Jessica Alba says taking The Honest Company public was like getting ready for birth.

The 40-year-old actress and businesswoman - who has Honor, 12, Haven, nine, and Hayes, three, with husband Cash Warren - co-founded the clean beauty brand in 2011 and made an impressive debut on Wall Street this week, but she insisted "the real work" is just beginning.

She told People: "I just knew I wanted to build a brand that could stand the test of time. I knew that I wanted to have a modern, more ethical way to meet consumers' needs. There was a huge white space. It was like, however we get there, we need to get there.

"Every single moment has mattered so much and I learned so much along the way. You know when you're pregnant and every month when your baby goes from a walnut and then eventually it's like the size of a grapefruit, then it becomes a melon. Every stage feels so different and new. Once you actually have the baby, you're like, the real work has now started. That's how I feel today."

The consumer goods brand started out offering natural alternatives to common baby products but expanded to include beauty and skincare products and was valued at $1 billion by Forbes in 2015.

However, this week it was revealed that the firm made a whopping $412 million IPO and is currently valued at $1.44 billion.

And the 'Sin City' star says she has proved that Wall Street isn't just a place for men.

She explained: "There's a lot of fear just from the unknown and doubt from the unknown. But the more and more people see us at those tables and see us show up in these different environments where you're not used to seeing us in the same way that you're used to seeing men, that will continue to help change the narrative.

"Half the population isn't represented in all of these sectors. Why? We need to be more active to make sure that that doesn't happen for this next generation.

"That our kids are growing up with a totally different understanding of what's possible and who you can be."