At the age of 18, Mary Frances Dale found herself researching how our everyday hygiene and beauty habits affect our physical bodies and our general well-being. At the time, her mother had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease vasculitis — inflammation of the blood vessels — which had affected her heart’s efficiency and landed her in the hospital. Fortunately, what began as potentially harrowing pivoted to an empowering wellness journey, as Dale's newfound knowledge helped detox her mother’s body and prolong her life. “When we received my mom’s diagnosis, there was no real game plan,” Dale, now 33 and a new mother, shares. “I’ve always been a researcher, so I bought books and did internet searches — and my mom decided to go along with it.”
What Dale discovered was something “big beauty” likely does not want the public to know: toxins are in everything, from our shampoo to our lipstick to our face cream. Synthetic fragrances, foaming agents and other unnatural chemicals take a toll on the body and can result in carcinogens and endocrine/hormone disruptors, which, over time, can become catastrophic.
Dale cheerfully admits she started shopping at the “hippie pharmacy” at this point, which “smelled like patchouli and had earth mom vibes” – but in the back of her mind, an important seed was planted. Given her own penchant for high-end makeup and skin care — she loved shopping at makeup counters such as Dior — Dale realized her dream beauty emporium would feature products both natural and luxurious. Furthermore, after living in D.C., working in the corporate world and partnering with companies such as L’Oreal and other big brands, Dale felt called to start a women-owned business that cared deeply about women’s well-being.
“When I was conceptualizing Verde Lusso, which means green luxury in Italian, I wanted it to be an homage to a more European way of life, meaning small-batch products, quality, care and attention,” she says. “We curate the best clean and natural beauty products – but we have something for everyone at all price points. OSEA, for example, starts around $40 and up.”
Since 2018 when Verde Lusso initially took shape, Dale’s beauty emporium has transitioned from online-only plus a few pop-ups around Birmingham to a brick-and-mortar boutique in 2022 — which, she says, was always her intention. The brand list is already quite impressive and includes all-natural products from all over the globe, but Dale looks forward to expanding within the clean beauty market.
“Tammy Fender doesn’t take many retailers, for example, and I’m thrilled to partner with her,” she says, beaming. “We are adding new brands all the time. Verde Lusso is Alabama's first exclusively clean beauty retail shop, and we're excited to be pioneering the clean beauty movement in the state.”
Mary Frances Dale’s Tips for Making Your Beauty Routine Greener
Overwhelmed at the idea of trashing all your longtime products? Try these quick and simple tips to get started on a cleaner beauty routine this week!
- Your skin absorbs 70% of what you apply, so switching out your body care, which covers the largest surface area of your skin, will drastically lessen your overall toxic load. Try switching to a nontoxic body lotion or oil.
- Think about what you put on your lips — you’re essentially ingesting it, and most brands can be very toxic. Switch to a nontoxic lipstick brand.
- Make the transition to an all-natural deodorant. Your underarms are one of the most absorbent parts of the body. All-natural deodorants are some of Verde Lusso’s bestsellers for good reason!
- Ban synthetic fragrances from your body and home. These can disrupt your endocrine system and your hormones. Consider your perfumes, lotions and even candles and room plug-ins – and switch to all organic and essential oil-based fragrances.
Visit Verde Lusso Clean Beauty at 4000 3rd Avenue South, Suite 102, Birmingham – or online at verdelusso.com.
Dale cheerfully admits she started shopping at the “hippie pharmacy” at this point, which “smelled like patchouli and had earth mom vibes” – but in the back of her mind, an important seed was planted.