Tell us about your background and what inspired you to create 23 Skin?
I grew up in the skincare industry – I’m a second generation licensed esthetician and my mother launched her line of professional spa treatments a year after I was born. I got my first facial at the age of 3 and grew up going to and working at spas, experimenting with products, and traveling to over 25 countries meeting with and educating estheticians and beauty professionals all over the world. I later would earn a Masters in Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing from FIT and taught an undergraduate class as an adjunct professor for the beauty program there. I also am a practicing licensed esthetician and see clients at skin care clinics in Miami. I have spoken at skin care conferences around the world – Let’s just say I live and breathe beauty. It’s part of my DNA.
I grew frustrated with what was happening in the beauty industry. There is a lot of grey area in cosmetic product listings and a lot of “fairy dusting” of sexy ingredients. Just because a product is called a matcha mask or seaweed mask, it’s usually not the first few ingredients in the product listing, meaning it’s not a major percentage of the actual formula. In the spa, we mix high quality cosmetic raws with other actives and immediately apply on the client. I wanted to recreate this experience for people to do at home.
As a working mother, even though I grew up in the spa industry, I never had time to get a facial. My esthetician would laugh when I came in for my yearly facial that I was like the shoe-makers daughter without any shoes. So I started creating my own spa facials and body treatments at home.
With 23 Skin, I’m stripping down skincare to only the most potent and best-sourced ingredients and allowing my clients to recreate spa facials and body treatments at home. My first two products I launched 23 Skin with are powders and because there is no water, there is no need for preservatives. Fragrance is another place that brands hide a lot of nasties like phthalates and synthetic ingredients. And at such small percentages they do not even legally need to claim what they are hiding. Lastly, how plants are processed and where they are sourced is important.That’s why I wanted to give clients raw ingredients that are well-sourced and high quality. In addition, I want people to know that there is a real person who has been immersed in the world of skin care and beauty since a young age – that has studied and practiced skin care. I’m not just a reviewer or someone who had an a-ha moment who decided to create her own beauty line. This is my life-long passion.
How did your mom being an esthetician lay the framework for you learning to take care of your skin?
I was taught from a young age to take care of my skin. I remember going away to sleep away camp for the very first time and I already had an elaborate daily and nightly skincare routine that included a soap-free liquid to foam cleanser, exfoliating scrub, lightweight moisturizer and sunscreen. My bunkmates were always curious and fascinated by my daily ritual. It’s so important to teach children about daily skincare just as one would teach them about daily oral care. For some reason, in American culture we just splash our kids face with water and send them off. If you start young it becomes truly a part of your routine and it never feels like work. I also remember always going to the dermatologist for yearly body checks. I have a lot of moles and my mother made sure to always be on top of them and get the ones that looked suspicious removed immediately. I recently asked a college-aged woman if she ever got her body checked by a derm and she surprisingly said no. Especially living in South Florida, this type of education is imperative.
As an esthetician yourself, how have you seen sun damage on skin up close?
I have had melanoma in my family so it is a very close subject that I am all too familiar with. But what most people don’t understand is that any type of sun-damage is permanent damage. Even when the tan or the burn fades away, that damage is recorded. The cumulative effect of the sun over time is a real danger. As an esthetician you are always educating your clients on proper skincare and daily sun protection. I prefer mineral zinc oxide based sunscreens for a physical barrier on the skin and it’s also better for the environment then chemical sunscreens.
You live in Florida. How do you integrate sun safety into your family’s life?
When we first moved here 6 years ago I was really nervous about being in the sun 365 days a year. I sent my kids into school everyday with sunscreen applied and brimmed hats. I will say I have relaxed a little as the truth is even though we live in a sunny climate, we are indoors most of the time as it’s just too hot to be outside. That being said I always wear a foundation daily that contains SPF and my boys, if they are outside on the weekends are always wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. If we go to the pool or beach, sun-protective clothing and umbrellas are a must. Even under an umbrella it’s important to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Also, I try not to lie out in the sun during peak hours.
For more on 23 Skin, go here.