Q&A with Paula Hoss, Founder of CLN&DRTY
How was the CLN & DRTY brand born?
There were two distinct moments that brought CLN&DRTY into life…
The first moment was in 2014. My first daughter, Juniper, was just a few months old. It was summer, we were about to go on a walk, and I had sprayed a drug store sunscreen all over my body. I picked her up, and since she was teething, she immediately started chewing on my shoulder. At that moment, I realized that she was ingesting all of the chemicals that I had just sprayed on myself.
That evening, I searched how to make a natural sunscreen at home. I purchased all the supplies online: non-nano zinc oxide, shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, essential oils and I got to work. I ended up with a dozen containers of sunscreen and knowing that I wouldn’t go through that in a year, I posted on Facebook to see if anyone would want to purchase them and they sold out immediately.
The next year, I made a few more batches and sold through it again.
In Spring of 2016, I was pregnant with my second daughter, Rowan, and had to take an early maternity leave for health reasons. Friends were already asking for the sunscreen and since many of them were in different states and even in different countries, I realized that I had to find a way to take their payments and field their orders.
One evening, after Juniper went to bed, I sat down and just got to work. I created a logo, launched a quick website and took some product photos. The orders for the sunscreen started pouring in from my friends and family. Soon they were asking for other natural products: deodorants, body butters and facial skincare products.
Over the Summer of 2016, CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare started to boom as my belly grew. Rowan was born in August and it soon became clear that CLN&DRTY was on track to become a viable and even successful business.
On the day that I was supposed to return to work from my maternity leave, I went in and told my boss that I wasn’t going to return and instead was going to follow CLN&DRTY full force. My entire team applauded and supported me and I haven’t looked back since!
When did you realize the difference natural makes and why?
I struggled with painful, embarrassing, cystic acne for years. I had tried everything from drying lotions to harsh 3-step systems… from expensive prestige brands to pretty much anything I could find at the drug store and nothing really seemed to work. Around the time I launched CLN&DRTY, I began experimenting with natural skincare formulation. Since we obviously don’t test on animals, I began testing the formulas on myself. The earliest trials were products with organic argan and rosehip oils, apple cider vinegar and witch hazel toners and aloe vera based moisturizers.
Slowly, my skin started improving. And, within just a few short months, it was completely clear. I felt like I had found an absolute miracle cure for something that had been just so embarrassing for years. I started sharing my story with my customers and they started seeing the same results!
That’s when our skincare products really took off, when people started spreading the word about our products.
What’s your go-to product you use every day?
The first skincare product that we ever formulated, and my favorite to this day is the Luxury Anti-Aging Oil for Combination Skin. It’s so simple: organic argan oil, organic rosehip oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. It’s a game changer as a daily moisturizer and can be used both day and night. You can even use it as a hair oil and a body moisturizer if you’re in a pinch. Our customers call it “liquid gold,” and I totally agree!
Do you have a simple miracle product/ingredient that you’ve discovered?
I’m just so amazed how a simple ingredient like a good quality tea tree oil can make a huge difference in the skin of someone who has been suffering with stubborn acne. Conventional products tend to use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which can work for some people, but can also be incredibly harsh and drying for others. And when you dry out oily skin, it tends to fight back and increase sebum production, therefore increasing acne. It’s vicious cycle. It’s awesome how putting an oil, like tea tree, onto your skin (in a diluted form with other healthy carrier oils), can really mellow out your skin, help it relax and get back to normal.
Do you have advice for people who want to start using more natural products but might be daunted by the ingredient list on bottles?
Start small. Don’t believe a company that tells you to throw out everything in your medicine cabinet and start over with an elaborate skincare regimen.
If you run out of your moisturizer, find a natural one to replace it with. If you’re in the market for a new toner, research natural alternatives. Ask your friends who have similar skin types to you what they love and find unbiased reviews of that company. Don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask them questions! Start by buying one product from a trusted company and try it out with your existing skincare regimen. Go from there and see what works and what doesn’t.
Advice for keeping clear skin with a busy life and schedule?
Invest in high quality products that you love! Find products that you look forward to using at the end of the day and feel like you’re pampering and treating yourself rather than a chore. Also, keep the products simple. All you really need is a great cleanser, toner and moisturizer. If you can do those three steps twice a day, you’ll be golden.