Ariana Whittingham Interviews Whitney Hartman for Ecocious
Whitney Hartman is a friend of mine and the only person allowed near my face with a pair of tweezers for the past 5 years… She is, hands down, the best brow specialist I have come ever crossed paths with and my brows (and face) wouldn’t be the same without her!
Whitney’s talent has accrued from being a beauty therapist in the industry for the past thirteen years. Her journey started with studying makeup in the States, where she first specialised in editorial and bridal makeup. She began working, managing salons and spas earlier in her career before the natural transition into makeup. At Mecca she developed experience as a skin specialist and even coordinated brand events whilst also working freelance for select shoots and bridal bookings, a quick skim through her instagram @whitneyhartmann and you will find many familiar faces she has worked her magic on. As Whitney continued on her craft she noticed her attention being drawn to brows and skin. Many of her clients presented with “compromised brows” and voiced they were not happy with the shape and felt their brows were disappearing after years of over tweezing - Whitneys inner voice spoke up as she felt drawn to solving this issue. She honoured her desire to the cause and devoted additional training and education into learning how to restore an eyebrow and became a TrueBrow Specialist.
Many days spent in her studio restoring natural brows later was when she truly fell in love with embracing your natural beauty. Whitney has had her natural brow studio for the last 7 years and is still just as passionate as she started. In 2021 an additional new venture was birthed (alongside her bff & co-founder Mandi) The Clean Swap Box is a seasonal, sustainable clean beauty subscription box which supports female founded brands! I have talked about them on my instagram as I absolutely love these women and what they are doing and couldn’t be more proud of their new business. With all of her knowledge and experience I HAD to steal a bit of Whitney’s time to share some clean beauty wisdom with you all, enjoy!
Ariana: Over the years I have personally known you, I've watched you implement your own clean beauty and health conscious lifestyle for yourself, your family and your clients. As a beauty expert please share why only using clean products is your preference?
Over the 13 years I have been in the beauty industry I have tried it all! I have always been an ingredient junkie, but when it came to skincare my focus was always on the results, key active ingredients and the technology in the products I was working with, not so much the "extras" that you find in many of the products.
Years ago I was given an amazing book called the guide to green beauty and that's where my perspective really changed. I found myself shocked at the amount of toxic chemicals that are put into our personal care products and the fact that these ingredients are actually approved even though there is research showing that some of these common ingredients cause and contribute to a whole range of health concerns. I found myself reading the labels of everything I had in my bathroom cabinet and realising I was using an insane amount of chemicals on my skin (the largest organ in your body) every single day. I had spent so much time and money on taking good quality supplements and eating well but what I was putting on my skin was literally counteracting all my hard work. So I decided it was time to start making the switch. In the past 5 years the choices with clean and green beauty has become incredible which made it very easy for me to start swapping out the conventional brands I was using to healthier choices.
Ariana: Not only are you a glowing new mummy but you also have a few businesses already under your belt. The most recent innovation being "The Clean Swap Box" that you co-founded with your beautiful friend Mandi. It launched this year and I was excited to be one of the first to receive it… such an epic business idea and we can't wait to see the next one! Can you give us any hints on what to expect?
Yes we are so proud and excited about this amazing new venture. The idea for the Clean Swap Box came when both me and my co-founder Mandi were talking one night about all these incredible new Aussie, female founded clean brands we were seeing on our socials and how many of those brands were making more sustainable choices and using amazing quality ingredients. We thought how great it would be to share all our years of industry knowledge and offer something new and exciting to the everyday woman who wants to make the swap to cleaner personal care but has no idea where to start.
A lot of women I speak to really want to make smarter, healthier, more conscious choices with their skincare but feel very overwhelmed by the amount of brands and choices on the market.
We had those women in mind when we created The Clean Swap Box. A seasonal subscription box that has a clean curated edit of good quality ethical products vetted by us delivered to your door.
So what can you expect from The Clean Swap Box!?
Well we have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. We have just won the lift women female founders Inaugural grant which is so incredible and such an honour. So we have some very exciting plans for The Clean Swap Box in the near future such as our very own Clean Swap product line so watch this space!
Our summer box launched in December and has some really incredible cult clean must haves to maintain your skin over these hotter months!
Ariana: How can we help consumers differentiate Clean Beauty and Clean Beauty imposters? Clean and sustainable products are increasing their demand and unfortunately green washing is now something we need to navigate. As a beauty expert what are your tips and guidelines for customers to follow when trying to choose products and brands?
Check your ingredients labels. Most brands will have their hero ingredients on the front of the bottle to market their product or included them in the name of the product, flip to the back of the bottle and if that hero ingredient isn't in the top five on the list then the amount of that ingredient is most likely under 1% and your paying for the marketing not so much the quality of the product and ingredients.
Know your nasties! Follow us along at @thecleanswapbox for more information. Our goal is to educate you and do the groundwork for you so you don't have to. We also have a list on our website of no no ingredients. It's so important to know the most common nasties you'll find in general skincare brands and once you know these if you see it on the label then don't buy it.
It's great to always go on a brand's website and read the founder's story. Often if a brand has gone the extra mile they love to share about what they have been up to behind the scenes.
A lot of brands nowadays are joining organisations like 1% for the planet or planting trees or sharing the stories of where they sustainable source their ingredients which is so amazing.
Consumers are becoming a lot more invested in where they spend their money so a lot of brands have had to up their game and start being more sustainable and better in their practices however there are still a lot of questionable brands out there so do your research!
Ariana: Since your business launched this year, you would have intel on current sustainable options for new businesses… We know that sourcing sustainable materials takes more time and effort and it is also comes at a higher cost. Thank you for prioritising our environment over your overheads. Would you mind sharing some of your favourite eco-friendly options for new brands?
As a business you want to do the best you can where you can. This is something we really strive to do where possible and there are so many great companies who are providing more eco friendly and sustainable options. We love No issue for stickers, tape and tissue paper.
Our mailer boxes are made from recycled and fsc standard materials. This was really important to us as we know so much gets thrown in the bin and we didn't want to add to the enormous amount of plastics that a lot of online companies still use.
Ariana: What does sustainability mean to you? If one of our readers is considering implementing sustainability into their lifestyle what advice would you like to share with them as they embark on such a rewarding journey?
Well for me I just want quality of life in the future and the only way we can do that is if we take care of our home. I want my kids to have a beautiful planet to grow up on just like I did and all the future generations to come. Sustainability is the only way to be sure that is an option. Switching to cleaner skincare is a great way to do your bit because your looking after your own health and wellbeing but also what you're washing off your face down the drain and into the waterways ways won't be poisoning our beautiful oceans. Also where and who you purchase your products from is important. Do they use sustainably sourced ingredients? Are they sending you products wrapt in bubble wrap and unnecessary plastics. You have a choice in where you put your money and who you support. The industry will change when people gravitate towards supporting ethical brands.