Real Women, Real Antiaging Solutions

Frustrated by what they couldn’t find at stores, these four women decided to create their own problem-solving products.
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Better Brow Builder

Thanks to her decades of experience as a popular beauty expert in Texas, Christi Harris knew how to make cheekbones look higher, lips fuller and lashes longer. But when it came to brows, she struggled. "Ninety percent of the women 35 and older who sat in my makeup chair had sparse brows; they were either overplucked or the tails ended halfway across their browbone." Harris empathized with their plight-she herself struggled with very thin brows, the result of aggressive tweezing combined with the natural fallout of aging. And although stores offered brow powders and pencils galore, Harris felt most looked unnatural. "But before I started thinking about how to fill in spotty brows, I knew we needed to stop all the plucking. Tweezing was exacerbating the problem by damaging the hair follicles, so I came up with the Precision Brow Planer," she says. A cross between a dull razor and a Swiss Army knife (the blade flips in and out), you use the Planer to gently shave away hair between and around the brows, lessening your risk of overdoing it. Next Harris set out to make a cosmetic that filled in bald spots. "I had a lash primer that contained tiny fibers, so I mixed it with tinted cream and stippled it into my brows," she says. "The result was remarkably ‘real’-and the first batch of Adda Brow was born." Both the Precision Brow Planer and Adda Brow were immediate hits with the customers at her Christi Harris Makeover Centers in Dallas. "I had women crying in my chair, they were so shocked at the difference a fuller brow and a flattering arch could make. It really can take off years," Harris says. She started selling her brow products online and appears in a how-to video on christiharrisbrows.com. "Clients say having a brow again makes it possible to use less makeup yet look younger," Harris says.
Photo: Robert Morrell

Christi Harris Precision Brow Planing System

This kit includes the Adda Brow, Precision Brow Planer, a trio of eyebrow powders and diffusing powder. Harris says the latter two products are used once you’ve shaped and filled in your brow: The powder trio makes your brows uniform in tone, and the diffusing powder is dusted all over the brow to soften the final effect. $60; christiharrisbrows.com
Photo: Todd Huffman

Hands-On Help

If you’ve ever seen an ad for Betty Crocker, Diet Coke, McDonald’s or CoverGirl, you’ve seen Ellen Sirot’s hands. A sought-after "parts model" for more than 20 years, Sirot has always been diligent about protecting her five-fingered meal ticket. "I wear gloves outdoors year-round; I minimize caffeine and alcohol because they cause my hands to swell; I moisturize up to 20 times a day; and I haven’t washed a dish in years," Sirot says. But despite these precautions, when Sirot turned 40, her hands developed sunspots and crepey skin. Sirot hit the skin care aisle at her drugstore-and quickly concluded that while many hand creams hydrate, few address aging. So she loaded up on antiaging face creams instead and slathered them on her hands. Big mistake. "Skin is thinner on our hands than our faces, and I soon found how easily it’s irritated," Sirot says. Frustrated, she started looking into developing her own products. "Truth be told, I wanted some big corporation to take on the project, and I’d be a consultant. But if I wanted the line developed to my specifications, I soon realized, I’d need to be more involved. So I met with chemists, took out a loan and in spring 2009 launched Hand Perfection," Sirot says. And while she notes it’s been a bit scary to become a small business owner, she’s proud of what she’s produced. "I’ve noticed a big difference in my own hands since I’ve been using the line’s five products. And my nails are healthier and stronger, an unexpected but welcome result."
Photo: Dylan Cross

Hand Perfection

Night Solution ($75), which is loaded with sunspot-fading licorice root extract (Sirot advises applying the most potent antiaging ingredients just before bed, so they can stay on your hands for six or seven hours) and Moisturizing Cleanser ($30), which, unlike a typical antibacterial wash, removes grime without stripping away moisture.
Photo: Todd Huffman

Safe-for-All Skin Care

"In medical school I was discouraged from becoming friends with patients. But the reason I got into medicine was to help people. It’s in my nature to get involved," says Christine Rodgers, MD, a Denver plastic surgeon. And so it followed that when Rodgers learned she had stage one breast cancer eight years ago, she thought not just about her own survival but also about how she could help other women enduring similar skin-damaging treatments. And the answer became obvious. "Undergoing radiation and chemotherapy can cause skin to become dry, hyperpigmentation is more pronounced, and to add insult to injury, a decrease in estrogen may trigger cystic acne," Rodgers says. The marketplace did offer products that addressed these problems, but as Rodgers studied the labels, she became concerned about certain ingredients, especially for cancer survivors. "Growth factors in particular gave me pause," she says. "They can stimulate cell growth, and their usage in skin care is largely unregulated. I thought it better not to risk including them in a product used by women who might be battling tumors." She also axed unnecessary preservatives and sought out ingredients that soothe sensitized skin without causing breakouts. The end product was a line of 11 items that target wrinkles, sagging, lack of radiance and acne-all with effective, natural ingredients that pose no health risks. Rodgers decided to name the line EnPointe (available at empoweryourskin.com), after the tiptoe ballet stance, because "I believe that dance and music can take you out of yourself. They are incredibly uplifting." Rodgers also believes in their power to prevent serious illness. "Doing just three hours a week of moderate exercise can reduce cancer recurrence by 30 to 50 percent," Rodgers says.
Photo: Ron Masamori

En Pointe

Balancé Clarifying Cleanser ($32), which employs glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids to combat both breakouts and uneven tone without overdrying the skin; Balancé Clarifying Toner ($35), which uses cranberry extract to promote radiance and plant extracts to fight inflammation.
Photo: Todd Huffman

Affordable Line-Erasers

In the late 1960s, Linda Marshall went to work for a direct-marketing beauty line. "I arrived at the training session brimming with enthusiasm," she says. "But during class, the company president held up a moisturizer and said, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s in this bottle. Your job is to sell hope to American women.’?" Marshall was shocked. "I didn’t want to sell American women hope. I wanted to sell them a product that worked." Marshall quit on the spot. "I decided I’d find a way to sell products that actually did something. And, unlike the company I’d just left, I was going to be honest about my business. My products would have top ingredients at prices most women could afford." So Marshall rallied friends and family, and together they bought Elysée, a skin care line that was once a favorite of stars like Betty Grable. The owners wanted out of the beauty business, and because Marshall’s mother had used Elysée for years and Marshall had worked for the brand herself in college, she knew Elysée products were high quality and had always delivered results. So she set out to find someone with a chemistry background to help. "I got involved with the CTFA [the Cosmetics, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association; now known as the Personal Care Products Council] and met a highly regarded chemist who became a great resource." Finding the newest, best ingredients became Marshall’s quest, a passion she handed down to her two sons. By the late 1980s, they’d grown up to become chemists and work for Elysée too, taking the company to the next level. "My son Jim first told me about the importance of telomere [the part of DNA that protects your chromosomes] technology in 1997. Today this idea is significant, but we had it years ago," Marshall says. So how has Marshall been able to lead the technology charge while keeping costs down? "Our money isn’t on the bottle; it’s in the bottle," she says. "Our products come in plain cardboard boxes. The bottles are very simple." The line is sold through elyseecosmetics.com, the Home Shopping Network and select spas and doctors’ offices, at prices under $200. "We use antiaging ingredients at their highest levels and sell them at reasonable prices. We have achieved my dream."
Photo: Sears Portrait Studios

Elysée

Elysée Pycnogenol Firming Serum ($64), infused with botanicals that help to lift saggy face and neck skin; Elysée YouthSpan Night Cream ($153) with telomere technology and rich moisturizers to boost hydration and even tone on your face, neck and chest; Elysée Fountain of Youth Line Diminishing Gel ($65), with green tea and matrixyl, which work synergistically to minimize wrinkle formation.
Photo: Todd Huffman

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