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Why Jessica Alba Thinks You’re Doing Makeup Wrong

With her new line of eco-friendly makeup hitting shelves, the actress explains why she’s passionate about improving women’s products.

Why Jessica Alba Thinks You’re Doing Makeup Wrong
Jessica Alba Cofounder and Chief Creative Officer, The Honest Company [Photo: Adam Amengual]

First Jessica Alba wanted to protect your baby from harmful chemicals. Then she wanted to safeguard your home. Now the cofounder of eco-friendly brand the Honest Company is aiming to save your face. With Honest Beauty—set to launch this month—Alba is expanding into makeup, a category she thinks could use help. “People watch their diet, they buy organic cotton clothes,” she says. “But when it comes to their beauty routine, it’s completely compromised, from the neck up.”

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It’s been only three years since Alba and partner Christopher Gavigan launched Honest (Alba was one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2012). But their business has been a quick success: Revenue is projected to hit $250 million this year (up from $150 million in 2014), and Honest is valued at $1 billion. With the makeup line, the company is poised to grow even faster. “Beauty has been a passion project of mine,” says the actress. “With years of experience in the makeup chair, I’ve seen how you can transform yourself and your mood. But I felt like there wasn’t [makeup] that is going to work but also be safe.”

To create the new line, Honest hired a team of in-house chemists, who avoided more than 1,400 chemicals. They haven’t been able to make everything work (nail polish remains problematic), but the company is just getting started. “We’re going to make mistakes,” says Alba. “You have to pivot quickly and really listen to consumers. We have such a vocal community, and they were yelling at us for three years to launch beauty. They really are excited and hungry for this type of product.”

Best Development Since 2012

“The transition to image-based communication. I love that apps have made creativity and storytelling so much more accessible. It’s given me a ton of inspiration and helped me connect with so many people.”

Advice She Would Give Herself If She Could Go Back To 2012

“Take the time to do things right, and don’t get caught up in being the first to market—just be the best at what you do. Hopefully I’ll listen to myself!”

What’s Next

An Honest Beauty pop-up store in L.A. “We really want to learn from that experience,” she says. “Women want to see and smell the products. Hopefully we’ll be able to roll out brick-and-mortar branded stores from our learnings.”

How She Stays Productive

“Exercise is actually a great productivity tool for me. Productivity is more than just tackling the work that’s in front of you. It’s ensuring that you’re fueled and inspired to get things done the best they possibly can be.”

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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America" where he was the social media producer.

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