Meet the Founder and Chief Creative of 100% PURE

There is a way to redefine 100% as more than a measurable quantity of “authenticity” if you’re Susie Wang, founder and chief creative of 100% PURE. It’s beyond a ratio of excellence or a symbol of perfection – it stands for an ideal. Between a standard of skin pureness and an ambitious beauty innovator, one of the original clean beauty brands was born.

20 years later, 100% PURE is still ahead of the natural beauty movement. And, to think, it all started with some saved-up lunch money, an overpriced and overhyped skincare product, and a little accident. While some innovations are deliberate, others are from pure accident and necessity.

Let’s celebrate Susie – birthday style – and the authentic beauty at the core of 100% PURE!

Patents and A Star Were Born

When Susie Wang was a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, she saved up a week’s worth of lunch money to purchase a new beauty innovation called Vitamin C Serum. Soon after opening the bottle, she sadly discovered that the once white serum had turned a tarnished brown. This meant the vitamin C had oxidized or diminished, unleashing dangerous free radical activity onto the skin.

Susie then started purchasing other vitamin C serums and found that all of them had the same issue. This inspired her to find a solution. Susie had always had a knack for science and often conceptualized ways to improve upon what already existed. With her naturally inquisitive mind and unsinkable work ethic—something she attributes to her Korean roots (she moved to Northern California with her parents when she was a child)—Susie did a little at-home experimenting and ultimately developed a way to stabilize vitamins using oil as a protective barrier to prevent oxidation.

In between her classes, she filed patents for this invention, while receiving an influx of job offers from some of the largest cosmetic companies in the world. After putting school on hiatus, Susie began working on product development, formulations, innovation, and technology for three prestigious cosmetic companies. It was all a dream job – until….

The Little Accident Turned BIG And the little Skincare Lies

One day, Susie was in the lab formulating the next big eye cream. She accidentally knocked over one of the chemicals, spilling the formulation onto the lab table. Within minutes, the chemical spill had begun to warp the industrial lab table. Susie asked herself: what kind of effects could this chemical have on delicate human skin if it could damage such a hard, plastic table? That’s when she began her investigation.

Susie soon discovered that there were hundreds of unsafe chemicals being used to formulate many conventional cosmetics. Not only did she uncover that there were toxins in cosmetics being marketed for use on delicate skin, but she was dismayed to find that plenty of companies claimed, “no animal testing”, which was mostly untrue.

The cruelty-free claim sometimes means that the final formula wasn’t tested on animals, but the individual ingredients were.

Each chemical sent to her company’s lab would be accompanied by a detailed report of animal testing, often outlining horrifying results: for example, tumor cells developing when the ingredients were tested on rat skin. Susie was deeply disturbed by these findings, and, also by the fact that these companies were still openly claiming “no animal testing.” While it may have been true that the final formula was never tested directly on animals, the individual ingredients were.

After these upsetting experiences, Susie was inspired to create a skincare and cosmetics brand that was 100% natural, true to its word, transparent, and 100% PURE.


100% PURE Is Born and Clean Beauty Takes Off

In 2005, Susie Wang and her two business partners, Richard Kostick (her then-boyfriend) and James Wang (her brother) began 100% PURE in hopes that they could support and nurture this authentic skin pureness ideal through a line of natural beauty products: one that could grow, evolve, withstand the test of time – and be healthy for the sake of skin and overall health.

The idea behind 100% PURE is that through conscious chemistry and responsible formulations, beauty aficionados can be empowered to make informed decisions about what they put on – and in – their bodies since conventional formulations contain toxic ingredients that can infiltrate your bloodstream and affect your health, too. However, founding the clean beauty brand came with some challenges.

Some 20 years ago, most consumers didn’t really know what natural beauty was, and it had a certain stigma attached to it. “There was nothing on the market in clean beauty,” recalled Susie. “In 2004, we started the company – and clean beauty was only found in health food stores.” Susie added. “But there was nothing on the mainstream market that was healthy for you – it didn’t exist.”

Despite any challenges, the brand pushed forward to becoming one of the original clean beauty brands.

Instead of choosing synthetic ingredients that might be cheaper or more readily available, all the 100% PURE formulas remain pure by simplifying the process. The brand’s ethos: Start in nature, discover what grows, and create the healthiest formulations with the purest ingredients with naturally occurring benefits. So, what requires the least amount of alteration? The brand finds that the ingredients that fit these standards are the purest ingredients for skin care and cosmetics.

Thanks to her background of extensive research and formulating with plants, Susie distinctly understands and utilizes each plant or ingredient’s unique biology, and formulates based on that knowledge. “It isn’t about adding a bunch of ingredients together and saying they work,” remarked Susie. “It’s about deeply knowing each ingredient – what it works well with, what it doesn’t – and how to best deliver that targeted nutrition into the skin.”

And, that was just the tip of the plant leaf for 100% PURE! Susie’s technologies and cutting-edge innovations that would come next had others ‘green with envy’ in the skincare and beauty realms.

Susie’s Skin and Beauty Accomplishments at 100% PURE From Fruit Pigments to Palettes

With a brand like 100% PURE, it would make perfect sense that Susie would give 100% to whatever she does, to the max. And that’s no exception to the stellar accomplishments and innovative advances in the brand’s skincare and cosmetic formulas. It goes back to the humble beginnings with vitamin C serums holding more mystery than glory.

Susie invented and patented a way to stabilize vitamin C in skincare formulations so we could all enjoy our favorite facial serums without worrying about harmful oxidation. That was the beginning of 100% PURE’s crowning glories.

One of Susie’s proudest accomplishments is the discovery and use of fruit pigments® in cosmetics. She discovered fruit pigments® one day while picking berries from her garden. Susie saw how beautifully the vibrant colors stained her fingertips, and she knew she’d discovered something special. Since then, 100% PURE has used only fruit and other healthy plant pigments to color their lipsticks, foundations, blushes, mascaras, eye shadows, and all other color cosmetics.

Not only are fruit pigments® natural but they’re also packed full of vitamins and antioxidants to offer naturally occurring, nutritional benefits for the skin. This is an innovation that has revolutionized the natural makeup industry and challenged the conventional method of using toxic dyes and synthetic chemicals.

But don’t’ get 100% PURE wrong; they’re all for bold and pretty hues! However, it’s a BIG no-no to chemically laden conventional cosmetics that can be absorbed into our pores and can affect anything from our skin moisture levels to our hormone balance – it’s just not worth it!

By cultivating ingredient lists that pretty much mirror your farmer’s market shopping lists, 100% PURE can create its own fruit pigmented® color wheel. The range of hues – illustrated in nude makeup palettes to high drama matte lips – are all created from fruit dyes and plant pigments. And we’re not just talking about berries. The colors are formulated with cherries, tomatoes, beets, peaches, papayas, tea, coffee, cocoa, edible flowers, and pomegranates… just to name a few!

Susie recalled, “Something that I’m proud of is the hard work, time, and dedication that went into crafting our pigmented makeup.” She continued, “Our fruit-pigmented makeup works as well as any traditional makeup. It took nearly a decade to get to the point where you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”

And, speaking of palettes, Susie invented the naked palette in 2006, bringing it to the market four years before anyone else entered the naked palette game. These original palettes create stunning makeup looks that you won’t believe are colored by fruit. The 100% PURE vegan makeup palettes include eyeshadows, blush, and highlighter colored from vitamin-rich fruit and vegetable pigments.

So, we are the type to kiss and tell, but that’s only about 100% PURE’s lipstick! Did you know that you can get that perfect pink pout from natural resources like fruits? Susie discovered the most beautiful shades of lipstick that can be extracted efficiently from fruits. The 100% PURE team did extensive research and unveiled the perfect lipstick line.

Susie even invented a nano delivery method with hyaluronic acid instead of polymers (plastic, petrochemicals), so active ingredients can deeply and safely penetrate your skin. These are just a few of the technologies and accomplishments that she’s developed to improve cosmetic and skincare formulations.

How 100% PURE Gives Back

Not stopping with improving human lives, Susie is an advocate for saving animals. 100% PURE as a company and herself personally have been generous benefactors to charities that work on helping animals. Since its inception, 100% PURE has been cruelty-free, never tested on animals and most formulas are vegan (there are a few products with honey ingredients but all formulas moving forward will be vegan).

Fact: 100% PURE loves to provide hearty, nutritious vegan meals to shelter dogs in China — these animals often face abandonment, cruelty, and even death in the dog meat trade. One bowl of vegan dog food can save 60 square feet of rainforest, 90lb of grain, 2,000 gallons of water, the lives of at least 2 livestock animals, and 1 hungry dog each day.

100% PURE’s core mission is also rooted in improving the lives of humans across the globe. Most of our charities are focused on helping children in need, too. “We want to thank you for supporting 100% PURE,” said Susie, “which gives us the resources to donate, volunteer, and sponsor many charities that do good deeds for both children and needy animals around the world.”


The Future of 100% PURE

Today, Susie continues to develop products that are innovative, efficacious, and kind. And through 100% PURE, the brand is on a mission to provide the inclusion and representation that each of us deserves, because beauty is about so much more than what you put on your face.

100% PURE is a commitment to producing the purest, healthiest products and educating everyone on why being 100% PURE is so important. The brand strives to live with compassion, kindness, and empathy; to be environmentally sustainable, and to improve the lives of 6 billion-plus people and animals, while also being charitable and giving back to our global community.

“As a company, your trust is important to us,” said Susie. “It’s important that we don’t let you down. And that’s what the future is going to be!” Susie went on, “You’re not going to know what’s clean or what’s not clean, so it’s essential for us that we do our research, and that we don’t let you down – and that everything we make is healthy and clean.”

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