Red Hot Monde Exclusive Interview with Karen Behnke, Founder of Juice Beauty

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Early Inspirations: Can you share more about the pivotal moment in your teenage years that sparked your interest in environmentalism?

Juice Beauty was born from the convergence of my lifelong passions for environmentalism, wellness, and skincare. My commitment to environmentalism deepened during my teenage years in Michigan, where I witnessed the devastating PBB spill. This historical incident,
where polybrominated biphenyl contaminated livestock and affected both animals and humans, left an indelible mark on me. After college, my move to California solidified my environmental commitment. The raw beauty of the state made me realize the importance of protecting our finite land and oceans.

What has shaped your commitment to wellness?
My wellness journey began as a child overcoming a rare blood disorder, instilling in me a lifelong commitment to fitness and healthy eating. This dedication to wellness has been a cornerstone of my life, providing energy, joy, and enthusiasm. From becoming a vegetarian, then a vegan, and now a pescatarian, to embracing an active triathlete lifestyle, wellness has been integral, personally and professionally.

Wellness Entrepreneurship: Before founding Juice Beauty, you built one of the first corporate wellness companies in the country. How did this experience influence your approach to skincare and beauty?

Pioneering corporate wellness fueled my passion for wellness. Whether in fitness or organic beauty, a genuine care for the topic sparks entrepreneurial creativity. My background in corporate wellness laid the foundation for understanding the importance of health in various
aspects of life.

What motivated you to transition from corporate wellness to the beauty industry?

After selling my wellness company, I delved into natural beauty during my pregnancies. Faced with skincare challenges, I started scrutinizing beauty product labels. The shock at the toxic ingredients sparked my journey into organic beauty, creating a void I aimed to fill with healthier skincare solutions.

Did you face challenges in finding healthy skincare solutions for yourself?

Aware of the skin’s absorbent nature, I struggled to find effective, healthy personal care products. Natural options were often diluted, while conventional products contained potentially harmful ingredients. This led to a multiyear quest to formulate high-performance, healthful skincare solutions.

Founding Juice Beauty: In 2005, you bought “Juice Beauty” and started the company. What inspired the choice of this name, and how did it encapsulate your vision?

The name Juice Beauty reflects our commitment to using an organic botanical juice base in our products. Starting with an antioxidant-rich organic juice base and adding powerful plant-based ingredients ensures each drop feeds your skin without dilution or fillers. The name embodies our dedication to clean, clinically validated skincare.

Can you walk us through the initial challenges and milestones during the first few years of Juice Beauty?

The early years were marked by intense research, development, and overcoming challenges. Scientists were initially hesitant about the unconventional “juice” concept, but perseverance led to groundbreaking formulations. Challenges included pioneering all-zinc sunscreens and eliminating potentially toxic ingredients. Today, Juice Beauty stands as an award-winning, internationally recognized brand.

Revolutionizing Formulations: You led a 5-year journey with scientists to solve organic formulation challenges. What were the fundamental principles you insisted on during this process?

Juice Beauty’s core principles prioritize efficacy, ensuring formulations meet or exceed conventional brands. With over 70% organic content, we avoid endocrine disruptors, synthetic fragrances, and harmful ingredients. Sustainability is also integral, with solar-powered facilities and a commitment to organic, cruelty-free practices.

How did the collaboration with PhD chemists, physicians, and microbiologists contribute to perfecting Juice Beauty’s chemistry?

Collaborating with leading scientists, including stem cell researchers, was pivotal in perfecting Juice Beauty’s formulas. Their diverse expertise and passion for safe, effective results shaped our revolutionary approach to beauty chemistry.

Clinically Validated Results: Juice Beauty is known for its clinically validated results. How did you approach the intersection of organic ingredients and scientific validation?

Our clinically validated products undergo rigorous testing, measuring factors like wrinkle lines, brightness, and hydration. Independent labs conduct blind tests, affirming our commitment to providing results that rival or surpass conventional brands. This validation reinforces our confidence in delivering high-performance, organic skincare.

Were there specific moments in the clinical testing phase that reinforced your belief in the effectiveness of your formulations?

From our patented Green Apple Peel to the Stem Cellular SuperGrape Serum, our products consistently receive high marks in clinical testing. Even after nearly two decades, as a Founder, it’s gratifying to see our commitment to innovation and effectiveness validated.

Targeted Skincare Collections: Juice Beauty offers targeted skincare solutions. Can you share insights into the development of collections targeting anti-wrinkle, brightening, firming, and other skincare needs?

Our targeted solutions address diverse skincare concerns, recognizing that one size does not fit all. Rooted in antioxidant-rich organic ingredients, our products cater to specific needs, from anti-wrinkle to brightening. A skincare quiz on provides personalized recommendations, ensuring a tailored approach to individual concerns.

How do you ensure Juice Beauty remains inclusive with the “All in for All skin” philosophy?

Our inclusive philosophy extends beyond skincare to makeup. Our Phyto-Pigments Serum Foundations and Stem Cellular CC Creams offer a broad range of shades, ensuring inclusivity for all skin tones. Plant pigments, known for their blending capabilities, contribute to makeup products that cater to diverse skin tones.

Farm to Beauty Approach: What inspired bringing Antioxidant-rich Certified Organic Ingredients to “Farm to Beauty”?

The “Farm to Beauty” concept emphasizes our commitment to sourcing organic ingredients from West Coast farmers. The Juice Beauty farm in Sonoma County cultivates the highest antioxidant rare grape globally, enhancing the brand’s DNA with rich botanical juices. Collaborating with a U.C.-trained Ph.D. grape expert resulted in the exceptional Sagrantino grape, a key ingredient in our Stem Cellular SuperGrape Serum.

How does your “Farm to Beauty” Innovation Center in Sonoma County contribute to Juice Beauty’s commitment to sustainability?

The Innovation Center exemplifies our commitment to sustainability, aligning with certified organic practices. From solar-powered facilities to recycled packaging, every aspect reflects our dedication to minimizing environmental impact.

Mission-Driven Values: Can you share specific initiatives or practices that embody Juice Beauty’s commitment to wellness and sustainability?

We actively engage with non-profits like EWG and BCPP, contributing cash, products, and collaboration to shared initiatives. Our commitment to wellness, sustainability, and organic practices permeates every aspect of Juice Beauty’s operations, from packaging to

Every Organic Drop Feeds Your Skin: This phrase is central to Juice Beauty’s philosophy. Could you elaborate on what it means and how it reflects in the products and practices of the company?

“Every Organic Drop Feeds Your Skin” underscores our dedication to creating clean, luxurious skincare. It signifies our commitment to using high-quality, organic ingredients in formulations developed over years for the best results. When you choose Juice Beauty, you choose a product rooted in integrity and effectiveness.

How do you envision the future of Juice Beauty in continuing to make a meaningful impact in the beauty industry?

Innovation remains at the forefront as Juice Beauty strives to redefine ‘beyond clean’ beauty. Our upcoming breakthrough in 2024 introduces a patent-pending grape from our farm, elevating the efficacy of our Stem Cellular collection. With a focus on high-tech science, we aim to set new standards for clean beauty, pushing boundaries and making a lasting impact.


Photographer: Natalie Zmeu @nat.visualz
Makeup Artist & Stylist: Cassandra Mcclure @cassandramcclure
Jewelry: Liv & B Designs @livandbdesigns
Dress: Akris Punto
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Wardrobe provided by: Wilkes Bashford