No parabens. No sulfates. Vegan. Cruelty-free. It’s enough to send you to the dictionary. The phrases that have become ubiquitous on the labels of countless modern-day beauty brands simply weren’t there a decade ago, but more and more shoppers are actively seeking them out. According to a recent study by The Conscious Insider, sales from clean beauty products have reached $400 million in the U.S. alone. Neora co-founder Amber Olson Rourke is in the heart of that hot market, having launched her 12-year-old beauty brand Neora with a clean-centered approach.
“People were becoming aware and wanting cleaner products, but at the same time, most clean products on the market didn’t actually perform,” says Olson Rourke, recalling what the market was like when she first launched. “They didn’t have enough active ingredients in them to actually give you results. You had two options: You could get clean products that you felt good about the ingredients, but you weren’t really getting any results. Or you could get results-driven products that were chock-full of questionable ingredients.” That’s exactly where Neora found its niche. “This is where the Neora journey began, with the drive to create clean and effective products.
“We really wanted to create this perfect blend where we use a lot of ingredients inspired and from nature, plant-based actives at a high concentration so that you actually get results. So our clean standard is above Ulta’s clean standard or Sephora’s clean standard. It’s even more: We have rigorous standards for ourselves. There’s over 70 ingredients that we never use that are very common to find in mass-market products. But at the same time, we hold ourselves to really high standards in efficacy and the actual performance of the products. So our products are very transformative.”
Especially, she says, when it comes to anti-aging products that can help turn back the clock without damaging skin.
“We found a plant-based alternative that clinically was shown to give the same results as retinol without all the harsh side effects. And so we started using that back around 2014, and that’s really just now become a trend and well known in the mass market in the last year. Same thing for double cleansing your skin, same thing for using adaptogens to balance your circadian rhythm. Same thing for focusing on scalp care as the basis of hair care.”
The entire Neora company is built around the idea that products should be better. In fact, it leads directly to the brand’s mission statement. “Our mission statement is very simple, but it really dictates everything that we do, which is Make People Better.” Olson Rourke adds, “That kind of north star has never changed for us.”
Keeping It Simple, the Neora Way
Neora says that even with fewer products, its customers can see more results. In fact, the brand wants its loyal followers to say sayonara to a 10-step skin care routine.
“One major pain point people face is the search for simplicity,” explains Olson Rourke. “Most people aren’t going to do 10 steps. They don’t have the time, money, or attention span for that … they want simplicity in whatever they are doing and want products that are multifunctional. And so that’s always been an ethos for us.”
So why is clean, simple, and effective skin care so important to the global market? Consider one of the world’s largest health scares, skin cancer. “We saw this need where skin cancer is still the No. 1 form of cancer and it’s largely preventable. It’s not a knowledge gap. People understand that sunscreen prevents burning, but they don’t use it every day. A large part of that is because of the experience. Most sunscreens you put on your face [can] clog your pores. They’re white, they don’t interact well with your makeup. They feel heavy,” Olson Rourke states. “And so we wanted to solve all those issues. We spent over four years and countless iterations creating a weightless, invisible sunscreen, that’s an SPF 40 — and beyond just working with your makeup, it actually acts as a primer for your makeup. So it really is beautiful on the skin and really lightweight.
“People see visible results, and that’s really been our focus, allowing people to have clean formulas that actually produce powerful results, whether that’s in their skin care, hair care, health, wellness, or fitness.”
The brand is growing at a feverish speed with locations in United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Colombia, Korea, Hong Kond, and more to come.
Olson Rourke states, “We really think about our customer first, and try to really understand what would be their pain points throughout their day, what’s their pain points in the products they’re using, and their health journey. And then we solve for those pain points”
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