Johanna Peet Wants You To Give Plant-based Beauty A Chance
Here's what the skincare connoisseur has to say about the rise of natural beauty, how her range can work for your skin, and the HG product in her line she can't go a day without.
You know how when you were younger you didn’t care what you put on your face? Like, at all. You were too busy spending two hours perfecting your blowout and winged liner to even show your skin any love? We’ll admit, there was a point when our idea of a ‘minimal’ skincare routine was one that didn’t exist. Then we got hit with chronic, not-the-kind-Proactive-can-fix acne and made friends with our derm. Still, aside from the topical treatments she prescribed, we didn’t really pay much attention to what we were putting on our face, much less the ingredients inside the things were were using.
Now that we’re on the other side of twenty-five, we’re getting more and more selective with what goes on our top shelf, and that includes everything from paying attention to the ingredients, to committing to a proper skincare regimen instead of picking up what’s on sale at Duane Reade this week. We now have a motto: no one’s ever complained about taking too good care of their skin, ever. Something else that’s paramount? Using products from brands that actually want us to have beautiful skin. Yeah, they *do* exist, and Joanna Peet, creator of the semi-eponymous brand Peet Rivko, is spearheading the green beauty movement, bringing us all ‘next-level natural’ with her minimal three-product skincare line, AKA The Essentials Kit. And we’re psyched to have gotten the chance to pick her brain – we had so many questions – about what inspired her to take matters into her own hands (#girlboss), and heads up, we really like this woman. Like, really, really.
She couldn’t find what she needed, so she created her own arsenal
“In my early 20s, my skin began to reject the harsh actives and synthetics found in most skincare products. I began studying the labels and ingredients of everything I used, and I was disturbed by what I learned: brands I loved were chocked full of harmful synthetics and toxins linked to everything from endocrine disruption to asthma. Even worse, phrases that were meant to guide consumer safety (like “natural” or “hypoallergenic”) had no real meaning due to lack of industry regulation.
When my best friend swore by a natural face oil that I couldn’t afford (it cost $150 per bottle), I started making my own simple, natural products. Through trial and error, I discovered that not all natural ingredients are created equal. Just like the food you eat, it matters where ingredients are sourced and how they make it to your bathroom shelf. With Peet Rivko, we have created a line of natural skincare products that are ultra-gentle and non-toxic, but also ethically sourced and sustainably produced.”
If you’re wondering if gentle means less effective:
“When it comes to taking care of your skin, I absolutely believe plant-based products work better than conventional products. They can cleanse, hydrate, balance, and exfoliate just as well conventional product, and a product like ours is also free of toxins. When it comes to face oils, for example, there are many on the market that include synthetic ingredients and fillers. For me, there is no comparison to a face oil made from purely cold-pressed, unrefined plant oils. Mother Nature knew what she was doing, and there are so many incredible plant ingredients that are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that deliver results.”
What does ‘natural’ actually mean?
“The word natural itself can be misleading. It’s not regulated by the FDA, and it can be hard to know what it really means. For us, when we say natural, we mean plant-based formulations. My advice is always to try and use as many plant-based products as possible, to avoid the most egregious synthetic chemicals (parabens, sulfates, etc.) and to remember that what you put in your body is just as important – if not more – that what goes on the outside.”
Know this if you have acne-prone skin:
“I would never tell someone with acne-prone skin to exclusively use natural products if their dermatologist prescribed a topical acne meditation, and it’s working for them. However, I would recommend that they use a gentle, plant-based cleanser like ours as the foundation of their skincare routine to avoid further irritating their skin and putting additional chemicals on their body. We have had several customers who love our line because it’s so gentle and it works well with topical acne medication or their retinol creams. For me, it’s all about balance and moderation.”
Her personal commitment to being 100% natural
“I exclusively use natural skincare and body care products. Over the last year, I have also tried to switch over to natural beauty and makeup products. Makeup can be tricky (still looking for good mascara recommendations!), but more and more amazing brands are popping up each year and there are so many more options than there were before. Right now, I’m a big fan of RMS, Kjaer Weis, and ILIA for my makeup essentials.”
You don’t have to have sensitive skin to love Peet Rivko
“Sensitive skin is definitely more prevalent than most people – or most brands – realize. Studies suggest upwards of 60% of women report having sensitive skin. That said, what I love about our line is that even though it’s designed for the most sensitive of skin, it’s a great foundational product for all skin types. Our core philosophy is that everyone benefits from using gentle, calming products free of irritants or harsh ingredients – even if you skin can handle more mainstream products or harsher ingredients.”
Her candid thoughts on starting + growing a business
“One of the most challenging parts of building a values-driven brand is staying true to your vision even when it can be much easier, or frankly cheaper, to compromise. It took us almost two years to formulate our products because we knew we wanted to create a truly unique product that was safe for sensitive skin, clean, non-toxic, and also ethically sourced. At times, you wonder if the consumer even notices all the effort you put into every decision – using glass bottles, sourcing components locally, manufacturing in the U.S., etc., but we also know that to a certain extent, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the kind of brand and company you want to put out to the world. Peet Rivko is a reflection of my own personal values, but also a vision of what a modern beauty company can be.”
Why she went cruelty-free and made in America
“Not testing on animals was a no-brainer. It’s unnecessary from a product development standpoint and also 100% against our values as a company. Manufacturing in the US is a more challenging road to take. I knew I wanted to contribute to local economies and do our small part to support manufacturing at home. Not only did we want to make our formulations in the US, but we have also sourced as many of our components and raw materials as possible in the US. For example, our labels are made in New York, and the boxes that hold each product are made in Brooklyn by a family-owned and operated business that’s a 10-minute walk from my apartment.”
She struggles balancing it all, just like the rest of us
“We have a small team and on any given day, I’m trying to juggle a million different things – marketing, product development, accounting – you name it. One of the most challenging parts for me is finding time for self-care amidst the endless list of to-dos. I am so passionate about building Peet Rivko, but I also know that the business will only be a success if I’m taking care of myself – making time for exercise, meditation, friends, travel, etc.”
The holy grail product she would never give up
– As told to GOCO.
Plant-based | 100% non-toxic, natural, free of harsh actives, fragrance, essential oils, nut oils, limonene, and floral extracts
Eco-friendly | Recyclable and biodegradable packaging
Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan, made and manufactured in Southern California
Our top pick | Balancing Face Oil
Price Range | $30 – $80
Guys, be on the lookout for Preet Rivko’s body oil that will be launching this Spring. But don’t worry too much; we’ll remind you. So if you’re not on board already, we suggest that you hit *subscribe*. Also, if anyone has a natural mascara recommendation for Johanna, please drop it in the comments! Otherwise, if you tried anything from her beautiful line, let us know.