I lost my Glow.
I had tried every Big Brand beauty product I could find to bring an end to the relentless break-outs that had plagued me for a decade when it dawned on me. I needed to simplify and start over, I needed to THROW OUT all of my skincare products. I had an unshakable feeling down to the very last cell in my body that ten piece beauty systems were actually robbing me of my Glow.
I had no idea, in that moment, that my life would change forever. Or even more shockingly, just how much it would change…
When I was in my teens I had great skin. I had luminous skin that Glowed. And I did not have to do much to keep it that way.
But when I entered my twenties things changed. There seemed to only be a few days a month where I wasn’t plagued by patches of tiny break-outs along my cheeks and jawline. Sometimes I even broke out on my forehead. In this picture you can see redness and a break-out along my jaw line and upper lip - I am even wearing heavy make-up in this picture! There was never a time when I didn't have some type of annoying skin disruption on my face. It was affecting my self-esteem, and I never wanted my picture taken. I know you may look at this picture and think I'm blowing my problem out of proportion, it's just a little break-out, not deep acne - but it felt huge to me because it never went away. I never got a break from "break-outs".
The break-outs would not go away. No matter how hard I tried, I just kept breaking out. I could not understand what the problem was. I ate a very clean, healthy diet and made sure I got regular exercise. I washed my face twice a day. I tried going without make-up. Nothing helped.
I tried everything I could get my hands on to fix my skin issues. I used skin care product after skin care product in a search for answers. I was sure that just adding this toner or that mask or this water based cream or a stronger cleanser would be the key to finally getting my Glow back.
When none of these products worked, I started researching ingredients to try to figure out what my skin was missing. This was the start of my journey toward what would become my career as a natural skin care product formulator.
After getting my university degree in Biology, I chose to join our family business making small batch bath and body products made with herbs, flowers, and roots from our family farm in Wisconsin. As a natural skin care product formulator, it is my job to make safe skin care products that work.
It seemed like I never had the clear, glowing skin the beauty industry was telling me defined beauty. This was especially frustrating for me because by this point in my career I was a skin care formulator - of all the people who should have had the answers - it should have been me!
When I turned 30 I started noticing that not only was my skin still breaking out, it was drying out. Worse yet, I started to notice signs of fine lines, sun damage, and even a white hair or two! I was desperate.
I tried everything I could find - a top of the line 10 piece skin care program, “hero” fast-fix ingredients, I tried creating my own formulas with ingredients that specifically targeted acne issues, and more. Nothing worked.
Despite trying everything I could get my hands on to fix my acne problems, when I looked in the mirror I did not see glowing, vibrant skin... instead I saw dull skin with bursts of red, patchy acne along my jawline. And now I even saw a line or two. I was afraid that all of the products I was using were actually damaging my skin.
I wanted skin that glowed. I wanted beautiful clear skin from healthy products that actually worked. I didn’t want to have to spend an arm and a leg for healthy products. And I was tired of being faced with a 10 step skincare routine every single day. I wanted my Glow back!
I was frustrated by skin care products that complicated my life, drained my bank account, and filled every spare inch of my bathroom cabinets. And I was fed up with products that did not work.
Worst of all, I felt like a lazy loser because I couldn’t keep up with the 10 piece skin care programs the beauty industry told me I needed to get beautiful, glowing skin. I was exhausted.
By this time I had been researching skin care products for almost a decade. In the process, there were industry secrets that I uncovered that truly shocked me - as a consumer and a woman.
I learned that most water based skin care products are made with over 75% water. And that some companies with 10 piece skin care lines are actually just repackaging the same ingredients over and over in different ways and telling consumers they “need” all these pieces to have glowing, beautiful skin.
Cleanser, toner, mask, scrub, serum, face oil, eye cream, lip care, moisturizer and more. A separate product for each action - but made with the exact same active ingredients in each piece. This meant I was just putting the same thing on my skin over and over - and paying a lot of money and taking a lot of time to do it. It was like only eating steak and never eating vegetables or fruit. No wonder I wasn’t seeing any results!
And perhaps worst of all, I discovered that water based skin care products need an ingredient to bind water and oil (called an emulsifier) and also something to preserve them so they will not form bacteria and fungus (called preservatives). And that these two ingredients, which are present in most water based skincare products, actually could create even more issues with my body.
I knew I had to do something different. Something drastically different. But I couldn’t put my finger on what that would be.
Then it came to me. I needed to throw out ALL of my skincare products and start over.
I needed something that would change with my lifestyle and hormones - day to day - a few pieces that would combine in different ways to address different problems without breaking the bank or sucking up all my time. But these pieces needed to have a wide variety of ingredients between them so my skin would get all the nutrients it needed.
One thing I knew for sure was that face oils were the most popular skin care products in my family’s soap stores. Customers raved about how well our oils worked and would comment that there was “just something different” about our products. I knew the secret, our oils were infused with fresh herbs, roots, and flowers from our own Wisconsin farm. I knew I wanted to start with an oil based product.
I then turned to my background as a biologist. The more I studied and researched the more excited I got - I had the big “AHA” that my Glow was not just about what was happening on the surface of my skin, which was seriously changing every single day!
By looking at my skin as part of a larger system, I discovered that my hormones, the weather, my stress level, how much computer time I was using, what I ate, whether I got enough water, AND if my skin was getting enough nutrients ALL played a part in my Glow.
So I decided to step away from all the products the beauty industry was pushing and go simple - I decided to see what would happen if I just used just a well made oil on my face and washed with water.
I ended up throwing out ALL of my skincare products, even the ones I’d made myself. I then created a blend of flowers, herbs and roots from our farm and combined them in an oil base that would feed my skin with a ton of nutrients and calm my acne. I went right to work picking plants, drying them and infusing the plants in a balanced oil blend that I knew would sink in deeply but not leave my face feeling greasy.
I turned to my background as a Clinical Aromatherapist and created a calming essential oil blend that would help keep my stress level down.
After a few months my acne problem was almost gone and I was just left dealing with some minor break-outs at certain times of the month as part of my body’s natural hormonal changes.
But there was still a problem…
I still had fine lines, sun damage, and some pesky age spots starting to appear. And I needed to find a way to wash my face that wouldn’t strip off all the great ingredients my face oil was delivering.
In the end I turned to my connections with top green labs to source additional natural ingredients that would help fight signs of aging and sun damage. I chose ingredients like natural collagen, ceramides, retinoids, and hydroxy acids.
My face oil was now a wrinkle fighting, acne battling, age defying warrior oil. I named this oil INFUSE because it fed my skin so many healthy ingredients.
Then I created CLARIFY cleansing oil. Rather than strip oil from my skin, CLARIFY sweeps away impurities and excess oil while leaving behind a fine layer of healthy oil infused with skin nutrients. I was excited to find sometimes CLARIFY was the only product I needed!
Yet I knew I still needed to add one last piece - something to treat my occasional light break-outs, age spots, and to help my body get rid of excess dead skin cells. I created BOOST, a resurfacing oil that would work as an exfoliating mask and spot treatment in one.
These three pieces allowed me to reduce the traditional 10 piece water-based skincare systems I had been trying previously down to just 3 pieces - Clarify to cleanse and moisturize, Boost to exfoliate and spot treat, and Infuse as an additional moisturizer that would address aging and sun damage.
This meant I had a complete skin care program in 3 simple pieces, and a lot of days I only needed to use just one or two pieces. I could now clear out my bathroom cabinets and throw away all those bottles from the 10 piece skin care systems!
I now had my GLOW back - I didn’t need to spend tons of time and money on a 10 piece system. I was happier, more confident, and my friends started complimenting my glowing skin. Best of all, everything seemed to just work better, take less time, and I had the peace of mind of knowing I was applying healthy, natural ingredients to my skin.
In the photo above I am not wearing make-up and my skin is Glowing even after a day of snowmobiling - including pulling my helmet off and on and wearing a gator over my face for much of the day. I finally have the luminous, glowing skin I've been dreaming of.
I decided to name the system “7 Day Glow” because I was literally glowing 7 Days a Week!
When all is said and done I was able to create something I could share with others to help them get their GLOW back too.
I am able to feed my skin a huge variety of amazing nutrients and safely exfoliate, spot treat, treat wrinkles, address acne, moisturize, cleanse, fight sun damage - all at the same time from just three products.
And I can mix and match these products right in the palm of my hand to make even more options - for example, I can mix the BOOST treatment with CLARIFY cleanser to create an exfoliating cleanser. Or I can add a few drops of INFUSE moisturizing oil to a spray bottle with some water for a cooling, nourishing toner. The combinations that can come from just these three products are only limited by my imagination!
7 Day Glow takes much less time than a traditional skin care program - giving me back my “me time” to spend with my husband (and now my baby!) I am not afraid to have pictures taken of me. I can confidently go without make-up. And I have confidence knowing that what I am putting on my skin is healthy and feeding my Glow.
Best of all, in the end, all of this means...I’m GLOWING and I can help others GLOW too.