It was one night five years ago, after blindly hunting for non-toxic beauty products online, that Larissa Thomson had a light-bulb moment: She realized that there were very few educational resources available to help her sift though thousands of beauty products on the market and pick the ones that had a clean, transparent ingredient list. For Thomson, a fashion editor of 25 years, it was the catalyst to start a new career in the clean beauty business.
Thomson dove into research, familiarizing herself with the ins and outs of non-toxic beauty—including how common the "dirty dozen" (12 harmful ingredients commonly found in cosmetics) were. As she gained knowledge, friends and family began reaching out to her for suggestions on clean beauty swaps. "I'd get texts from friends who were worried that there was propylene glycol [a synthetic additive that helps retain moisture] in their shampoos or wanted to find a nail polish that exists without formaldehyde [a preserving chemical]," she explains. By default, Thomson began building a community who heeded her clean beauty advice and who were seeing results (like brighter complexions) based on her recommendations.
But Thomson wanted to provide her newfound community with more than just advice over text. So, in 2016, she began raising money for her budding business idea, ONDA Beauty, a one-stop-shop for all things clean beauty. Today, with three brick-and mortar stores (in New York City, Sag Harbor, NY, and Sydney, Australia), celeb supporters including Susan Sarandon, Kate Hudson, and Reese Witherspoon, and ongoing partnerships with not-for-profits like Sea Legacy and Christy Turlington Burns's Every Mother Counts, the busy entrepreneur is steadily growing her business alongside friend and cofounder Naomi Watts. All the while, Thomson is keeping up with the demands of motherhood (she has a teenage son). Here, she chats about dressing to the beat of her own drum, shopping her own closet, and her favorite beauty and fashion obsessions right now.
Her Morning Routine:
I get up and have my coffee—it's the one constant in my life—made in my Chemex. I use Oatly Barista Oat Milk and very high quality maple syrup. Then, I do my morning face routine. I'm testing products all of the time as this natural beauty arena expands and explodes. First, I wash my face using Wonder Valley’s Oil Cleanser. It does a great job of cleansing and hydrating, then I use Beautycounter's All Bright C Serum to nourish and brighten, followed by Symbiome's The Answer serum which is magic in a bottle! I usually finish my routine with Venn’s Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate and a really active face oil— I'm loving Vitner's Daughter right now. Sometimes I'll use a gua sha to help reduce inflammation around my eyes and face. After my face routine, I try to front load all of my work from home so that hopefully by around 3 p.m. I can go into the ONDA Beauty store to check-in and stay for a while.
Her Daily Style:
It's casual, thrown together, classic, and Boho '70s, all in one. I like to dress a bit creatively, but I also really like the classics. I love a great suit jacket and I continually grab for my Stella McCartney and Helmut Lang blazers in the fall and winter. I throw them over my Suzie Kondi black jumpsuit and pair the look with clogs. I hate wearing heels, I hardly ever do. I'm always going to opt for an Espadrille or a clog if I'm trying to get height. I feel like if you don't feel comfortable, you don't look great.
The Item She's Always on the Hunt For:
I'm obsessed with finding the perfect white tanks and t-shirts—RE/DONE has the perfectly-cut tank. If it's cold, I'm a sucker for stripes. I can't stop buying striped sweaters. I love them from both Kule and La Ligne, and turtlenecks from Nili Lotan.
The Piece She Never Takes Off:
I'm always wearing my moon and stars necklace from Plume Collection. My husband, Scott, saw I had been eyeing it for a long time. Last Christmas he and my son bought it for me and I cried because they are my moon and stars. The other necklace I wear is from James Colarusso. It was a gift to myself after I had gone through a particularly hard time. I walked into 180 The Store in Tribeca and I bought it. One charm is an antler and the other one is a heart with double crosses and arrows going through it. I see it symbolizing strength, love, peace, and forward motion.
To be honest, I still have fun shopping in my own closet. This summer I found a whole bunch of stuff that I hadn't worn for a few years and I decided that they were ready to come back. I found these really cool Ulla Johnson pants from four years ago. People were like, 'where did you get that?!', and I was like, 'my closet!' It's always fun to buy things you know will withstand the test of time.
On Personal Style:
I'm somebody who is more about expressing my own style, and I don't really care what anyone else is doing. As I've grown older, I've become more comfortable with who I am—the good, the bad and the ugly, and trusting my own instincts about what I want to wear and what I'm comfortable in.
Shop Larissa Favorites:
The most luxurious and skin restoring night time face oil with retinol.
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Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.
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