‘Read the label’
In its products, Purity Cosmetics uses only natural ingredients,
which it defines as those that originate in nature and only undergo
chemical changes due to biological processes, such as fermentation,
distillation and cold processing. The company mainly uses fruit,
vegetable, tea and other plant pigments in its cosmetics.
Through the years, Susie Wang has remained passionate about
educating consumers about the toxic chemicals used in many
cosmetic formulations. She compares the cosmetics industry to
the tobacco industry in its lack of transparency about the dangers
of using its products.
“The tobacco industry used doctors and athletes to advertise
cigarettes as health products,” says Wang. “I realized that the cosmetic
industry is doing the same thing. Beautiful models are used
to advertise cosmetics in a way that implies women will become
healthier or more beautiful when using them.
“If people expose themselves to harm, they should know of the
risks,” says Wang. “For example, so many chemicals are proven
to cause birth defects if pregnant mothers are exposed to them. I
believe there should be a mandatory warning on all beauty products,
like how there is now with cigarettes.”
In spite of how these companies promote their products, Wang
believes it’s important for customers to understand exactly what’s
in them. “Read the ingredients, not the marketing,” she advises.
Wang also continues to enlighten consumers on the realities of
animal testing. She has noted in interviews that many companies
say they don’t test on animals but are referring only to the final
products. All the ingredients in these products, she believes, were
tested on animals.
“Animal testing is pointless and wasteful since there are so many
better alternatives that are more conclusive,” she says. “One example
is testing on synthetically produced human tissues and cells.”
While Wang is encouraged that the industry is finally embracing
“natural” due to consumer demands, she still sees much room for
improvement, like adding warning signs to products containing
toxins, avoiding excessive packaging and banning animal testing
as well as child or slave labor.
Paris and pooches
When Wang is not nurturing her business and advocating for people
and animals, she likes to travel (even though she travels quite a bit
for work). When interviewed, she was in the process of booking
a trip to Paris and plans to tour Asia next year with her mother.
She also enjoys exploring the Bay Area with her two rescue dogs,
Joy and Victory. For instance, she recently took them for a hike in
the Oakland hills, then for an outdoor steam train ride through the
woods in Tilden Park and for a boat ride on Lake Merritt. After
the boat ride, she put the dogs in the car to rest while she did a
quick bike ride around the lake.
She may also be seen from time to time taking her canine
companions around San Francisco in a
stroller. “I love them so much,” she says.
“I cook for them almost daily. I cook 70
percent vegetables like pumpkin, green
beans, kale, carrots or broccoli, 1 percent
chia seed, flax seed and the rest protein like
eggs and salmon.”
Wang also likes to spend time with her
family, who she says has been supportive
of her career choices. “My family understood
what an amazing opportunity I was
given,” says Wang, referring to the offers
from cosmetics companies that compelled
her to leave UC. “Even later, when I wanted
to quit working at these companies despite
making a lot of money, they were
supportive, knowing that my goal was to
help people and animals.”
She adds that her dad has been a particularly
influential person in her life. He
worked in a Chinese restaurant, and every
morning went to market to buy the freshest
organic ingredients he could find.
He felt doing otherwise was being dishonest,
and I have adopted this belief. People
are putting their hard-earned money into
my product, and I have to provide the best.”
Wang has shared her success with her
family. Her brother, partner and only
sibling, James, got married a couple of
years ago and moved to San Ramon, so
she bought a house for her parents just a
block away from him. “We’re a very close
family,” she says.
While she likes to travel, Wang says the
72 South Bay Accent
TORIN NIELSEN (2)