ABOUT GR8 SKINCARE
Learn who we are and what we stand for in this interview with our fearless leader, Dr. Janine.
What made you decide to create your own skincare line?
"There I was again, looking for products for their breakouts, and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a ton of unnecessary, unwanted chemicals. Hence, the products for younger skin that breaks out."
There were two compelling events. First, both my father and my sister had melanoma, and my family moved to Miami when my two boys were young. One son has red hair, and they are both fair. They were in the sun a lot, and I was looking for a decent sunscreen for them to use. Wherever I looked on the shelves of stores it was just chemicals, chemicals, chemicals, and I wanted something that didn’t alter the structure or the physiology of their skin; I wanted something that would just lay on the skin and protect it from the sun. So I started my initial product line by making a sunscreen without chemicals and with lots of anti-oxidants. That took a long time because being a physician from another country, this was all new to me and manufacturing is a beast of its own! By the time the sunscreen morphed into something decent, my boys started breaking out. There I was again, looking for products for their breakouts, and I couldn’t find anything that
didn’t have a ton of unnecessary, unwanted chemicals. Hence, the products
for younger skin that breaks out.
The second compelling event was that I was doing anti-aging lectures at
Canyon Ranch, and all the women there would say “Okay great, we get it,
we know what we need to use, but - what can we use for our teenagers?
My son is miserable with his dried out skin. What can I get for my daughter
who is at college? She doesn’t know what to use and she doesn’t want to
use my products or kids’ products. What is out there for her that’s got
clean ingredients and will protect and nourish her skin?”
On top of that, every time I spoke to somebody, they had an ‘aha’ moment
when I said why I was creating this line for these reasons. So I realized I
needed to make basic skincare education available to everyone and
a product line that was rooted in education.
How do you decide what ingredients you use and don’t use in your products?
Fundamentally, I have not completely reinvented the wheel. I am a physician, and as we all know, there are certain key ingredients you need to feed your body, and I know that there are certain key ingredients you need to feed your skin. I have included all of these, as they are proven to work. Through my 20 years of working in the skin care industry, I have seen products come and go and really studied ingredients and thought about what I really wanted to have. What I really wanted to have was nothing
that was dangerous. I wanted nothing that irritated the skin. I
wanted nothing that caused any form of breakouts. There are so
many ingredients in products, just standard ingredients that fill
and preserve that actually cause breakouts. I sifted through the
ingredients very carefully to make sure everything was there that
served a purpose. Everything has a function: to support the skin,
to feed the skin, to hydrate the skin, to help reduce sebum
production. Everything has a reason as to why it’s in that bottle.
There are a ton of “all the rage” products that highlight one
ingredient. I have all the good ingredients in the products that need to be there. I don’t have an ingredient. This is good, solid skincare. This is not a fad product; it’s there to see your skin through now and through later and for you to develop good habits.
"I sifted through the ingredients very carefully to make sure everything was there that served a purpose."
How do you manage your ecological impact?
Our approach is the less-is-more philosophy. We are adamant not to use excess packaging, as there is nothing worse than throwing out boxes, plastic, tissue paper and bubble wrap, so our products are not in individual boxes. That might make them seem less luxurious, which they are not, as the ingredients are all there! But it definitely reduces the carbon footprint. We do our best to buy bottles that are made of post-consumer material, and the bottles are recyclable. We encourage our customers to recycle the bottles. Print is only for the necessities. Educational material is circulated through social media and the website. The training materials for our spas & salons are all online on a dedicated site. Manufacturing is all done in the U.S. for the U.S. We source everything out of the U.S. that we can. We do look to the future to keep it as environmentally-friendly as possible. We currently sell in South Africa and New Zealand, and we will soon be manufacturing in those countries for those countries so as to keep our shipping impact low.
What makes your product packaging unique?
One of the key aspects of our packaging is to be able to reduce the percentage of preservatives needed for the active ingredients. We have as many products as possible in airless, opaque pumps. We don’t want to allow light or oxygen into the product because it denatures them and breaks them down really quickly. The analogy is the apple cut in half exposed to light and air; it goes brown quickly due to the active vitamins being broken down. Our pumps are the skin that keeps the apple fresh.
Ideally, I’d like everyone in the country to say, “My skin deserves something honest, clean, effective and easy!” So our customer is everyone (from 13 to 113, and everyone in between) who might be questioning how they can improve their skin and what can they use on their skin. They don’t just
want to use a product; they want to know why they’re using the product
and what’s good for their skin in that product and is that product going
to be with them for a while and all the education that goes with that
product. I think our target market is the inquiring, environmentally-
aware, eco-conscious, lateral-thinking adult.
"Ideally, I’d like everyone in the country to say, “My skin deserves something honest, clean, effective and easy!”
Who are your target customers?
What is your biggest goal other than selling products?
My goal is to educate. I want to educate people that skin cancer outnumbers all other cancers combined and it is preventable. The reason people are getting skin cancer is because they’re either not using enough sunscreen or they’re being lulled into a false sense of security by the sunscreen that they’re using. People use an abundance of products on their skin with multiple chemicals in them that compromise the skin’s ability to protect itself. Also their diets are not always the best for their skin; I want people to understand that there is a direct correlation between diet, exercise, lifestyle, and the health of their skin. I want to help people realize that there is
more than just applying a product to your face. For example, kids that play football can get horrible breakouts, and they don’t know that they have to clean their helmets, chin straps, and equipment after each use. Not even their dermatologists tell them to wash after sport, clean their equipment, and use tons of sunscreen when using acne products. So we try to get this pretty basic information to those young people to help them take care of their skin. It helps prevent acne complications like scarring, hyperpigmentation, and the social stigma of bad skin, as well as helps them prevent skin cancer.
"I want to educate people that skin cancer outnumbers all other cancers combined and it is preventable."
You have a program called Operation Educ8. What is that and how did it start?
Because we are passionate about education, we wanted it to translate into everything we do. There are so many non-profits out there, so we select (with the help of our consumers) a small, independent, education-based charity, every quarter and donate to them. We are very passionate about education. The only change we can reap in the world is through education, and we want to be a part of that, in our own small little way.
Who inspires you?
My daughter inspires me with her imagination; she still has that imagination that is unlimited by societal norms. Teenagers inspire me, with their curious, inquisitive minds. Malala Yousafzai is inspirational; she went through hell, and her resilience and determination turned her from a victim to an incredibly inspirational human being.
What is your number one policy when doing business with vendors, collaborators, etc.?
We have a strict ‘No Jerk’ Policy. We work with people we like, who want to work with us, and there’s a mutual respect there. Life is too short to force yourself to deal with difficult people. We like to do business with people who are kind and have good manners.
What bothers you most about the skincare industry?
The absolute unscrupulous marketing of products. The fact that you might see a sunscreen marketed as “oxybenzone-free” but the first ingredient listed is avobenzone, which is still a harmful chemical that shouldn’t be on your skin. People will market anything to you if they think you’ll buy it.
The “miracle in a jar” philosophy also bothers me. I think that there is a
definite need for some authentic, honest marketing where people don’t
say, “We’re going to cure your acne and make you young tomorrow.” I
think honesty is missing, and that’s what irks me about the skincare industry.
"People will market anything to you if they think you’ll buy it."
What does your office environment look like?
It’s casual. We work together and we work around each other’s schedules as much as we possibly can. We do not have fixed office hours. Everybody gets on really well and respects one another’s boundaries. It’s real and honest, just like the products. It’s a little chaotic at times, but it’s who we are. And there’s always coffee!
What is your main message for parents that have young adult children?
Get them into the routine of using a good cleanser and a good sunscreen early on in life. Create those good habits because bad habits are hard to break. Also read labels and question marketing.
Many of your products have alternate uses and benefits. Can you elaborate on that?
You don’t need a different product for everything on your skin. Again, Less is More. We need to conserve and make sure we get the most out of everything. Many ingredients can be found in multiple products because they have multiple purposes. Take our product Reset for example. Reset is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and probiotics.
Vitamin A is a skin normalizer; not only does it help with anti-aging, but it helps with acne and it helps soothe inflamed skin. So we recommend using Reset after a sunburn, and we recommend the same product as a prevention for breakouts, and we recommend the same product again as an anti-aging product for young people in their twenties and thirties. I’m not going to make the same product with different labels for each of those indications and sell them at different prices; this is a multi-use product. All you need is a simple serum that contains the essential ingredients. Like I said initially – stick to the basics; they work.
"We need to conserve and make sure we get the most out of everything."