When Romain Gaillard started The Detox Market as a pop-up in Venice, Calif., in 2010, he thought it would be a one-hit wonder. But the store’s concept — curating and selling eco-friendly, toxin-free beauty products — took off, and The Detox Market now has several retail locations and a website that sells more than 140 green- beauty brands. We recently caught up with the French entrepreneur to chat about the future of green beauty.
Experience Life | Why did you decide to start The Detox Market?
Romain Gaillard | When I cofounded a brand of natural skincare called Odacité, we realized that a lot of our clients had so many questions about their products. They were looking for guidance on non-toxic make-up, nail polish, shampoo, and other skincare products. So we started testing products. . .and recommending brands to our clients. Our goal was to provide a non-biased opinion on brands, and help our clients navigate the very complicated world of green beauty. From all of this research, I found out that there were some amazing brands out there that no one knew about, so I decided to create a pop-up shop focused on educating clients about toxicity in personal care, and more importantly, present them with amazing alternatives.
EL | What was your “aha” moment to start detoxing the products in your life?
RG | My business partner is a breast-cancer survivor. Her doctors at the time suggested that it may be linked to toxicity in personal care. When she first told me that in 2007, I was reluctant to believe that beauty products could be harmful. As a matter of fact, in France a lot of people buy their skincare and haircare from pharmacies where the people selling precious bottles and jars are wearing a white lab coat — it’s hard to think that it can be bad. So when I heard about it, I started looking into it. Even though we had less information ten years ago, it became clear that something was wrong. That is when I realized that the beauty industry has gone out of control in the past 50 years, mostly because of a lack of regulation and information.
EL | Do you think your Parisian background inspired your green lifestyle? How so?
RG | Paris is an amazing city, and I loved growing up there, but it doesn’t have a green lifestyle. I think I learned the green lifestyle from my parents who used to live in San Francisco in the late 1970s. What was interesting for me was to try to bridge Parisian chic with green California. In many ways, this is what The Detox Market is about.
EL | What should people who are new to green beauty eliminate from their product lineup?
RG | There’s not a precise answer there. You can think about what you use the most of on a daily basis, so maybe your body and face lotion. Or you can start small with something as easy as a lipstick. Some people throw out everything and start fresh, but it’s ok to just switch things out as you finish them up. It doesn’t need to happen overnight.
EL | Where do you think the green-beauty industry is headed?
RG | The green-beauty movement is following what happened in food 15 or 20 years ago. Right now, it is still very niche, but three things are happening at the same time — consumers are becoming more aware of toxicity in personal care, brands are developing amazing formulations, and social media is creating this direct connection between curators and consumers. I think that everyone will use green-beauty products eventually — maybe not exclusively, but at least partially. Consumers are demanding transparency and quality.