[9 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone! Who else didn’t get much sleep this week? With temperatures here in London skyrocketing, it is normal to be feeling slightly off your game.
Anytime we start to feel this way, our instinct is to reach out to self-care routines to get us back on track. For us, self-care can mean many different things but, of course, skincare is usually involved.
That’s why this week we decided to chat to the Founder of Higher Education Skincare, Deborah Mary Nash. Higher Education is a US Skincare brand formulated with Gen Z’s skin concerns in mind.
Higher Education Skincare offers affordable skincare to help consumers to feel empowered and confident. What's even cooler is that Higher Education Skincare is offering our readers 15% off their entire order... So just grab yourself your morning coffee and keep on reading.
"I founded Higher Education Skincare in 2014. At the time I had two daughters of college age, and their friends always looked to me for skincare advice."
Morning Deb! Could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
My mother was a very creative person and taught me the importance of learning to do things myself, being creative and trying new things. My father was an entrepreneur and played a big role in my career decisions… I was the third of four siblings, and we’re all girls. My mother made many of our clothes as she always wanted us to look our best. She never left the house without having her make-up on and hair done. She was a beautiful woman with beautiful skin; something I have always admired. To this day I am the same way and always try to look my best.
I love that! It is interesting how much women inherit from their mothers in terms of how they consider what beauty means. How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I began selling cosmetics part-time at the local department store whilst in high school, Woodward and Lothrop. I continued all throughout college. After that, I became a licensed esthetician and opened one of the first full-service day spas in the Mid-Atlantic.
Wow! What an enormous feat! So when did you decide to start up Higher Education Skincare and why?
I founded Higher Education Skincare in 2014. At the time I had two daughters of college age, and their friends always looked to me for skincare advice. I was also in the fifth year of my apparel company selling into collegiate bookstores, and that was where I noticed that there was a lack of good skincare for this particular age group.
So Higher Education Skincare was born out of demand and a visible gap in the market; that’s smart. Why was the timing important?
People of college-age were looking for affordable, dual-purpose, easy-to-use and efficacious products to meet their many skincare needs. There wasn’t another brand around at the time that really fit the bill.
So you took matters into your own hands! Does Higher Education Skincare consider issues relating to sensitive skin and allergies?
Absolutely! That is one of our biggest concerns and the reason why we are paraben-free, gluten-free, and sulfate-free. These ingredients are often the cause of irritations and problematic skin conditions. Our formulas use only best-in-class ingredients with our target audience’s specific skin needs in mind. We want our customers to feel confident when using our products. I am also excited to announce that we recently added two new products to the line, which are specifically formulated for sensitive skin: NO BRAINER™ Gentle Skin Cleanser, and GOAL DIGGER™ Moisturizing Cucumber Crème.
That is great to know. We are also really interested to hear how sustainability factors into Higher Education Skincare?
Sustainability is massively important to us. To date we use 100% recycled paper in our secondary packaging and we are actively working to introduce PCR (post consumer resin, aka “recycled” materials) into our primary packaging. Additionally, all of our containers are recyclable, so there is no waste.
Do you think people are more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and the sustainability of skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
I believe they are, yes! The millennial and Gen Z audiences are very in tune with what they put into and on their bodies. This is a very conscientious and educated demographic who spends time researching the negative effects on their bodies and their impact on the environment; it is something that they seem genuinely passionate about. We always pay attention to this kind of feedback we receive in Higher Education skincare reviews.
So what were your biggest challenges in starting up Higher Education Skincare?
Funding, of course, as well as having the right infrastructure in place.
Funding is a huge issue for so many brands starting out. What strategies do you think have been key to the success of Higher Education Skincare?
Our team is made up of experienced skincare veterans who really understand what it takes to develop and market great products. The team has been instrumental in making sure our products really work and are within the parameters of what our target audience can afford.
It sounds like you really keep the focus on consumer needs, not only in terms of the efficacy of your products but the price point, which is so vital! What is your favourite thing about your job?
When you work in the skincare industry every day is different! It’s continuously evolving and always exciting.
"Blue light can cause premature ageing so it is crucial for us to consider this in our formulas as younger people spend so much time on their phones."
I completely agree! So, which is your favourite or holy-grail product that you’ve created?
CRAM SESSION™ Vitamin Infused Hydrating Lotion is my favourite! It is packed with vitamins A, C, and E plus fractionated melanin which protects the skin from the damaging effects of blue light that emanates from all our digital devices. Blue light can cause premature ageing so it is crucial for us to consider this in our formulas as younger people spend so much time on their phones.
Guilty… What do you think makes Higher Education Skincare stand out?
We own most of our formulas and developed them to make sure they are very effective, yet affordable. And, our product names are fun and relatable to the Gen Z audience. With names like PRE REQ™ Invigorating Foaming Cleanser, MAKE OUT READY™ Moisturizing Lip Balm, and SPRING BREAK™ Oil Free Broad Spectrum Sunscreen… who wouldn’t take a second look?
No one! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment?
That is a tough one, but I think it is probably when Urban Outfitters gave us the first PO so they could offer Higher Education Skincare products to their customers.
That must have been so exciting! What inspires you?
My two beautiful daughters!
Wonderful! And what does an average day look like for you?
I rise at 6:30 AM, and read emails and texts as I am drinking my coffee. Then, I skim through industry journals, workout, shower and dress, before heading out to the office where I meet my team. I make numerous phone calls, attend some meetings, and make sales pitches… Sometimes I might be off travelling off to a show or meeting. Basically, I never have the same day twice. I wear many hats and try to keep moving forward to reach my goal!
Busy and productive; it sounds fabulous! Do you think you have a work/life balance?
Yes, I am proud to say that I do.
What words do you live by?
Words from my father... “Polite persistence prevails and never give up on your dreams.”
There’s so much truth in that. Can you reveal what’s on the horizon for Higher Education Skincare?
We are always working on evolving Higher Education Skincare in order to stay relevant to our audience. We have some exciting changes coming up with our website, our social media presence and most importantly, our package design. We’re also working on some inspiring, new product launches. We have lots of things to look forward to!