I wanted to share an interview I recently held with Patrick Pickens, co-owner of an innovative skincare company called HiQCosmetics. The full article is published in MyForsyth magazine.
In 2015, Patrick Pickens decided to start a company that focuses on only the healthiest and most effective ingredients in skincare products. Their all-natural formulas are created to deliver results while maintaining environmental consciousness in literally everything they do. I was so impressed with their commitment to quality and environmental sustainability that I wanted to sit with him to learn more.
Why did you start HiQCosmetics?
Working at the CDC, I would routinely read articles about ingredients found in common health and beauty products that were causing harm to the environment and/or human health. Many of these ingredients are carcinogenic! So I teamed up with my business partner, Dr. Holly Carpenter, who received her Ph.D. from Emory University in Chemistry, to launch HiQ Cosmetics (HiQCosmetics.com). Together, we hand-selected every ingredient found in our formulas to deliver luxury performance and results. Just the best ingredients nature has to offer. Holly and I believe nature is the best chemist.
What products do you offer?
Currently, we offer our cult-favorite, HiQ CoQ10 Anti-Aging Facial Serum. The serum is ideal for men and women and is optimized to balance all skin types. This month, we launched our HiQ Eye Serum, and we are launching our HiQ Moisturizer shortly thereafter. We have been working on additional products that are going to change the skincare industry forever! Our products are available at HiQCosmetics.com and Costco.com as well as local boutiques.
Why is it important to be mindful of what we put on our skin?
Many people are careful with what they eat and drink, yet your skin is the body’s largest organ and the skin absorbs chemicals that are applied to its surface.
A lot of consumers are price-conscious. What would you say to consumers that say they’d rather buy something off the shelf at their local store? Are your products worth the premium price?
Great question. I completely understand price-conscious consumers because I am one myself! There are so many skincare products out there. However, what a lot of people may not be aware of is that not all ingredients are of the same quality. Some ingredient supplies do not have high standards of quality control. Often times, companies will use lower quality, cheaper ingredients to reduce their costs, or they will sprinkle in key, active ingredients just to show them on an ingredient list.
At HiQ Cosmetics, we are proudly different. Our formulas are 100% formulated by us. Every single ingredient is hand-selected for a specific function and effect. In addition, we source all of ingredients from the highest quality ingredient suppliers that all maintain the highest standard for quality control. Our key ingredients are placed into our formulas at high concentrations. Our HiQ Facial Serum is the most concentrated CoQ10 anti-aging facial serum on the market.
So, are our products worth premium price? 100% yes. I can promise you that your skin will feel the difference. You will have results you can see and feel.
How do you balance doing right for the environment and adding quality ingredients with the price of your products?
At HiQ Cosmetics, we do not let manufacturing costs dictate quality or environmental impact. We formulate, brand, and package all our products with the best of the best. We do not believe the quality of a product should ever be sacrificed. Quality and safety are the backbone of everything we do. In addition, we strive to be as environmentally conscious in every single aspect of our company. We promise to offer high quality skincare products without ever compromising the environment. We are dedicated to providing products that promote healthier and younger looking skin while minimizing our carbon footprint.
Do you have any testimonials or success stories you can share?
We have happy customers all over the US. We have a couple in their 90's that call us every other week to let us know that our product is the first product that has made their skin feel firmer and moisturized. We have customers that have replaced their Retin-A prescription with our HiQ Facial Serum. We have countless customers that have sent us messages stating their dermatologist cannot stop complimenting their skin.
Your products are non-GMO, PEG free, vegan, certified organic, and more! Why is this important to you?
Our products are formulated to be FREE of: GMOs, PEG, Parabens, BPA, phthalates, gluten, animal testing, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrance, sulfates, formaldehyde, and petrochemicals.
Why is it important? We believe this should be important to everyone! Why is it okay for companies to be using products that are widely known to be harmful to humans and the environment? HiQ Cosmetics wants to be the new standard for health and beauty products. There is no excuse for using ingredients that are harmful. We want customers to be confident with products they are applying to their skin.
Your commitment to the environment also extends to your product packaging, right?
That’s right. Our glass bottle and pump top are both manufactured in Europe with the highest level of quality control. The recyclable European glass bottle is BPA and phthalate free. Only the pump top is made of plastic. All of our packaging and shipping boxes are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified to support sustainable forestry practices.
As a business owner, I believe it is my duty to do everything I can to help preserve this beautiful planet we live on. As you know, Hannah, our earth is truly extraordinary, and the steps toward a “greener”, more sustainable future starts with each of us. In addition to our packaging being sustainable, we also manufacture our products in a solar powered facility.
What are your long-term goals for the company?
We plan to continue to grow throughout the US and abroad. Most importantly, we’ll want to continue to be a strong voice in the beauty industry that advocates for healthy, natural, and transparent ingredients.
Thank you, and all the best to you and HiQCosmetics! May your company be a model for other companies trying to help our environment.
Thank you very much.
This month's blog comes to us from a guest writer. We are thrilled to have Mr. Erich Lawson provide us with some outstanding recycling information. Erich is passionate about saving the environment through proper recycling.
There are several studies outlining the harmful effects of plastics on the planet. According to a UN report, the amount of plastic produced rose by 38 percent between 2004 and 2014. Another report said that in 2010, between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic was washed into the seas, a substantial portion of which found its way into the stomachs of whales, plankton and other marine life.
There is also a growing presence of microplastics, particles of under 5 mm in length, in the world’s oceans. There are over 150 million metric tons of plastics in our ocean today. This is a scary figure considering the amount of plastic that may be consumed by marine life and how they are being affected by that much plastic.
How Does Plastic Enter the Food Chain
Another thing we need to worry about is that these plastics and toxic chemicals can eventually accumulate in food chains and make their way into animals and humans that eat ocean creatures like fish and crustaceans.
Two recent studies in Marine Biology and Animal Behavior found that microplastics can indeed be passed through the food chain to fishes. When we consume this fish, the microplastics will enter our systems as well.
Threat to Aquatic Creatures
Impact of Plastics on Humans
Plastic, which is made from petroleum and toxic chemicals that are often not found on labels, are harmful to humans as well. Two examples of harmful chemicals found in common plastic items include:
We must turn to practices like recycling to minimize the impact plastic can have on us.
Measures To Stop Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is becoming a global menace since plastic is consumed all over the world. Plastic will most certainly be a part of your life in some way or the other, but you can do your part to curb plastic pollution by making some lifestyle changes:
It is important to identify your role in the problem in order to find appropriate solutions. So, take the necessary steps and help in protecting our planet.
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog
To celebrate Earth Day/Earth Month, sit down as a family and watch eco-documentaries such as A Plastic Ocean and Plastic Paradise and talk about it. In addition, here are some other ideas you can do today:
- Go Vegan or Vegetarian for the day (or month)
- Turn off your electricity and go on a long hike or picnic in a park!
- Get involved in a community cleanup
- Walk/ride your bike - avoid using the car if possible
- Create a compost area in your yard
- Switch your cleaning supplies to organic items, or make homemade cleaning supplies
- Refuse plastic straws at restaurants
- Bring your reusable bags to the store
- Learn what you can and cannot recycle
- Read the labels of cosmetics, toothpaste, suntan lotion, groceries, etc. to see what you are putting in and on your bodies
- Be kind to humans and do a random act of kindness
- Have your kids join or support Animal Hero Kids - animalherokids.org
- Plant a tree
- Plant an organic garden or support Captain Planet Foundation's efforts to get youth involved in planting/caring for school gardens
- Buy a plastic-free product as a gift for the family, such as those from ECOlunchboxes, Klean Kanteen, Aardvark Paper Drinking Straws, Life Without Plastic, Simply Straws, and U Konserve
#ZEROWASTETIPS: Visiting a local farmers market is a good way to avoid grocery stores' excess plastic packaging...and reduce your food carbon footprint.
While most farmers markets have a plastic bag if you need it, bring your own reusable bags instead! That way, the trip will be a zero-waste trip!
Find more #zerowastetips here: http://bit.ly/2oJg7mq
Over 500 people who care about the planet descended on Charleston, SC on March 30, 2017 for a unique conference called Breaking Down Plastic. This special one-day event was hosted by the South Carolina Aquarium, 5 Gyres Institute, and the Lonely Whale Foundation. I was in attendance, probably as the youngest person there besides a guest speaker’s toddler! There were attendees from all walks of life and people with various levels of experience with plastic pollution. Attendees represented local, national, and international interests among corporations, governments, non-profits, and schools and colleges, and included politicians, scientists, executives, and consumers eager to engage in addressing the global crisis of plastic pollution.
There were so many enlightening speakers talking about a number of different aspects of plastic pollution, such as the cost of plastic pollution, the effect of plastic on human health, how plastic fishing equipment is impacting the earth’s sea creatures, and how corporations are engaging in innovative and economical sustainable practices. The discussions built awareness, shared best practices and provided new information to motivate action. A common (and daunting) statistic heard throughout the conference was that by 2050, scientists predict there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in our oceans.
The conference hosts utilized artistry and creativity during the event. As soon as I walked in to the conference, I couldn’t help but be impressed by two large sculptures made of plastic debris, one shaped like a sea turtle and the other a huge jellyfish. There was also an artist who would illustrate the key points of each presentation on a large mural as the speakers were presenting, which was a very creative way to summarize the event and was a big hit among the attendees I spoke to.
I met so many amazing and influential people that are doing incredible things to protect our oceans. I felt humbled to be among this group, and also inspired to continue my efforts to bring awareness to the issue of plastic pollution. For example, I met the Mayor of Charleston, executives from Surfrider and Aardvark Straws, several young volunteers from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and an executive from Cox Enterprises. I also met Adrian Grenier, an actor, filmmaker, and social good advocate who co-founded the Lonely Whale Foundation. The Lonely Whale Foundation is dedicated to bringing people closer to the world’s oceans through education and awareness, inspiring empathy and action for ocean health and the wellbeing of marine wildlife. I had an opportunity to sit down with Adrian after the conference session:
What inspired you to create The Lonely Whale Foundation?
I heard the story of the loneliest whale in the world who speaks at another frequency from other whales, which is like speaking another language. This Lonely Whale has been calling out his whole life, looking for connection. Knowing that whales are very social creatures, just like humans, this story sparked empathy in me, empathy for a species completely different from myself. It made me realize we can use stories to help build empathy, connection, to places and creatures that are different from ourselves or that don’t relate to our everyday experience. I realized this character, the Lonely Whale, could inspire empathy in people around the world. His message is really about connection and communication, so at the Lonely Whale Foundation we use his lessons to help bring people together and help them better understand the natural world.
Why did you choose plastic pollution awareness as a cause?
We are looking for achievable ways that people can participate that aren’t daunting. We are focusing on single use plastic straws because it's something that everyone encounters nearly every day and is arguably unnecessary; people can give them up. If people are struggling to do something because they feel overwhelmed, giving up plastic straws is one simple way they can participate in creating a healthy #strawlessocean.
How do you want to influence the next generation?
The Lonely Whale is a great hero for the younger generation because he has a unique voice, and I hope he inspires the next generation to speak up and speak loudly and embrace their unique perspective. While the whale doesn’t speak the same language, he has very important things to say. Whales, after all, are the keepers of wisdom. They have survived the Ice Age and other events throughout history, and we should pay attention to what they have to say because they’ve been there and know how to survive. If we want to survive, we should listen to our environment, we should listen to the whales.
5 Gyres Institute and I will also be involved in a related conference in May called the Blue Vision Summit. I’ll be a guest speaker at a panel discussion at the Summit in Washington D.C. This is a biennial event since 2004 that draws hundreds of ocean leaders to develop strategies for protecting our oceans and to meet with elected officials to make our voice heard.
For more information, please visit www.hannah4change.org, www.5gyres.org, www.lonelywhale.org, and bluefront.org.
I was one of 11 winners at the National Youth Activist Awards ceremony in Nashville TN on April 2nd, 2017. Youth and young adults from ages 8 to 27 were nominated by the community and awarded in 11 categories. I was honored for my environmental leadership and advocacy.
From their website, www.manupagainstbullying.org: "It's not every day that you see youth coming together from across America being rewarded for their great works and accomplishments. This is what makes the National Youth Activist Awards America's most innovative method of teaching youth the importance of putting their families, education, communities, and environment first.
I am honored to be one of 19 volunteers for the new Advisory Board at the 5 Gyres Institute. From their website, here is what the non-profit had to say about this new team: "5 Gyres is growing by leaps and bounds, and these change makers are helping us to reach the next level. Our entire team is so deeply thankful for their support."
Over the past several months I have worked to get restaurants to consider switching from plastic to paper straws. While paper straws are more expensive than plastic, if you can do these two things you'll likely SAVE MONEY!
1) Buy your paper straws direct from Aardvark Straws (versus a distributor or competitor). If you mention my organization (Hannah4Change), you'll get a deep discount off of the retail price. Buying in bulk will also save you money.
2) Couple your new product with a new policy to only give out straws when a diner requests one. Don't automatically put a straw in each glass! You'll find that about half of your diners won't want a straw.
If you know of restaurants that have made the switch, please let me know. I am distributing window decals to those that make the switch, and trying to feature as many as possible in various online venues.
I had the time of my life and was truly honored and thrilled to have been awarded the Captain Planet Foundation's prestigious award "Young Superhero for Earth". Here is one memorable photo from that night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead. There are more on my Facebook page - Hannah4Change.
One of my philosophies is to not only educate others about environmental issues, but to also provide practical solutions wherever possible. So here are 2 ways you can reduce your plastic footprint in the kitchen.
I just started using a new product that reduces or eliminates the need for plastic wrap! Bee's Wrap is a US company that provides compostable wrap made out of organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. This product is washable and reusable. Check them out at www.beeswrap.com!
I have also been using ECOlunchboxes for over a year now. Their products contain no plastic; they are stainless steel containers that my brother and I take in my school lunch. It allows us to have a zero-waste lunch (unless my mom packs me spinach)! By using their products regularly, you save money too! Check out ECOlunchboxes at www.ecolunchboxes.com.