Online Exclusives

Raw Natural Beauty

February 29, 2008

Plant-based beauty line steers clear of parabens and petrochemicals.



Raw Natural Beauty

Plant-based beauty line steers clear
of parabens and petrochemicals.

By Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

Over the years, Christina Marcaccini has had a hand in the creation of some 200 well known cosmetic, skin and hair care products. But along the way she became troubled by the potentially damaging effects of some the most used ingredients so she immersed herself in the research of ingredients and created her own line of cosmetics – Raw Natural Beauty – a “high-performance” natural cosmetics line that adheres to the company’s philosophy of “Beauty Enlightened.” The products eschew parabens, petrochemicals, talc and synthetic dyes and rely instead on eco-friendly, hypoallergenic plant extracts and anti-aging active botanicals to deliver long-wearing formulas that deliver luxurious color pigments and sheer, lightweight textures.

About three years ago, Ms. Marcaccini and husband began thinking about having children. “Around that time, reports were emerging that indicated traditionally used ingredients like preservatives and colorants had questionable safety, and I wanted to be extra cautious about the types of ingredients that I was putting on my skin,” she recalled. “I tried to make the switch to natural personal care but I was disappointed by the selection and the performance of what was available so I decided to create my own line of natural, safe and effective beauty products that are both good for your body and good for the planet to produce.”

Ms. Marcaccini spent three years sourcing, formulating and perfecting the line, which launched this past January with two categories of products – RAW Color, a naturally-based color cosmetics line, and RAW Minerals, a line of mineral makeup products.

Over the last ten years Ms. Marcaccini said she’s built relationships with labs and raw material suppliers and taken numerous seminars on ingredients and their role in formulating. She was involved with the launch of more than 30 new cosmetic formulas for the Trucco Cosmetic Line, spearheaded the development of Redpoint Color Cosmetics, and managed the product development for the Xtah hair care line, Sebastian Body Double, Curly Sexy Hair, a selection of treatment products for The Body Shop, among other brands.

Although Ms. Marcaccini has never worked in a lab, she said her business degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, enabled her to balance her creative side with what is practical and cost effective for her target market. Over the course of her career, she’s worked with worked with small boutique labs, large labs and in-house chemists, but when it came time to decide on how to formulate her own line, Ms. Marcaccini was very discerning. “Finding a lab to take on my objectives for Raw Natural Beauty was very difficult - many turned me away because they were not willing to work with ingredients that were foreign to them particularly in the area of natural preservative systems,” she said. “I am passionate about research and development – I love to look at ingredients in new and different ways – like trying to incorporate clinically proven skincare actives into color cosmetics. It’s also very important that I work directly with the chemists.  Not only am I better able to understand formulation challenges, but I can also help brainstorm solutions and continually push the envelope.”

The problematic ingredients her Raw line steers clear of are parabens and phthalates are synthetic chemicals that can mimic estrogen or disrupt hormones. “We also avoid using petrochemicals (derived from a non-renewable resource) and FD&C and D&C colors which come from coal tar, which can be carcinogenic,” she said. “It’s interesting to note that just because an ingredient is proclaimed as ‘natural’ or ‘organic,’ does not mean that it is better for your body than synthetic ingredients. For this reason, every one of our ingredients is evaluated according to the safety ratings established by the EWG’s database Skin Deep.”

She said her company has also signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, signifying its commitment to using ingredients without any known human toxicity. “We really feel as more and more data emerges concerning the fact that we all carry man-made pollutants in our bodies, the safety of the ingredients found in our daily products is going to become more and more of a factor in consumer purchasing decisions,” she said. “We have to remember that our skin is our first line of defense against the environment, but it’s not a perfect barrier and we need to be aware of what we put on it.”   

A Look Inside the Lines

Ms. Marcaccini’ Raw product lines span eight Raw Mineral products (with an additional 8 launching in April), 13 Raw Color products, four Raw Skincare products and eight Artistry Brushes.

She said Raw Natural Beauty employs a host of clinically proven, active botanicals, including a vegetable peptide, a skin revitalizing corn extract, a skin calming caper bud, organic acai berry, argan oil and an organic beech tree bud extract. “I’m really excited about the feature ingredient I found for our skincare, which is an amazing, brand new active botanical harvested in Madagascar that targets the repair of the dermal epidermal junction (DEJ), responsible for stimulating Collagen IV synthesis. The result is smoother, firmer, more radiant skin,” she said.

Many of the color cosmetics feature Acai Berry, a powerhouse antioxidant with 10 times the antioxidant power of red grapes and 50 percent more than pomegranates. “Our vegetable peptide is also widely used throughout our formulas and helps improve skin firmness, elasticity and moisture retention,” she added.

 RAW uses (clinically proven) preservatives from Japanese honeysuckle and anise!

The products are currently sold on QVC and range in price from $20-$42 for Raw Color and Raw Minerals and $36 -$59 for Raw Skincare.

“These lines wouldn’t have been possible just five years ago,” Marcaccini explained. “It took me literally three years of searching all over the world to find ingredients that are safe, natural, good for the skin and deliver beautiful results. I realize that using natural ingredients just isn’t worth it, if no one wants to wear your products. I wanted RAW Natural Beauty to be the first line of natural products that look and feel even better than conventional prestige beauty products. Customers are always so surprised when they try our products for the first time. They can’t believe natural products can make them so beautiful.”

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