(this post was originally featured  on Breast Cancer Action’s blog…check it out for more info about the shocking pinkwashing that happens every October!)

It’s fair to say I’ve taken the long route to becoming a skincare biz owner—because unlike most, I am a formulator and a manufacturer, not just a CEO. Thanks to two decades of experience, I know every ingredient and potentially hidden ingredient a vendor might be trying to slide by me.

I started my company out of a deep personal need to solve my own skin problems and health issues that had kept me sick, weak and covered in what looked a little like leprosy (seriously) for most of my childhood. Being bullied added another layer of hurt to how I already felt about my body, making me want to bury myself as far under my clothes as possible.

My primary motivator in starting my company was to share the cure I’d developed with others and help them find long-term freedom from skin issues of all kinds—to “Look Great and Feel Amazing”, you might say! So when I checked out “Look Good, Feel Better”, which purports to dole out compassion and support to breast cancer survivors—an issue close to my heart—I saw immediately that this site was entirely the American Cancer Society and the Personal Care Products Council pushing sponsored products on a vulnerable and unaware population.


“Look Good, Feel Better” is an organization with more than 14,000 volunteers that offers groups for people struggling with cancer and a website filled with beauty tips. Their mission statement says, “improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer”. However, the free kits they offer to survivors include tons of parabens, formaldehyde releasers and Teflon, just to name a few ingredients that have themselves been linked to cancer! These additives also irritate skin that’s already incredibly sensitive from treatment, placing people in jeopardy for an ongoing skin crisis.

I’m not one to mince words guys, and I am one to try like heck to get people to take their health into their own hands. I myself have been at the mercy of modern medicine and all-knowing physicians who are dictated to by insurance company, doctors who are no longer the medical detectives they used to be. Say, for example, you have an autoimmune disease—this is life-altering, but a “normal” doc will only do the one test the insurance company typically allows (this is true of many diseases). If you don’t test positive, your M.D. will not disclose that there are actually other tests that can give you the full picture. Only a naturopathic doctor or other alternative practitioner will actually work to get to the heart of what’s going on with your body.

Once you understand this, a whole world of “wow, I need to take my health into my own hands because no one else will” opens up. And think about it: never before have we had so much information at our fingertips. But who do we trust? We must become our own detectives in a world where anyone can create a slick website filled with medical advice, and our doctor’s knowledge might be outdated or a product of Big Pharma propaganda.


Twenty years ago, I started formulating my products in my own kitchen and investigating the skincare and cosmetic industry. I was truly shocked at how despicable its practices are, so I made it my mission to share the “ugly truths” I had uncovered. Along the way, I found the group Breast Cancer Action—still a small grassroots organization not talked about on E! or in Vogue, etc. Why? Money, of course! I’ve spoken to editor upon editor, year after year, trying to get this organization in the press—but no can do. It’s all Susan G and the rest who are doing nada to truly educate us and teach us to help ourselves like


BCAction is so unique in their campaigns, like “Think Before You Pink”, which exposes all the devious ways that big corporations are making money from breast cancer. Where would these companies be without their “pinkwashed” products, of which they might give 1% of profits to a real charity?  Basically, all that pink is about making money from our empathy, not about actually curing breast cancer. It upsets me greatly, because I give 100% (or more) of proceeds for a whole month each year to BCAction and I’m proud to do it. Their advocacy makes such a difference in people’s lives. For example, in 2008 they got Yoplait to stop using rGBH treated dairy in their yogurt. And while they still aren’t perfect, it’s a step.


We all know that breast cancer is a devastating disease, and even the money donated by “pinkwashed” organizations hopefully gets to a useful place. But when most of this money goes into the founder’s pockets, it speaks to a larger problem—no oversight, no one preventing powerful corporations from using known carcinogens, irritants and synthetics. BCAction and I strongly oppose this, of course, and they take a stand publicly with who can become a pink ribbon sponsor.

Even with so many organizations doing their own campaigns, we are no closer to a cure than ever.  How can that be? Because breast cancer is largely about environmental influencers, and perhaps the biggest of these are the toxins we absorb through our skin. For companies to keep using toxins and synthetics we know cause systemic imbalances and disease—it should be criminal!

I’ve personally received hundreds of letters of thanks from survivors and those in treatment who say mainstream products seriously irritate their skin, which is already so sensitive from drugs and treatment. “Look Good, Feel Better” could truly help people if they used organic and natural products, and they are surely aware of the research on toxic skincare additives—but their first priority is clearly their corporate sponsors and not what’s truly best for breast cancer survivors.


What if companies became committed, not to capitalizing on natural through marketing, but to providing REAL natural products in formulas that actually work and cause no side effects? The science is there. The problem, as usual, is the cost. Companies could still make a profit, just not as massive a profit.

What if every CEO, like me, refused to allow a single synthetic, nanoparticle, GMO or other questionable ingredient in their products? What if they instead made education and health empowerment their priority instead of slapping a pink ribbon on the problem? Perhaps that, in itself, would lower breast cancer rates in future generations.

Then they’d actually be helping people “Look Good and Feel F*ing Fantastic”, and it would be amazing!


– Suki


everywhere my TiVo or my mouse goes, I see the promise that my wrinkles will go away. that would be nice, right? but I know for a fact that once I get a wrinkle, it’s here to stay (unless of course, I decide to go under the knife or the needle).

but I’ve been in this business for more than a decade! I just came from a skincare expo where I thought most people would be fairly educated, but in fact, many used synthetic brands full of toxic chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer (& while we’re at it, they don’t get rid of wrinkles either!).

whatever your skin type, my core philosophy has always been & always will be to forget what the beauty magazines & so-called “experts” say. the very best way to figure out what’s best for your skin is to learn to “read” your skin & trust your intuition.

gettingto knowbeauty1

so here are 3 simple tips to help you & your skin get better acquainted on the path to skindependence:

  • there are five basic skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination & we will ALL go through the five basic skin types from time to time (based on environment, hormones, age, seasons, climate, time of the month – you get the picture), so it’s best to check in with your skin on a weekly basis or more. observe the texture, tone & level of sensitivity to figure out what your needs are in this moment.gettingtoknowbeauty3
  • there are three different complexion types: fair (needs the least amount of sun for maximum vitamin D, about 10 minutes a day), medium (tans & rarely burns, needs 15 daily minutes of sun), dark (doesn’t burn, requires 20 minutes of sun for adequate vitamin D).

dark skin tone

  • everyone has their own unique skin concerns: redness, uneven skin tone, blemishes or acne, lines, sun damage, large pores, under-eye puffiness, dark circles & more. these “high maintenance” features of your skin (which also change over time) will determine what products are best for you right now. you may find that a product that worked great before is no longer serving you well, or a formerly too-rich moisturizer is now exactly what your skin craves.


remember, your lifestyle plays a big role in your skin’s needs. are you going through hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause? have you started a new diet or exercise routine? how much time do you want to spend on your skin care regimen?

if you’re feeling puzzled by recent changes in your complexion, you can even try keeping a “skin diary” to see if patterns emerge. knowing your skin (just like knowing your ingredients & ‘thyself’) is the best way to understand what products will work for you & when.

what’s one thing you’ve learned about your skin by living in it?





we hear it all the time: “beauty is only skin deep…”, but how many of us truly believes that? &, how can we, when we know the reality is that beautiful opens doors, beautiful seems to have it all, or at least, has it soooo much easier in life? of course, it’s all relative—although beauty may seem to win the day, it is all relative & everyone has their problems—even those blessed with perfect symmetry & hair…& teeth…:-/

in fact, it seems like the most beautiful of women are actually the most insecure! how is that possible? but we see it all the time, no? these are the women how are more concerned with every blemish, line & 5 extra pounds, & never believe it when told they are pretty.

even though we all know that true beauty resides within (as every cosmetic company including yours truly reminds us…know your beauty!), in the end, we all want to look good on the outside…& there’s nothing wrong with that. wanting to be the best we can be is a good thing, it’s evolution, it’s part of our innate  survival instinct! the problem is when we are torn up inside about every imperfection or addicted to the external so much that we ignore our inner selves, actually arresting our development so we not only long to stay youthful looking, but keep ourselves back emotionally too.

I’m not a big proponent of plastic surgery, however, I don’t fault anyone for doing whatever they wish to feel good about themselves. it is a slippery slope though, & we need to be very careful when delving into the world of easy fixes. we can be easily lured as if by the devil, into constant picking ourselves apart, wasting precious time on the past, not embracing our present & futures & all that comes with that. think about it – the freedom not to care what people think, the confidence that comes with experience, the joy of sharing them & helping others instead of being youthfully self-obsessed. there are so many great things that come with getting older. I’m just beginning to feel & see that myself & yes, sometimes it is challenging to see the changes, but that’s partially because it’s a learned behavior. if I’m honest, & not worried about people thinking I’m being conceited, I’ve gotten better looking as I’ve gotten older. it’s also incredible to experience how freeing maturity is too!

scientists have seen that hormonal reactions that determine our lifelong skin “blueprint” start in the womb so, best start embracing these faces now folks. it’s so important to choose to see our ourselves as beautiful individuals & not base our self-concept on air-brushed models or photo shopped celebs (&, seriously, I can’t understand why more people don’t see how ridiculous so many of them look after their latest surgery or whatever…it’s like we are a nation of robots who don’t notice stuff anymore!) I don’t think of my developing lines as the lines of age, but as smile lines, & sure, the ones between my brows reflect stress – that I’ve put into this business, getting my degree, getting through childhood…& I use that as motivation for my next phase of life, which is to “lower my mind,” deal with stress in a different way than I learned in childhood…become less reactionary & more thoughtful, breathe more. if I automatically dismissed & thought only negatively about myself, I reject my past, my history & all the experiences that make me the unique person I am & that is a terrible way to treat myself. what’s more, I should be complimenting myself for getting through it all & for not only surviving, but thriving! &…for having the cahones to want to do more work on myself in mid–life!

when I think of the most beautiful celebs, Robin Wright, Holly Hunter, Lauren Hutton, Patricia Clarkson, Julie Delpy, Glenn Close, Rita Wilson, Julie Christie & of course Meryl Streep come to mind…the ones who appear to be naturally aging & who seem to have all the confidence in the world…&…I kinda want to be like them!

but, I remind myself I am not them. they can be inspirational to me…but I have to look in the mirror & compliment myself…even even on what I feel like is my worst day…now, your turn! 🙂

meryl streep