstream. Think about how a nicotine or hormone patch works; it is absorbed directly into our blood stream. Amazing studies have been done showing how switching to clean beauty and skincare products can drastically reduce the levels of the toxins like heavy metals in our blood in a relatively quick period of time. AILLEA is great resource to help people shift their beauty routine to cleaner, toxin free products and start the journey to wellness.
“The Cherry Creek Shopping Center is one of the most visited locations in Denver. I wanted to make the store as accessible to as many people as possible, and could think of no better place.” – Dickinson
303: What makes AILLEA stand out from other clean beauty boutiques?
KMD: We are just at the beginning of the clean beauty revolution, and there are hundreds of brands that are trying to tout themselves as clean and healthy. We have some of the strictest standards in the country as to which ingredients we allow and which we don’t. Above all else, packaging, popularity, etc., our number-one concern is safety of the ingredients, and that is something that is extremely hard to find and unique to AILLEA.
303: What’s your favorite product of the month and why? Any beauty trends that you can share for Fall?
KMD: Fall is when we start to see the shift in moisture in our skin as the weather starts to dry out even more. I love a great exfoliator to get rid of dried summer skin. Suki Skincare’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser Facial uses sugar and coconut oil to scrub away clogging and dulling dead skin cells while putting moisture back into your skin. Facial oils are very big right now and they are incredibly hydrating to help combat the effects of dry weather. I am loving the Maya Chia Supercouple Face Oil Serum. It uses supercritical Chia Oil and antioxidant powerhouse Astaxanthin to combat dry, dull and stressed skin and leave it soft, supple and protected.
303: Why should our readers check out AILLEA?
KMD: From the moment we are born, our skin is absorbing the products put on it and the harmful chemicals that are used to make them. These are, unfortunately, not regulated in our country and the effects are detrimental. Why knowingly compromise your health when there are clean alternatives right at your fingertips?