Welcome back to Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit, where we let you in on what happens behind the scenes with our speakers and vendors, before the event. Today, we’re chatting with Cynthia Besteman, founder of Violets Are Blue Skincare. Originally from Seattle, Cynthia came to New York to work as a broadway actress and successfully transitioned to a career in Real Estate where she was a top broker in her firm, all before starting Violets Are Blue in 2013. Read on for Cynthia’s story of being a breast cancer survivor and why pinkwashing something we can all prevent during this Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Tell us the origin story of your Violets Are Blue. What brought you to where you are today?
In 2011 I, received a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer. I believed I had led a healthful life, so I sought the truth about toxins in our environment. After learning about the way our bodies can manifest problems as a result of our lifestyles and the products we use, I cleared my household of any possible pollutants and switched to a purely organic lifestyle. I was shocked by the mislabeling of skincare and beauty products that were classified as “organic” or “natural,” as they typically contained parabens, sulfates and other chemicals known to work as endocrine disruptors linked to cancer and reproductive concerns.
After undergoing treatment, I drew upon my newfound love of crafting skincare products for myself, my family, and friends to establish Violets Are Blue in 2013. I used my new knowledge and passion for naturally derived skincare ingredients to formulate a consciously produced line of products, each one a labor of love. Violets Are Blue operates under the philosophy that skincare does not have to be complicated; in fact, keeping it simple is best.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as a breast cancer survivor, what do consumers need to know about supporting research?
Think before you pink is my favorite saying. We are all “aware” of breast cancer, but what we need, in particular the women with stage IV breast cancer, is more research and treatments. When you buy something pink, make sure you know where that money is going! I would prefer people donate to local charities or hospitals, bring food to a friend, or offer rides to to people going to and from chemo. Small things to help make treatment time easier goes a long way.
What changes and trends have you seen in the wellness/beauty movement over the last few years?
Many more companies that are green are coming to the market every year. What is great now is the trend in makeup. I’ve just seen postings about children’s Halloween makeup being toxic and parents need to be aware of safer alternatives. In the cancer community, more things like meditation, Reiki, massage, acupuncture and yoga are being implemented into treatments. This is so huge and so important!
If you could share one piece of advice for holistic living, what would it be?
Read labels!!! It will be overwhelming at first but then it all starts to make sense. Read labels on food, skin care, makeup, clothing EVERYTHING! Just because something says it’s natural or made with coconut oil, doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole host of other nasty things in there!