Regardless of category, sometimes “clean” doesn’t always work the way we expect the alternatives to work. That’s what prompted co-founders Melanie Petschke and Kelly Kreusler to launch clean beauty brand Crunchi in 2016.
“Crunchi has three key unique differentiators from other clean beauty brands on the market: unprecedented standards of safety, high performance, and durability,” Petschke, who is a certified nurse practitioner, tells me. It was the last decade of studying emerging research on the potential health implications of exposure to environmental toxins that helped fuel Petschke’s desire to create a healthier beauty brand. “I think quality nutrition, exercise, and other proactive preventative behaviors are important for good health, but ultimately living a lifestyle that reduces the cumulative toxic load on the body is a essential.”
The two women met after moving to the same area with children of the same age and both pregnant with their second child.
“We had a lot in common, including we were both at a very similar stage of life trying to navigate this difficult phase and make the right choices for our health as well as our growing families,” Kreusler shares. . “During this process, we both found that many things were a fairly easy transition to cleaner, toxin-free options (e.g., organic food, cleaning products, retardant-free pajamas and mattresses). of flame). However, the one category in which we both struggled to find a safer alternative was cosmetics. The safer options available simply did not work. The pair saw a huge void in the market and were determined to create a workable solution. “We decided to take up the challenge of creating safer cosmetics that could compete with conventional products in the market. We were convinced it could be done.
Crunchi has a rigorous screening process before any ingredients are allowed in their products. “The entire Crunchi line is toxin-free, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and made with a preference for certified organic ingredients,” says Petschke. “Currently, all cosmetic and skincare products are made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients, and independent third-party lab testing is performed regularly as an added level of safety and control. to ensure the safety and integrity of ingredients and products.”
Although Crunchi has a list of banned ingredients, the challenge is that there are hundreds of thousands of ingredients that companies are legally allowed to use that the brand won’t internally approve. “It’s impossible to list them all,” continues Petschke. “On our list, we try to label the heavy hitters that are most often seen in conventional products that have some kind of research into their harmful effects, whether it’s evidence of endocrine disruption (hormone disruption) or carcinogenic properties (carcinogenic link) . We challenge big conventional cosmetics companies that use ingredients we would never allow in our products. It’s a long process, but with each product release, it’s more rewarding.
The duo believe that consumer education is crucial for their brand and for the consumers who support their products. “Many people aren’t aware of the potential health implications of what they put on their bodies,” says Petschke. “One of the benefits we have is our community of advocates who educate women across the country on our mission for clean beauty while offering Crunchi as a solution. One of our most significant accomplishments as a brand is the positive ripple effect this education is having on our customers’ health now, and for generations to come, as we see customer after customer detox their makeup bags.
“In addition to our Advocate program, we have several programs launched this year for loyal customers who want to join us in the clean beauty movement,” adds Kreusler. “We all share a love of clean, high-performance beauty products. It’s hard to keep that to yourself and it’s one of our many ways to say thank you for spreading the word! Stay tuned for more details on these programs that will be launched this spring.
With so many brands hammering the word “clean,” I wanted to know what the pair thought was the most important thing for consumers to know.
“Beware of greenwashers! The more popular clean beauty becomes, the more companies try to get on the clean and green bandwagon and fall short of companies like Crunchi, who do it well,” Petschke responds. “Greenwashing is often difficult to spot, which makes it even more frustrating for consumers. Sensitive marketing and misleading claims are intentionally designed to mislead consumers into believing that a product is clean. For example, products with standalone packaging claims like “vegan” or “paraben-free” often still contain a host of ingredients of concern such as hormone disruptors and cancer-linked ingredients. Unfortunately, nothing prevents greenwashing from occurring. Transparency and brand disclosure beyond hyped marketing claims are key to finding a brand you can trust.
In addition to being a clean and successful beauty brand, Crunchi also plays a leadership role in sustainability. “We are committed to minimizing the use of plastic and waste in general. One hundred percent of our primary packaging is plastic-free and uses eco-friendly alternatives such as glass, cardboard and plant-based materials,” Petschke tells me. “Crunchi is proud to partner with Cleanhub to not only offset the minimal plastic used in our packaging, but also to be positive plastic compensating for more than we use. We look forward to continuing to be part of the solution to the global plastic problem. Personally, I love the brand’s clean yet classic packaging, especially the glass tubes that the lip glosses are housed in, which enhances the look and experience.
As a former makeup artist, I also love Crunchi’s vegan makeup brushes, which are usually made from squirrel, badger, goat, sable, or other types of animal hair. All of the brand’s brushes are 100% vegan, including the glue to build them, and made with high quality synthetic spun bristles.
“Synthetic fibers are finely extruded to mimic natural hair. Additionally, the tip of each bristle is razor cut to maximize softness,” says Petschke. “The brushes are extremely versatile and durable. Beyond vegan status, synthetic bristles are not as porous as natural animal hair brushes and therefore absorb less product during application, reducing waste and resulting in longer lasting cosmetics. In addition, the handles of the brushes are made of 100% recycled aluminum.
Crunchi offers both cosmetics and skincare. “Although we initially launched with color cosmetics, our skincare range quickly gained popularity after launch. Similar to our color cosmetics priorities, we are focused on performance while maintaining our strict ingredient standards,” Petschke tells me. “Our skincare products are designed to contain maximum levels of anti-aging ingredients as well as skin-beneficial organic and plant-derived nourishing ingredients, that act in synergy to demonstrate short and long-term results.”
I’ve been a die-hard Jane Iredale fan for over 20 years so I can be a little reluctant to try new cosmetic brands as I’m a firm believer that if it ain’t broke there’s no need to fix it . But I must say that I am really impressed with the Crunchi product line. A few of my favorites are the brand’s lip glosses, eye shadows, mascara and eye cream.
When I ask the pair what’s going on with new products, Petschke replies, “We have a new brow pencil product called Nutribrow™ that will be launching, as well as a new format lip series called Everluxe. ™ Lip Pencils. The next addition to our skincare line is set to release towards the end of summer and we’re confident it will quickly become a bestseller based on the amazing feedback we’ve received so far. here. We also have a busy lineup for the rest of 2022, so be sure to stay tuned!”