Muse Encounters: Jessica Richards | SHEN Beauty

Travelling the world to discover the best in clean beauty, Jessica Richards is renowned in the industry for being a savvy beauty-cool-hunter, perceptive trend-spotter, and a pioneer in the clean beauty movement.

At her chic Brooklyn store SHEN, a beloved go-to for Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig, Jess' carefully curated selection of clean beauty products serve as the epicentre for discovering cutting-edge new beauty brands.

We caught up with Jess to chat about her SHEN Beauty journey, the next big thing in clean beauty, and her favourite scents to wear all year round.

I think the next big trend in clean beauty is actually not a trend at all but something that I know every person wants. Transparency. By this I mean, what is actually in the product formulation.

– Jessica Richards

SHEN is a driving force in the best luxury clean beauty products on the market. How do you go about finding the next-big-thing brands?  

SHEN has been open almost 14 years and hunting for brands then versus now, or even in the last 5 years, is completely different. When I opened SHEN, Instagram didn't exist, there was no competition, and Sephora and Ulta were not interested in clean/natural/organic or indie beauty. I discovered all the items from around the world that focused on being clean and were not sold in the US, and brought them to SHEN. This helped to solidify SHEN as the place to launch newness in the US market.

Since then, there are now trade shows dedicated to indie brands, organic and natural brands, and everything in between. Finding new brands is easy, but brands that fit inside the SHEN ethos is not easy. I still typically discover brands when I travel, but more importantly, people email me first with a brand concept in mind, to see if it's something I would be open to exploring if they did launch.

In your view, what is the next big trend in clean beauty?

I think the next big trend in clean beauty is actually not a trend at all but something I know every person wants. Transparency. By this I mean what is actually in the product formulation. No greenwashing. Many companies are able to hide ingredients in the fragrance category and as such, many people have terrible reactions because the FDA does nothing about safety for beauty for the US citizens.

What project or initiative that you’ve been involved with are you most proud of?

SHEN. I have poured my blood, sweat and many, many tears into this place. It is a reprieve for women to come and feel good about themselves. We pride ourselves on client loyalty and transparency, and helping them along their skincare and beauty journey has been one of the most rewarding things about SHEN.

What nostalgic memory do you have that is most tied to scent? 

My mother wore Cartier Panther and every time I smell it, I think of her at my middle school graduation from boarding school. 

What type of personal fragrance do you like to wear? 

To be honest, I am incredibly interested in a few scent profiles:

  • Beachy, that is sort of end-of-summer coconut, but not a heap of coconut, with a little tiare (gardenia) flower.
  • Grassy, that exudes a really earthy scent.

Discover more about Jessica and SHEN here.

Like similar fragrance styles to Jessica?  

Try Isle of Blanc for a summery marine, salty, citrus, or Midnight Ruze for an earthy, spicy rose.