Often, the best inventions are born of necessity. Such is the case for Pure Stella, a Charlotte-based skin care company that emerged when founder Stacey Rex discovered a dearth of adequate, all-natural products to treat her daughter’s eczema. Rex researched botanical solutions and began to create her own concoctions, eventually discovering the power and efficacy of plant-based ingredients. She began with small batches for herself and her family, until the public demand for her products reached a fever pitch and thus began Pure Stella.
Read on for Stacey’s full story, plus her at-home tips for promoting healthier skin.
You didn’t intend to create a small business when you developed a solution for your daughter’s eczema. What other surprises have come from this journey?
Coming from the corporate world, I was pleasantly surprised to find how supportive and collaborative local makers and artisans can be.
How did you come to know what your daughter’s skin needed?
I was able to create the recipe for our lotion sticks through a lot of research into the individual ingredients and then a lot of trial and error. I learned that beeswax acts as a natural version of petroleum jelly. It retains moisture and protects the skin, all while allowing it to breathe. It also has anti-itching properties, which were great for soothing eczema and was the main reason it became the leading ingredient in our lotion sticks.
What are some basic, at-home skincare tips and tricks we can all employ?
The first thing I share with people is that skin care problems are symptoms of underlying issues. We can use topical skin care to help treat the symptoms but we also need to look deeper. At home, you can try to drink lots of water, get more sleep, and eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. to help nourish the skin from the inside out. Also, don’t be afraid to look in your fridge or pantry for a quick spa treatment. Mixing honey and yogurt with either turmeric or clay mask makes a great moisturizing treatment for your skin. Mixing sugar or coffee with coconut or oil is a great scrub to help with dry hands.
Do you sell your products in retail stores or just online?
Several local stores stock my products, including CLT Find, H2Blow, Moxie Mercantile, Unwind Tea & Coffee. I also get to connect with new customers at pop-up events like Front Porch Sunday.
Which is the most versatile of your butters and oils?
Lavender essential oil is probably an ingredient that you would find in many of my products. It has so many beneficial properties including calming and soothing the mind, balancing the skin’s moisture barrier, and helping inflammation.
Which is your most popular product, and what sets it apart from other brands?
In the summer and spring, our natural mosquito repellent, Bug Off Lotion Sticks, are our biggest seller. They include a blend of 10 essential oils able to mask the scents we produce that attract pests. It is a solid lotion stick that you only need to apply behind your knees, in the bends of your elbows, and around your ankles to stay protected. Applying Bug Off to your temples will also help keep gnats out of your eyes. Our Coffee Infused Eye Serum has a cult following year-round, too. I use locally roasted Enderley Coffee, then infuse that into Sweet Almond Oil before blending it with other lightweight but intensely nourishing oils. The result is a great moisturizer in an easy to use roller ball tube that not only has the added antioxidants from coffee, but also has caffeine to help promote circulation while decreasing puffiness and dark circles.
What do you hope to see for the future of skin care and the industry?
I certainly hope to see a continued shift towards safer ingredients but more importantly, I hope for more positive advertising and messaging. It is so disheartening to see companies, through their advertising, implying that women aren’t good enough the way they are.