What do wine making, beautiful artwork, and natural skincare have in common? Cruelty-free and vegan personal care line, CREO, has managed to blend the three. We found out how in an interview with co-founder and chief chemist, Karl Wright.
How many of you shop by label appeal? You know, buying a product because it looks pretty or would match your bathroom? We are all guilty of this, but it is also important to make sure the products you purchase are good for you and work the way you want them to.
That’s where CREO comes in. These products obviously offer major aesthetic appeal with beautiful artist-created labels. Even better, the brand uses healthy ingredients to create the hand-crafted skin and hair care products. As for the wine making? You’ll just have to read the interview.
An Interview With CREO Co-Founder and Chief Chemist, Karl Wright
Liz Thompson: You call yourself a “consulting winemaker”. How did wine lead you to natural hair and skincare?
Karl Wright: I was working in the Napa Valley when some friends I grew up with were taking the pressed grapes and harvesting the seeds to make oil, and composting the skins. We formulated a skincare line which used the cold pressed grape seed oil and an antioxidant grape seed extract that I made from the seeds, as well. Then I got involved in a project where we patented the extraction and use of germinated seed extracts.
A lot of the protein chemistry and antioxidant chemistry crosses over from winemaking to personal care. This also involves molecular interactions, free radical oxidation, polyphenols / antioxidant effects and enzyme chemistry.
Formulating skincare products has also made me a better winemaker.
LT: What is your ingredient commitment?
KW: We are committed to using plant-derived, cruelty-free ingredients and to provide products that are designed to make hair look better through true hair health without the use of silicones or plastics, [which are] designed to produce a cosmetic effect without enhancing the overall health of the hair.
(Note: CREO also makes products for face and body.)
LT: Who are your products designed for?
KW: Our products are designed for discerning individuals, primarily women, who are ecologically sensitive but also demand a product that provides salon professional grade performance.
LT: Where did you get the idea to blend art with personal care?
KW: We started with the idea that perhaps a shampoo bottle could be something more than just a clinical looking piece of plastic. So much of the packaging nowadays has a “sameness” to it and we truly feel that the hand crafted nature of the CREO product (all of our products are produced by hand, not in a giant factory) deserved a more hand touched look. In addition, we felt that the meaning of the brand name, “CREO”, should play into a more creative approach. CREO finds its roots in Latin and means “to create or to make”. When we started to brainstorm with a local artist, it was actually she who first posed the question, “what if we put an actual painting on the bottle?” Our hope is that in time we will be able to use CREO as a vehicle for bringing a wide variety of artists to the public eye and to devote a portion of the proceeds toward art oriented non-profits.
LT: How do you choose the artists you collaborate with?
KW: We do it the old fashioned way – we talk to people. Our approach is very simple. We mock up labels and go out into the world and gather reactions. What we’re looking for is a smile, an immediate gut reaction that will often be accompanied by an outreached hand and an observable desire to interact with the bottle. If we don’t see that, we keep looking. If we do see it, we know that we have that magical “it factor” to lend an additional element of delight for the consumer.
LT: What is one healthy tip you can offer our readers?
KW: Don’t be fooled by silicone. Although it is not inherently bad, it can deceive you into thinking that something meaningful is happening when it is not. Although it can have a somewhat beneficial effect of holding moisture in longer, silicone mostly works to fill in rough hair surfaces, making them appear smooth. While this isn’t inherently bad, it is temporary. So, our one piece of advice would be “pursue truly healthy hair with a smooth outer surface”. Once that is attained, all of the products designed for temporary cosmetic improvement will usually be completely unnecessary.
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Image courtesy CREO