If Josh Rosebrook ever writes a memoir, I’d suggest the following title: From Chemical to Clean: The Josh Rosebrook Story. How A Classically-Trained Hairstylist Took Over the Green Beauty World and Became a Clean Skincare Darling All While Remaining One of the Nicest, Most Genuine Human Beings on the Planet
As far as I know, Josh has no plans of this nature, but the lengthy subtitle does a pretty good job summing up his amazing career (and personality). As a hairstylist, Josh had a front row seat to — and the subsequent damage from — all the chemicals and other crap that went into conventional self-care products. At the same time, he was dealing with skin issues of his own. Wanting to put his beauty school education to good use, he started whipping up products for personal use.
When his salon clients asked what he was using on his gorgeous skin, he couldn’t help but share his natural DIY secret and thus his eponymous line was born. “They were like, ‘Nothing has helped me, not the stuff my dermatologist gave me…this stuff is totally taking care of it,’” he says of his early customers.
It wasn’t long before they wanted to know what other products to use on their skin, and in helping to guide and educate his hair clients, Rosebrook found a place for himself. “That’s where I found my purpose. I felt, ‘Wow, people don’t know what to use. I know a lot about what to use and I can help them, I can guide them.’ And that’s really how it all started.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, nearly 10 years after he realized this was what he was meant to be doing with his life, Rosebrook has transformed the green beauty industry with his skin and hair care products. With beautiful, ultra-effective natural ingredients that are simultaneously simple and complex, his products have a vocal army of loyal fans that swear by the ___________. (Insert literally any of his products into that last sentence; they’re all that good.)
And despite his amazing line and success, he’s humble about the process: “Every day is a challenge, but it gets better and easier because you learn to be ok with it. And you have the muscles developed. If I didn’t do this, what else would I do? You have to challenge yourself.”
What’s more, for someone who traffics in beauty products, his definition of the word is truly inspiring. “Beauty is multidimensional, but real beauty has nothing to do with skin or the body,” he says. “It’s something that’s created. It’s how much we love and care for ourselves, and how much we allow that to emanate. And I don’t think anything can just be surface beautiful because I think if it’s just surface beautiful, it doesn’t really have that much beauty.”
And when the mastermind behind your skin and haircare products says he’d rather not make something than use subpar or compromised ingredients — “That purity and level of performance is something we’ve worked years to create. Why would we put something in that would take away from that?!”—you know he’s the real deal.
On the origin of it all:
I was just obsessed with skincare. I knew that if I took care of my skin for years, that it would ultimately always look better. [Growing up in Portland], I was always naturally inclined and health conscious. So that automatically brought up questions about what I was eating, what I was putting on my body, so I started looking at ingredients. And at the time there were very few clean lines so I just started probing deeper, asking, “What’s in this face mask? Why do clays work?”
On the power of DIY:
When I got out of [beauty] school, I started making my own products because I couldn’t afford to pay $30 for product. And I knew I had enough knowledge to put together my own. And what I found was that they were performing better than the ones I could buy.
And that’s when I started to go, “Ok, what’s really going on here?” So I started diving into deeper research and experimenting with ingredients and making my own at-home formulations for myself. And I felt empowered and fulfilled and I was learning a lot about what I found to work, and why. It was strictly to please myself and I was very happy.
On trusting yourself and taking the leap:
In the very beginning, I did start to run away from [the line] but I had to work through fears. After my products were already developed, I didn’t launch them for two years because I was scared. I was so challenged by my fear of failure. You have to be fearless. You have to keep perspective. I thought, “What if I’m that guy who starts a line and then it doesn’t work and people look at me like I’m dumb?” But then it’s like, “I don’t care if people think I’m dumb.” Then you’re empowered. And you take another step forward. Then things pick up and you’re like, “Oh my god, it’s working!”
On the joys of the job:
You don’t grow a company like this if you don’t have a selfless connection to what you’re doing. It has nothing to do with the money: it’s about the joy of being able to help people with something and that’s irreplaceable to this day because that’s still what feels the best. It’s what drives you forward. I found this place for myself to be able to educate people and watch their skin improve and guide them toward understanding why natural ingredients work better when they’re formulated correctly.
On taking responsibility:
[As consumers], you have to be discerning and you have to research for yourself. You cannot expect the marketing and advertising and the bottles to tell you what to do. You have to invest in your own personal education for your hair and your scalp and your skin. You have to look at the skin and hair and scalp holistically. You have to look at the way you eat, your vitamins, minerals, proteins. Your blood that forms your hair. The nutrients are in the blood from your diet. If you have elevated stress levels, that causes hormonal fluctuations and that affects your sebaceous glands and that effects your skin and hair. It’s interconnected. And that’s about responsibility. You have to take responsibility. It can be done in baby steps, but it’s ultimately about looking at more and taking responsibility. That can be uncomfortable to confront, but be patient and address your life.
On the myth of over-washing hair:
Stylists don’t even know what is in the conventional shampoos and why it’s doing what it’s doing. That’s where you get advice like don’t wash your hair very often because it’ll strip your hair. That comes from the synthetic approach to haircare, from shampoos that over clean with cheap, harsh detergents. The scalp is dry, the hair has no moisture in it. So stylist tell clients not to wash their hair, and they wouldn’t and it would look better. So everyone thinks washing your hair isn’t good. But when you have a shampoo that’s balanced and uses natural cleansing agents and oils to moisturize, the scalp stays balanced and you don’t have that don’t wash your hair advice because it’s good to get your hair clean. It’s really good to clean the dirt and grime and pollution off your scalp every day. It keeps the follicle healthy.
On the purity of his ingredients:
Understanding that natural products that utilize herbs — the concentrated source of all phytonutrients necessary for the skin and scalp and body to be beautiful and protected — that’s what I built my vision around. It was decided from the very beginning that the line was going to be completely pure. No conventional ingredients, everything was going to be certified organic, organic or wild-crafted. Because in that there’s a whole level of purity that creates exponential benefits because the ingredients aren’t inhibited by any trace toxins, any herbicides, pesticides, nothing. They have the opportunity to work on this much higher level with the body. That’s where you get a product that you feel is mind-blowing verses a product you think is nice. That level of purity takes years and years to find and source the right ingredients from the ethical farmers and sustainable practices.
On his favorite-without-playing-favorites product:
I can’t answer that! They’re all released because they’re all incredible and I need them all. But my Cacao Antioxidant Mask was my first product and it’s what started it all, so that’s my favorite because nothing else would exist without that. So dramatic!
On finding inspiration every day:
I think you have to reach for inspiration every day. Regardless of what you’re doing or creating or your life, you have to be inspired to a degree every day, even the little things. Your food should inspire you, or your child or your home or your health. For me, meditation is the greatest gift I have in this life. In meditation, I really work to find a place where I am within the vibration of inspiration, and then inspirations come. So I think what inspires me every day is my ability to become inspired, my ability to connect with my inspiration.
On accepting life as fluid:
It’s a practice! Everything is a practice. When you recognize that it’s a practice, you don’t hold yourself in restriction. You are practicing your life. If you don’t see it as a practice, you will constantly feel as though you’re falling off. That you’re not enough, that you’re not doing enough.
I’m a yogi and I’ve done yoga four or five times a week for the last eight years, but the last couple of months I haven’t been able to practice as well. But I have a yoga practice. I didn’t stop yoga. And if I didn’t have that attitude, I would feel like a failure for the past two months. But I don’t! I’m a yogi, my yoga isn’t leaving me.
Shop all of Josh’s products here.