Why We Carry Clean Beauty

The thinking behind our self-care selection.

Eons ago, before owning a shop, I was a magazine editor. After college internships, my first “real” editor gig was at a magazine rebranding itself from “New Age Journal” to “Body + Soul.” At 23, it felt like hitting the big time. My beat? Green lifestyle, with an emphasis on food and beauty—those product-filled editorials we needed to produce to garner the advertising that would keep the magazine alive.

It was a good fit. A southern California native, I was not unacquainted with the idea of living sustainably. As a ‘90s teen I volunteered for beach cleanups, wore vintage, learned yoga, and ate alfalfa sprouts at a vegan shack on the weekends.

We've come pretty far.
Image credit: Baiobay


But a green life was still pretty fringe in the early aughts, the archetype a dusty food co-op smelling of oats and damp cardboard. And the “clean” beauty industry in particular was not ready for prime time. I wandered the aisles of big natural-products expos, searching for story-worthy finds.

It was so disheartening. The brand messages I heard were, by and large, angry: bitter diatribes on the toxic and carcinogenic compounds in lotions and shampoos, and how evil mainstream companies were for leaving them in. Left out were any promises of radiance or results. 

What’s more, most of the products were flat-out ugly, with names like “Essence of Nature” or “Demeter’s Delight.” Everything smelled like tea tree oil, or hay. I stewed in my hotel room at night as I slathered on Burt’s Bees.

Oh, the poor advertising team that had to deal with me in those days. “You need to show the packaging in your stories,” they’d plead. “Can we please fit this brand in somewhere?” I’d counter: How are we supposed to motivate anyone to toss their luxe-but-possibly-toxic products when this is what’s being served up instead? 

I was young and stubborn. An unnecessary pain in the ass. But I wasn’t wrong. And finally, decades later, it’s here: Clean beauty as luxuriously curated and effective as the stuff that’s bad for us, if not leagues better. It looks good. It smells good. You’re happy to see it out on your bathroom counter, a little reminder to indulge, to take care.

At Monroe, our limited selection focuses on skin, hair, and body care items that work for all types, and can be layered into an existing regimen. Beautiful packaging, presentation, and scents are a must—no sacrifices for us!

Here's a look at some of the lines you'll find in the shop.

Nash & Jones

It was the clay masks that did it for us: Powder formulations you can choose to mix with cold water or with your favorite serums for a tailored, nourishing treatment. We also love the brand’s spa-style accessories, like the Luxe Bamboo Headband or the spoon-and-brush set for mask application. For daily cleansing? We swear by the calming, detoxifying charcoal bar.


European organic standards are far more stringent than ours, with stricter rules on what can and can’t be used or called “organic”. Paris-born Baiobay takes it to the next level: all their formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, certified Natural and Bio by Ecocert, and earn a score of 100 on Yuka (an independent app that helps consumers avoid hormone disruptors and other problematic ingredients).
The line’s hero is their organic coconut oil, a simple but miraculous balm that’s solid when cold, but transforms to a liquid when warmed gently in the hand. An intense moisturizer, it erases “grandma hands” and dry cuticles on contact. For all-over hydration, the aloe-rich body cream is our favorite summer moisturizer, and the new hair serum is a multitasking, frizz-smoothing star.

Palermo Body

Crafted in Brooklyn, New York,  this handmade line is full of active botanicals and smells like pure heaven. We carry the invigorating body scrub, alluringly pink salt soak, and an oatmeal-rich bath powder that soothes irritated skin like nobody’s business.

Salt & Stone

After decades of product testing, I never found an aluminum-free deodorant I adored—until Salt & Stone. A line created by professional snowboarder Nima Jalali, it puts health and the environment first—all ingredients are sustainably grown sans pesticides, and you wont find artificial fragrances, sulfates, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates or GMOs in there, either. Clean formula aside, the line smells INCREDIBLE, and weve created superfans of the natural deodorants and Antioxidant Body Wash. This line is only available for in-store purchase, but trust us—its worth the trip. 

Curious about more of our self-care picks?