Meet the Founders: Sam + Dana of Mad Hippie

An inspiring interview with the creative brains behind the natural beauty line…

“Laugh often. Love deeply. Get out in the woods daily. Be present & light at heart.” — Sam Stewart, co-founder of the popular beauty favorite, Mad Hippie.

His advice on nurturing inner beauty was so beautifully simple that, upon reading it, I was stopped immediately in my tracks. I read it five times over. It’s funny how a little reminder from an unexpected place can be the aha moment we need.

Mad Hippie, founded by Sam and his wife, Dana, runs on this philosophy. The Portland-based skin care company is all about simplicity: all-natural, cruelty free, GMO free, and vegan (except for a small amount of beeswax present in their SPF). As lifelong adventurists and surfers, the two previously struggled to find skin care products that met their needs. So what did they do? They made their own. And now, the company offers an entire line ranging from always all-natural serums and moisturizers to sunscreens and oils. Not only are they passionate about their ingredients, they are sincere about the process. “We also take our responsibility to the planet seriously and that’s why we are always working to further reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact. From recently switching to some of the only BPA-free, fully recyclable airless pumps on the market, to printing solely with soy inks and running our entire facility off alternative energy, Mad Hippie is dedicated to the preservation of the environment.” Below, learn more about this inspiring company and the duo that fuels it.

How did you land on the idea for Mad Hippie? Why should we all be rushing to add Mad Hippie to our beauty routines?

I grew up in Maine, while Dana (my wife and business partner) grew up in Austin. We spent many years abroad surfing, adventuring and working in Central America — and acquiring plenty of sun damage along the way. After years of searching for the safest, most effective ingredients available to heal and protect our skin, we found that it was difficult to find a skin care line that utilized all of these components. So we decided to create the line we were looking for. We brought in the expertise of dermatologists, naturopaths and pharmacologists to create a safe, effective line that contains all of the good stuff, and none of the bad. Because some 90-95% of skin aging is actually the result of sun damage, we quickly realized that our products weren’t just good for surfers and sun worshippers, but great for anyone looking to curb skin discoloration, wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Have you always been a proponent of natural beauty products?

Natural has always been the norm for us. I remember being in college when we truly couldn’t afford it, always striving to fill our fridge with natural and organic goods. We would opt for less food, but higher quality, with our limited budget.

I think , as is often the case, that people make the move to natural foods before realizing that what they put on  their bodies is just as important as what they put in. We are now experiencing next wave of the “natural movement,” as more folks start leaning toward natural personal care.

I was always the guy out in the surf break that refused to use synthetic, chemical sunscreens and instead opted for the bright white pigmented zinc. Dana only used natural cosmetics for as long as I can remember. So, yes, I guess you could say we have gravitated toward healthy choices for as long as I can recall.

Do you have any advice for people who are trying to make the leap into natural beauty?

Sometimes there is a misconception that, to make the switch to natural products, you have to sacrifice efficacy. The other common misconception is that you will always have to spend a lot more. While natural beauty products do not contain the cheap fillers and petrochemicals that many mainstream beauty products do, you can find high-quality, effective products for a variety of price ranges. And, more expensive is not always better in the skin care world. We are often blown away by the cheap, harmful ingredients many of these supposedly “high-end brands” elect to use in their products.

Tell us about your own daily wellness routine – any favorite products/tips/tricks?

Mad Hippie started in Austin and has in recent years moved to Portland, OR. To say we are a bit new age, I think, is reasonable. We feel that a healthy body and mind are vital to overall wellness. Exercising daily, whether it’s a trip to the gym or a walk in the woods, is a must. Eating lots of vegetables and fish, avoiding stress, and taking time to quiet the mind and to be present are essential. A routine of daily self improvement, whether it be reading a complex book, learning a new language or musical instrument, etc., is an important component for a healthy mind. Our thoughts, emotions and feelings impact the way in which we view the world, as well as the hormones our bodies release, and have a dramatic effect on overall health. Part of anyone’s wellness routine must incorporate activities to promote a healthy mind and outlook. As far as beauty products, well, we recommend Mad Hippie! :)

How does the Mad Hippie range fit in to your beauty regimen? Do you have a favorite product from the assortment?

I start every day by mixing a couple of drops of Vitamin C Serum with a couple of drops of Facial Oil, and massaging it into my tired morning skin. Voila! Soft skin and protection from free radical damage. A little of our zinc-only SPF finishes my morning routine and provides protection from aging UV rays. At night I love the vitamin A serum, followed a few minutes later by our face cream, then eye cream.

What’s next for Mad Hippie?

We are working on a really cool Hydrating Nutrient Mist that features a slew of powerful antioxidants, designed to both improve photodamage as well as inhibit it. It will be for the face, arms, neck, chest and anywhere regularly exposed to the sun. I’m really excited about this product as it’s something I’ve wanted personally. Antioxidants hold amazing power in healing and preventing sun damage, and we are putting some pretty exciting and revolutionary new ingredients in this product that you won’t find elsewhere.

We often think of beauty as a surface quality – how do you nurture your inner beauty?

Laugh often. Love deeply. Get out in the woods daily. Be present & light at heart.

Thank you, Sam and Dana! We look forward to hearing more.

Follow Mad Hippie on Facebook and check out their website.

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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4 years ago

I’ve been using Mad Hippie for about a year now, and I’ve seen significant improvement in my skin. For me, it out-performs all other skincare on the market.

4 years ago
Reply to  Diane

Yay! We’re so glad you’ve seen an improvement!