If you grabbed our free Clean Summer Skin Care Guide, you know how much we care about all-natural, non-toxic beauty and skincare products. That’s why we’re so excited to share this exclusive interview with PiperWai’s co-founder Jess! A couple of badass business babes, Sarah and Jess created a non-toxic deodorant alternative that actually works. They’ve even been featured on Shark Tank!
Here at the Conscious Cleanse, we’re all about finding ways to detox every aspect of our lives, including our beauty and skincare products. PiperWai’s deodorant is free from aluminum and other nasty chemicals, and uses activated charcoal and essential oils to keep you fresh and dry all summer long.
So, without further ado, let’s get to Jess’ interview!
We’d love to hear why and how you started Piperwai?
I started making my own deodorant because I was frustrated with the options on the market – aluminum-free options either didn’t work or the heavy baking soda content irritated my sensitive skin! And I was so over aluminum in my pits. When I came up with a formula that worked for me after rigorous testing using my own sensitive pits as the guinea pig, I gave some to my life-long friend Sarah. She was skeptical (who wouldn’t be, holy grail natural deodorant is hard to find!) but she tried it and was impressed by how well it worked, so we started the company as co-founders balancing our complementary personalities, skills, and strengths. Basically, we started PiperWai as educated consumers in our own target market, by bringing a product to market that we wanted to buy!
When we first switched over to natural deodorants, we found that they didn’t seem to “work” like conventional products we were using, but, over time, our bodies adjusted. Why does that happen?
Right, that’s why so many people give up on natural deodorant too early. With many deodorant brands, it can take some time for the aluminum, parabens, and other gunk in antiperspirant to detox out of your body, and for your body to get used to sweating the way it’s supposed to. BUT since PiperWai contains activated charcoal – which helps detoxify – the vast majority of new customers find they transition seamlessly from conventional antiperspirant. In fact, most people say PiperWai works better than clinical strength antiperspirant because it neutralizes odor, AND it absorbs moisture. And when you aren’t plugging your sweat glands shut, you end up sweating less over time. Finding a holy grail natural deodorant that works with your body is such a win/win for your health, and a cleanse is the perfect time to start!
Piperwai is mostly packaged in a jar and applied with your fingers. What’s the deal with the finger application? Is this an important part of activating the product?
Honestly, the paste in the jar exists because back when we handcrafted the product, we filled the jars by hand with a pastry piping bag! It’s the texture of playdough and kind of melts into your skin with a matte, silky finish. At first, a lot of people think it’s weird to apply deodorant with their hands, but once they try it they realize it’s not weird at all, and it’s actually kind of a luxurious form of self-care to add to a morning routine. A little bit goes a long way and the ingredients are such high quality that it’s a product you feel really good about applying as opposed to mindlessly swiping toxins onto your skin. That said, as a society we were conditioned to apply deodorant with a stick, so we developed a stick applicator for anyone who prefers a more conventional approach to their deo application. Personally, I prefer the jar routine.
Why should people switch from their tried and true aluminum deodorant?
Why not? If there’s an aluminum-free product that works with your body instead of against it, and works better than the aluminum kind, then why take a chance with potentially harmful ingredients in antiperspirant? It’s such a no brainer to an increasingly large number of people who are as savvy about what they put on their bodies as they are about what they put in them! Let’s put it this way: When it comes to nourishing your body, choosing PiperWai over antiperspirant is like choosing apple from a farmer’s market over a candy bar from Seven Eleven. Like I said, no-brainer!
How has creating a non-toxic deodorant influenced the way you live?
Deodorant wasn’t the only thing I started to DIY. Back in 2013, I had a lot of free time and very little money, so I went through a phase where I made everything I used on my body, including soap and moisturizer. Besides the satisfaction from using something that I created, I started to feel and look better. When I bought a brand, I paid more attention to ingredient lists and determined my deal-breakers for purchasing and using something. In personal care products I avoid pthalates (which is in most synthetic fragrances unless otherwise noted), parabens, and triclosan. In food, I avoid artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and excessive preservatives. It helps me feel on brand and less of a hypocrite, sure, but the reality is after having detoxed these things from my lifestyle over the past five years, my tolerance for low quality ingredients is extremely low now. In my household, non-toxic is a full commitment, and necessary for feeling our best.
What advice would you give someone who feels intimidated about entering the world of clean beauty products? Do you think it’s all of nothing? How do you decide what to throw away and what to keep?
Baby steps! There are so many natural, non-toxic option readily available that going all in isn’t as challenging as it used to be, but it’s does not need to be an all-or-nothing endeavor, especially in the beginning. Once you realize how easy it is to make certain swaps, it isn’t hard to swap more and more until you’ve swapped pretty much everything.
Here at the Conscious Cleanse, our focus is on clean eating. We’d love to hear how healthy, clean foods play a role in your lives? What do you eat to stay healthy, focused and energized?
As with switching to a natural deodorant, switching to clean eating is such a mindset thing. The idea of giving up delicious bacon was horrifying to me and I didn’t think I could do it! Until I realized it’s been about six months since I’d had any, and I don’t even miss it! The key is discovering all kinds of delicious alternatives – tempeh is my favorite, and my husband loves seitan. We eat mostly pescetarian now, with lots and lots of fruits and veggies every day, plus probiotics and other supplements, like omegas, vitamin D, vitamin Bs and magnesium. One thing I noticed about myself is when I eat sugary carbs in the morning, I feel hangry quicker, so I choose a savory breakfast packed with protein and healthy fats now. Now that we’re eating cleaner, I feel more calm and focused and my husband’s cholesterol and blood pressure is way down. It’s so much easier than we ever thought it could be, tbh.
You both are role model for women following their passion. What inspires you on daily basis? How do you stay energized and not burnt out?
The biggest thing was realizing recently that happiness and hustle are NOT the same thing, and there needs to space for each in my life. For the first few years of PiperWai, I didn’t take any time for myself. I worked around the clock, around calendar without any real time off. It felt good and productive in the moment and I thought I was happy – but after approaching a catastrophic burnout situation last year where my physical and mental health began to suffer in a frightening way, I needed to make a change. The switch to clean eating began around then, but so did a focus on self-care. I meditate every day now, which was a massive game-changer for me and allows me to stay more present in the moment and less stressed over the little things. I believe everything is possible and I’ve always been a powerful manifestor, but I see my life through a completely different lens now. Though, I’m not sure if I would had I not edged myself toward a breaking point.
What’s book or podcast are you listening to right now?
My favorite podcast right now is No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis. I love hearing about other game-changing, inspiring women. It isn’t a coincidence how much of the journey women who do big things have in common.