Natural skin care product company started by UF student

Imagine just throwing out all of your beauty products one day and starting from scratch. Honestly, the idea terrifies me.

This is exactly what 20-year-old Brianna Cryar did after discovering the alarming ingredients found in commercial skin care products, such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance, artificial preservatives and artificial coloring.

Many of these chemical ingredients are carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents. You might be even more surprised to know that the ingredients on the label don’t always encompass all of the ingredients in the product. If the product contains artificial fragrance, it can contain hundreds to thousands of unknown ingredients. Due to trade secret laws, companies can protect the formula of their product by simply not revealing it at all.

As if that isn’t terrible enough, we all know that artificial colorings and preservatives are extremely harmful as well. We tend to stay far away from foods with these ingredients, so why not skin care products?

“That’s what people don’t realize. What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body.” -Brianna Cryar

Her research for a paper led her to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, which gives scores to skin care products according to the safety of their ingredients. (It’s a really amazing resource, if you’re having trouble navigating that sea of unknown chemicals on every ingredients label).

Brianna threw out every commercial beauty product she owned that contained a harmful ingredient and spent the next few years researching natural ingredients to create products of her own.

This is how Avani Beauty came to be. ‘Avani’ is Sanskrit for ‘of the earth’, and this line of products is entirely organic and natural.

“My whole philosophy is I wouldn’t want to make or sell any product that I wouldn’t use myself” -Brianna Cryar

The products contain natural alternatives to these harmful ingredients so that everything in them benefits you, instead of potentially harming you. You’ll find creamy elements such as shea butter, cocoa butter and babassu oil in Avani Beauty products, as well as natural preservatives such as vitamin E oil and grapefruit seed extract to extend the shelf life.

The products include body butter, shampoo and conditioner, laundry soap, hair tea and many other great products to keep your skin healthy.

Due to Brianna’s philosophy, there are some products you just won’t find in her line.

Her personal dislike of bar soaps has made her realize the lack of options for natural liquid soaps. She decided her company could become that outlet for those who prefer liquid soap, like herself.

She says many customers have also urged her to consider lotion, but she knows that body butter is a much better alternative. Lotion is water based (it can be up to 80% water), and water can actually dry your skin out when presented in large quantities. Body butter doesn’t contain any of these fillers, leaving only the moisturizing ingredients that won’t leave your skin too dry or too greasy.

With the exception of less greasy skin or a new shine to your skin, you may not see the effects of these products right away. It’s not easy to get behind a movement when you aren’t seeing results.

Brianna urges people to think about the long-term effects of continuing to use commercial products, rather than expecting short-term gratification.

“It just comes down to: when you’re 50 do you want to have wrinkles and look older than you actually are or do you want to have youthful looking skin?” -Brianna Cryar

As I’ve mentioned before, these organic products can get a little pricey for those of us who are on a tight budget. Sometimes it might be hard to justify the cost just for “youthful looking skin” later on in life, right?

She’s got a point for that too:

“Like I said, it is more expensive than your traditional stuff inside Walmart or the grocery story, but cancer is also expensive…so it’s either pay up front and pay it forward or you pay whenever your life is in danger.” -Brianna Cryar

The argument for organic skin care products is pretty convincing when it’s put in those terms.

Whether or not Avani Beauty products are for you, you can’t deny that these facts are alarming and convincing. It is extremely important to take care of your skin. Take the time to understand the products you are using.

Joining the green beauty movement is worth the lasting effects of healthier skin and a decreased risk of poisoning your body.

More about Avani

Currently, Avani Beauty is available on Etsy, as well as at the Union Square Farmers’ Market in Gainesville, Florida.

Brianna is a one-woman show. She purchases the raw ingredients and develops her products from scratch. She has created the labels for all of the products as well. Every product is truly made with meticulous care and a passion for the organic skin care industry.

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