Sensitive skin inspires research
Ever since Eagan’s Care Connelly was in middle school, she wanted clean, moisturized skin.
While pimples, redness and itchy skin were to be avoided, most skin care products bothered Connelly’s sensitive skin.
Working as a makeup artist later in life with MAC cosmetics, she met many people who had sensitive skin and were particular about what they put on their face.
“It’s hard to get natural skin products that work well,” Connelly said. “About 80 percent of the people I saw had sensitive skin.”
Entrepreneurship runs in the family so she knew she wanted to start her own business one day.
She went on to graduate from St. Thomas University and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, but kept searching for the ideal skincare product. She eventually designed her own and launched her own home-based business in Eagan.
Even though it’s a crowded market for skin care products, Connelly felt she had found her niche with Careology Skincare.
After two and a half years researching and developing her products, she released her night cream and face wash in November, the first two offerings.
In April, she plans to release a day cream. An anti-aging cream is next.
She’s not a chemist but she knew what she was after, so she partnered with a laboratory to mix her trial lotions and washes.
She gave feedback such as “decrease viscosity, decrease emollient and increase the scent,” she said. “Chemists know what to do. I wanted something that works for sensitive skin, natural and works best for the environment.”
Her goals were to find something that was sustainable and Eco-friendly. It also had to work.
“I stuck to strict regulations,” Connelly said. “I was relentless to make sure the product was functional. I think that’s why it took so long.”
“Our products are made for even the most irritable skin,” Connelly said.
Sulfates are a big culprit, she said.
“Many women know that your skin absorbs about 60 percent of what you put on your body,” Connelly said. “Things like sulfates are a known skin irritant. It causes a lathering effect, but it’s the same product found in car washes and dish soap.”
Micro-beads cause issues because they can escape water filters, so they’re getting into the water supply, Connelly said.
Instead of sulfates, she uses coconut-based systems. Micro-beads are replaced with jojoba seeds. She uses raspberry extract instead of fragrances.
She wanted to avoid using the term fragrance.
“This is one of the ways companies can slip anything and everything into products,” she said. “The term ‘fragrance’ is considered a trade secret by the FDA, so companies are not required to list all of the ingredients that make up fragrances.”
The products are made in California — a state that has tougher skin care laws, according to Connelly, which is just fine for her.
“I’m already ahead of the game,” she said.
She conducts most the business out of her home in Eagan, where she’s lived for the last five years.
“It’s a fun and trendy place,” she said.
She still works a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job as digital marketer, but from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. she’s CEO of Careology.
“I spend a lot of my time reaching out to retail partners and marketing,” Connelly said. “I’m looking at this in the long term. It’s a long term side hustle for now.”
She’s also working on updating her packaging to be more eco-friendly by removing the boxes and putting the products in glass instead of plastic.
After living in Eagan for five years, she said the community has been supportive. During her Kickstarter campaign, several neighbors and community members backed her up. It was a successful, 123 percent funded crowd-sourcing campaign.
It’s also a great location, she says, because she can drive anywhere within 45 minutes to perform a demonstration for a potential salon or retail partner.
Her skin care line can be found at Solimar Spa in Eagan, as well as Minnesota Makers in Robbinsdale and Cas de Pelo in Hudson, Wis.
She will also be at Minnesota Fashion Week’s I AM Fabulous Fashion Show in Minneapolis and HAMMS Market in St. Paul next month.
Her company donates $1 from every purchase to cancer research at the University of Minnesota.
More information can be found at www.careologyskincare.com.