Merging Ethics and Commerce in the Beauty Industry: A Discussion with Pink Moon Founder Lin Chen

Once rarely questioned, the mainstream beauty industry is now facing the inquiries of a concerned public. With greater access to information than ever before, consumers are getting more and more interested in how ethical their beauty products are. Determined to foster the growth of ethical beauty, Lin Chen launched Pink Moon — a strategic marketing firm dedicated to supporting women-founded indie eco brands. Lin graciously took the time to talk us through her beliefs surrounding ethical consumerism, the beauty industry and her passion for supporting ethical beauty.

Words: Tracey Flores

  Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

What inspired you to start Pink Moon?

While the multi-billion beauty industry is targeted primarily towards women, the biggest beauty companies are run by men. This is one of the reasons why I launched Pink Moon: to work with amazing mission-driven brands that are backed by amazing, intelligent women who aspire to promote healthy holistic living to the world. I'm also inspired by my mother, who raised my brother and I while working full-time, taught me to resilient, and inspired me to rely on myself for my financial and emotional needs. I want to help change gender stereotypes and inspire other women to pursue their passions without fear.

I specifically work with clean beauty companies that are friendly to the earth, mind, body, and spirit. I live a holistic eco lifestyle, so aligning my career with my passion and lifestyle is very important to me. 

What philosophies guided your journey as an entrepreneur?

The two underlying philosophies that guided my journey with Pink Moon are my beliefs in the importance of female empowerment and holistic health. I want to inspire women to start their own businesses, specifically young Asian-American women who are vastly underrepresented in the entrepreneurial space. I also believe that spreading awareness of a healthy holistic lifestyle—which helps people connect their beauty practices to their other health seeking practices—is important.

Conscious consumerism seems to be at the core of Pink Moon (this is evident when one considers tha all of the brands that you support are female owned, cruelty free and eco conscious). What does conscious consumerism mean to you and why do you believe it is important?

Conscious consumerism is consuming sustainably, mindfully and slowly. It means supporting the indie, local creators who have poured their heart and soul into a passion. I learned more about fast fashion about 2 years ago and have since been shopping only from ethical fashion brands like Amour Vert, Naja, Clare Vivier, Eileen Fisher, etc. I want to know that my money is helping to improve the lives of others and that it doesn't hurt Mother Earth.

"Conscious consumerism is consuming sustainably, mindfully and slowly. It means supporting the indie, local creators who have poured their heart and soul into a passion."

  Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

What do you believe is the biggest misconception surrounding eco beauty?

That the products aren't effective and are more expensive than conventional products. When I tell my friends and acquaintances about my company and eco beauty products, their immediate reaction is always "isn't it more expensive?" or "do they really work?" I explain that yes, it may be more expensive but skin is your largest organ, so it's important to take care of your skin but also I tell them that eco beauty is easily accessible at Whole Foods.  

What compelled you to make the switch from conventional beauty products to eco products? And why do you recommend others do the same?

I was 12 when I learned about animal testing. As someone who has had dogs since age 3, I couldn't bear the thought of my own pups being used for science experiments. I remember creating a list of brands that I would not use and handing it to my mother after she purchased a shampoo from Pantene Pro-V. I would make sure that everything my parents bought was cruelty-free (and likely annoyed the heck out of them as an adamant preteen!). The cruelty-free aspect also then led to eco-friendly aspect, but I didn't really learn about toxins in beauty/household products until my first job at 100% Pure. I carefully read every ingredient list and also test each product before bringing on a new brand to work with.

Everyone strives to be healthy, so why not make your beauty routine healthy in addition to exercise and eating healthfully? This is one of the reasons I tell all my close friends to green their routine. I also tell them that over 80% of what you apply to your skin gets into your bloodstream and thus can create more issues and cause more inflammation. 

What are your favourite eco beauty products? And do you have any products you recommend for those looking to green their beauty routine?

  Image: Malaya Organics Advanced Repair Mask

Image: Malaya Organics Advanced Repair Mask

I have so many favourite products! I love every brand I work with and have favourites from each brand...

  • Bella Aura: Gentle Purifying Cleanser, Night Cellular Renewal, Instant Lifting Eye Contour

  • Malaya Organics: Woods Body Oil, Advanced Repair Mask, Herbal Facial Polish, Lip Balm

  • 5YINA: Lucent & Quiescent Beauty Oil, Lucent Hydrolat, DIVINE Sheet Mask, DIVINE Bio-Adaptive Cleanser

  • Jacq's: Revitalizing Face Toner, Healing Face Cleanser

  • Earthwise Beauty: Nap in the Meadow Serum, Farizad's Veil Sun Protectant, Ruby Face Oil, Tigress Balm, Sungod Mask

  • Violets Are Blue: Carrot Seed Face Serum, Face/Body Lotion

  • Kaliks Collective: Immerse Escape Bath Soak, Anoint Transcend Perfume Oil

  • Cupid & Psyche: Lipsticks in Brigid and Shakti

  • Modern Minerals: Styling Jelly, Texture Mist, Moonstone Highlighter, Lip Glosses in Goddess and Garnet

  Image: Bella Aura Face Range

Image: Bella Aura Face Range

I also really love Kjaer Weis' cream blushes, SPF lipsticks from Ilia, and the mascara from Zuzu Luxe (the best natural mascara ever!!).

I would recommend any products from the brands I work with for those looking to green their beauty routine. The products are uncomplicated yet effective, clean and supports local farmers/communities. 

"Everyone strives to be healthy, so why not make your beauty routine healthy in addition to exercise and eating healthfully?"

  Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

Image: Lin Chen / Founder of Pink Moon

You have existed (professionally) in the eco beauty space for a few years now and have had the chance to see it become a topic of interest within the mainstream beauty industry in the United States. What positive and negative effects has the proliferation of eco beauty had on this niche industry? 

I think it's so great that more and more people are becoming aware of eco beauty. Most of my friends and new people I meet seem to have at least 1-2 eco beauty products in their beauty cabinet. 

The only negative effect I can think of is that the big players are trying to enter this space and creating brands that look like they are 'mom n pop' brands. Recently, I learned about a new eco beauty brand that was created by L'Oreal. And when I was first introduced to this brand, I totally thought it was an indie brand but my eco beauty friends and I were shocked to learn that it was started by L'Oreal. I mean, it's wonderful that the big players want to enter this space, but it's also contradictory to me that they have brands that are completely toxic, tested on animals alongside to these clean brands.

Is there a particular narrative or discourse that you would like your work to feed into?

I hope that my work can contribute to positive narratives of female empowerment, environmental protection and animal rights.

Why do you believe that it is important to support small ethical brands?

It's important to know where your money is going to and that it's not hurting anyone...whether that's local communities, the planet, and animals.