Gloria Noto Is Forging a New Path In the Clean Beauty Space

NOTO Botanics was launched to give back to queer and BIPOC communities.

BEAUTY BOSS: Gloria Noto
Photo: Courtesy of Gloria Noto

Most of us have had moments when we step back, look at how we live our lives, and question everything about it. This is a feeling Gloria Noto is all too familiar with.

"I was working with all the celebrities and doing all the cool things and I felt so empty — I felt like my life was on autopilot," they share with InStyle over Zoom. "I didn't feel like I was putting anything out there that felt like me, or something that I could grow old with."

With ten years of experience under their belt, they decided to stay in the beauty industry but give it a meaningful twist. Once the vision was clear, NOTO Botanics skincare came to life. In 2016, the clean beauty brand was launched with the purpose to give back to queer and BIPOC communities through ongoing donations and make sure each group was represented in the clean beauty space at a time when there was little to no visibility at all.

Before launching, though, they had already been putting together their own concoctions. The idea of starting a beauty brand was already there, but Noto had some trepidations. "I felt a little apprehensive at first because if I was going to launch something, it would be great if I could truly be an expert in it, especially if I'm going to put my name on it," they explain.

After their self-described "mini-breakdown," Noto finally felt it was time to make a change and start the brand. Here, they share how NOTO Botanics came to life, how the brand gives back, their best advice to aspiring business owners, and more.

What inspired you to start NOTO Botanics?

I didn't necessarily think the world needed another beauty line, but at the time, especially in clean beauty, there was no representation for anyone other than the privileged, white-lady type of people. And being a queer person and having a vast background of friends that come from different places in their life, different identities, who also cared about what they put on their bodies but weren't being represented.

And I need to feel connected to my work because my work and my life blur, so it needs to feel hyper-connected. I'd been doing beauty since I was 19, so I don't know anything different. So, instead of burning it to the ground, I took what I was an expert in and made something that wasn't seen at the time, which was inclusive representation.

Giving back is fundamental to the structure of NOTO Botanics gives back a lot. Why was this important to you as a founder?

I wanted to create a brand that didn't just pull inspiration from minority groups, but also gave back to them. Back then, no brands were giving back — they do now, which is great. It seems like beauty brands are activist brands now, which before the [2020] uprising wasn't necessarily a thing. But seeing a lot of brands take inspiration from the BIPOC and queer communities but never giving back or having that kind of representation... When I started my company it had to stand for more than just beauty, since beauty can be superficial at its essence, but there's a depth to beauty and representation that's so special and changes culture.

The sales of our Agender Oil always give back — it's even special in its name, just standing for something very specific. We rotate charities each month, and the percentage changes but is typically around 10% of sales.

VIDEO: Megan Fox Debuted a Rainbow Manicure in Honor of Pride Month

How does NOTO define "clean beauty" and what sustainability efforts does the brand make?

There are so many variables, such as ingredient sourcing and packaging. We're still a small company, and the irony of that is that it can be kind of harder to be more sustainable, but we source sustainable ingredients and packaging that are biodegradable and has a low emissions output. If we use plastic, we use PCR materials — but we're trying to totally get rid of plastics and move into aluminum. We use a lot of glass. As for clean ingredients, we try to keep the preservatives to the most natural elements when we can.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

This is technical, but make sure you get your taxes done appropriately and get a good bookkeeper because you do not want to screw around with that — it could potentially ruin your small business if you don't do your taxes right. On the more creative side, one of my biggest pieces of advice would be to have an authentic point of view and vision — that's what makes you special.

Shop NOTO Botanics Products:

Agender Oil

noto botanics agender oil
Courtesy

Apt for your face, body, and hair, this oil is truly a jack of all trades. Hemp seed oil is the star ingredient, which softens hair and soothes skin. Vetiver and lavender are mixed in to help decrease inflammation and relax the mind through a sensory experience.

Deep Serum

noto botanics deep serum
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This is the serum that Gloria says they use every day as it clears their acne, improves their skin texture, and soothes their skin. "I've been using it since I started making it, so around six, seven years," they add.

ONO ONO

noto botanics ono ono
Courtesy

This lip and cheek stain is more than just makeup — it's skincare, too. Fueled with nourishing oils, vitamin E, and shea butter, this two-in-one product will keep your skin healthy while giving it an instant boost of color.

PRIDE Limited Edition Kit

NOTO botanics pride kit
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Get a full-sized Agender Oil and a sustainable tote bag this month — 10% of all PRIDE Kit sales will go to SAGE USA, a non-profit organization advocating for our LGBTQIA+ elders and caregivers.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Beauty Boss profiles the brains behind the brands making waves in the beauty industry. From the ideas that first inspire brands to how best-selling hair, makeup, and skincare products are made, find out how these leaders get it done.

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