Organic Spa Blog

Tony Vargas: The man behind Tilth Beauty

Welcome to Better Organic Choice (BOC), a column focusing on makeup, skincare and beauty tips, tricks and product advice for the holistically hip. I cover the best in green glam, behind the scenes and in your face (not your traditional crunchy granola here). I’m here to help you explore all the beauty treatments you adore (and so much more) ! Do you often worry if your beauty products are dangerous to your health? Are you dizzy from analyzing ingredients? Guiding you is my pleasure.

Let me be honest, as a sustainable beauty expert I receive a great deal of products labeled natural (which really means nothing). Some products are made with good intentions, but only a few of them are made with a real understanding of what sustainable really is. I recently tried a line called Tilth Beauty that was created with complete understanding of sustainability, which for me was very inspirational. The creator Tony Vargas has over 30 years in the business, and really understands the impact of ingredients on both the skin and the environment. Our conversation was very knowledgeable, so I thought I would share:

Anthony Vargas

Q: What’s your background in beauty?

A: I have a background in beauty that comprises of over thirty plus years. I have developed  and directed the formulation for several skin care products, from anti-aging treatments, cleansers to moisturizers. I first started at Avon and then went Elizabeth Arden where I developed the Ceramide and Prevage lines. My last position at Arden was that of V.P. of Global Research and Development, where I was also the key person for researching new technologies for Arden’s skin care products. I educated the Arden marketing group on how best to market the technology of products to consumers.

Q:What made you interested in the sustainable/green/organic side?

A: Through my years of developing skin care products, I saw the industry move away from using natural oils and butters to synthetic ones. As it turned out many ended with hazardous intermediates. The industry got smarter and looked for ways to remove these intermediates from the processes, but some traces remained. The other component I looked at was how biodegradable the ingredients are because if not they can accumulate in the environment . When I started developing my line I looked for green, sustainable materials that would not negatively impact the environment, so I went back naturals which do not create harmful intermediates and are biodegradable . The same is true with Tilth Beauty packaging; the cartons are made from recycled paper and wind power and the jars and bottles are all recyclable. Tilth Beauty has no negative impact on the environment. I feel it’s the way to go and the whole industry will be headed that way as more and more consumers demand this from their products.

Q: Tell me a bit about Tilth Beauty?

A: The word tilth describes the condition of the soil and how it holds on to moisture, nutrients and oxygen. The name Tilth and it’s concept is relatable to the skin which also needs nutrients, moisture and oxygen.  Bad tilth means crops and plants will not grow correctly and the same can be seen in skin. We developed our line to give the skin the moisture, nutrients and stimulation needed for better oxygen flow, creating healthy younger looking skin.

Q: Did you formulate Tilth Beauty because you saw a specific need in the industry?

A: Yes, as most of the large skin care companies still use many synthetic emollients and fillers in their products, I feel the consumer is now looking for products that will not have a negative impact on the environment and at the same time are safe for the skin, and other organs of the body. Consumers are now more educated realizing that sustainable ingredients are safe for the environment and the body .

Tilth Collection


Tony also shared the following ‘Did you know’  ingredient information with me: 

Did you know  Propylene Glycol is used in moisturizers and also used in antifreeze for cars and deicer for aircraft?

Did you know Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used as a colorant and also used as a colorant in paint?

Did you know Silicone is used to give beauty products a unique feel and also used as a revitalizer for plastic in cars to regain shine?

Did you know Mineral Oil is  used as an emollient, and also used as a fluid in electrical transformers and space heaters?

Did you know Carnauba Wax is used to thicken lip sticks but also used in car waxes and furniture polish?


Related Article:

The Inner and Outer Beauty of Amel Larrieux

Behind the Scenes for the Organic Spa Magazine Fall Issue

The Beauty of Dirt

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