I recently discovered Philtre, a new online shop based in San Francisco that specializes in eco-luxe, non-toxic products that are made in the USA. Philtre (pronounced “filter”) caught my eye for its unique organic and natural skincare, beauty, and haircare brands that range from affordable to luxurious. There is also a robust selection for men, kids, and even some products for “lovin”. (Wink, wink.) Philtre even has helpful resources like an ingredient glossary, easy & informative product symbols, and personal advice so that you can shop confidently and consciously.
I had the honor of meeting Philtre’s sweet, hilarious, and fearless founder, Heidi Craig. Raised by hippie parents in California, Heidi was always influenced by her crunchy granola upbringing. She eventually had a career in marketing and publishing, as well as working with the United Nations for several years, leading her to travel all over the world.
Here, Heidi shares about her unique background, her relationship with green beauty, and what sets Philtre apart from other online shops:
What inspired the name for the store?
Requirement #1 for Philtre’s products is to be love-worthy, and a philtre is a magic love potion or charm. Conveniently, it’s pronounced “filter,” because our store is a sort of shopping filter that lets through only pure and wonderful green products.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What inspired you to create Philtre? What does green beauty or a “greener” lifestyle mean to you?
It’s actually a biggie for me! I started Philtre because I love turning people on to excellent and exciting beauty and personal care products that also happen to be green. For me, “green” is not a marketing strategy but a set of principles. It often involves conscientiousness about health and self, and extends to greater care for other animals, people and our shared habitat.
“What does this have to do with buying lipstick?” you may ask. Several years working at the United Nations and a hippie upbringing have helped me appreciate the huge impact you can make with your personal shopping decisions. They may seem trivial, but your purchases are like votes and the votes add up. When you shop certain mainstream brands, you vote for practices that might maximize profits but also seriously compromise in areas like health, animal testing, worker well-being, and keeping our environment beautiful and livable.
The idea behind Philtre is that every order you place is a vote cast for wonderful products and also healthier, happier, kinder — greener — principles. You just relax and shop, no worries.What sets Philtre apart from other green beauty shops online?
Lots of new green beauty shops have sprung up recently — what an exciting direction! When we started building Philtre, more than 3 years ago, there were precious few. Now Philtre is in great company, though with a few differences.
At Philtre, you can pick up some green beauty favorites for yourself, then shop a nice selection of personal-care gems for men, kids and babies all in one shop. You’ll also find treats for a sexy good time! Everything is non-toxic and cruelty free, and our 100s of strict vegan options are clearly marked. Small-batch and “made in the USA” are our specialties. And we’re an indie operation that, unlike some shops, discloses ALL ingredients as well as other info to help you decide what’s best for you.
Oh, and even my mom tells me Philtre is super easy to use! 🙂
How do you select and source the brands found in the store? Are there specific guidelines or procedures?
Oh, you know, a nuggety brown label that says “natural” is good enough for us…NOT 🙂
Before we’ll carry anything, we really run it through the ringer. First, it has to look good yet be responsibly packaged. Then we check the ingredients and where it’s made. At that point, we ask the maker to confirm that each product is cruelty free, made in the USA and non-toxic, and that the company itself isn’t affiliated with a big, less ethical company. We give extra points for charitable work and — call us biased — nice people! Once through those hoops, we try the goods firsthand to make sure they’re effective and a lovely experience to use.
Since we review each brand’s offerings at the product level, we may not accept everything they make. We only accept products that fulfill our requirements. Learn more here.
What does your daily skincare or beauty routine look like?
I have normal hair and dry-combo, getting-mature skin, and I’m very particular yet like to switch it up according to season and mood. In sum, it’s complicated! So sticking here to a few current daily highlights…
Since I’ve been such a lazy pants about exercising lately, for body care I’ve been using a Fig+Yarrow Body Scrub and my Supracor mitt to stimulate circulation…like that makes up for the sloth! Also in the shower, I’ve been cleansing my face with the Fig+Yarrow Facial Scrub right away, then applying Acure Organics Argan Oil to prevent the rest of the shower from drying out my skin.
For body, post-shower I smooth on Fig+Yarrow or Moksa Organics body oil while my skin is still humid. Then, for hardcore softening action, I apply a Moksa Organics Body Butter or Bubble & Bee Butter or Lotion Stick to elbows and feet — sometimes I’ll attack my husband’s elbows too! When I want to smell extra fantastic, I use Persephenie Island Violet Butter or Goe Oil for concentrated moisture but also as my personal scent. Unique and heavenly.
My hair, when au naturale, looks like a bushel of strawberry-blonde thatch. I force this mass of unruly textures into submission by working in some Innersense Inner Peace hair cream then silking it over with a light coat of Uberlube… that’s right, it’s a lube! It’s just pure vitamin E and silicone, the active ingredient in top hair silkers. Packaging is discreet, elegant and handy (wink, wink).
My daytime face starts with quick-absorbing, super pure Nurture My Body Vitamin C Cream and Eye Cream, and I never leave the house without a coat of Coola Matte Tint sunscreen. The Coola is SPF30 yet “disappears” on the skin so there’s no need to de-shine using powder as with most other sunscreens.
I don’t normally wear much makeup, just black mascara by Devita Absolute Minerals or Alima Pure and, to darken my eyebrows, Alima Satin Matte Eyeliner brushed in using a Philtre vegan angle brush. I color my lips and cheeks with a dewy Vapour Multi-Use stick. I love that you can go light and subtle with it during the day or build up to vibrant color for night.
My bedtime routine starts with Devita eye makeup remover — my favorite! Totally effective but doesn’t irritate my super sensitive eyes. Dr Alkaitis Night Cream and Persephenie Rose Paka are my picks for deep hydration and — bonus — a luscious natural scent. Sometimes I’ll spike them with some By Nieves C Perfect Skin serum or OSEA Essential Hydrating Oil. Dr Alkaitis Eye Cream is so rich it can smudge makeup, but the intensity is perfect for nighttime skin therapy. Nitey nite!
What are your goals for Philtre? What would you like consumers to take away from your store?
I hope a big takeaway will be that green products are often the best products, PERIOD. I’d like people to discover that fact through Philtre. Ideally it will encourage them to question other types of products and lifestyle choices as well, and move them greenwards.
I also hope that Philtre will help promote the idea of quality over quantity… that it’s better to buy a few high-quality green products than a cart full of conventional, mass-produced products. This is a big subject, but not only do the types of products we carry normally contain more actual product, they also aren’t formulated to make you consume more. In contrast, conventional beauty and personal care products commonly contain filler and unhealthy ingredients, PLUS the formulations often (perhaps sometimes intentionally) encourage you to consume more.
Examples? Nail polish that yellows the nails so you have to keep them covered with more nail polish. Foundation that wacks out your skin so you have to keep it covered with foundation. Shampoo with harsh chemicals that create a need for conditioner. Lip balm with petrochemicals or salicylic acid to prevent your lips from healing so you keep applying balm. I could go on.
Just use the good stuff and you’ll need less and start reducing your impact on our habitat — not to mention minimizing chemical exposure that can have negative impacts on your health!
Are there any other exciting plans in store for Philtre?
YES! I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you 😉 Actually, we do have a sister project on the horizon but I have to stay painfully mum about it. Vvvery exciting but tiptop secret. Keep checking our site or sign up for our news and promos to find out first!
Thanks, Heidi for sharing your story with us!
*Photos courtesy of Philtre.