We’re excited to bring you this Beauty Minute from Kailey Bradt, CEO and founder of OWA Haircare. She chatted with us about her sustainable practices and her secret to that perfect “bed head” look. Read on for more!
What is your morning beauty routine?
When I wake up, I immediately drink water- I prefer it hot with lemon- & make a coffee. I take a minute to breathe and look outside. I scan through texts/emails to make sure there is nothing that urgently needs my attention. Then off to a quick, hot shower. Just a minute or two helps me wake up. I keep fresh eucalyptus hanging over my shower head which is really calming and it’s a great addition to any shower, even just for aesthetics. Where’d I get it? $4 at my local farmers market and it lasts months. If I’m having a hard time opening my eyes, I’ll use a body brush (got it for a couple dollars from TJMaxx) to do a body scrub, currently using this Goop one, to help get my blood flowing. I usually lather on some body lotion and right now I’m using the Davines Replenishing Butter, which comes in packaging fully recyclable for curbside recycling in my neighborhood.
When it comes to skincare, I’ve really learned to keep it minimal, clean & under 5 minutes. I don’t wash my face in the morning. I really don’t need to and it’s one way to keep my skin moisturized. I start my skincare routine with the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Toner on a reusable bamboo pad. I love this zero-waste cotton ball swap and I got some on Amazon for under $20! Next, I mist. I’ve been using the Evenprime Soothing Mist for over a year now and I swear by it. I follow up with the Mara Universal Face Oil and Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream. I love algae. It’s an incredible source for antioxidants and moisture. Algae can brighten, decrease the appearance of aging and keep your skin glowing. I can’t say enough good about it. I get fully dressed in the morning too in order to stay awake. Yes, I’m in jeans during quarantine and I know it’s weird, but it’s real.
For makeup, I apply Algenist Green Drops, Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint with SPF 30 and the Nars Creamy Concealer. I use three(?) eyebrow products, because I feel like no matter the combination of what gel, color, pencil wax, marker I use or how I use it I’m never 100% sure I like it. Currently using Surratt Brow Pomade + Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel (blonde) + Brow Wiz Pencil (medium brown). I love a multi-use product for cheeks and lips. I’m currently using RMS lip2cheek in demure. If I plan for extra sun, even though my tinted moisturizer has SPF, I add a top layer of Habit’s No. 41 Mister because #SPFeveryday. Add a swipe of mascara and I’m good to go.
What products do you use throughout the day?
Throughout the day I use 20 different lip products because this is the only part of my routine I haven’t been able to pair down on. I feel so minimal with the rest of my routine. My most recent additions to the lip collection have been the Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly in Fire and Kosas Lip Fuel in Baseline.
What is your evening beauty routine?
I usually wash my hair in the evening so I can take the time to give my hair a heat-free dry. If you have a sensitive scalp though I do recommend blow-drying hair at the root to get moisture off of the scalp. I highlight my hair, so strengthening my strands and keeping them hydrated is key. I wash with OWA Haircare’s Moondust Collection: Hair Wash and if I need to tone, I add IGK Mixed Feelings Toning Drops into my palm before adding Hair Wash powder. I follow that with Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner. Sometimes I’ll swap conditioner for a Hair Mask instead- I like the Briogeo Despair, Repair Mask. I am always experimenting with new formulations for OWA, so it’s common for me to be testing something in my hair routine almost always. For body, I’ve been loving the Cannuka Cleansing Body Bar, which has manuka honey & CBD- great for sensitive skin. To dry my hair, I use an Aquis microfiber towel to minimize hair damage. I use a 100% silk Oekotex 100 certified pillow case, which I highly recommend for the ideal, “I woke up like this” hair. Most people don’t believe me when I say I did nothing to my hair in the morning, but let’s keep them guessing shall we?
For nighttime skin, I wash my face using a solid stick cleanser by Puremay (K Beauty Brand), which is becoming more difficult to find in the US. I use the rose one and loooove it! I then use the Caudalie Vinopure Toner, Mara Algae Retinol Face Oil and a face oil with Vitamin C which is currently the Ize Hydrating Face Oil. Lastly, I add a glass of water to my nightstand and I’m off to sweet dreams.
Can you talk a bit about your passion for sustainable beauty?
My interests in sustainability and beauty actually started in high school! I recognized I wanted to do something with sustainability as a career at the age of 16, but I struggled with what that was. I was strong in math and science, yet very creative so I couldn’t imagine a career where I wasn’t making something or innovating. I actually thought I would pursue a career in art and was preparing for college that way, but once I learned that beauty was chemistry it clicked. I wanted to create sustainable beauty products that were less wasteful- from the formula to the packaging. It wasn’t until I was 22, had graduated college and worked for a few years, that I had the concept for my business. It was another year by the time I officially incorporated the business and two years past that until officially launching. During the pre revenue phase of the business I took the time to educate myself more in product development with the focus of consumer packaged goods and sustainability.
How does OWA Haircare fit into this?
OWA was everything coming together for me- the beauty, the science, the sustainability.
When I discovered liquid shampoo is 80% water on average, I could not believe it. That’s when I had the concept for OWA & I knew I had to create something different. The idea came quite naturally, which was the crazy part. I was always trying to think of what I could do in the beauty space and this came to me as I was making a list of what I needed to buy for an upcoming trip. “What was in my shampoo anyways?” I started googling away and that’s when I discovered this 80% water fact. And it wasn’t just shampoo- conditioner, hair pomade, hair gel, body wash and the list goes on. I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about how I had to do something to change that in a big way.
When developing a product, I consider the entire product lifecycle: where the ingredients are sourced, how they are manufactured and delivered, through to what happens after they go down the drain. While many brands focus on packaging or ingredients or format, I take on a holistic approach to include many factors of what makes a beauty product sustainable including ingredients, manufacturing, distribution, packaging and disposal.
At OWA we deliver products that are more concentrated and less wasteful, that don’t compromise on performance.
What’s the first step for someone wanting to rethink their beauty routine with an eye towards sustainability?
Thinking about it is a great first step! Being aware of what you’re consuming and how you’re consuming puts you in the mindset of being a more conscious consumer. Before going out to buy more products, use what you have. Once that’s gone, dispose of your waste properly. I wrote a 3 part blog post on how to dispose of your cosmetic packaging, part one is here.
For those who want to make an effort to shop more green, you can start small and simple by shopping refillable packaging, avoiding non-recyclable packaging and seeking new sustainable formats like waterless beauty, cold-process products and beauty with upcycled ingredients.