Meet Gabriel De Santino – Green Beauty Industry Pioneer
Gabriel De Santino is the founder and CEO of Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc., a global natural beauty empire whose brands include Gabriel, Zuzu Luxe, and Clean Kids Naturally.
Born from Latin descent and raised off the coast of Mexico, Gabriel at an early age was naturally drawn to the coastal life and heavily influenced by his grandmother’s holistic practices. Playing freely in the water and strolling the beaches, he developed a strong connection to the ocean and saw a greater purpose for its natural healing properties- something young boys don’t often take notice of. Even then he was a thought leader and as a wide-eyed adolescent, sought after the opportunity and experience he’d need to become a successful entrepreneur.
At the age of 18, Gabriel moved to the Seattle, Washington area where he kept the water close and the sky the limit. He knew the Pacific Northwest had a rising fashion and beauty scene and joined the movement at a local beauty counter. It was there that Gabriel fell in love with makeup, but was also inspired to look past the made-up face. He soon secured a position at a salon & spa to learn more about the industry and how he may change it. After attending aesthetician school, he quickly discovered he wanted to first correct the skin before covering it up, a mantra he still practices today. As an aesthetician, he struggled with the fact that women were using toxic products on their skin, and given his background as a naturopath and familiarity with sea botanicals, his calling was loud and clear.
In 1992, he solicited the moral and financial support of his friends and family and started Gabriel Organics, a complete line of all natural, vegan, gluten-free and cruelty free skincare products made with seaweed as its hero ingredient. However, he realized that although women were now able to naturally clean and heal their skin, they were continuing to cover it up with toxic makeup.
In 1994, Gabriel created his first makeup line, Gabriel Color which was designed to be mistake proof. Each shade of eyeshadow, lip gloss, lipstick, lip liner, etc. was carefully curated so that even a beauty novice couldn’t blunder. Each goes with the other in a wardrobe of soft muted tones to bring out the natural beauty. Gabriel has always said, “It’s about correcting, not covering up,” and his products spoke to that in the 90’s and still do, even decades later. It’s his Secret to Mistake Proof Beauty.
Gabriel’s makeup and skincare brands solved a problem within the marketplace by providing women affordable and results driven skincare and makeup. However, with the birth of his first niece, he wanted to provide moms with a healthy personal care solution for their kids. His empire was growing and there was no stopping it. Clean Kids Naturally joined the brand portfolio in 1996 to better round out Gabriel’s portfolio of better-for- you products.
Gabriel had more secrets to tell and healthy products to share. He wanted to engage with a younger demographic and compete with brands that while offering bright, bold colors, weren’t natural. So, in 2001 he created Zuzu Luxe, a complete line of makeup that was also vegan, gluten-free, cruelty free and natural. This was his ammunition to bring the fight for green beauty to the masses. His Eco Chic Warriors became beautiful, courageous, loyal advocates for vegan beauty and Zuzu Luxe became their definition.
At this time, what was once a small health food store out of Austin, TX was growing into a notable chain across the country and Gabriel wanted to be a part of it. In 1994, Gabriel Organics and Gabriel Color were picked up by Whole Foods Markets in the Southern California region and were quickly catching the attention of like-minded retailers. Two years later Clean Kids Naturally was on the shelves followed by Zuzu Luxe shortly after its launch in 2001. Today, Gabriel’s brands are sold at 400 Whole Foods Markets and at over 4,000 retailers including e- commerce partners such as Target.com, Costco.com, Amazon.com, to name a few, and international distributors in Canada and South Korea.
Gabriel Cosmetic’s Inc.’s prestige and diverse brand portfolio was created out of one man’s vision of clearly defining natural beauty and being able to provide affordable and accessible vegan beauty products to consumers worldwide. In 2017, Gabriel Cosmetics evolved into the “Gabriel” brand with Gabriel Organics to fall under its umbrella in 2018 as “Gabriel Skincare.” Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc. is headquartered in its original area of Redmond, Washington with over 25 employees and its fearless leader, Gabriel De Santino leading the charge every step of the way.
10 Ways Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc. has gone green
1. Recycle Program for used makeup components. More info here
2. Product Boxes are recyclable and printed with vegetable based inks
3. Eco friendly packaging for shipping: PELASPAN™ BIO packaging peanuts are made from 100% biodegradable material. Vegetable starch. PELASPAN™ BIO is totally biodegradable without any risk of ground water contamination.
4. Eliminated printing orders and now file them electronically
5. Use only natural, nontoxic ingredients – no Phthalates, Parabens, or Sulfates – Nontoxic products reduce its environmental impact by avoiding pesticides and toxins, which can leak into water supplies and become ecologically harmful.
6. Gabriel makeup brushes are fair trade, eco-friendly, and sustainable
7. Both Gabriel and Zuzu Luxe Dual Powder Foundations are refillable, causing less waste
8. Partnered manufacturers use Infrared heating ovens that can self-regulate as well as wind power for their facility
9. Green partners: Gabriel partners with Oceanic Preservation Society by donating a % of their proceeds annually, all GCI products are certified Gluten- Free and certified cruelty free by the Leaping Bunny Program
10. Makeup is 100% Vegan which can have positive effects on the environment – see here
A Look at the Spring/Summer 2017 Collections
Gabriel Radiant Beauty Collection
It’s time to hit the wellness reset button. Stay young by aging well and discover the secret to #mistakeproofbeauty. After 25 years, Gabriel Cosmetics is finding simplicity in radiance with their Spring/Summer 2017 makeup collection. Launched in February, the collection includes the Aura Palette and Illusion lipstick, with calming shades and a smooth, subtle freshness along with the Tropical Cool nail collection.
*Brighten up your look with this season’s Aura Palette complete with four dreamy eyeshadows, blush and translucent powder.
*The Illusion Lipstick is a perfect medium toned nude
*Liquid Radiance in Halo is a Delicious Living Award winning highlighter and a beauty bag must have
Tropical Cool Nail Collection
We have major island envy and need a fix, fast! Grab the Mai Tais, flamingo floaties, and give yourself a perfectly pink mani/pedi with Gabriel’s summer Tropical Cool Nail collection.
This “Five-free” collection includes five punchy hues that will have you thinking pink – Pink Lady (cotton candy pink with an iridescent sparkle), Flamingo (bubble gum pink), Paradise Plum (medium to dark purple), Dragon Fruit (vibrant fuchsia), and Passion (glossy fuchsia).
Zuzu Luxe Techno Warrior Collection
Zuzu Luxe is going to battle for green and will pack a punch with the season’s Techno Warrior collection. This collection embraces the daring and fearless with a focus on the eyes for a minimalistic graphic look, sheer complexion and a slightly warm terra cotta cheek and lip.
Zuzu Luxe is taking the Eco Chic Warrior strength far beyond a flawless look and partnering with Green Acres Farm Sanctuary in support of animal rights and cruelty free practices. Zuzu Luxe will donate 10% of profits of this collection to Green Acres, so strap on your boots, and enlist in the battle of the season.
*Photos in this post are courtesy of and belong to Gabriel & Zuzu Luxe.