INSIDER Q&A: EMMA WOODBURN, FOUNDER OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY BOX

Welcome to the next instalment of the #beautyinsider Q&As, where you can find out who is behind some of your favourite beauty brands, what they are working on and how they got there. This month’s guest is Emma, Founder of The Natural Beauty Box which offers a subscription service delivering a selection of natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare products to your door. I discovered this beauty box via Instagram when some of the beauty bloggers I follow started posting about it. I’ve tried my fair share of subscription boxes in the past (for research purposes of course, ahem) but found this offering of niche artisan minis appealing – you can read my review of The Natural Beauty Box in my Subscription Box Trend post. I wanted to find out more about founder Emma’s motivation to create this beauty box and her insights on the natural beauty trends to watch out for.

Mother and son

Image courtesy of The Natural Beauty Box (all rights reserved)

1. Hi Emma, thank you for being my Insider Q&A guest this month. Let’s start from the beginning: what drove you to launch The Natural Beauty Box?

It all started after having my first boy, Jaxon, who started with eczema when he was around 3 months old. The health visitor prescribed him with a lotion, then said just make sure you don’t go near any open flames as it contains paraffin. I was horrified! Obviously I did not use this lotion on my son’s skin. This led me to start googling ingredients in skincare products and I was stunned at what I was finding out. So many chemicals. So many potential skin irritants. I myself also had eczema and suffered with a terribly dry itchy scalp so this got me searching for natural alternatives. I tried the high street shops with no luck so looked online and found it very time consuming and mind boggling looking at ingredients lists. This is when I planted a seed in my own head. After testing a few natural products and seeing improvements to my own skin, the idea evolved and eventually became The Natural Beauty Box.

2. Beauty shoppers are increasingly well informed about natural beauty and what it means, but it can still seem a confusing environment full of jargon and overwhelming choice. How does The Natural Beauty Box help cut through that confusion?

The aim of The Natural Beauty Box is to help subscribers discover new brands and products that use only natural ingredients that are better for their skin, their health and the environment. I do all the hard work sourcing ethical brands and products that are free from known skin irritants, fragrances, and other chemicals that are potentially harmful to our health. This means less time spent reading product labels and googling unpronounceable ingredients and more time spent looking after your skin and indulging in some well-deserved ‘me time’.

Natural skincare minis flatlay

Image courtesy of The Natural Beauty Box (all rights reserved)

3. There are so many beautiful emerging natural beauty brands. How do you choose which ones to work with?

One of the aims of The Natural Beauty Box is to help promote small natural, ethical British artisans, so I always include a few small, newer brands each month as well some more established brands to give the box a good mix of products. I do have strict criteria around ingredients though and have a list of ingredients I never include. I theme my boxes each month so I choose brands around themes, and aim to choose products around changing seasons.

4. With ELLE citing The Natural Beauty Box as one of the best subscription boxes, you’ve had some great punch the air moments. What so far has been your proudest moment?

I think ELLE UK choosing The Natural Beauty Box in their Top 9 Beauty Subscriptions is definitely up there, but for me my proudest moment was receiving my first subscriber email personally thanking me for creating such a beautifully presented, well thought out box. It was written by a mum of two young children struggling to get time for herself and feeling a little down. She decided to treat herself to one of my boxes and could not have been happier with every single item included. She said it was like the box was made for her. It’s feedback like this that makes me proud.

Natural skincare minis flatlay from The Natural Beauty Box

Image courtesy of The Natural Beauty Box (all rights reserved)

5. Insider news please! What natural beauty trends would you say we should look out for?

Most definitely plastic free packaging. Scientists estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish! This is catastrophic for the planet so I predict more and more brands will be turning to plastic free alternatives that are either fully recyclable or biodegradable. The Natural Beauty Box has just launched a plastic free box every quarter, starting from April 2019. Hopefully as more brands switch to plastic-free alternatives, I’m sure I can improve on quarterly boxes in time.

Secondly, multi-tasking products! If you can get multiple uses out of one product then it saves you time, money and less packaging waste too!

6. Let’s get personal: what would be your 3 desert-island beauty products?

My first product would have to be PHB Ethicals Hero Gel because it is the ultimate multi-tasker. I’ve never seen a product with so many uses. I can be used on hair, face and body. It would be perfect for a desert island as can be used to keep skin hydrated, moisturised and soothed and prevent hair from drying out.

My second product would be a big bottle of floral water (either rose or neroli) so I could spritz in my face (and hair) throughout the day to keep me cool and keep my skin and hair hydrated.

My third beauty product would have to be some high SPF sunscreen (I like Green People and Organii) so I can keep my skin protected from the rays.

Emma holding Organii Sun Milk

Image courtesy of The Natural Beauty Box (all rights reserved)

7. And finally – What exciting projects do you have coming up in the next few months?

As mentioned above, I have just launched the plastic free box each quarter so the next one will be July and this coincides with Zero Waste July too. I also have another collaboration box coming up in June which is going to be a fantastic box so keep an eye peeled on social media for announcements and reveals!

If you have any burning questions you’d like to ask Emma why not leave a comment below? Or you can get in touch with her directly on Instagram and Twitter.

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