Our Story

I grew up the youngest of three girls in a middle-class family in a Philadelphia suburb.  A few years from high school graduation, I decided I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I majored in geography since I was always interested in travel, read almanacs, and watched hours of nature shows with my father.  I went on to get a M.A. and then moved to Texas to pursue a Ph.D.  After studying Cultural Geography for a few years, I was pulled toward Medical Geography. Medical geographers track and map anything health related and correlate it to various other physical and cultural geographic variables such as weather, terrain, climate, religion, customs, and education.  I specialized in infectious disease, particularly HIV/AIDS.  

My dissertation research, as well as subsequent post-doctoral work required a lot of fieldwork and I spent months at a time abroad, particularly in East Africa and East Asia.  Since I was mapping HIV/AIDS and correlating it with place-specific factors, much of the fieldwork consisted of interviews with both men and women regarding sexual practices, as well as what one considered attractive in the opposite sex.  Although none of these customs or preferences "caused" HIV, many of them led to a greater chance of transmission and/or were just unhealthy.  Several other practices such as facial scarring, skin bleaching, female genital mutilation, and fattening huts, were also based on myth, but were continued due to societal pressures.  The whole concept of what is considered "beautiful" became fascinating, as well as the lengths people went to in order to achieve it.  

Upon completing my Ph.D., and subsequently accepting a university professorial position, I continued infectious disease research, but became more and more interested in the broader topics of global health and wellness.  I developed new courses in global approaches to integrative health and the geography of beauty and also began taking a closer look at the beauty industry in the U.S. The summer after receiving tenure I went to beauty school and earned an esthetics license so I could learn about the industry from the ground up.  

At first, esthetics was just a hobby.  I had a little "spa" room in my home and played around on friends.  It didn't take long before I realized just how limited consumer resources were and that misleading information was everywhere.  It bothered me so much that I decided to take my "hobby" to the next level and I officially opened an esthetics clinic.  The clinic focused on being truthful about what products and services could and could not do.  We didn't promise clients they'd look 10 years younger after a facial, but offered them realistic expectations in terms of what they could achieve and what needed to be done to get there.  I still own and operate this clinic.  

After 15 years of academic research experience and 5 years of esthetic clinical experience and having access to every beauty product under the sun, the next logical extension was to start a skin care line.  I didn't want to just slap my name on a premade private label product, but I wanted to create it myself.  Many of my clients were frustrated and overwhelmed with all the skincare choices and just wanted to know where to begin.  I therefore researched and tinkered with ingredients for several years before developing our first product, In the Beginning Antioxidant Peptide Serum--where everyone's skin care routine should begin.  

Today our company focuses on science and not hype, which is a dramatic shift from traditional marketing, but desperately needed in a beauty culture full of unrealistic expectations.  Our foundation has been built on a passion for science, education, beauty, world cultures, and integrity and we’d love you to join our mission.

Founder and CEO,

Michelle Calvarese, Ph.D., L.E.

headshot

Our Principle