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Conversation With Wander Beauty Founders, Divya Gugnani and Lindsay Ellingson

Shopping for clean and cruelty-free beauty at Sephora is still an impossible task – fortunately the list of brands available just got an update with Wander Beauty on the shelves. When it comes to shopping for products that go on or in your body, transparency should be a given, but is not always provided. With US clean beauty regulations being in the grey area, this brand takes a fresh and simple approach to ingredients – blending the natural with the synthetic (safely). We refuse to believe that today’s savvy and educated beauty community falls for marketing schemes, they say clean beauty is here to stay.

It was only a matter time before Wander Beauty made it into Sephora. If you had to consider just one clean brand for all your essentials, you might make it Wander Beauty for their multitasking abilities alone. Wander beauty checks off all the boxes: the packaging and colors are pretty, the ingredients healthy, and the textures non-sticky.

Let’s talk makeup. It can be hard to pick a favorite. The Liquid Foundation is light but provides perfect coverage. Little goes a long way. The On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator will likely always stay in your bag for last minute touch-ups. Our most used product is Wander’s Lipsetter Dual Lipstick and Liner. It hydrates the lips and that’s always a welcomed bonus. While the brand has mastered the art of on-the-go multitaskers, their skincare options are just as modern and effective. The creators behind these classic makeup and skincare must-haves know a thing or two about juggling busy schedules. Divya Gugnani and Lindsay Ellingson already worked hard before Wander Beauty, creating and running a brand on top of all that makes them wonder women.

We spoke to the two founders, asking questions potential customers might want answers to.

Cultivated: How was the initial idea of partnering and creating Wander Beauty born?

D+L: We met at a party and realized that we were both time-starved, always on the go, and frustrated with our beauty products. At the time, Divya was a working mom of two and Lindsay was a jetsetting supermodel. We both had too many products with bulky, fragile packaging that wasn’t optimized for motion and too many one-trick wonders. In 2015, we launched Wander Beauty to create clean, beauty essentials you reach for every day, wherever you wander. Our multitaskers streamline your routine so you can spend more time doing what you love.

Cultivated: Starting a business, especially as women and busy moms, can be a challenge. Did you run into any snags or what did you find to be the most challenging when getting started?

Lindsay: The most challenging part of starting Wander was working with such a small team and learning to wear many hats. I had over 10 years of experience in front of the camera which helped me develop an eye for lighting and composition. It was valuable information that I was able to use as Creative Director. I also learned some new skills in order to create the content we needed to launch our brand. My sister taught me how to operate a Canon and I learned some editing skills online. That was enough to get me started. Creating content is now a passion of mine and I still shoot a lot of the content for our campaigns, although with a much bigger team to support me!

Cultivated: Your packaging color is very distinct. Is there a story behind it?

Lindsay: Last year we started a refresh of all of our packaging. We wanted our brand story to come to life more and for everything to feel fresher and more elevated. We use blush tones for all of our skincare and a mauvey tone for our color items. Everything has accents of our signature burgundy Wanderberry shade. We love how these shades look so elevated on your vanity or in your bag. Our cartons now have subtle nods to travel, including a custom Gorgeous on the Go stamp, and dreamy cloud print on the sides. Our new cartons are also all recyclable, which was another motivation for this refresh.

Cultivated: You recently launched at Sephora under their Clean at Sephora umbrella. What would you say to those who say that clean beauty is a marketing ploy?

D+L: 

I think it is more important to think about the ingredients you are formulating with and the effectiveness of those ingredients than to hyper focus on a long No-No list of ingredients you won’t use.

Clean beauty is driving a lot of growth in the beauty industry and we at Wander Beauty are huge believers in safe synthetics and clean beauty. Many customers are shifting their usage and spend on clean beauty. It’s a positive trend as customers become skintellectuals and more aware of what they are putting on their skin, their largest organ.

Cultivated: What top essentials would you recommend to a new customer in the skincare category?

D+L: A gentle cleanser and a daily SPF facial moisturizer. This is the important beginning to end approach to making sure your skin is clean and protected.

Cultivated: We are switching from spring to summer soon. What products and/or ingredients are best for the summer season?

Divya: UV protection is needed all season long but because we are outdoors more often, you should consider prevention, protection, and maintenance products. Broad spectrum SPF 30+ UV protection is most important. UV penetrates skin and damages collagen so look for Vitamin C products to prevent damage. Lastly, when skin is inflamed from UV and heat, look for soothing products with Centella Asiatica (aka Cica). It’s a super anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps to soothe.

Cultivated: What skincare advice would you give to someone in their late 30s, early 40s?

Divya : Listen to your skin in late 30s and 40s. Skin goes through cycles every month. Always have a good antioxidant (vitamin C), booster of natural skin cell turnover (vitamin A), and a SPF. These are the three elements to protect your skin barrier function which is the most critical at this age.

Cultivated: Lastly, how do you practice self-care in your personal lives?

Divya: I started practicing transcendental meditation in the 7th grade and have been doing it twice a day ever since. It’s the first thing I do every morning and It really helps me stay relaxed, calm, and focused during the day.

Lindsay: 

For me it’s so important to practice gratitude. At the end of the day, when I’m feeding my son and putting him to bed, it’s the perfect quiet time to be still and think of everything I’m grateful for. I find even on the toughest days it helps to calm my mind and boost my mood.

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