A Pioneer In Supporting Natural Beauty, Wellness And Environmentally Conscious Brands.
Beauty journalist, Fiona Klonarides, voted no. 4, Top 25 Who’s Who in the Natural Beauty industry UK 2018 and the founder of The Beauty Shortlist, a platform that over a decade has been championing natural beauty, wellbeing and sustainability.
Fiona adores nature, so The Beauty Shortlist Awards she founded, are as much a celebration of the natural and organic winners as they are of nature herself. She has travelled widely and has worked in different countries. These days she stays close to home, buys locally-produced food, and lives a simpler lifestyle – “better for me but also better for the planet”.
As an ode to nature and in celebration of Earth Day, we had the great honour to sit down for a chat with her, discover more about her love for clean living, her war against big brand green and cruelty-free washing, her top 5 tips for a cleaner lifestyle and more…
You launched The Beauty Shortlist in 2009, a unique, transparent and 100% independent platform, that was to become very quickly the to-go-place where cosmetics consumers knew they could trust your edits and opinion. Tell us how did it all start?
I’ve always been interested in beauty, scents and aromatherapy (my Greek granny “yia-yia” would buy us a department store beauty gift set every Christmas and she always wore a lovely vibrant lipstick!) I kept coming across more niche natural brands (particularly skincare) that were just excellent yet none of my friends had heard of them – in those days, department stores were the main beauty destination.
So in 2012, after 3 years of blogging, the first Beauty Shortlist Awards were held to honour the crème de la crème hero products I would 100% recommend hand-on-heart to anyone following The Beauty Shortlist. It was a fantastic day, the sun shone and brands were delighted (and taken by surprise because they hadn’t entered – it was my round up of the “best of” of that year).
The following year, more and more brands started enquiring about the awards so they really grew, very organically, from there.
Wellness and beauty were becoming more inter-linked and inseparable in some instances, so I launched the Wellbeing Awards later on, and the Mama & Baby Awards which I feel are very important because if parents are bathing and comforting their babies with products that are not as pure as possible, that’s madness in my opinion (case in point: the biggest selling baby shampoo with potential carcinogens in it had to change its formula and there have been numerous lawsuits against its baby talc for containing asbestos – the brand is facing a global ban on this product).
From day one, you have been championing, encouraging, mentoring, and showcasing the best in natural, organic, as well as socially and environmentally responsible brands. What made you foresee this was the direction that beauty consumer demand would take, and which obstacles did you have to fight to prove you were doing the right thing, considering your vision was way ahead of time?
I did report a huge global brand to the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) for greenwashing, it took 3-4 attempts and letters red flagging and explaining the very *not natural* ingredients in their formulas under a “green brand name”. But eventually, the ASA made the brand change ALL of its wording and claims on every website worldwide, to avoid it further action being taken.
I don’t get mad that often but cases like that infuriate me! Consumers deserve to be “sold to” ethically - not in an underhand way? They are paying money for something they believe is good for them. It’s frustrating that so much greenwashing and “cruelty-free washing” still goes on in an attempt to grab part of the green beauty market share.
After more than a decade of hard work, The Shortlist Beauty & Wellbeing Awards has proven to be the most respectable and trustable competition of its kind – no ads, no sponsorship, and last year you launched The Beauty Shortlist Eco Awards, tell us more about these new awards and why in your view there’s space for such event?
Every time we buy something, we are either benefiting or damaging our share home, Planet Earth. What did it take to make this product? How long will it last? Who made it and under what circumstances? When the contents are used up, where will the empty box/jar/plastic bottle, etc go?Our money has energy, there’s tremendous power in voting with your wallet.
I don’t think most of us are conscious enough yet - as consumers, day in and day out, 365 days a year - there’s much awareness raising and reminding to be done. So kudos to the TV campaigns that spike the attention of a large audience, like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani’s “War On Plastic” and a big positive of social media is the sharing of awareness and smaller brands doing good have a chance to be seen.
I think plastic is Public Enemy No. 1, it hangs around for hundreds and thousands of years. Single use plastic is killing us. There’s nowhere to put it – send it to the moon?
Back to beauty, solid beauty (like hair care bards, balms, etc) is skyrocketing in popularity. Initially people though oh this can’t be that good, I’d rather stick to my liquid shampoo but there are very good zero waste and plastic-free products out there – we just need more of them! And 100% home compostable is a trend I’ve got my eye on, “no trace” products are worth their weight in gold because they disappear.
The new Beauty Shortlist ECO Awards include beauty, fashion, green home and more and treading gently on our fragile planet is a beautiful thing. Treading gently and coming up with solutions with the clock ticking loudly.
You have been voted into the Top 25 in the “Top 25 Who’s Who in Natural Beauty” for the past 8 consecutive years (Natural Beauty News) including Top 10, by experts working in the natural beauty and health industries. What is it that you consider you always do and continue to do, to remain in the Top 25?
I’m really grateful to anyone who’s voted for me, I just keep keeping it in the day and think and breathe “natural, organic and eco”24/7. Keep spreading the word. Show others that there’s nothing more beautiful than a plant-powered cleanser, natural fragrances or a divine fruit and seed face oil in your bathroom.
Image via The Beauty Shortlist
What are five things you do every day, that we can all do to protect our planet?
- I don’t buy water in plastic bottles and try to avoid food in plastic packaging – fairly easy when you are plant-based and have a weekly organic box delivered or you can get to a farmer’s market
- I’m a big fan of eco-friendly laundry, kitchen and bathroom products (there are more of these products around now) and if budget is an issue, you can make your own with vinegar, etc. I don’t know why people still use the big non-clean corporate brands, especially with babies or children at home?
- I love no-plastic eco beauty brands, like Dr Jackson’s (glass bottles, jars, aluminium tubes, zero waste, solid bars and more), a high percentage of our Awards winners tend to be packaged in glass bottles or jars which is great
- Drive less, walk more
- Plant (or buy) bee friendly flowers, our bees are diminishing and critical for certain food supplies so we must help them. They love snapdragons, echinacea and lavender and they make a beeline for white, blue, yellow and purple flowers, so if you are planting a garden or buying plants for your terrace, you’ll have a gorgeous mix and the bees will love them too.
Discover more about clean beauty, wellbeing and The Beauty Shortlist Awards, the platform celebrating brands for their commitment to ethical, sustainable, vegan, Fairtrade, cruelty-free, organic, and wild-crafted products practices @beautyshortlist