Every now and then a product comes along that perfectly aligns with your values: All natural, plant-based, cruelty-free, vegan–plus, best of all, it works. That would be Helix Skin Science, a new beauty line that began as a "homemade" remedy of elixirs that originally were designed to treat pain and inflammation and help with sleep and boost energy. Then that morphed into a beauty line that is developing a cult following for its all-natural ingredients that help boost radiance and rejuvenate skin with ingredients "from Mother Nature." Now Helix is exploding in popularity as more consumers value all-natural ingredients that are designed to harness the healing powers of plants and unleash their benefits in creams, salves, serums, gels, and butters, to regenerate skin cells, and bring out your natural glow.

When Joseph Caruso set out to create an herbal remedy to help his wife with her thyroid issues, he created Green Helix, a line of pure herbal tinctures and salves to help with inflammation, stress, sleep, and pain. He never anticipated that it would one day evolve into a beauty line, Helix Skin Science, and grow into a full array of natural products that are popular for their chemical-free, non-GMO, toxin-free formulations and sold in major retailers across the country. Caruso's initial purpose was to help one person feel better through natural herbal remedies, but what followed was the kind of founder story you hear on Shark Tank and think: I want to invest! Now Helix Skin Science is now sold at major retailers like Nordstroms and Dillards, and women are devoted to this natural brand, because the products use the power of plants (aka botanicals) to help brighten dull skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and smooth out complexion, without all the underlying chemicals.

"Our products are based on botanical formulations that are clinically proven and fast-acting with the caveat that “clean always trumps prudence”, meaning we never ever sacrifice clean beauty for the sake of manufacturing cost efficiency," Caruso writes.  "By way of example, we always choose to use a purer and more expensive plant extract for the sake of scent instead of an artificial fragrance that sacrifices purity for cost-effectiveness."

The Beet caught up with Caruso last week and heard the story of how this all-natural plant-based beauty line came to be:


The Beet: So you launched Helix organically, as a supplement to help your wife, and others loved it?

JC: "She takes Synthroid to regulate her thyroid levels, and I noticed they were increasing the dose and we were getting worried. The thyroid has a lot to do with inflammation and I had a wonderful botanical and it was hemp-based, so she tried that. And we changed our diet to everything plant-based. No other diet other than that. Six months later we went back to the endocrinologist and he said this is strange. Your numbers are coming down. What are you doing? And we told him we went 100 percent plant-based. I still drink tequila and scotch. but other than that, we eat no meat, no dairy, and very, very clean. And her numbers changed dramatically. So then when I said let's do massages with this high dosage plant-based topical, which is now our body oil, and her numbers came down, even more, and I thought: This really works." That led to new ideas, such as rejuvenating the skin."

The Beet: So how did you go from tinctures to the beauty line that's plant-based?

JC: "Green Helix was the first thing we launched, with a salve, body butter, and body oil for pain.  I thought: 'Let me get a bunch of things out there and I will see what people like, and that was the super-pure tincture. Then we added a muscle repair and it flew off the shelves. And then we added the skin products.

"People loved what I was doing, and stores wanted more. Dillards gave me a whole national footprint, and people kept reordering. Nordstrom gave me a choice of being sold in-store or online and we chose online.

It has been difficult, to bootstrap this from the beginning, but I believe in this idea of plant-based beauty with all my heart. I know it works and I know plants are good for people.

The Beet: What makes Helix Skin Science special?

JC: "I spent a year looking at 'What's different about us?' There'a million skincare and wellness companies out there. So I just thought that by sticking with the plan– we can differentiate ourselves over time. When we say it's natural it is really natural. And plant-based, as much as is possible. I am looking into making this 100 percent plant-based. I feel like everything we need, Mother Nature has provided us, and it's about being true to that story."

JC: We are not just another celebrity or natural skincare brand. I am looking at developing a line for Helix home, which will be a separate line consisting of candles and scents that we are working on, along with cleaning products. Most of the things we use in our home, underneath the scents are chemicals. We want to create all-natural products.

The Beet: Where do you source the ingredients for the products?

JC: All the ingredients are from the Earth and sourced from the US, mostly in Colorado. The hemp is all from one farm in Colorado and the beauty products are formulated in Oregan.

We want to promote our own domain, which tells people what Helix Skin Science means and where these products come from, and why each ingredient has effective properties that work.

The Beet: Getting into the store is great but then is it going to sell? What happened?

JC: "We had no advertising or PR but we got into US Weekly in June of 2018 as a Best New Product. I called it Restoration Body Oil and they called it the Must-Have new product and then we broke through to mainstream retail. We got calls from Nordstrom or Dillards. I have done this without raising any money–on the bootstrap.

"My dream scenario is to build it to be a household name internationally. To be a preeminent company to educate people about plant-based beauty. Our ethos is: Be Kind to Earth. We believe in packaging that is biodegradable. (Aside from the bath oil... which you can't put in a glass jar... so that one is in recycled plastic.) You can do refillable containers and cut down on waste We are always looking at other ways to not create all that garbage that ends up in the ocean or landfills.

"I want to educate people about the power of plants and be kinder to our animals. The goal is to be the pre-eminent go-to brand for plant-based living. I would love it if we were like Drunk Elephant, but for all plant-based products. The dream is to be acquired one day. That's the dream scenario but right now we are making an investment in this company.

The Beet. You're living the dream. So where can people buy Helix Skin Science now?

JC "Right now we are in Nordstrom's online and Dillards nationally. We are redoing our packaging so the old one is still in Dillards but look for the new packaging since we are in the midst of changing it over.

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