When I dive into an interesting project of any kind, I jump deep and only come up for little gasps of air, then I plunge in repeatedly until I am satisfied. It is how I have approached everything from schoolwork, to hobbies, to work and even to family and/or friends’ parties and events. I enjoy the process and love getting into the details. I love to do research, to be educated and to take on things that are new to me, simply because it is a chance to learn. When I ask a million questions and drive everyone crazy, I simply say: “I don’t know what I don’t know” and that surely makes the point. Allow me to do my thing, give me time to research and I will deliver results. This approach was certainly no different, in fact it was more intensified, when I started THE ROUTE with my business partner and friend Courtney.
In the beginning, over many long ideation sessions, Courtney and I developed a core philosophy and mission statement. We understood what we wanted to accomplish and acknowledged this was no small task. The gravity and importance of getting it right to deliver superiority in the skincare market was not lost on us. Courtney is the on-deck captain navigating and sailing the ship and I am the below-deck captain engineering and supplying the engine with fuel. We are perfect co-captains because we each love our unique positions within THE ROUTE. For this blog, I wanted to really share how I go about making our products: the inspiration, the design and the implementation. The first thing I did was to find the best cosmetic chemist on the planet. It was not easy to find him, and he was not taking on new clients at the time. As a lot of people around me know, I do not usually or easily accept “NO” for an answer. Where there is a will, there is a way I always say. There is always a way to “YES” and we got our “YES” (It took a lot effort, but we got it!) We got the world-renowned chemist of our choice and his top-notch team. So, then it was up to me in collaboration with the chemists and my nursing and medical consultants to create magic! Living up to my “dive in deep philosophy” of life, I enrolled in… and completed a cosmetic chemistry course at my alma mater, UCLA. I educated myself about the formulation process, ingredients, and the development of a world class skincare line. I have been treating the cosmetic skincare concerns of my patients for years and years (23 to be exact) and I was well versed in what was available commercially as well as in the medical channel. I sincerely could not find a line that I was deeply devoted to in its entirety. So, as the saying goes, I had to make it myself for myself, my partner, all my friends, patients and of course all of you! One of the things that frustrated me most was there is always something (or a lot) missing in most products. Many were singular ingredient focused and required too many products, thus too many steps. Others were too simple and excluded much or were too complicated and completely confused the consumer. Some were unidimensional and needed more complexity. The texture was tacky, slimy, pilling, too light, too heavy and/or too smelly. Not to mention the choice of active and functional ingredients were outdated and overused, trendy and not substantiated or new just to be new without a clear vision.
THE ROUTE is a thoughtful brand. We are a thorough brand. We are a comprehensive brand, and we are a smart brand. We are also happy, healthy and wise. We strive to be beautiful inside and out and make products that look and feel beautiful too! Courtney and I were 48 and 51 at the time we started THE ROUTE and were tired of fooling around trying new products all the time in search of the holy skincare grail, we wanted it all and we wanted it now. We wanted to make it available to everybody else, too. We are the girls who love and care about other women and as part of that, and in doing so, want to share our beauty secrets and successes.
Our skincare mission is to offer state of the art, highest quality, clinically proven ingredients, and products that treat all the ways our skin ages and all the manifestations of that aging process within the framework of our skin’s unique circadian rhythm. No aspect of the formula was left to chance nor were any unnecessary, restricted, or controversial ingredients used. In addition, all of our products have been deemed “clean” with all our retail partners, which is the wonderful result of our complete dedication to making the best products we can.
Our skin cells each have their own personal circadian rhythm, a 24-hour clock during which the structure and function of the skin changes depending on the time of day or night. Our skin is the body’s largest organ with millions of individual skin cells that are programmed to fluctuate skin temperature, pH, TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) and unique regulation functions. In its simplest form it can be described as two skin modes: daytime protection mode and nighttime repair mode. To recognize this and act upon this, it allows the skin and the products applied to the skin to perform at maximum efficiency and efficacy.
While much of the skin acts and performs differently from day to night, there are also many things that remain the same in the skin from morning til’ evening. So naturally there are ingredients that are best utilized twice daily. These ingredients really address the nature and some root causes of aging, and we chose a group of ingredients that work best together on these issues! We have named this proprietary group of ingredients THE NURSE NANCY COMPLEX.
THE NURSE NANCY COMPLEX is our signature blend of seven ingredients that work synergistically and focus on the classic, essential function of healthy skin: skin loving/near identical hydration/moisturization, epidermal/lipid barrier function and proper antioxidant activation. If these three areas are not working at their maximum potential, and you do not address them by repairing, restoring, and maintaining these vital functions, left untreated, they will cause and contribute to skin aging. Without basic skin health, there is no point in diving deeper into more trendy, sexy or sophisticated formulas and ingredients. We recognize that aging of our skin begins early in life and is progressive throughout our lifespan. In all cases of skin disease, there is an alteration of the skin’s barrier function with or without dehydration or moisture problems. Even “normal” skin has to deal with occasional temporary changes in these functions for many reasons including the wrong choice or overzealous use of skincare products. One must constantly balance a healthy epidermal barrier and moisture content while decreasing, preventing, or avoiding the damaging inflammation and free radical aggression that is responsible for most of the “extrinsic” aging (aging caused by our environment-not our genetics) of our skin. The skin is a fascinating, complex organ, and trust me, these vital basics are often overlooked even by the most sophisticated skincare user but until your skin is healthy, it can’t be its most beautiful. Until you repair, restore and maintain your skin’s barrier, moisture and hydration, you cannot expect much more from your skincare products. I liken it to this - you crawl before you walk, and you walk before you run. It is a stepwise approach in the human world but thankfully your skin can “crawl, walk and run” at the same time with the expertly engineered products from THE ROUTE.