When beauty industry vets like Susan Yara start their own skincare lines, we get excited. We know how many products she’s tried, all the insider secrets she’s learned, and all the BS she’s learned to cut through!
We first met Susan Yara, a beauty YouTuber, product obsessee (and absolute stunner!) years ago while collab’ing on videos and events for clean beauty brands we love. Susan is one of those women in the industry who will get you fully committed to a new skincare protocol or ingredient you hadn’t even heard of before you spoke with her.
Earlier this year, we began to hear buzz about a new clean skincare brand named NATURIUM focused on every derm’s favorite ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and niacinamide — yet all the serums were under $25. When we found out that Susan was the brain behind the new (and wildly affordable) line we were pretty thrilled.
NATURIUM is the result of years of research from someone who has tried every product under the sun — this is how we’d like all our skincare products to be born!
We talked to Susan and asked her to spill the tea on all she’s learned and and to learn everything about the ingredient-driven products…
The Chalkboard: Susan, you’ve seen it all when it comes to skincare and beauty. At what point did you begin dreaming up this skincare line?
Susan Yara: I had zero intention of creating a skincare line in the beginning! However, a couple of years ago, I shifted all of the video content on my YouTube channel, Mixed Makeup, to skincare. I quickly realized there were only two categories: affordable and luxury. The affordable skincare products were more utilitarian, and while they often worked, they didn’t provide an experience. And the luxury skincare products, while nice all-around, felt inaccessible to most people.
Soon after that realization, I set out to create a small skincare line that could blur those categorical lines, but — as many experienced with the pandemic — the project fell through. I like to think it was fate because soon after I met my business partner, Ben Bennett, who had already begun testing the market with the launch of a few NATURIUM products. I tried them and was immediately obsessed. We both knew there was a need for that in-between brand that didn’t really exist, so when we started to talk it felt like the stars aligned .
We officially joined forces in June 2020 and that’s when our brand really began to click. NATURIUM is high performance skincare for everyone. All the ingredients and technology we utilize are clinically-effective, skin-compatible — and we offer a beautiful experience, which is so important to me!
“We could very well price ourselves as a luxury brand, but we choose to keep our prices at $25 and under because we think that everyone deserves to enjoy an effective skincare routine.
The Chalkboard: That’s so great to hear. We love your mission of keeping the price point so low. Many of our favorite wellness brands are aligned on that same mission. Most people can appreciate that creating a line of unique products can be tough these days, but you gave us dermal FOMO right at first glance! Can we talk about some of your star ingredients right off the bat?
Susan Yara: Yes! You mentioned some of the ingredients we focus on above: Vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide. These are core skincare ingredients that almost everyone can majorly benefit from.
The ingredients I’m most excited about in our products right now are…
Niacinamide: I dubbed 2020 “the year of niacinamide” because it has been in skincare products for a very long time, but people are only now starting to notice. It’s a magical ingredient that can soothe and strengthen the skin, brighten, and balance oil production (people with oily skin LOVE it). It’s also really gentle.
Vitamin C: This is a powerhouse antioxidant because of it’s overall brightening effect on the skin and, when used in the morning, Vitamin C is also known to boost the efficacy of your sunscreen! It fights free radicals that can really damage your skin and cause premature aging.
Retinol: Everyone with acne or over the age of 25 needs a retinoid in their life because they’re the only proven ingredient to stimulate skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen. The gold standard is prescription-strength tretinoin, but I prefer a more gentle approach with our form of retinol that you can use everyday.
Azelaic Acid: This is the ingredient to keep an eye on in 2021. I discovered how much I loved it while I was pregnant with my second baby. It gently exfoliates and brightens the skin, reduces inflammation, and derivatives of it can even balance oil production. Plus, most skin types can use it — even those with sensitive skin! Even pregnant and breastfeeding moms can use it (though we always advise you to check with your doctor before using anything new).
Hyaluronic Acid: I think everyone knows that hyaluronic acid is that star ingredient when you want hydrated, plumper-looking skin. Hyaluronic acid is an absolute skincare darling lately because of its ability to retain the skin’s natural moisture.
We’re obsessed with Hyaluronic Acid and so it everybody else — we’re just making it affordable!
We also utilize unique ‘delivery systems’ to keep some of these ingredients stable and help them penetrate the skin better. When I say we’re “skin-compatible,” I mean that we figure out ways to make a formula work well with your skin. That can be with ingredients that your skin recognizes or formulas that have a pH that won’t irritate your skin or disrupt your skin barrier.
For example, the most well-researched and studied form of Vitamin C in skincare is L-Ascorbic Acid, and while there are a lot of those serums on the market, many of them oxidize quickly or can irritate the skin. Sometimes both!
Our delivery system is unique and allows us to offer a Vitamin C Serum that is stable, penetrates the skin, and is less likely to irritate because we can keep the overall formula at a more gentle pH level. We’re so proud of that because our Vitamin C Complex Serum is still just $20.
The Chalkboard: Yes, definitely obsessed with most of these skincare ingredients! Speaking of affordability, I imagine that you must be most proud of how affordable you were able to make these serums — while still creating a super effective product! How hard was that?
Susan Yara: I’m extremely proud of that. It’s not easy. We work really hard behind-the-scenes to source high-quality ingredients and packaging we love, but we’re very mindful of cost and try not to be excessive. My favorite product, our Plant Ceramide Rich Moisture Cream is $25 and can compete with most luxury skincare products I’ve tried — and I’ve tried all the things. This moisturizer is a dream on the skin.
I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so it’s a thrill for me to provide these products to those who don’t have a glamorous beauty budget but still want all the best skincare ingredients they’re reading about online. It’s the way it should be.
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The Chalkboard: Which NATURIUM products you could directly correlate as ‘replacements/alternatives’ for specific services?
Susan Yara: I wish skincare products could replace in-office treatments! Honestly, the skincare brands that claim that are probably lying. That said, your skincare products are equally important, especially when it comes to maintenance.
Even if you’re seeing the best dermatologist in the world once a year, you can’t expect not to maintain your skin every day. At the very minimum, you need to cleanse, moisturize, and protect your skin with sunscreen. Botox temporarily minimizes wrinkles like nothing else, but if you have dry, dull skin, your fine lines will still be present! It’s so important to use your exfoliants and moisturizers in conjunction with any treatment.
The Chalkboard: Your skin is a lesson unto itself, let’s talk about your own routine! What do you use daily and what do you do as a treatment periodically?
Susan Yara:Thank you! I’m headed into my forties and I feel really good about my skin. People think it’s dependent only on genetics, but genetics play only about 25% of the role in how your skin ages. The other 75% come down to internal factors like health and wellness, plus external factors like your skincare routine, treatments, and — the biggest aggressor — UV rays.
NATURIUM Retinol Complex Cream because it has encapsulated retinol to help it penetrate the skin, along with a blend of bakuchiol and bio-retinol. It feels like a light moisturizer and if I’m too tired to do a full routine, I’ll wash my face and just apply this before bed. It’s a must.
NATURIUM Vitamin C Complex Serum is, in my opinion, the best out there. It has all the benefits I mentioned earlier and can’t be beat.
NATURIUM Niacinamide Skin Mist 2% is my favorite way to get a dose of niacinamide in my routine, while also hydrating my skin. I keep this in my bag and use it before I re-apply my sunscreen.
I also deal with melasma and hyperpigmentation that got worse after pregnancy, so I love gentle exfoliation with ingredients like AHAs (think glycolic acid and mandelic acid) and skin brightening ingredients like alpha arbutin and tranexamic acid.
We offer a few products with these ingredients, but my favorites are NATURIUM Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Solution 8%, Alpha Arbutin Essence 1%, and our Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%. And yes, I layer a lot of these products! They’re all light and made to be used in this way.
Sunscreen is my one must-have product though. If I can only choose one, it’s that. I also get Botox for my crow’s feet, microneedling about twice a year for some skin-tightening, and I swear by a facial from Vanessa Hernandez every few months.
The Chalkboard: In “normal” conditions, which are your favorite in-office and at-home treatments?
Susan Yara:At home, I’m all about microcurrent and have used the NuFace Trinity for almost a decade. I consider it exercise for my face.
I fully consider our Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Gel 10% to be an at-home treatment for those that like exfoliation. Glycolic acid is the queen of the alpha hydroxy acids, which are chemical exfoliants that help clear the top layer of dead skin. Glycolic acid specifically has a small molecular structure, so it can penetrate the skin a little deeper than other AHAs. It has also been known to stimulate fibroblasts that help with collagen production, while also increasing hydration in the skin and brightening. It’s an amazing ingredient.
As far as services go, nothing beats an amazing facial from an esthetician armed with skincare knowledge and magic hands. My go-to esthetician is Vanessa Hernandez, but there are other wonderful estheticians I like to see for specific treatments like Biba de Sousa and Nerida Joy.
Finding your esthetician is like dating, but when you meet him or her, you’ll know it and your skin will be better for it. I also think nothing beats Botox. I see Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Karan Dhir when I need a touch up (and he’ll be my go-to when it’s time to step it up!).
For laser and other in-office treatments, Melissa Haloossim at Skin Thesis is the best. These are all people I have worked with for years and I trust them with my face. It’s really important to see experts with good reputations!
The Chalkboard: I’m sure you’ve heard back quite a bit from your skincare users. Anything really remarkable that’s stuck with you from people? Maybe someone specific or a specific skin condition?
Susan Yara: Everyone that reaches out usually starts their skincare journey due to some kind of issue. It can be acne, hyperpigmentation, aging, or even just the desire to look their best. Through the process, they learn that skincare is truly self-care. Even a simple, three-step skincare routine can be just as therapeutic as a 10-step routine. It’s a moment in the morning and at night to focus on yourself and remember that you deserve this.
The Chalkboard: If you had to pick one thing as NATURIUM‘s claim to fame, what would you say is the most remarkable product or effect you’re hearing about from customers?
Susan Yara: NATURIUM isn’t about one skincare condition. I think what strikes people is that we’re truly inclusive. We want to provide everyone with effective skincare products they will enjoy.
Starting in January, we’ll really get the opportunity to reach the masses because we’re launching in every Target location in the nation. It feels like a dream come true!
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