Follain EWG verification

Having secured EWG verification for its skin-care brand’s full product range, Follain wants to help its Black-owned brand partners do the same.

The clean beauty retailer has achieved certification from the Environmental Working Group for its Follain Skincare products, making it the newest EWG-Verified brand at Ulta, where it is carried online and in nearly 400 doors.

Now, Follain is focusing its efforts on helping its Black-owned brand partners — it currently has five — achieve EWG verification, a process Tara Foley, Follain’s founder, said can be both time-intensive and expensive. Verification can take anywhere from four to six weeks, according to EWG’s web site, and the organization charges a $250 evaluation fee per product.

“One of the reasons that it was so important for us to do that certification specifically is because we recognize how many people use the EWG’s Skin Deep database,” Foley said, referring to the lobbying organization’s online tool that has assigned a hazard rating to more than 80,000 personal-care products. The database is a go-to for clean beauty enthusiasts and anyone curious about potentially toxic ingredients.

“The first products that come up in [the database’s] search results have been verified,” Foley said. “We [didn’t] see any of our Black-owned brand partners in the search results. The EWG agreed that there was a real opportunity to amplify more Black-owned brand partners in that database.

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“I don’t know how relevant certifications are to customers in general, but for somebody who’s starting to look into clean products, the EWG is super relevant,” Foley added.

In June, Follain took Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge, vowing to diversify its list of 50 brand partners, five of which are Black-owned. Follain simultaneously posted an Inclusivity Oath on its web site, announcing it would increase efforts to diversify its team and marketing partnerships, among other things.

In a statement, EWG president Ken Cook confirmed the organization’s commitment to “moving the market towards healthier products.”

“New studies are published every week that show the harmful impact of exposure to some of these chemical ingredients and chemical mixtures,” Cook said. “We both believe that every single person deserves access to clean personal-care products, including communities of color and Black consumers. This is the next step in our longstanding partnership.”

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