When it comes to what we put into our bodies, most of us know to check (and double-check) any given product’s ingredients list. With what we put on ourselves, though, it’s still pretty easy to assume skincare products just need all those chemicals you can’t pronounce. Adina Grigore is hoping to change that.
As part of a growing community of Brooklyn-based skincare and beauty companies that aren’t beholden to industry giants, Grigore has carved out a special niche for S.W. Basics (an abbreviation taken from her company’s first iteration as Sprout Wellness), with a deceptively simple concept: none of her line’s products will ever have more than five ingredients. (If that doesn’t immediately blow you away, grab the nearest tube of just about any product on the market and take a look at the list on the back.)
Seeing her at work in her Greenpoint kitchen, it’s clear just how much trial and error goes into such a simple-sounding concept. Carefully melting down chips of cocoa butter as part of her research for part of a forthcoming hand and body cream, Grigore laughed. “It’s funny, there’s so much DIY stuff online that if you try to make it at home, it’s a disaster,” she says. “But now I can even be on Pinterest and say, ‘Oh, that’s a beautiful recipe, but I already know those two ingredients won’t work together, so then I can try to tweak it, and tweak, and tweak…”
For someone who started this off as a side project in her kitchen, Grigore has an eye on the long game. The products are all designed to be user-friendly (“Nothing where the instructions require you to already be sort of a believer,” she says), and having recently moved production out of her apartment and to a larger manufacturer, she’s hoping to do one better. “One of my huge dreams for the brand is to build a Brooklyn manufacturer, which does not exist… I think a collaborative space could really give [Brooklyn beauty companies] a shot, whereas now we’re just racing individually side by side. We’re all super friendly and give each other tips, but you can’t go, ‘Let’s produce 10,000 units at the same time and really go after shelf space right next to L’Oreal and Estee Lauder.” Taking her newest concoction off the stove, she adds, “I love handcrafting my stuff, but I would prefer to be a big company.”
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.
Photo by Austin McAllister