This year's Top 25 was full of bangers – the decade's biggest hits in beauty in every category. But you don't just end up on such a list. It requires thoughtful formulation, lots of testing and a good foresight to land on a product that will do its thing better than any of its competitors. We sat down with the founders of the brand behind some of our favorite products to get the full story – and Kate McLeod's story is so good that Netflix made a presentation about it! Here's Kate on The Daily Stone. *
& # 39; There is this thing called a Return of Saturn – it is a great life-shake that happens every 30 years. I had a very classic Saturn comeback. But let me start at the beginning.
Justin and I met in 2003. It was literally my second day at university – I thought he was super cute, he asked if he could sit next to me during my lecture, and one thing led to the other. .. we were inseparable. He was my first love and I really fell for him, but we were very, very young. We broke up and met seven times over a period of three and a half years, which was painful. So painful that I ended up transferring schools.
My junior year I had an internship at Goldman Sachs, and at the end of it, they offered me a job offer. I already had a job, and I finished my credits, so for my last semester of college I actually declared leave and moved to Florence to go to seminary. When I returned, I immediately hit the trading floor at Goldman. I think it was my first week on the desk when the financial crisis came – it really shook me. I did my analyst years at Goldman, and when they were over, I wanted to move on to something else. I also met & # 39; a boy. We decided to move to London together, where I start a bakery – from culinary school to Goldman, really made me realize how much I loved working with my hands, and how much I define myself as a manufacturer. About the same time, Justin sent me an apology letter. He wanted to see me, and though I've always thought of him, I've really had my life in London. So I said no. (I must mention that he found Hinge further.)
He was my first love and I really fell for him, but we were very, very young.
I ended up moving a lot because of my partner in the career of the time – we were in South Africa for a while, then Paris, and then we finally got engaged and decided to settle in Zurich. Two months before our wedding, I woke up from an email from Justin. He sent me a number of emails between 2010 and 2015 that I never responded to, but this email said: & # 39; I can't believe I will never see you again , I'll be in London next week, let's just get a cup of coffee. & # 39; I read it and sat there for a moment. I felt like I had to answer. I told him that I had moved to Zurich, but agreed to talk to him on Friday morning. Friday morning came, and it was a snowy, winter morning – I made hot chocolate and climbed into bed, sending Justin a message that I was ready to talk whenever he was. I saw the instant dot-dot-dot of typing, which surprised me because of the six hour time difference in New York. Eventually, I got a text that said, "I'm in Zurich." I jumped with a red eye because you would change your mind and I had to be here. & # 39;
I went to a cafe to meet him. I can't tell you what it is like to look out the window and see your first love walk towards you for the first time in eight years. He gave me a hug, and I literally had to drive away because there was too much electricity. We stayed in the cafe for seven hours and just talked – we didn't even get a glass of water. I moved to his studio apartment in New York ten days later and turned everything off.
So many people thought it was a fairy tale, and it was so many ways. But in the end, reality began to sink. I was back in New York and I had no network, no real career, no friends of my own. I lost myself. & # 39; A few months after we returned, we were now staying with my sister-in-law in Nantucket. I just took a shower and started applying body cream when she pulled it out of my hands. I never stopped checking what was in my products. I always always assumed that it would be good if you could buy it in a store – there should be a regulatory agency that looks after us. That's not the case. She throws away the lotion and gives me some sharp cocoa butter. Have you ever seen raw cocoa butter? It is a rock hard solid – it is one of the most stable vegetable fats at room temperature. She gave it to me and said, & # 39; Go spend some time with your body. It will eventually melt. & # 39; I wanted to put it in the microwave.
So many people thought it was a fairy tale, and it was so many ways. But in the end, reality began to sink.
One day I take the cocoa butter in the kitchen, put it in my double broiler and start trying all these different combinations based on my ganache recipe. Ganache is 50-50 cocoa butter and butter, and I wondered if I could add oil to the cocoa butter and temper it to make it softer and easier to apply. Eventually, I ended up on a formula with five core ingredients: cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, and a fractured coconut oil. Those oils successfully lowered the melting point of the cocoa butter and made it easier to apply.
I never thought I was going to sell this stuff. I threw it in mason jars years ago and used it on myself. But when Justin and I were planning our wedding, I thought it would be nice to include it in our goodie bags. Justin basically said that I was crazy if I thought people would dig this hard cocoa butter mixture out of a pot with a wooden spoon like I did. And he was right – they would have just thrown it out. I pour the mixture into one of my old silicone baking molds and make madeleine. People loved them. That's when I realized I had something.
I took the product to Onda Beauty in Tribeca, and they ordered 20 of them. At this point, I literally make it in my kitchen. They sold out within two days. Then Naomi Watts mentioned it in her Top Shelf a month later. I got in touch with my co-founder, and came out of my kitchen in Williamsburg and opened a full-scale production facility in Dumbo that we call the Butter Atelier. We officially opened for business last year and have been strong ever since.
I poured the mixture into one of my old silicone baking molds and made madeleine. People loved them.
Our slogan is Know Yourself. Know what you put on your body, and know yourself through the healing power of your own touch. It was really the thing that helped me get back to myself. I found that the days I took the time to put my hands on my body and take care of myself were just better days. Because of the way the stone was made, you have to hold it in your hands, and you have to take that moment – no matter how short it is. It really is a magic. & # 39;
– as told to ITG
Wondering what other products made our 2019 Top 25? Check out the full list (here) (https://intothegloss.com/2019/12/top-25-best-beauty-products-of-the-decade-2019/.
Photo by Hyuna Shin via Kate McLeod