Skin Care by a Mother, Made for Daughters
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Like many teenagers, Ryan Shand never used to worry much about taking care of her skin. The 14-year-old couldn’t be bothered to slather sunscreen on her face, and didn’t always use cleanser tailored to her skin type. Instead, her mother, Susan Shand, did the worrying for her.
“I was obsessed with having her wear sunscreen,” Ms. Shand, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., said. “I was aware of how important it was to start taking care of your skin when you’re young.” Ryan, she added, “didn’t have acne, but she needed a regimen.”
When Ms. Shand started talking about skin care with other mothers and teenagers, she found that it was a common dilemma. But the anti-aging products Ms. Shand herself used were inappropriate for young skin. And the mass-market products available for teenagers appealed to neither mother nor daughter, both of whom wanted products with natural ingredients and a complete step-by-step regimen. “There was a niche no one was filling for a quality skin-care line for teens that would be natural and good for them,” Ms. Shand said.
So Ms. Shand, once the director of the National Miss Teenage America Program and a former marketing editor at TEEN magazine, decided to fill that niche. Two years ago, with the help of friends and the input from their teenage daughters, Ms. Shand began developing the Teen Everyday Skincare System — TESS for short. The line of two skincare kits and eight à la carte products made its debut last week at some Sephora stores and at sephora.com.
The line, which includes products for both combination and acne-prone skin, is being marketed as the first “prestige” skin care system created exclusively for teenagers. Prices range between $14 for a Lip Treatment Gloss and $48 for a complete skin care kit. That range sets TESS apart from drugstore brands like Clearasil, Neutrogena, and Noxzema, which have long courted young customers. Product names are lighthearted: The line for acne-prone skin, for example, is called Skin with Attitude and a blemish stick is called Take No Prisoners. The colors are sorbet-bright and the scents are fresh. Ingredients include natural fruit and botanical extracts and essential oils, as well as blemish fighters like salicylic acid. Each regimen includes six steps, numbered to indicate the order in which they should be used.
A panel of 100 teenage girls provides opinions on the products, trying products throughout development. “They helped direct us as to what this line should be,” Ms. Shand, the company’s chief executive, said. “There were a lot of requirements the teens put our way that we tried to embrace.” For example, it was important to Ryan Shand, a vegetarian, and her vegan friends that the products not be tested on animals. Ryan also felt the packaging and colors should be “mature but still fun.”
All of this made the brand an appealing buy when Ms. Shand presented it to Sephora’s merchandising team last fall. “We were intrigued by TESS, as the products were easy to understand and specifically geared towards the teen market,” the vice president of retail marketing at Sephora, Allison Slater, said. “Teens have become increasingly interested in looking to get a head start on healthy skin, so this line will be extremely helpful.”
But do teenagers have such unique skin that they merit their own line of products? A clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center, Dr.Darrell Rigel, said they do. “There are some special needs,” he said. “Teen skin develops more oil than adult skin,” so they “need products that are less greasy and less oily.”
In fact, he said, the blemishes caused by excess oil, rather than concerns about sun damage or future wrinkles, are what drive most teenagers to take care of their skin in the first place. “When you’re a teenager, you’re immortal,” Dr. Rigel said. “What motivates them is acne.”