By Tiffany Paige of Green With Tiffany, Contributing Editor
Jean Seo opened her clean beauty boutique, Évolué (French for “Evolved”), back in 2010. Jean was a pioneer on the forefront in this space. Soon after, she launched her own skincare line under the same name. “Yes, I opened the first one in the US, the first green beauty store and then there's Imelda with Content Beauty, that opened the first one in the UK and Erika of Miming Mart was the one in Hong Kong. There are a few women around the world that really were pioneers. Non-toxic – at that time it was called green beauty – it's gone to organic to natural and now it's clean beauty, but I thought taking toxins out of women's regimens was something that I actually feel good about doing.”
Earning her Masters in Library Science, Jean used her skillset to do in-depth research for the best ingredients. As her client base grew, Jean started to ask, “Why should clean, good quality, organic ingredients, only be available to people who can afford it? I think that was 2012, when I started formulating the affordable line, Lue."
So now there’s something for everyone, both the Evolue skincare line as well as the sister Lue line. You might even find yourself using products from each, depending on your needs.
“Before we created chemicals, and I say, “create” because actually everything was created naturally before that. For example, my exfoliant is an old French recipe with just three ingredients: oat flour, milk powder, and chalk, like magnesium carbonate. So it doesn't clump, and it actually is the best gentle, non-abrasive exfoliant there is and the formula has been around for hundreds of years. We just have to go back to it. What’s old is new again. We had it right the first go-round, using high quality, truly natural ingredients to make handcrafted skincare that works.”
Jean also has a Super Oil in her line, that’s what it is and that’s what it’s called, although you wouldn’t believe it was an oil at all, so light and absorbent. “Yeah, it has squalane in it, which is olive-derived. For all the vegans out there, they were like Jean, you need to make a vegan oil and I said ok."
“That's one of those products that I think I created because I love it. I have normal/combination skin. So I'm oily here and dry there, kind of allergic to everything. So I needed something that suits that particular skin type and there wasn't any. There are oils and creams, but there really isn't anything in between. So what's special about the Super Oil is that it goes on like an oil, but it doesn't have that greasiness, none of it. Then feels like a serum, but it has all the ingredients of creams. That was the secret to having the perfect oil, getting very light, very small moleculed oils, like olive squalane, and then I mixed water and other vitamins like vitamin A, K D, E, anything that was oil soluble, and then I even made the vitamin C into oil-soluble form. It has the best oils and then also all the vitamins you need for the skin.”
Evolue is clearly ingredient driven. Jean sets out to find the very best. Some are easier than others to source. She’ll hunt them down in a little village in Switzerland for example, or negotiate for the first cold pressed jojoba oil from an early harvest. The brand that started with hand mixing and hand filling 50 a day in the back of her store wearing masks, gloves and a cosmetics-manufacturing certificate has grown to her own solar powered lab in Arizona now making hundreds of thousands.
Jean has two lines with multiple products in each, but I had to ask whether she has any favorites? Turns out she does and was more than happy to share hers. “The three things I cannot live without…” Jean laughs like a mad scientist. Mad about all the amazing formulas she loves to whip up for herself and us.
“The first one is the resurfacing grains, Erase. That's the one that you put on your face, let it dry, and just slough off. The second one is Clear. It's a spot treatment that I use for mosquito bites, my ingrown hairs and then also the pimple that I get once in a while. You just put it on for 30 seconds and tomorrow morning it'll be gone. It's fantastic. Then the third one is my Reverse Time Serum, which is collagen and elastin. They are the two building blocks of your skin staying firm. If you can think of elastin as the foundation, and then the collagen as the walls. That's how your skin stays firm. I'm Asian so I don't have to worry about wrinkles as much, but I do have to worry about drooping. The hyaluronic acid that I use in it has a small size, like Juvederm, so it actually absorbs and lifts and helps my whole face stay, you know, up more.” Yes, up please! Our skin and our spirit. Another product that contains hyaluronic acid is the Luè Purify hand sanitizer with a light sent of honeysuckle. It’s formulated with organic alcohol and actually moisturizes the hands, which is definitely needed during this time we’ve been using massive amounts of it.
Jean also does her own customer service (her friends think she’s crazy), but “What better way to get to know what your clients’ need.” Her passion runs deep, never settling, never compromising.
When it comes down to it, Evolue's mission is simple: Focus on making high performing skincare with the best ingredients. We couldn't agree more.
Photo Credit: Jean Seo, Evolue
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