If you’ve been into the beauty aisle of a Target store or perused the shelves of your favorite indie beauty boutique, chances are, you’ve seen S.W. Basics products—and probably fallen in love with them. With their five-ingredients-or-less philosophy, S.W. Basics has become a heavy hitter in the green beauty space, with all natural, USDA Certified Organic and vegan ingredients that work wonders (even on the most sensitive skin) at a price point that won’t break the bank. Now, S.W. Basics is launching in Whole Foods beginning July 1, and is currently rolling out in 400 CVS store nationwide—and that means safer, cleaner products will be available to a growing number of consumers across the U.S.
“Personally, I have a serious obsession with Whole Foods,” says S.W. Basics founder, Adina Grigore. “But this launch into Whole Foods and CVS stores also aligns with what I’m trying to do professionally, which is to make naturals extremely easy for everyone to access. The beauty industry has a very specific retail channel strategy and we’re not trying to do that; we’re crossing into retailers who understand our vision, which is what makes it so exciting.”
While the brand continues to grow in leaps and bounds, its commitment to integrity—in sourcing and choice of ingredients—remains a core value. “We’ve been able to maintain the integrity of our ingredients by working closely with the people from whom we source them,” Adina explains. “Natural ingredients are abundant, and we as a collective haven’t really been tapping into them. Though the natural beauty industry is outpacing the conventional beauty industry right now, it’s still growing at a sustainable pace. Manufacturers are able to prepare themselves and grow with the demand because naturals are still not the ‘norm.’”
Still, growth like S.W. Basics’ does not come without challenges. When the brand was founded, Adina was formulating and making the products in her kitchen. Now, though she remains the chief formulator, she has had to partner with manufacturers to bring her formulas to the masses. Though the labels don’t exceed more than five ingredients on their lists, for manufacturers, “simple” can become exceedingly complicated. “We’re so basic in our formulas that it ends up being a challenge,” Adina says. “I made these formulations in my kitchen, but when I’ve tried to pass them off to manufacturers, we’ve been viewed as weird; they don’t want to formulate the way I want to formulate. It’s not easy to work with natural ingredients, and it’s expensive, but it’s exciting because we’re pushing the envelope. I’m asking manufacturers to do something harder: I’m not reinventing the wheel, but I am asking them to go back in time. It’s like asking someone to not use their microwave, but to cook instead over an open fire.”
She continues, “I think there’s a public perception that it’s easier to formulate this way when actually, it’s easier to add a filler than to use three ingredients and know the way you make the product will totally effect how it turns out. Our cream took two years to get it to the right consistency, and we review the formula every year to ensure it’s perfect. It’s like slow skincare.”
S.W. Basics may be slow skincare, but there’s nothing slow-moving about its growth. Adina’s vision of making naturals available to as many people as possible is coming to pass. And for those consumers new to her brand, naturals in general or overwhelmed by reading labels, Adina has a message. “I want people to know that if you’re confused when you look at a label, it’s a confusing label. Learn to trust yourself. If you read a label with words that you can pronounce, if you look at a brand’s website and learn about them and it resonates, then follow your intuition instead of marketing claims. If you have questions, ask them! If a brand doesn’t answer, well… there’s your answer. If you’re unhappy with an answer—or lack thereof—there are plenty of other places you can go.”
And now, you can go to Whole Foods and CVS and pick yourself up some S.W. Basics.