“Laguna Beach” first aired 17 years ago, but reality star-turned-entrepreneur Kristin Cavallari is still making headlines. Cavallari, who will make a highly anticipated cameo on the reboot of “The Hills,” and is a successful cookbook author and jewelry designer. Her brand, Uncommon James, launched in 2017 and has close to 1 million followers on Instagram. It’s since expanded, too, with the addition of Little James, a collection of kids’ clothing. Uncommon Beauty is up next, with a tight lineup of five clean skin-care products she counts as daily essentials. It will launch on uncommonbeauty.com and be available at Cavallari’s Uncommon James retail stores in Nashville, Chicago and Dallas.
The lineup includes the Daily Foaming Powder Cleanser, which Cavallari said is like two products in one. “Depending on how much water you mix with it, it can either be a really deep exfoliator or a gentle cleanser,” she said. There’s also The Daily Water Cream, a lightweight gel moisturizer. “You can use this in the middle of the winter or the middle of the summer. Because I’m prone to breakouts, I’ve always been really wary of moisturizers; I was scared to put them on my face. But this I can load on and it never clogs my pores.”
There’s an eye cream, the Triple Effect Eye Cream. Cavallari’s tip: “At night, I’ll load on a thick layer and just let it bake while I brush my teeth, put on my pajamas and do everything else. And then right before I go to bed, I’ll finish rubbing it in.” In addition, there’s her favorite product in the collection, the Pineapple Peptide Nectar. “We call it a nectar rather than a serum, because in order to achieve that serum consistency, you have to add filler ingredients, which we didn’t want to do.” The product, she said, is “anti-aging, brightening, hydrating — it’s really everything that you would want in a serum.” And finally, the Mango Lip Balm, which Cavallari calls a “high-end staple.”
We spoke to Cavallari a few days before her official May 13 foray into beauty.
Why launch a skin-care brand?
“One of the No. 1 questions that I’ve always gotten has been, ‘What is your skin-care routine?’ So about a year ago, I decided to send in the products I was using at the time, to our now lab, to test them and just see what’s going on. How effective are they? And what came back was pretty alarming. I was using high-end products that I thought were relatively clean, and it came back that, in fact, they’re not clean at all. They had all these filler ingredients. I felt like there was really a need for a skin-care line that is, in fact, clean while still being effective. So we decided to launch Uncommon Beauty.”
You already have Uncommon James, why did you want to start another business? Are they related?
“Skin has always been important to me, because I’ve always been prone to breakouts, since high school. And so it’s always been top of mind. I’m a pretty no-fuss girl when it comes to my day-to-day routine. Saturday is going to the farmers’ market and running around with my kids. I don’t wear makeup — all I do is put mascara on, and I fill in my brows. But I want to be able to have my skin be clear and glowing, so that I have that confidence to go out into the world without putting makeup on. I also feel like I’m going to do everything I can to not get Botox or fillers or do any of that stuff…I mean, never say never. But that’s my goal. So I believe in taking care of your skin and starting at a young age.
Skin is also a nice complement to the jewelry. Earrings and necklaces draw attention to the face, so we want it to be synergistic.”
Who did you create these products for?
“I get questions about my skin from fans I meet and on social media, and even through Uncommon James’ customer service and social media. [It’s for] people that have either grown up with me and have followed me for a long time, or maybe have just discovered me in the last few years. And…I guess they’ve taken a liking to my skin?
But, with my cookbooks, people know that I live a very natural lifestyle, and I eat very clean. And so, for me to do a clean skin-care line — I don’t think it’s surprising to a lot of people. I hope that people do look to me as a guide or a source that they can trust, because my team and I did the legwork. We went with the strictest list [of ingredients to omit] on the market. And I hope that they have peace of mind when they use these products, knowing that they’re doing a good thing for their skin.”
Clean beauty has become a somewhat controversial term. How do you define it?
“That was something that really alarmed me, in the beginning — that you can, in fact, say you’re clean and, really, you’re not at all — at least not according to my standards. Of course, we stay away from petroleum, parabens — some of these things were no brainers for us. It was interesting working with our lab — the eye cream, for example, had the most revisions. The product I was used to was really thick, and I kept saying, ‘No, I want it thicker.’ Finally, we got to a really great place, but my lab did say, ‘We can’t do that. If you want it to be clean, you have to choose one or the other, because it’s all of these additives that make it thick.’ “
Do you consider yourself to be a clean beauty expert now?
“It’s so important to work with a lab that will handhold you the entire process. I didn’t know what I was doing — I still don’t, really; I’m looking to them for the expertise. I know what products I like. And I know what ingredients I think are really interesting and cool. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones who say, ‘OK, well, this reacts with this, and this works better with this.’ Our lab is amazing. They came to us with some of these really interesting ingredients that we use, like the Australian Kakadu plum. I didn’t even know what that was.”
What did you learn that surprised you during the process of creating the collection?
“One thing that I find the most fascinating is that, in order to be considered cruelty-free, you have to be vegan. So we can’t be, because three of our five products aren’t vegan: Our eye cream, lip balm, and face wash are not vegan. We don’t test on animals. No animals were harmed in this process. However, we can’t say we’re cruelty-free. To me, that is cruelty-free. And then you could have a company that’s vegan that tests on animals, but they can say they’re cruelty-free. So there are all of these things that don’t make sense, which is very much like our food. There are just a lot of loopholes for these companies, and it doesn’t make sense. And I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s fair. It’s just been eye-opening.”