Final Product

Three Must-Try Dallas Natural Beauty Brands

By Katie Berger

Many women know the struggle of finding and purchasing cosmetics that A) get the job done, B) they love, and C) have ingredients they can feel good about using on their body. Why break the bank on conventional beauty products when you can choose an option that both supports local businesses and is better for your health? Here are three Dallas-based beauty brands made with all-natural ingredients.

Hard Night Good Morning Skin Care

D’Andra Simmons, the brains behind Hard Night Good Morning, was no rookie in the world of skincare when she built her brand. Simmons has a background in nutrition and skin care; when she started the company, she had been in the nutrition and skincare industry for over 12 years. “I felt I had gained enough experience to develop my own products and share with women and men of all ages what I have learned about anti-aging and healthy skin care from my knowledge of nutritional ingredients.”

Simmons, a Texas native, then put her skills to good use and created her own brand using ingredients locally sourced in her home state; All Hard Night Good Morning products are made in laboratories in and around the Dallas area. “We love having them local so we are able to pop in and check on the current fill of a product or be really hands on in the development of a new product,” Simmons says.

Simmons is the only woman in her family who has yet to battle cancer, and her story is her motivation behind seeking out the cleanest and most natural ingredients. “At the time I started my line, not many people were paying attention to what was going into their products or what they were putting on their bodies,” she says. “My extensive knowledge in nutrition really drove this need for an all-natural skin care line.”

Must Try: Detox Toner ($20.40 right now at hardnightgoodmorning.com) “The detox toner is packed with antioxidants such as fruit stem cells from pumpkin, strawberry, carrot, kiwi, and mango that nourish and protect your skin. It also shields against free radicals in the environment.” One of Simmons’ favorite bonus uses for the toner is “as an after sun exposure soother. Because of its aloe base the cool mist of the spray can help to relieve and heal sunburns!” 

MopTop Hair Care

Founder Kelly Foreman was tired of being teased for her curly, unruly hair. After being called names like “poodle” and “cotton head” by mean girls in her childhood, Foreman decided to take a step to hopefully help other young girls enduring the same thing. She reached out to several friends in the cosmetic industry and after repeatedly being recommended to the same lab in Dallas, Foreman suddenly had an “overwhelming sense that she needed to take this a step farther.” The rest is history.

Foreman’s inspirational story eventually gave way to her own line of hair products—MopTop Haircare. “It’s about empowering people,” Foreman says. “My vehicle just happens to be a hair product. I just did not want my kids to go through the same things that I did without a tool. That is the guiding force behind every decision I make. To get the opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life—that is my goal, to help people feel better about themselves.”

Because skin is the human body’s largest organ, Foreman is a big believer in monitoring what goes on it. “Everything you put on it can be absorbed up to 60 percent,” she says. “Our bodies are these amazing machines, and we’re so resilient, but we have to take care of them.” Therefore, all MopTop products are free of parabens, sulfates, and silicon, and instead are composed of natural, good-for-you ingredients including coconut oil, aloe, and honey.

Must Try: Mongongo Oil ($14.99 at moptophair.com)

MopTop’s Mongongo Oil is a blend of natural oils that nourish and smooth hair, and it can be used as a sealer for split ends.

Abundantly Aromatic

Owner and creator Renee Mitchell was a self-proclaimed major consumer of candles. She spent a lot of money on them, as most of us do at our favorite generic smell-good shops. One day eight years ago, she decided to take a shot at making her own and soon she had a booth at the Dallas Farmers Market, where she routinely sold out. Now, Mitchell has expanded her business, adding soaps, sugar scrubs, and body butters to her repertoire.

Abundantly Aromatic’s products are as simple and unrefined as they come. For the first few years of her business, she made them in her garage. “There’s a lot of companies and soaps that you buy that say handmade, but it is actually a block of glycerin melted down, and the retailer will add essential oils to it,” Mitchell says. “That’s like buying a roll of cookie dough, cutting it up, and putting it in the oven. However, my cookie dough is made from scratch.”

Simple, natural ingredients are important to Mitchell. Instead of using unsubstantiated words such as “organic” and “cleansing bar” to describe soap-based products and cover up processed ingredients, she focuses on putting wholesome and recognizable ingredients together to create products customers can feel good about.

Must Try: Handmade Soap (available at the Dallas Farmers Market)

Largely vegan, Mitchell’s soaps are made from scratch with ingredients you can pronounce and are friendly to all skin types.

Weekly Report 33

Final Presentation Night is finished, and my work in ISM has also come to a close! I cannot even begin to explain how rewarding my ISM journey has been; I have gained valuable experience both in and out of the classroom, learning about countless aspects of journalism. I now know more about my topic than I ever thought I would, and I have formed relationships and connections that I will cherish forever. Never in a million years would I have thought that by my junior year of high school would I know how to write and fact-check my own original AP style story, or that I would have a mentor and now good friend at D Magazine to help me along the way.

Final Presentation Night was definitely a whirlwind of “I studied journalism” and “thank you’s,” but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting to share my knowledge with my family and friends, and getting to introduce my fantastic mentor to all of them, put a huge smile on my face and gave me a gratifying sense of achievement for all of my hard work this year. I cannot wait until next year so that I can further my studies in journalism and enhance my knowledge of the career I am passionate about!

Weekly Report 32

I am so happy to announce that my final product is done! This point is the peak of my time in ISM; this product is the fruit of my labor from an entire year of hard work. I am excited to present this article at Final Presentation Night with my family and friends. I have learned so much from the experience of writing my article, including each step required of a journalist in the process of writing and publishing an article.

In the past week of adding finishing touches to my article, I have especially learned how to work efficiently to meet a deadline. In one week, I have completed two out of three total interviews, transcribed them, wrote the bulk of my article, and edited the entire thing. Once I enter into a professional journalism job, I will have to do everything that I did for my final product within the span of a few days, so getting an idea of the timeline of writing a story was extremely helpful.

Creating this project has also taught me how to appropriately interact with sources, the types of questions I should be asking, and how to pick and choose the most important aspects of an interview to include.

FINAL PRODUCT

Weekly Report 31

This week has been one of substantial progress on my final product! As it is coming down to the wire, I have been interviewing my sources for quotes to include in my article. Thus far, I have conducted one in-person interview and am still awaiting email responses from two other sources.

On Thursday, I was able to interview Kelly Foreman, founder of MopTop Haircare, in person at Whole Foods. She was such a kind and genuine individual, able to provide me with valuable and detailed information about her business. Her story is truly inspirational; she built her business as a solution to a problem she had throughout her childhood. Her philosophy behind using natural ingredients is pure and good-intentioned, and the entire purpose of her business is to help people feel confident in their own skin. After the interview, she showed me her products in Whole Foods and even gave me free samples. I learned from this interview the value of having and creating relationships with contacts like these; journalism is an industry in which you can meet incredible people and form relationships that will enhance your professional career. Building your network of people who you have genuine relationships with can ensure great opportunity in the future; it’s all about who you know.

This interview gave me great quotes for my article as well as a beneficial interview experience under my belt, and I hope that the rest of my final product interviews will go as well as this one did.

Weekly Report 30

This week, I was finally able to reach out to my final product sources. At my mentor visit on April 21st, my mentor and I finalized my interview questions as well as the source email I would be sending out. Staci helped me refine my questions to more appropriately address each brand, and she gave me suggestions on how to personalize the email to each business owner.

From this experience, I learned the best steps to initially reach out to a source; an email is the best way to initially reach out if you can find one. In this email, a journalist should try to be as specialized as possible (for example, saying “good morning” instead of “hello,” and mentioning the actual brand name instead of vaguely saying “your brand”). This way, I can maintain the same format across all of my sources save a few minor adjustments. If an email is not available on the company’s website, a corporate phone number is usually listed, and that will suffice as well.

I have already received responses from two of the three sources I have reached out to, and I look forward to finding out more information about each of them and their brands.

Weekly Report 29

After a call with my mentor last week, I now have a clear plan of action for progress on my product moving forward. I have now completed a list of questions for my sources, as well as an email to send to each company I plan on interviewing. My mentor will review these with me this coming Friday, and I will then be able to finally reach out to sources and write the body of my article with the resulting information.

Through this process, I have learned a lot about how to approach and interact with sources depending on the context. In this case, a story in which I will require similar information from multiple sources, I need to ask the same questions while finding subtle ways to personalize the questions. As a journalist looking to feature a brand in an article, I need to display interest in my sources by showing them that I have done research on them and that I am legitimately dedicated to crafting a piece that displays them positively. In other cases it may be different; for instance, if I am interviewing multiple different sources in efforts to provide differing points of view, I will most likely need to create many more questions and ask highly specialized questions to each source.

Weekly Report 28

This week in ISM, I have learned from my mentor how I should approach sources when interviewing for my final product. She told me that I should tell my sources that the interview is for a school affiliated project rather than for publication; this way, if my article does not end up being published, the source does not get confused or upset when their quote is not published.

Additionally, I have put a lot of thought into which sources I will choose; I have more than five sources and only five slots for products to feature in my article. Some of my brands are local businesses run by Dallas citizens, which I would love to feature, of course. However, the rest are still natural makeup products, but they are produced by larger corporations are merely available for sale in Dallas. The latter of these will obviously be more difficult to land an interview with, but I will reach out anyways and hope for the best.

This week, I hope to have most of my quotes secured and make substantial progress on the actual body of my article. I have a phone call scheduled with my mentor on Thursday, so hopefully by then she will be able to help me tweak and edit my work thus far.