By Theresa Gonzalez // Photo by Angela DeCenzo
These science-minded founders go beyond skin-deep with their plant-derived products.
During a hike through Rancho San Antonio Park four years ago, Clarissa Shetler and Christine Falsetti had their lightbulb moment. Shetler, a pharmacist, was lamenting the lack of clean ingredients available to treat her ichthyosis, a condition known as fish-scale skin that she’s had since childhood—and that dermatologists had recommended using Crisco to deal with. Falsetti, a NASA scientist, was taken aback by this so-called treatment; it seemed like there should be a better option. It also didn’t sit well with Falsetti—who lost her son to cancer at a young age—that many of the chemicals used in personal- care products are widely recognized as carcinogens and neurotoxins. So the pair set out to be the change they wanted to see.
Together, they traveled all over New Zealand and Europe to research organic, plant-derived ingredients for cleaner skincare products than the ones they could find at home. “The average woman exposes her skin to around 168 chemicals every day, just from the different products we use,” says Shetler. (According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the EU has banned more than 1,000 chemicals from cosmetics, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only banned or restricted 11.)