The Interview: Daniela Mellis, Founder, Girl Smells

Girl Smells is a Berlin based bodycare brand which has launched in the UK. The brand offers a cool line of products for face, body and hair, all of which are made from the purest and most natural ingredients. Girls Smells is also vegan certified and products contain no alcohol, parabens, aluminium, sulphates, mineral oils or silicones at all.

The brand was created after listening to endless requests from girlfriends, sisters, friends and co-workers who needed a deodorant that was natural, fun and fresh. The collection has since evolved to include body and lip care, formulated with plant based, clean formulas containing no nasties like aluminum and alcohol.

Using organic ingredients whenever possible, each product has been created in line with the brand ethos – natural and safe. Founder of Girl Smells, Daniela Mellis tells TheIndustry.fashion’s The Beauty Edit more:

Could you tell us a little bit about your background?

I don’t have the typical beauty background I would assume, but that also has something to do with me being 49. When I finished high school in Germany, I had two main interests: people and beauty. I went to university to study psychology but later left this field. An internship in the beauty department of a woman’s magazine and my first job as a beauty assistant created a lifelong passion for all thing’s beauty.

What inspired you to launch Girl Smells?

I wanted to give beauty products, necessities that you find in every bathroom a new spin and make them so beautiful that they don’t need to hide in the back of your beauty cabinet any longer such as leg shaving oil, and deodorant to name a few.

Usually these products are neither organic or in a nice-looking container, so we rather hide them than put them on display. Also, I think openly displaying beauty products that aren’t usually talked about (underarm detox mask anyone?!) creates a new perspective on female beauty and changes the perception that in fact those body regions can indeed smell nice!

What is the brand’s core philosophy?

To work with your body, not against it! Creating effective formulas for beauty concerns that are usually neglected by clean beauty brands: deodorant, underarm detox mask, leg shaving oil, aloe vera soothing gel for sensitive bikini zone, intimate oil, breast oil, natural perfume … It’s so much fun to bring products that work and don’t come with any of the commonly used nasties in this product category.

Why are people so concerned by conventional antiperspirant?

It is the aluminium which we should be concerned about. Plus, synthetic perfumes and the effect on female hormones. And the fact that a lot of those also create skin reaction because the underarm area is very sensitive after shaving.

What’s the real difference between antiperspirant and natural deodorant?

It’s basically a total different product category. An anti-perspirant – using aluminium – blocks pores so there will be no sweat and as there is no sweat there will be no nasty smell.

A natural deodorant allows your body to sweat, but with its formula prevents the (natural) bacteria to turn rancid and therefore prohibiting any nasty smell. You will – however – be slightly wet in the underarm region. This will subside eventually. I have been using our natural deodorant for so long now, that I don’t feel a difference anymore.

What do your natural deodorants use in their formulas to stop odours?

It’s not the essential oils or the natural perfume – our formula even works unscented, nor is it baking soda that a lot of natural deodorants use. Instead our formula works in turning a naturally smelly bacteria into something that won’t smell any more.

Plus, you won’t ruin your white shirts with those ugly yellow stains or black shirts with white residue – a common side effect when baking soda is used in the formula.

Our formula is more like a lotion that really sinks into skin. It’s so lovely and I haven’t seen anything similar on the market.

How do you come up with ideas for new products?

Oh that can be anything. Something that I need for myself for instance. Or a certain raw ingredient sparks my interest. Sometimes it starts with a mood or even a name … I am constantly creating (in my head). It is so difficult to turn this off.

What are your top 3 product recommendations and why?

Natural Deodorant. Education on synthetic perfumes and aluminium and the risk those impose on your health. Hormonal health is so important.

When embarking on this natural deodorant journey the first 4 weeks will be awful. No denying that. Around day 5-7 your body seems to realise that it can release toxins, sweat and all – and so you will stink. Plan this in. Use the Underarm Detox Mask every morning for 5-10 minutes before you take a shower as the clay will help draw out all toxins. You will be forever rewarded.

Breast Oil (new product launch). Making self-care exams so much more fun and the essential oils we have chosen are said to keep breast tissue healthy.

Sustainability is becoming a crucial focus for the skincare and beauty industry, in what ways is Girl Smells incorporating sustainability into its business model and brand identity?

We offer re-fills for all our deodorants! And we don’t do outer carton boxes to avoid unnecessary waste.

Where is the deodorant and bodycare market heading?

I see it going into a very healthy direction. It is less focussed on anti-cellulite but rather on feel-goodself-care products which I think is an amazing development!

What do you think have been the most important beauty/skincare trends of 2020 so far?

CBD.

A general minimal and less is more approach.

Self-care as a category within beauty.

How has Girl Smells been adjusting to such uncertain and challenging times?
Keep working. Keep creating. Staying true to one’s core values.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Having four kids (boys) and still being able to do what I truly love doing.

What is the future for Girl Smells?

Our LOVE YOURSELF collection with intimate oil, breast oil, leg oil, natural perfume roll on and anamazing all over body oil … Also finalizing a face care line to address hormonal challenged skin!

What advice would you give to anyone starting up beauty/skincare brand?

Keep it simple. Don’t start with too many sku’s. Do anything you can do yourself before sourcing out. Be authentic. Trust the universe. Believe in miracles.