Follain: The Importance of Non-toxic Beauty


“I like my products like I like my people.  Non-toxic.”  

Taking care of my skin was instilled in me by my mother at a very young age  It makes sense, right? The skin is the largest organ in the human body and its purpose is protection, regulation, and sensation.  Over the years, I have really started paying attention to what is in my beauty products - from makeup to skincare.

Last week, I attended a clean beauty and wellness panel with Tara Foley (founder of Follain) and Rose-Marie Swift (founder of RMS Beauty), moderated by Jessica Morse (founder of Bare Beauty Blog and The Water Room).  The discussion was centered around how your wellness routine impacts your sleep patterns.  It was a real and raw conversation about the industry, where it used to be, where it is now, the trends of the pas, and the future of regulation.  

The origin of Follain is Irish Gaelic, with the meaning “healthy, wholesome, sound.”  Follain is one of the best beauty retailers providing the highest-performing, safest and 100% non-toxic products.  There is a “no toxins, no exceptions” rule for the products on their shelves, restricting over 30 ingredients.  And every product in their store goes through a rigorous five-step approval process.

Check out my interview below with the team of Follain about all things clean beauty.

SS:  What is non-toxic beauty and how can you tell if your products are really clean?  What should a customer look for and what should they avoid?

Up to 60% of everything you apply to your skin makes its way into your bloodstream. In the US, there is no governmental task force inspecting chemicals and ingredients used in personal care items. So ingredients like aluminum, found in antiperspirants, have free reign to run through your body, even though they’ve been scientifically linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, that’s not the case in other parts of the world. In Europe, 1,500 toxic substances are actually banned from personal care products as well as 500 in Canada. In the United States, that number is just 30. Non-toxic beauty is derived from natural + safe synthetic ingredients, leaving out any ingredients that are known or suspected to be harmful in any way.

Customers should first start by looking at the list of ingredients in their products! Ingredients are listed from highest concentration to lowest. Then, look for any toxic ingredients. You can use our restricted ingredient list to know what to avoid and why each ingredient has been banned at Follain. Another helpful resource is our guide to popular toxins in the mass beauty market.

SS:  Over 1,500 substances are prohibited in Europe as too toxic for personal care, but only 30 in the US.  What do you envision for the future of the safety standards for the industry?


Our blog post here will give a more in-depth overview, but our hope is that green beauty becomes so ubiquitous that the need for Follain no longer exists. We want to see all beauty products and companies stand against animal cruelty, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a list of restricted ingredients for personal care products and to recall products when necessary, more sustainable and green practices in beauty, and overall, better safety standards in the industry.

SS:  What is Follain’s approval process for identifying products?  Can you be both clean and efficacious?

No one should have to compromise their health for beauty. We follow a 5 step approval process, first searching for the highest quality products we can find. We’re not interested in carrying every product possible; we curate our selection to include only the best of the best, which is why we rarely carry a brand’s full product line. Next, we do the research so you don’t have to! We wouldn’t put anything that’s toxic on our skin, or yours. So before we go any further, we check each ingredient against our restricted list — which we continually update as new research comes out. We want to be absolutely sure we’re offering you the cleanest and most effective formulas. No downsides or compromises allowed. Once we’ve ensured safety, we test for effectiveness. For this, we turn to our beauty obsessed team as well as aestheticians, dermatologists, makeup stylists and other pros to use the product for a set amount of time and report back. We want to see how it works for a variety of skin types, ages and people. Tara personally tests every product, too. When we deem a product safe and effective, we go deeper with the maker, asking questions about process, purity and personality. We only work with people who build their brands on the values at the heart of this movement — supply chain safety, innovation and community building. And lastly, we launch!

SS:  How can Follain help a customer find the right non-toxic products for their skin type?  

Easy! Take the Follain Skin Quiz. This quiz will ask you a set of questions to narrow down to products that are best for you. We’ll then suggest a few products in each category for you to choose from (cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum). We also offer skin + makeup consults (“Get a Clean Consult” button at the top of through chat, phone, or in store. Rooted in our years of in-store experience, we’ll tailor a session to your exact needs, from a quick product question to a full analysis of your routine.

SS: What does wellness mean to Follain?

Wellness to Follain means taking small steps towards positive changes in your life. Whether this means switching over your skincare + beauty to nontoxic products, or trying a new exercise class! If nature is important to you, find a way to incorporate more outdoor time into your life. Maybe it’s a 5-minute stroll each day or a 30-minute hike once a week.  It’s all about finding health and happiness in your own unique way.

“You Do You”. If you can’t afford to switch over your entire skincare routine, start small! Make small steps each day, month, or year to create big change. And always do what feels right for you.

Head over to Follain’s website to shop all things clean beauty.  Use CODE: ref_sarahstarling for 15% off (with exclusions) your purchase.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!