Founder Jana Blankenship started her personal care product company Captain Blankenship in 2009 with a passion for organic and responsibly sourced ingredients. Drawing inspiration from her own experience with chemical sensitivity, Jana (pronounced like Yana) developed an appreciation for effective natural ingredients in products. She found, with diligence and determination, it was possible to formulate efficacious hair care while still being gentle on humans and the environment. If you think that sounds like a good match for MADE SAFE – it is!
We sat down to talk with Jana about how Captain Blankenship is making waves in the clean beauty space and where our missions align. Our exclusive interview covers perfume mixology, the intelligence of nature, and plant-based materials – all of which are featured in these newly MADE SAFE® Certified products.
What inspired you to start this venture?
I started Captain Blankenship in 2009 with the desire to create plant-based personal care products using organic and responsibly sourced ingredients paired with lush, experiential essential oil-based scents housed in sustainable packaging. As the company has grown, the integrity of our mission hasn’t changed. We are a B Corp, part of 1% for the Planet and so thrilled to now be part of the MADE SAFE community as well. As we move into the next evolution of our business with a focus on hair care and new packaging, we strive to deepen our commitment to being a force for good for people and the planet.
What makes MADE SAFE the right Certification for your products?
From our extensive research, we found MADE SAFE to be the most holistic and thorough certification for our products. It takes time, commitment, and resources to undergo the certification process, and we wanted to make sure we chose the right partner that would dive as deeply as we wanted into every aspect of our products to ensure we choose ingredients that align with our commitments. We know that when our customers see the MADE SAFE logo on our products, they can be sure that each ingredient is carefully considered and chosen for efficacy and environmental responsibility.
It’s important to have third-party validation for our products because there is so much information out there and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the consumer to decipher what is fact from fiction. For us, transparency of ingredients and integrity in sourcing is of the utmost importance. Since there is no universal definition of “clean” or “natural,” having our products MADE SAFE approved creates a standard for what customers can expect when they shop with us. We are committed to ensuring that the ingredients we use are ethical in their effects on people and the planet.
What differentiates Captain Blankenship’s products from other, more conventional, products in the space?
Our motto at Captain Blankenship is “Beauty Wild with Nature.” We make clean hair care products that harness the power and intelligence of nature to enhance your wild beauty and never hide it. Unlike conventional hair care that utilizes harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, we try to direct source as many ingredients as possible from farmers who use sustainable farming techniques. These ingredients are not only effective and beneficial for your hair, but also safe for the environment. We take a holistic approach when we formulate our products by looking at the entire lifecycle.
We believe that ingredients from nature are superior not only in safety and environmental responsibility, but in efficacy. Petroleum-based and synthetic chemicals may work in the moment, but over time they have effects that actually degrade your hair’s health instead of supporting it. We aim to always support the health of your hair, mind, and body.
There are certain ingredients that are abundant in conventional products that we actively avoid during formulation:
- We avoid synthetic surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) that strip hair of natural oil, instead opting for gentle surfactants like coconut-derived coco-glucoside and decyl glucoside which do not strip the hair.
- Silicones and synthetic polymers like dimethicone lead to buildup, preventing beneficial ingredients from penetrating your hair. We formulate with all-natural shine-inducing, hair-strengthening ingredients like organic argan, jojoba, and camellia seed oil that both deeply penetrate hair for true nourishment and coat hair to protect from outside damage.
- Instead of parabens like methylparaben and propylparaben, we choose naturally-derived preservatives like sodium benzoate, which is the sodium salt of benzoic acid.
- I developed a lifelong sensitivity to synthetic fragrance from mixing my mom’s perfumes together in the 1980s so I know firsthand the effect these ingredients can have on some people. A synthetic fragrance can be concocted from hundreds of unclassified petrochemicals, which do not need to be disclosed as they are classified as “trade secrets.” They can lead to reactions like the ones I experience, but also can cause skin irritation, severe respiratory reactions and many have been classified as endocrine disruptors. We formulate our fragrance with only essential oils, which not only smell great but are also active ingredients in the formulas. Nature gets the job done and smells great while doing it, so why mess with that?
Tell us a little more about you. What’s the one product in your line you can’t live without, and why?
As a mom, I have to say I live by our dry shampoo. Unlike many conventional aerosol dry shampoos that contain talc and butane, ours is a mix of fine organic powders including organic arrowroot powder and glacial marine clay. We are about to relaunch it in an aluminum bottle with a powder sprayer and will have refill options. We are also introducing a Dark Dry Shampoo that effortlessly blends into darker shades of hair.
What’s your favorite beauty or healthy living hack?
I wrote a book called Wild Beauty (2019), which was a holistic guide to plant-based beauty with 45 easy DIY recipes and tips and tricks for healthier living. Empowering people towards healthy, balanced living is near to my heart. It’s not about investing in products, it’s about investing your own energy in yourself and listening to your intuition.
Two daily rituals that I love are using oil on my skin and hair and drinking herbal tea blends. Our skin craves moisture so using an oil on my skin post-shower or after face-washing is the perfect way to deeply hydrate my skin. I also love using our Hair & Scalp Serum on my hair and for my favorite scalp massage. I also make my own daily herbal tea blends following my body’s lead to what I want to drink. One of my favorite daily blends is nettle, raspberry, and oatstraw, which is a highly nutritive blend that tastes delicious and is an important tonic for menstruating people. Also, I enjoy buying bulk herbs or oils. Making your own products can be very economical, empowering and healing. Self-care should be fun and pleasurable and I think it really starts with tapping into ourselves.
Thank you, Jana, for helping us introduce the MADE SAFE community to Captain Blankenship. We’re so thrilled to share about these latest MADE SAFE Certified products!
► For a current list of MADE SAFE® certified products from Captain Blankenship, visit this page.
► Use the code MADESAFE20 for 20% off your purchase from Captain Blankenship!