The process used by Au Naturale Cosmetics to create an entire line of organic, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten- free makeup is innovative in that it is simultaneously efficient and ethical. Ashley Prange, founder of the Green Bay-based company, has found a way to bridge the gap between simplistic natural brands and expansive, contemporary ones.
Judges unanimously agreed Au Naturale Cosmetics is innovative and a winner in the category, “Planet.” They were impressed with the fact the company uses all-natural ingredients, sourced in the U.S., that are free from toxins, harmful chemicals or animal by-products — and is transparent about those ingredients.
“Au Naturale is re-thinking and re-imagining the cosmetics sector, bringing a clean beauty solution that is right for our planet — bridging the gap between simplistic natural brands and expansive contemporary ones,” said one judge. “It’s cosmetics with a moral mindset,” said another.
Au Naturale Cosmetics was created in 2011 when Prange realized that the toxic ingredients in her makeup were causing her to break out. She began researching her options and could not find high- quality commercial makeup that was simultaneously in line with her values and health concerns, so she decided to create her own solution. Au Naturale fills a space in the market that is otherwise vacant.
The company hand makes all of of its products in-house. One of its biggest projects is a partnership with the online beauty subscription service, Birchbox. Au Naturale this year scaled from three to 60 employees in order to fulfill Birchbox’s order of over 160,000 components. Products are available mostly online but also via wholesale locations across the country.
Setting an example for others in our industry is central to the company’s mission. Most consumers assume that legal standards regulate the production of the products they use every day, but the reality in the U.S. is much different. While the European Union has banned more than 1,300 harmful ingredients from use in cosmetic products, the U.S. has banned just 10; meanwhile, many companies deceptively market their products as natural, healthy, green, etc.
In March, Au Naturale launched its online #CleanBeautyRevolution campaign to raise awareness about this issue and work toward a solution. Prange and her team are petitioning the U.S. government for stricter legislation that will ensure transparency in the cosmetics industry.
“We are incredibly honored to be a winner” of the Insight Innovation Award, Prange said.