By Michele Mallardi Gay
LimeLight would not be LimeLight without Margaret. When we were searching for a skin care line, my almost-sister Margaret was fighting Triple Negative Breast Cancer. At one point she said, “Michele, you cannot bring another skin care line into this world that has harmful ingredients. It is harming women.”
I felt this weird conflict. I totally understood the importance of what she was saying and yet I wanted to bring the best beauty products into the brand. Weren’t synthetic chemicals important for effectiveness?
To keep my promise, I went back to a vendor that I had met years before, a scientist from California, who had spent almost a half a decade studying natural ingredients and their effectiveness. I asked her to produce a face oil for our brand. That was all I wanted, something that would create a “dewy look.” Months later, she delivered 11 products, all free of harmful chemicals, and asked me to test them. I distributed the line to 12 people with varying skin types and asked them to try the products and let me know what they thought. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I had my 5 favorite products, Madison had her 5 (which were different from mine), and there were at least three people who called each of the 11 products a “can’t live without.”
It was then that I realized how brainwashed I had become. The entire beauty industry had been telling me, basically my whole life, that chemicals were the active ingredient and without them you might as well put nothing on your skin. Imagine if television and print ads focused on totally natural active ingredients and all the incredible existing scientific proof of their effectiveness. Ingredients like lemon, tea tree oil, natural clay, aloe, essential oils, etc. Wouldn’t you think differently? Wouldn’t you think that someone who promoted chemicals was weird/wrong/peddling voodoo? Perhaps the same kind of skepticism some have for LimeLight.
But highlighting natural ingredients really wouldn’t be good for business. You can easily get your hands on natural ingredients, but you can’t get your hands on a test tube of that specially-trademarked complex that promises the fountain of youth or magical cure for acne. If you want to sell a lot of skin care products, you find a synthetic ingredient that does something effective, you create a very powerful scientific name for it, you trademark it, you inflate the cost of it (because who the heck would know), and you tell women that it is the latest, newest best thing ever through mesmerizing campaign ads and fancy packaging.
Margaret woke me from this spell, this marketing myth I bought into. She put me on the right path, one that is so much more authentic to who I am.
If Mother Nature could take out an ad at the Super Bowl perhaps she would say, “I have the most powerful lab in the universe, it’s called Earth™ and I make the most transforming ingredients from roots™, flowers™, seeds™, leaves™, bark™ and soil™” But I don’t think even that would totally break the spell.
Before she died, she told me to tell everyone about her story and why it was important to use LimeLight. It felt a million types of icky to use her struggle to sell product. But I now know what she really wanted me to do – challenge your thinking because it could cost you more than just the product price.
This blog and this skin care line is for you, Margaret. Miss you and love you. (BTW, I know you loved the name we chose for our Breast Cancer pink lip collection. Madison and I totally did that for you;)
With Love, Michele