When something doesn’t exist, go ahead and create it yourself.
They didn’t know the answer (yet), but after two years of research and development, testing, testing and retesting again — and maintaining an optimistic attitude even when the going got tough — they landed on the answer: Everist.
By completely removing water from its formulas, Everist’s cofounders have also removed the need for added preservatives (as water feeds bacteria growth), creating cutting-edge formulas that are ultra clean, plant-based and leaving hair and skin happy and healthy.
As Jenkins explains: “We had this growing awareness of the plastic waste in the industry. And the question that we started with was, how do you do beauty without single-use plastic? We didn't have a brand name, we didn't have a plan in terms of what the product would be yet, but that was the problem we wanted to understand. So we spent almost two years exploring different business opportunities with that problem in mind.”
The ‘just add water’ technology they created has earned Jenkins and Stevenson a title on Time’s “Best Inventions of 2021” list. Everist’s patent-pending waterless hair care concentrates were featured on the prestigious list in the beauty category among only three other brands — quite an admirable feat.
Among other awards and accolades for the cofounders, who can now add “female inventors” to their bios?
Jenkins and Stevenson have already earned titles such as: ELLE “Green Beauty Stars Award,” Popsugar “Conscious Beauty Award,” one of Vogue Magazine’s “Best New Sustainable Beauty Products” in 2021, Cosmopolitan “Holy Grail Beauty Award,” Men's Health “Grooming Award,” and The Kit Beauty Disruptor Award.
And Everist is just getting started.
In April the brand became Climate Neutral Certified Carbon Neutral, in May they became available at Credo Beauty (debuting as number two haircare brand) — Credo is the ultimate testament to Everist’s sustainability promise as a brand who walks the talk, as it sets the clean beauty standard — and in July it became available at Well.ca, and sold out during launch.
When it comes to Everist’s formulation, the proof is very much in the paste. Jenkins, CBO at Everist, and Stevenson, CEO, were inspired by the emerging trend of water-activated tablets in home-care items and decided to apply the concept to hair care, to start. Here’s how it works: Everist’s shampoo and conditioner come in a paste format that turns into a foamy lather and serum-like conditioner when activated by water.
Its paste-like formula moisturizes with aloe vera and vegetable glycerin, while strengthening strands with amla oil and increasing scalp circulation with peppermint oil. Thanks to the positive reviews for its impact, performance and fragrance, Everist has added a patent-pending waterless body wash to its lineup in October, along with a Compostable Konjac Sponge.
Jenkins and Stevenson first met at Western University’s Ivey Business School program, and stayed in touch — they were each working in the beauty industry, and together they have over 20 years of experience at different CPG brands.
(Jenkins received a Certificate of Sustainability at Oxford University back in 2013.)
For Jenkins, the footprint and impact on the environment started to creep in when she became a mother for the first time. “The whole exploration for me started when I was on maternity leave with my daughter. I was at home, and I was very conscientious about starting to pay attention to the things I was doing and their impact on the world.”
While Everist is making an impact, the cofounders of the brand are not claiming to be perfect. That is exactly why they refer to themselves and the community they’ve created, “Imperfect environmentalists.”
Optimism is one of the key brand values of Everist: it can be seen in its approachable, friendly copy and brand messaging, as well as in the yellow highlights splashed on the website and packaging.
But there's always work to be done when it comes to clean beauty, sustainability and being eco-driven — so Jenkins and Stevenson keep striving to keep the mission at the core of their business and brand.
Everist’s products are single-use plastic free (its tubes are 99.7% pure aluminum and infinitely recyclable). It also uses biodegradable ingredients for its formulas and produce with the smallest carbon footprint possible (which is then offset, to be carbon neutral). Its products are thoughtfully designed, inside and out, as is the way they do business.
As Stevenson explains, “There are some really key benefits. When it comes to this product, it’s three times more concentrated, so it's very compact. So already it’s smaller, which means a smaller carbon footprint. It requires less packaging, so you have less waste at the end of the day. And in our case, we make sure it's single-use, plastic free.”
(In the U.S. it is estimated that over 552 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills yearly, which is enough bottles to fill 1,164 football fields. Once in the landfills, these bottles take an average of 450 years to decompose.)
They knew they were on to something when they finally managed to get the paste out of the tube — after much trial and error.
“We really had the paste going for a long time, but the day we got it out of the tube, was a true celebration!” Jenkins shares. “There were so many different moving parts — there's getting the paste texture right, getting it stable, getting the performance right, and getting it to work with the component of the aluminum tube was super tricky. So there were so many different challenges along the way. Which is why the development process was a couple of years, to get it to market.”
As for scaling this mountain of a task, here’s the thinking behind the brand name, Everist:
“How do you come up with a name that isn't green or isn't necessarily eco, which sounds open? Everist is the name of our customer — it's someone who thinks about their forever impact when they make purchase decisions,” Jenkins explains. “So that's what an ‘ever-ist’ is to us. There's so much doom and gloom out there right now in the climate space, so we want to provide that feel-good element. It's about bringing people in wherever they are on their eco journey.”
Stevenson adds: “There's definitely the mountain connotation, but it’s also about the customer who wants to make small changes in their daily lives that add up the big impact.”
It’s about inspiring the masses to make changes towards eco versus whether they’re doing it perfectly, which can feel like a daunting task and ask. It’s also about never being preachy, but rather approaching sustainability and action from a place of realness and transparency.
And although our purchases’ impact on the planet is serious business, Everist is taking a lighter approach in its tone and messaging.
“We don't need a hundred people doing zero-waste perfectly — we need millions of people trying to be better, however they can be,” Jenkins asserts.
Every element of the brand’s packaging is intentional: the colorway and branding are gender inclusive (Everist has been featured in men’s magazines as a great gym shampoo), and the tubes come with a metal key to get every bit of paste out of the tube. There’s also a “cap back” program, where users can send back the caps in the cotton bag provided in the package, once it’s full. Although technically recyclable PET plastic, Everist’s cofounders know that plastic often ends up in the trash. To ensure they get a second life, the brand takes them back to be upcycled into future Everist products.
It’s about getting more action as a result of having a conversation that opens people's minds to eco versus shutting people down. “We need everybody to be going in that direction. So we really want to welcome as many people into the eco space as we can,” Jenkins adds.
Stevenson asserts: “We want to build the company of the future. And obviously, we're not going to be perfect. We know that. But simply embracing that and being open minded and growing — we're excited for the future.”
As far as Everist is concerned: the future of clean beauty is bright.