Interview: Josh Wadinski, Plantioxidants, and the Clean Beauty Revolution

Dried herbs and plants to introduce an interview with Josh Wadinski, co-funder of Plantioxidants

For the last post of the year, I decided to interview Josh Wadinski, the co-founder of Plantioxidants with green beauty lover Susie Wang (a.k.a. the girl and the brains behind 100% Pure.) As the clean beauty revolution continues to make headlines, I believe it is important to remember what organic means, what does the USDA seal guarantee, and how to choose the right product for you. Waste not, want not!

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Plantioxidants was recently launched in September as a luxury, organic skincare range with clean ingredients and a rich antioxidant content. Designed to protect skin from everyday aggressors, the whole line is vegan to guarantee that it is good for humans and the environment as well. Composed of 12 different products with a price range between $78 and $155, the line includes cleansers, toners, masks, serums, and everything your green heart desires.

Plantioxidants USDA Organic Power Seed Menagerie Oil with a background of flowers

And now, without further ado, let me say goodbye to 2017 in style by introducing fellow clean beauty warrior Josh Wadinski. Here’s to a wonderful and green 2018!

Josh Wadinski and Susie Wang, founders of Plantioxidants

New York For Beginners: When did you meet Susie Wang, and how did the idea of Plantioxidants start?

Josh Wadinski: Susie and I met in the fall of 2016 in New York. The idea of a very potent set of plant-based, antioxidant products had been brewing in Susie’s mind beforehand and I’d been strict about healthy and environmentally-focused living since college. We both believe in the importance of clean lifestyles personally and that consumers deserve transparency. In turn our backgrounds, interests, and goals had an organic fit from the start.

NYFB: Why did you concentrate on producing an USDA organic line?

J.W.: Great question! What you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, so just like you the food you put in your mouth, you should be very mindful of what products you put on your skin. I just wrote an extensive blog on this, but to summarize, ingredients in beauty fall into three buckets: conventional, “natural”, and organic. Compared to the food you eat, it is vitally important for anyone who buys beauty products to be aware of these differences. Conventional products are traditional products that can be laden with chemicals. Unfortunately, “natural” is an exploited, unregulated term in beauty, which many consumers don’t know. Too many brands have natural looking packaging with wooden caps and colorful plants on their bottles and boxes, but in reality their formulas may be riddled with the same unhealthy ingredients as conventional brands. On the other hand, USDA organic is a threshold. It is, thankfully, strictly regulated and a way to prove our products are natural and healthy. In order to be transparent I wanted Plantioxidants to define natural, so we did.

Consumers need to be careful to not fall for beautiful packaging that masks the reality of what is inside of their skincare. If you truly want healthy, natural products in beauty, you need to rely on certified USDA organic.

The Minimalist bundle: A three-step regime

NYFB: What does USDA organic mean in terms of what consumers can expect from your ingredients?

J.W.: It means we use the cleanest, healthiest ingredients possible in all the Plantioxidants products. To be USDA organic, 95% or more of all ingredients must be organic. In order to be organic, the ingredients must not only be natural but they also cannot have toxic pesticides, synthetic herbicides, petroleum based fillers, artificial preservatives, nor artificial flavors or aromas. Additionally, because of USDA organic regulations, (and our beliefs) Plantioxidants products are vegan, cruelty-free, BPA free, paraben free, and phthalate free. I’m happy that certified USDA organic is the way we illustrate truly how many toxins we cannot have in our products, which in turn your body will never have to absorb.

NYFB: Your formulas are quite complex. How long does it take you to create and launch a new product?

J.W.: Our formulations took just under 12 months. We gave every product a lot of attention – And because I am a perfectionist, there were dozens of iterations where we scrutinized every ingredient to make sure we targeted the specific concerns we wanted the products to address. In reality, these have been years in the making given our backgrounds, and Susie’s specifically in natural formulation. Another reason the ingredient lists are long is because of the potent Plantioxidants Complex used in every product. The complex consists of 21 antioxidant rich ingredients.

NYFB: What are ORAC units, and why do you measure your ingredients in such a way?

J.W.: It is well accepted that antioxidants play a significant role in our everyday lives as humans. ORAC (Oxygen Radial Absorbance Capacity) units were created to measure the antioxidant values between foods and ingredients. Currently it is the best method for doing so.

In turn, knowing the importance of antioxidants in our diet and on our skin, we wanted to transparently show how antioxidant-rich our formulas really are. Antioxidants help us fight off everyday elements like smoke, pollution, car/bus exhaust, etc. and we wanted to create concentrated, antioxidant powerhouse products. I didn’t want to just say “high in antioxidants” like some brands label themselves “natural”, so we measured it. This is a bit tricky though because measuring antioxidants is very tough, we would love to work more closely with any scientists or nutritionists who are interested in cracking this nut with us.

Millennial girl with flowers on background to show a clean beauty lifestyle

NYFB: What type of preservatives are you using in your formulas so the antioxidant benefits remain intact?

J.W.: I’d love to tell you, but that’s part of our intellectual property. What I can tell you is preventing oxidation is key for all Plantioxidants products, so we’ve mastered how we do that. Another simple way to prevent oxidation and preserve formulas is by preventing the sun from hitting the products. That is why the bottles are the beautiful dark blue-green they are. It’s also why you should store Plantioxidants in dimly-lit locations.

The other organic preservatives we use help to prevent bacteria from growing in the products, and also function as anti-inflammatories. We’ve chosen ingredients in all products to have as much purpose as possible.

NYFB: Your products are made in the USA. What made you make this decision, in an era where most companies manufacture overseas?

J.W.: We proudly make our formulas in the USA. The USDA organic guidelines are a gold standard around the world, but the best way for us to constantly monitor the high standard we believe our customers deserve is by making our products in the USA. It is also a way to make sure there isn’t testing happening to the products we are unaware of (ex: animal testing in China).

The Power Seed Menagerie Oil, one of the most complex organic serums on the market.

NYFB: What is your favorite product of the line and why?

J.W.: Tough question! I sincerely love them all. I really like the natural exfoliant (acai berries) in our Camu Camu Scrub + Mask, and the Light Power Seed Cream absorbs quickly and is perfect for my skin. I have to say, the Chaga & Ginseng Serum is the perfect serum. The chaga mushroom is loaded with polysaccharides that help your skin retain water, melanin to help repair your skin after sun damage, and beta-glucen to help fight wrinkles. To be honest, also because it rings so close to home. We decided to use chaga mushroom and ginseng because they are amazing natural ingredients that my hometown is famous for.

My other favorite part of the products is the 100% recycled and recyclable packaging we used. The goal for Plantioxidants is to provide consumers with healthy products that will not pollute their bodies while also not polluting the planet. {…} We use 100% post-consumer recycled plastic for our bottles – all of our products are completely recyclable. 

I hope this interview has helped you understand the “why” of clean beauty! I am personally most impressed by the ethos of Plantioxidants, and have been lucky enough to test personally their Power Seed Menagerie Oil ($105). Conceived as a potent serum, it is extremely nourishing for my very dry and sometimes itchy skin. Made only with 20+ cold-pressed superfood seeds and organic essential oils, it has been of great help in fighting the chilly winter temperatures and my constant travels, two situations when my skin suffers greatly.

Disclosure Level 1: The author received NO compensation to
write this article. The author received samples of the products
mentioned for editorial consideration, which didn’t influence the
decision to write about the brand nor the opinions expressed. All links
are for the readers’ further information and aren’t part of an affiliate
marketing program



  1. Antonia
    January 1, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    Gracias x descubrirme nuevas marcas organicas 🙂

    • New York For Beginners
      January 14, 2018 / 6:23 pm

      Un placer, Antonia! Me alegra ser de ayuda 🙂 Un abrazo verde!

  2. hobanl
    January 10, 2018 / 9:45 pm

    Great article.

    • New York For Beginners
      January 14, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you! Glad you found it interesting

  3. Anonymous
    January 12, 2018 / 11:44 am

    Good replies in return of this matter with genuine arguments and telling all on the topic of that.

    • New York For Beginners
      January 14, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Anonymous
    January 26, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    Why not have full transparency on preservatives? It's annoying that companies make themselves out to be green beauty martyrs and then not fully disclose ingredient information. Just saying…

    • New York For Beginners
      January 28, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Hi, Anonymous! First and foremost, thank you for your comment. I completely agree that companies should also disclose their preservatives. I can understand that trade secrets protect that information and that is why they might be wary of others copying their processes, but there might be a way to say what's in what you're putting in your skin without giving away too much information.I personally trust the USDA organic seal because it's one of the most stringent out there, so even if they don't disclose the exact preservative I know it won't be as bad as phenoxyethanol and its likes.In the case of the particular serum I tested, I went through the ingredient list and I believe the preservatives are Vitamin E and a mix of thyme and oregano extracts. This, of course, is my best guess. Plus, as it is an oil formula it doesn't need any harsh preservatives, unlike anything that has water or aloe vera.I hope this helps! Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. Looking forward to chatting again 🙂

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