I have a very special article for you today. I recently sat down with CEO and founder Marcella Cacci of One Ocean Beauty, a clean, clinically-proven and sustainable skincare brand. Of course we chatted all things clean beauty, but also what inspired their tightly-edited product line, and what responsibility companies now have to customer wellness. One Ocean Beauty is the epitome of everything that’s modern in beauty right now; from its emphasis on the science of formulation, to its emphasis on ingredients, customer transparency, and more data-driven product development. Clinical trials support all their product claims, and marine actives are utilized for targeted skin results.
But it’s their model for giving back that truly makes them unique and game-changing in the vast…well…ocean of beauty industry players.
Why did you start One Ocean Beauty? What opportunities did you see in the market?
I really saw that there was an opening in the clean and clinical. We saw a lot of brands that were clean on one end of the spectrum, but were lacking high-level, clinically-proven active ingredients that could really enact change. On other side of the spectrum there were brands that had these amazing actives but were “dirty.” They weren’t following Credo’s Dirty List, for instance. Their products contained parabens, sulfates, phthalates, plus a lot of ingredients that we know to be carcinogenic and to be hormone disruptors.
[In the U.S.] there’s no regulation or oversight in the beauty and personal care industries in terms of ingredients. There are 1400 ingredients banned in the EU [while the U.S. has only banned 30.] It’s great that companies like Credo, Detox Market & BeautyCounter have said, hey this isn’t right. We should rethink how these products are made and be more transparent about what goes into them. So that really inspired my quest to find out what was happening in clean skincare. But I really felt something was still missing. So this was the first reason.
The second reason was multi-tasking products. I wanted to create a system that was easy-to-use, with not so many products that it would be confusing to use, like having six different serums or five different eye creams. We wanted to create a simple system that was clean, effective, & multi-tasking.
What is it about the ocean specifically that inspired the brand?
I grew up near the ocean [Cape May, New Jersey], and it always brought me a lot of joy, love and peace. Then I read The Blue Mind by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols. He explains that the ocean changes your psychology; we’re calmer, and more peaceful. But we also change physiologically; cortisone levels drop, cell structure changes – ocean is medicine. So when I read that I thought, there’s something really here. Plus I wanted to create awareness around the plight of the oceans. I thought if I could run a successful company, I could do that and give something back.
I came across this motto on your website – ‘Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.’ What does that refer to exactly?
The ‘look good’ piece is about proving that you could create products that were both high-performance and clean. There were very few companies in the market three years ago [when the brand was being created] that did both. Plus there were no other brands out there using marine ingredients in a modern, scientific way, using biotechnology.
The ‘feel good’ piece is about creating a company and its products in a modern way through sustainable production and packaging. All of our packaging is 100% recyclable, both inner and outer. We wanted to show that you could create an eco-product that looks, feels and performs just as good as any other, with ingredients that are good for you and the environment.
The ‘do good’ piece is our partnership with Oceana that I wanted from the very beginning. [Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean preservation.]
Yes, tell me more about that because the brand has taken a very strong, unprecedented position on the whole concept of giving back.
Most companies either donate a percentage of sales or a percentage of profits. But what if a company shows no profit for a period of time? And some companies who donate a percentage of sales have caveats, like ‘up to this amount, after that amount.’ The problem there is the customer still thinks they’re contributing when they buy. Since we came at this brand from a consumer headset, we didn’t think that was transparent enough so we took a different approach.
We built in an yearly operational or fixed cost of $250,000 [that is then donated to Oceana], despite showing no profit. We wanted to tell our customers – every time you buy a product from us, you’re helping the oceans. We also wanted to push the ‘big guys’ to donate more, and send a message to the industry.
What’s your favorite product from the line and why?
My favorite product is the Revitalizing Sea Serum. It’s packed with three marine ingredients & one peptide. We call it the “super serum.” You will see a real difference in wrinkle depth in just three weeks. I stopped using it for a while because I got really busy around here, and I definitely saw a difference. Within two weeks of using it again my skin had improved.
What can we expect to see from One Ocean Beauty in the future? More skincare? Cosmetics?
We’ll likely not go into color [makeup]. We launched with five [skincare] products to start, which is all I use with the exception of an outside exfoliator every now and then. But we’re working on our own [exfoliator] for November with coconut shells & algae.
We recently launched body products a few months ago, with the Ultra Marine Cellulite Night Cream and the Bioactive Body Sculpting Marine Cream [for day]. They’re not all-over creams, they’re targeted. Net-A-Porter has reordered them three times – they’re selling unbelievably well.
We have a mini travel kit of our whole system that launched in August, and that was a response to customer requests.
The Blue Light Protection + Hydration Mist just launched and it’s a 3-in-1. It’s got anti-bluelight for creating a protective shield against screens. It also has anti-pollution peptides that protect the good bacteria on your face against pollutants, and there’s also celtic kelp that’s moisturizing.
We’re working on sun care for next year, which is in testing now.
We will bring out products that are interesting and that we see there’s a need for in the market. We have to want them as consumers.
Check out the review I wrote on their Replenishing Deep Sea Moisturizer from earlier in the summer.