An interview with Natalie Palomino, Founder, and CEO of North Authentic
North Authentic is a conscious hair care online retailer, boutique, and salon headquartered in Corona Del Mar, California. Our curated collection and customized quiz allow you to easily find the right products for your ultimate #hairgoals. We offer a variety of hair care from around the globe that use non-toxic, cruelty-free ingredients and are committed to fair trade and sustainable business practices. Not only do we take the guess-work out of your routine, but we put every product through a rigorous vetting program that ensures you receive the cleanest products for you and our planet.
- First, I have to ask. How did you come up with the name North Authentic?
I actually get this question a lot! When I was searching for the perfect name that captured the idea of a company and space that celebrates and supports every individual at their purest, most real level, I saw the words, “Have you found your True North?” written on the side of a building in Los Angeles. I looked up the meaning: “Your Truth North is a fixed point in a spinning world that helps you stay on track. It is derived from your deeply held values, principles, purpose, and authentic self. It is your internal compass, unique to you, representing who you are at your most authentic level.” I was hooked but quickly realized that I was not the only one who loved the term True North. It had been used for multiple businesses and brands, including a book on business coaching. I understood why – it’s a great message!
I loved ‘True North’ and didn’t want to abandon it completely. When considering what we truly want to support and celebrate our guests, team, and the earth at our most authentic level, we came up with North Authentic. Our logo is the compass with a bow and arrow, and we have a small “TN” in the center of the compass so we keep True North as our base.
- So there are lots of e-retailers out there. What makes North Authentic unique?
We are changing the way that women think about their hair care routine and shop for products with the perfect personalized experience. I created www.shopnorthauthentic.com so that every woman can have access to their own personal hair care expert. By building our online hair quiz, customers can easily troubleshoot their hair concerns, goals, texture, and type with product recommendations to get hair to their dream state.
Not only do we match women with their unique hair routine, but all of our products are also 100% clean. While there are other conscious beauty websites, they include products more centered towards skincare. As we are first and foremost a salon, we wanted to focus primarily on hair care as not only has it been left behind in the clean beauty movement, but most don’t realize that our scalps are much more absorbent than the skin on most of our body.
Along with providing clean products that customers can easily filter through to find the ingredients and products they’re looking for, we went a step further than other conscious beauty e-commerce sites with our testing requirement. We vet brand product ingredients to ensure nothing in our store uses any of the ingredients on our “Barred Ingredient List” and we randomly choose 10-15 products per year and have them tested to ensure every ingredient in the bottle is displayed on the label.
- The tagline for North Authentic is “Shop Mindful.” What does mindfulness mean for you?
Being mindful means that you are making conscious choices when you shop. Rather than just grabbing that beauty product, blouse, décor item, etc. without thinking much beyond its aesthetic beauty, you stop and consider, “How was this made?” “Does this product have chemicals that are bad for me and my family’s health?” “Were the materials for this product sourced using fair trade practices?” This may be new and unfamiliar to most, as shopping is supposed to be our fun past time, but times are changing. Consumers are becoming aware of challenges to the environment and human rights, so even a moment of consideration when choosing your purchases can make a dramatic effect on the future of our planet.
- Why did you start North Authentic?
I do everything at 1000%. I am an emotional Cancer female who feels that all women are juggling 20 things from raising their children to keeping a relationship healthy and juggling their career, so I dreamed of having a space and platform where women could go to feel completely cared for. At North Authentic our customers can shop knowing we researched every ingredient, have them clearly listed on products, and even have a filtering system so no guest ever has to worry about what they’re using in their har. Just check off your hair type, concerns, goals, and allergies or other ingredient preferences and the products appear right before your eyes. We wanted to be a stress-free, goal-oriented shopping experience.
- If there was one thing that you think that women should know about conscious hair care and beauty, what would it be?
Not all conscious hair products are created equal! Years ago, before I knew what I know now, I steered my guests away from “organic” shampoos they were buying at the market because their hair was looking dry, frizzy, and faded. Many of them were stripping color and just not great. When we source the globe for conscious haircare brands, we first vet every ingredient to ensure they are clean. If they are, we then order their products for testing in our salon. We test on ourselves, models, and clients to see if they deliver. I have high standards for products, so unless they are AMAZING, we don’t bring them on.
- Here it is the middle of summer. I know for me, COVID has thrown my hair care routine out the window. What are your at-home recommendations for what women can do to take care of their hair this summer?
A hair care routine isn’t only about the products you use to get yourself ready for a day out and about. More importantly, it involves treatments and how you give love to your hair. Many of those at home are throwing their hair in a top bun daily; however, wearing the same upstyle consistently can cause stress fractures in your hair. Think about the wear and tear on your carpet in an area when most people walk. Ensure you are changing up your hair: braid it one day; top bun the next; low bun the day after that. Also, use anti-breakage hair ties like our Goomees and a silk or satin pillowcase (we have some gorgeous naturally dyed silk pillowcases!). Before you put your hair up, throw Olaplex No. 3 or a hair mask on your hair and let it sit until you wash next. These small changes can make a huge difference.
- What do you think the next 5 years of conscious hair care and beauty look like?
I think conscious hair care and beauty will be much more mainstream. In 2011, I found out I was allergic to gluten and dairy. I cried when I went to a health food store because even there, I couldn’t find anything to eat quickly. I could only buy raw fruits and vegetables…stuff that had to be prepped and cooked. Now, organic, GF, vegan food is everywhere. These diet constraints are no longer seen as “fads.” I am convinced that conscious beauty is going to be the same.
- For me, when it comes to toxic chemicals, we all have our personal favs that we love to hate. What’s yours and why?
Nitrosamines. They are reactions caused by a chemical reaction therefore are not on the label, so they are like these hidden landmines in our beauty products. They cause endocrine issues, cancer, and organ system toxicity. Major issues that I have seen among myself and my clients. It is best to avoid products with DEA, TEA, and other ethanolamine compounds as they contribute to nitrosamine formation.
Natalie Palomino, Founder, and CEO of North Authentic