I think it’s safe to say that parents want what is best for their children. We want to protect them and provide them with love so they can grow and thrive. With this need to keep our kids safe and provide them with products that will not harm them, it makes sense that many women’s paths to finding natural products begin when they become pregnant for the first time. During these nine months, many of us feel an instinctual pull to research more and to find out if something will be the absolute safest for our new bundle.
As a mother myself, this is where my journey began. I became concerned with every single thing I put into my body and onto it as well, knowing that for the first time, my actions were impacting a life other than my own. My concern for product and ingredient safety became a part of my lifestyle, and it has led me to find incredible brands with these same motivations and goals in mind.
Today, I am so thrilled to introduce you to one such brand, Pleni Naturals. I had the great pleasure of speaking with founder, and fellow Mom, Allyson Owens, and am excited to share with you the full interview below. If you are not yet familiar with her products, they are filled with fruit and vegetable ingredients, pure organic essential oils and skin loving ingredients that will help to nourish and soothe your children’s sensitive skin. On top of amazing ingredient quality, Pleni Naturals has taken their commitment one step further to become certified by MADE SAFE. (Read more HERE). Read on below for our interview with Allyson.
Allyson has very generously offered a wonderful giveaway for readers of The Greenly Guide, so make sure you don’t miss the information on how to enter at the bottom of this post.
The Greenly Guide: Can you talk a little about how you first become interested in natural and non-toxic products and how this lead to the start of Pleni Naturals?
Allyson: Like a lot of women, my journey into the natural and nontoxic world began while I was pregnant with my first child in 2009. It was a journey for me; I didn’t completely go “nontoxic” while pregnant because I was still somewhat unaware of toxic chemicals in the home, but my first detox was definitely my skincare routine! It was also important to me that my babies used safe, nontoxic skincare as well. Before I started Pleni Naturals I was an aesthetician and then I became a consultant and helped skin care brands develop their skin care products. I knew that eventually I would create my own skin care line and I wanted to do something different than what was currently being offered in the natural baby category. Don’t get me wrong; I love flowers but every baby skin care product at the time had flowers in it! I chose to focus on fruit and vegetable ingredients because they are wholesome, just like our babies. Plus, fruit and vegetable oils offer amazing nutritional benefits for the skin. For example; red raspberry seed oil and cranberry seed oil contain omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, which our bodies don’t produce and it is necessary to obtain through diet or topically on the skin. These two ingredients help to keep sensitive skin happy and is great for babies and kids suffering from eczema. You can find these two ingredients in our Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil and Berry + Olive Baby Balm. Two other stand out ingredients from the Pleni Naturals skincare line are broccoli seed oil and cucumber seed oil. Broccoli seed oil has a silky finish and works like a natural silicone alternative that leaves the skin smooth and the hair soft and shiny and cucumber seed oil is fantastic for soothing and replenishing the skin’s moisture balance. Both broccoli seed oil and cucumber seed oil can be found in our Apple + Broccoli Hair and Body Wash and the cucumber seed oil can be found in our Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil.
The Greenly Guide: You mention that you created your line of wholesome and organic skincare products for babies and kids to help them develop a lifelong love for veggies, and you also partner with the organization, Life Lab, to help change the way kids think about fruits and veggies. Can you share a little about your partnership and why it is important to your company’s mission?
Allyson: In addition to the answer in question #1 the idea for Pleni Naturals to focus on fruits and veggies was because of my own struggles as a parent inspiring my own kids to love their fruits and veggies! It can be a lot of work! I know other parents struggle with this as well. The fruit and veggie characters on the packaging are fun and silly and it is our mission to deepen that connection with kids and the healthy foods they eat. Plus, the skin is our largest organ and at Pleni Naturals, it makes sense to us to “feed” the skin with the same nutritious fruits and vegetables we put in our bodies. We decided to partner with Life Lab because their values are in alignment with ours — to deepen the connection with kids and the healthy foods they eat. Life Lab is a nonprofit that provides garden education curriculum for schools and I 100% believe that every school should have access to a school garden so they can experience an “edible education”.
The Greenly Guide: How do you keep your own children interested in healthy foods?
Allyson: In many ways! By being an example and making healthy foods choices every day for myself; always stocking plenty of fruits and veggies they have easy access to as a snack; I juice with my son and make smoothies for my daughter regularly (which is how they prefer to get those extra nutrients in, respectively); we go to farmer’s markets; we visit Life Lab on the weekends and enjoy running around the farm (it’s in Santa Cruz, CA which is fairly close to us); we provide a lot of color on the plate especially at dinner time so the food is visually appealing; I tell the kids why the healthy foods they are eating are good for them (i.e. good for your eyesight, makes your bones strong). I also get a lot of healthy recipe inspiration from food bloggers.
The Greenly Guide: As a mother and business owner, how do you find balance between your work and home life?
Allyson: It’s a juggle! But I am so grateful I am able to do this kind of work. I work very efficiently between school drop-off and pickup and I don’t look at my computer again until after the kids are in bed (unless it’s urgent–sometimes things come up!). I often stay up late to get any unfinished work completed and I’m a little more tired than I like, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about my current work/home life situation. I love it!
The Greenly Guide: Pleni Naturals has been certified as a brand with MADE SAFE – can you share why it was important to you to pursue this certification and what it means for your brand?
Allyson: I knew while developing the Pleni Naturals line I wanted it to be nontoxic and I spent a lot of time in R&D making sure every product was clean. People may not realize how much work this is; especially when your ingredient “NO” list is as long as ours! Plus, there is a lot of greenwashing in the skincare industry and no regulatory body that prevents companies from calling their products “nontoxic”. How is the consumer supposed to trust skincare brands with all of this greenwashing going on? What products are truly safe to purchase/use? I like MADE SAFE because they screen products for us – the consumer – and only certify products that do not contain harmful toxins that affect our bodies and our environment. And when I learned about MADE SAFE and their mission to eliminate toxins from all products we use in our home, I knew this was the certification I had to have for our brand. Currently, all three Pleni Naturals products are MADE SAFE certified and I plan on all future products we develop to be MADE SAFE certified as well.
The Greenly Guide: What has been your greatest challenge in developing your line of products?
Allyson: By far, the biggest challenge in developing the Pleni Naturals products is preservation! If a product has water in it, it needs to be preserved. Period. The challenge is that it is truly difficult to find preservatives that work and are also natural. There needs to be more options in this area and I am sure every single green skin care company feels the same way! We were lucky to find a 100% natural lactobacillus preservative that works great for our Apple + Broccoli Hair and Body Wash but it doesn’t work for our yet to be released lotion, which we won’t launch until we find a safe preservative blend that works and is in alignment with our values. Also, the problem with the few natural preservatives that are available is that some contain salicylates (think salicylic acid) and these are not appropriate for babies and kids or pregnant women, who also use our products.
The Greenly Guide: Can you share what brings you the most joy about Pleni Naturals?
Allyson: The product development process is a huge joy for me. I absolutely love it! It’s exciting every time. Also, the biggest thrill is when I hear from customers on how the baby oil treated their baby’s cradle cap or how the hair and body wash left their kiddo’s skin so soft and hydrated. This is what it is all about!
The Greenly Guide: What can we expect from your brand in 2017? Any exciting plans you can share?
Allyson: YES! I’m so excited! We are in development with some new products that will launch later this year. Hint: it will be a treat for moms and all ladies alike that care about effective, clean beauty!
Win a Pleni Naturals product bundle!
I am very excited to give you an opportunity to try some of these wonderful organic and non-toxic kids products! The Greenly Guide has partnered with Allyson and Pleni Naturals to offer one of you the opportunity to win all three of their current products: the Cucumber + Grape Baby Oil, the Apple + Broccoli Hair and Body Wash and the Berry + Olive Baby Balm! Not only are these great for your kiddos, but for the adults in your family too!
Make sure to head over to our Instagram page HERE for all of the giveaway details!
[Giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years or older]
*All photos in this post are courtesy of and belong to Pleni Naturals.