Remembering all the way back to 2008 might be mind-bending, but give it a shot. American liberals were still high off the landmark victory of then-President-elect Barack Obama; the Twilight Saga was just getting underway; and two pop upstarts named Katy Perry and Taylor Swift were just starting to climb the charts. Here’s another time stamp that is similarly hard to process with the hindsight of a decade: In 2008, green beauty was still considered fringe.
“No retail store was telling the story of this new generation of brands,” Romain Gaillard recalls of the climate 10 years ago when he first had the idea to open a store dedicated to clean lines such as Vapour Organic Beauty, RMS Beauty, and Tata Harper. In 2010, The Detox Market was born in Los Angeles with a simple concept in mind: to convince people that, according to Gaillard, “health and beauty should be considered the same thing.”
A French-born tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, Gaillard had fresh cold-pressed juices on site; there was also a refrigerator—a refrigerator!—to keep preservative-free products from Valerie Grandury’s nascent brand Odacité fresh (a notion that seemed wildly outlandish at the time, especially for what was meant to be a two-month pop-up on Abbot Kinney Boulevard). But as the green beauty business exploded into a billion-dollar industry, so did interest in Gaillard’s still-novel concept. He opened two additional stores in L.A., followed by a location in San Francisco, and three more across Canada. In 2012, he came to New York to scout potential spaces for a northeast flagship but balked. “We weren’t ready,” he admits. It would be four more years before he would revisit Manhattan and stumble upon a two-level, 2,000-square-foot space in Nolita—with a roof deck—that sufficiently satisfied his desire to create “the destination for green beauty,” not just in the U.S., but in the world.
This Mecca for natural product-seekers designed by Toronto-based Suulin Architects officially opened its doors this week, with a retail floor showcasing a tightly edited curation of brands, including Nazan Schnapp, a small-batch Swiss skin-care line exclusive to The Detox Market; a second floor dedicated to workshops and aesthetician residencies; and decorative plants with purpose (each live botanical in the space both detoxifies the air and represents the active ingredients in the bottles on the shelves, from calming lavender to energizing ginger).
Asked whether he’s concerned about the proliferation of natural beauty emporiums that now blanket the city, from Clean Market uptown to Credo and CAP Beauty, which span Manhattan’s downtown area, Gaillard appears unfazed. “We’re all about the community,” he says, alluding to a high-tides-raise-all-ships mentality. “But,” he adds, “Our space . . . you can’t compare,”—an honest assessment if the already impressive foot traffic in and out of the brick building at the corner of Houston and Elizabeth Streets is any indication. Here, Gaillard shares his best clean beauty buys for fall.
“Odacité’s founder, Valerie Grandury, created this formula for her mother many years ago. It is named after a beautiful town in the southwest of France and made of the most amazing blend of oils. Super-hydrating and fast-absorbing, I use it all year long—during the summer, directly on my skin; and during winter, I use it as a booster added to my day cream. The scent is also absolutely unique, with high notes coming from wild carrot seed oil. It’s a must-have—and you can travel with it!”
“MV founder, Sharon McGlinchey, has been formulating for many years, and she is very particular about ingredients. Her rose Protective Moisturizer is the best moisturizer when you have dry skin. It is extraordinarily rich and protective.”
“Rahua is a brand that makes it very easy for people to switch to clean hair care. Since founders Anna and Fabian launched the company many years ago, they’ve come up with many new formulas—for volume, for color-treated hair, et cetera. But I am still in love with the Classic formula. My entire family uses it, and even my son loves the palo santo scent.”
“This is the best mist to travel with. You can use it before a moisturizer or a serum, or just at any time of the day! It is super-versatile and the scent is divine.”
“Over the years, we have tried many sunscreens for the store, and Suntegrity is one of my go-tos. It penetrates fast, which is usually the main problem with mineral versus chemical sunblocks, and the scent is very citrusy with tangerine, orange, and grapefruit.”
“May’s creations are so unique, and I love the fact that you can use them many different ways. This is a very rich and elaborate formula, a true sensorial experience. I use it as a cleanser but also on my hair before taking a shower.”
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