When The Stell launched, an e-commerce marketplace for natural beauty and skincare products, it was among a select few in the business of sustainable beauty. The industry has since then reached peak over-saturation, but it's the brand's initial authentic voice on the matter that has resonated through the noise.
Co-founder and creative director, Carol Hu, has played a major role in creating a carefully curated brand; one in which clean and luxurious products don't need to be independent of one another.
With a commitment to ingredients that are as good to the earth as they are to your skin, the brand's mission is undeniably rooted in sustainability and is inspiring countless others to move in the same direction.
We spoke to Hu about the importance of such a mission and the products she swears by. Read on for the full interview.
can you speak on the philosophy and inspiration behind the stell?
We try to bring together a collection of products that are not only created with clean formulas in mind, but also ones that are beautifully designed. The beauty industry has never been strictly about utility -- it's about romance and products that tell a story.
But for so many years, the beauty industry has been selling products that are made with harmful ingredients -- endocrine disruptors and others that cause health and skin issues. At the time when we started The Stell, there weren't as many chic, clean brands, but we were determined to find them and share them. Now, after a few years, the clean beauty industry has grown tremendously, allowing us to cherry pick brands.
how do you select the brands that you carry?
We find brands through social media, submissions, and through friends. We then go through a testing phase: we consider the brand's aesthetic, ingredients, effectiveness, and finally, whether it will resonate with our customer base.
who are some of your current beauty icons?
Classic, effortless beauties like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.
why do you feel that sustainability within the beauty industry is so important?
The beauty industry creates so much waste. Every woman has cabinets filled with products that are unlikely to be recycled, that are created with ingredients harmful to the environment. We want to carry and promote brands that are conscious of their supply chain. Independent, local brands have more control over this and create in small batches.
any advice for those that are trying to formulate a skincare routine and don't know where to start?
Start and stick with the basics: face wash, toner, and moisturizer. Then you can add in a serum or play around with a facial roller and figure out what works best for you.
what are some of your favorite skincare products right now?
I really get excited about every new brand we carry! I'm very into the new brands we're testing, but I'll leave that to be a surprise. I'm also obsessed with an upcoming product from our second collaboration with Soul Sunday. Besides that, all year long I use Olio E Osso Balm No. 7, every Linné product, Grown Alchemist body cream, Palermo Body's Facial Mist, and Clary Collection's All-Purpose Balm, just to name a few.
how would you describe your beauty routine?
It's pretty simple. I'm very low maintenance. I wash my face once a day usually at night with Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser and use plain water in the morning. Then I spritz my face and hair with a mist -- right now I'm using Linné Refresh. After that, I'll massage a serum all over my face and neck, roll our Rose Quartz Facial Roller on the forehead, cheekbones, and neck, and apply Indie Lee Squalane Facial Cream.
For makeup, I use Honest Beauty mascara, RMS concealer and powder, Noto Ono Ono on my eyelids, Kosäs Velvet Melon mixed with 8th Muse on my cheeks and highlighter everywhere.