It's official, winter has arrived in Boston. There's frost on the ground, you can see your breath, the puffer coat is now part of the daily uniform, and the dry air is wreaking havoc on your skin. Sound familiar?
For me, the worst part of the colder months is the way the air transforms the skin on my hands into alligator scales, and my lips into a dry, chapped mess. I'm on a never-ending quest to find the right products to sooth these winter ailments.
Recently, I was introduced to Character Skin Care, founded by Laura Crandall.
Laura's mission is to create plant-based, gender-neutral products that help people all of ages feel good about their skin. I had the privilege of interviewing Laura, and am excited to share our conversation below.
PBS: What inspired you to go into the skin care and beauty space?
LC: It’s a return to the wellness and heath space for me. I began studying massage therapy and bodywork in 1991, and from then until 2005, I worked in the wellness and beauty industries as a practitioner, consultant, and executive. I learned the importance of plant-based, non-synthetic ingredients by working with them every day, and by seeing the ways they benefited the skin and the whole person. With Character Skin Care, I’m reconnecting my past experience to a practical product line, as a way to help people bring a little more well-being into to their lives.
PBS: How did you decide on the brand name Character?
LC: It began as a reflection on the histories and back stories of family companies I admire. I started asking, “What’s my family story?” There are no famous names or places, but there are really good stories and really bold, proud acts of courage and love. Lots of stepping outside norms to do things that had to be done, with as much grace and joy as possible. There are lots of quirky anecdotes and tall tales – heck, one of my grandfathers really was the milkman – and all of these “characters” let the truth of their character inform their choices, even when it was not the easy thing to do - even when that’s all they had to rely on.
So, my history is that I come from a long line of characters of whom I am very proud – and the name Character Skin Care emerged.
PBS: What is your goal with the company?
LC: The goal is to make plant-based skin care for people often overlooked by the beauty industry – people with skin that chafes, cracks, or is uncomfortable in embarrassing places. These experiences often drive people to products they wish they didn't have to use and they don't want anyone to see. Character is designed to be awkwardness-free because we believe that people deserve products that care for their skin and treat them with respect.
The beauty industry doesn’t tend to see the whole person – it just sees the image – and that’s fine and fun for what it is. Character Skin Care meets people where they are by going beyond “beauty” and creating products for this thing called life with practical, gender-neutral, satisfying, stress-free products that care for people and their skin.
Beauty is fine, but confidence in your well-being is key, and at the end of the day, it’s your Character that gets you through.
PBS: Do you have a favorite product in the line? I know it's kind of like asking someone to pick their favorite child.
LC: Secret Agent Body Butter. It’s like having your own 007: so much help for so many situations in one little jar!
PBS: That one is my favorite too! I have been using it on my hands first thing in the morning, and right before I go to bed. I've also been using it on my feet, since my heels look pretty rough by the weekend (thanks, work shoes).
What do you really want people to know about Character Skin Care?
LC: Two things. First, your kids, parents, and significant others will swipe these products from you – really. We made a huge effort to make these products gender-neutral because we want high-quality skin care to be something that’s easy for all people to use. I have so many examples of customers sharing Character with friends and relatives and then finding it’s been “permanently borrowed” because it’s so easy and satisfying people to use. We see Character in high-school lockers, wood shops, assisted living residences, and gym bags – even when it was purchased for a cosmetic case.
People beginning to know this, but it’s worth repeating: we want to help people to feel good in their skin – that’s why we’re here and why we use such great ingredients to create products that can be used in many different ways. Skin can feel yucky for all sorts of reasons – medical treatment side effects, youth, age, general wear and tear, weight, the list goes on... If any of the skin on your body is uncomfortable, it can feel awkward to talk about it (you have chafing where…?).
Character Skin Care helps people feel comfortable in caring for themselves with high-quality products that help tend to their well-being and confidence.
PBS: Thank you so much, Laura. I'm inspired by your vision for the company, especially the focus on helping individuals regain their confidence. I know I hate going into a business meeting, knowing I have to shake hands, if my skin is raw and cracked. And in the winter, I am always thinking about how busted up my lips look from being so cracked and chapped.
Readers, if you are feeling those same winter blues, peruse the Character Skin Care website. As both Laura and I mentioned, the Secret Agent Body Butter is a must. It has that thickness you want, that makes your skin feel thoroughly coated. It also has a light, fresh, lemon scent.
Tell me, what are your winter survival products?
*All photos courtesy of Character Skin Care. Though I was provided complimentary samples in exchange for this post, as always, opinions are 100 percent my own.