What was your lightbulb moment for setting up the company?

When my boys started to need grooming products, I couldn’t find anything not packed full of chemicals. What I wanted was products made from clean, high quality ingredients. My sons wanted was for them to really work, and to be cool, of course.

What was your journey to this moment?

I think it is important, when boys are young and impressionable to give them the foundation of a healthy daily grooming regimen. I’ve tried to teach my boys that washing their face and bodies properly is just as important as brushing their teeth. If you’re going to shower you might as well use healthy products.

Concerned mothers now shop at the farmers’ market for fresh kale, knowing it’s the healthier choice for their kids. I thought, “Why should choosing products for their bodies be any different?”

Stuck between fake natural products that smelled awful and lacked efficacy, and stereotypical male aftershave type products laden with chemicals, there seemed to be no option for boys like my sons, or me, buying them..

What was the best bit of advice you were ever given for setting up your own business?

Probably patience.

We are a true start-up, which means we get to do things the way we want, but we are also trying to get the word out about our products without a big marketing budget.

It’s been so great to see the support we’ve seen from mums who fall in love with the products, and watch the growth as they tell their friends. It’s a slow but steady movement. We’re trying to grow organically, but that requires patience.

Why teen boys?

There was nothing on the market for them that was more natural that smelled amazing, worked and was stylish. There were cleaner products for babies, girls, girls+boys and adults.

But we hear from our customers that girls are stealing it from their boyfriends and brothers, especially the award-winning Overnight Clearing Pads(winners of a Pure Global Beauty Award, and Beauty Shortlist award.)

Why clean and vegan?

Not enough parents look at what lurks inside their teen’s personal care products. The glittery, brightly coloured make-up products sold on the high street or the aerosol cans of unnaturally scented cologne can contain some of the most hazardous cosmetic ingredients.

We took out that long list of chemicals you see on leading grooming brands made by the big companies and anything that strips, irritates, bothers and otherwise annoys sensitive skin is off-limits.

Teen skin needs calm and natural ingredients, not aggravating chemicals, which can inflame sensitive skin or make acne worse, not to mention the harmful effects they have on their growing bodies.

Crucially, we’re against chemical shortcuts. The active ingredients in our products are inspired by nature and are vegan, but also have a real reason for being there. They balance, fight bacteria or soothe sensitive skin or acne. Nature is as skilled as any laboratory for their grooming maintenance and just all-round smelling good.

Guys don’t need to put unnecessary chemicals on their skin to look good so we only use authentic ingredients in our skincare that really work for what guys want and need.

What are the highs and lows of running a clean beauty business?

The highs are hearing feedback from our customers, both guys and their mums. It’s also cool being one of the first clean beauty brands that are helping Gen Z guys. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences and to the media about this demographic which has been fun.

We’ve also seen our retailers increase this year and are excited about having Free People in the US and Liberty here in the UK stock our products, with more retailers coming this year. Being included in the American Express “Thriving in the Era of Sustainability” Innovation Village was also a high.

As far as the “lows”- it goes back to our marketing. Our challenge is that our end purchaser is most often the mother of a teen guy (although with our big retailers such as ASOS, we see guys in there 20’s and 30’s buying our products regularly) It’s a constant battle to strike the right balance of marketing to the teen guy and the mum at the same time.

What does the term ‘clean beauty’ mean to you and how is the beauty industry changing?

It’s about eliminating the really toxic stuff, but not at the expense of getting really get results for issues such as acne and body odour. Thankfully, these can be found in nature.

At 31st State we believe that safety, exceptional ingredients and great design can co-exist.

Clean, green and natural beauty options are growing like gangbusters right now across all demographics but interestingly until the last year there really was nothing on the market for young men 14-24, members of Gen Z. Bigger beauty brands are taking note and trying to figure out how to innovate to keep up with the indie beauty brands.

It’s not a trend — it’s never going to go away. Just like the healthier food movement, once you know about healthier ingredients, you can’t un-know it. Once people find something that’s healthier and works for them, very few go back. It’s not just a trend – it’s a powerful new movement.

Where are your 3 favourite Glowcations?

Good Life I like their Chelsea and Belgravia Glowcations.
Juice Baby  for their best acai bowls.
• Granger

What are your top 4 clean beauty items for travelling?

-31st State Overnight Clearing Pads for long haul (of course!)
Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream
– Mavis Whitening Mint Toothpaste
– Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz Toner

The 31st State Overnight Clearing Pads are a favourite of everyone in my house – not just the boys and are great for travelling.

We call them the “boyfriend jeans” of our product line because everyone loves them! I use them every night. It’s the quickest way to clean your face, and is the perfect product for on-the-go.

How would you explain how you use clean ingredients to deal with teen hormones?

Hormone disrupting chemicals are the main concern with products marketed to teens and they are rampant in conventional products and have links to hormonal disruption, which can have lasting health effects for teens.

Research shows that commonly used endocrine disruptors, like phthalates, BPA, and pesticides, can cause irregular cycles of puberty in children and teens, causing early onset puberty in girls, delayed puberty in boys, future reproductive issues in boys such as infertility and testicular cancer. There is also a connection between weight gain and obesity with regular exposure to these chemicals.


What are your top 5 things that make you glow?

1. TRAVEL: Traveling, especially to Africa. When I am not talking about clean grooming for Gen Z, I am a cofounder of &Three, a boutique safari business. The trips that I get to take throughout Africa in order to plan off the charts safaris for my clients are off the charts!

2. SLEEP: With two businesses, three kids and a husband, sleep definitely makes me glow. I am fanatical about getting in my 8 hours.

3. TENNIS: I love it – it’s social and an amazing workout.

4. YOGA: Key to managing stress and keeping supple I swear by yoga, especially classes with Vicky Fox at TriYoga. She is an angel. Literally.

5. FUN: I like a good time! I love long meals with family and friends. Nothing better than great food and lots of laughs.

  • you may also like
    Greenberry

    London, Primrose Hill
    Greenberry Café, a touch of Paris in North London
    Deep in the heart of North London’s idyllic Primrose Hill is Greenberry Café. Their passion is great food made with
    Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Founder of 26 Grains

    Meet the Glowgetter
    Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Founder of 26 Grains
    Alex Hely-Hutchinson, 28 is the founder of London’s most delicious and Instagram famous porridge hotspot, 26 Grains. Tucked away in
    Jane, San Francisco, Pacific Heights

    San Francisco, Pacific Heights
    Jane, the best café in San Francisco
    “At Jane, healthy eating means having a salad and a cookie—it’s all about balance.” Jane was founded in 2011 by