Samantha Addonizio is a successful lawyer and hands-on mom to her two active boys, yet she spends whatever spare time she has in her kitchen concocting food-based skincare products. Addonizio first started experimenting when one of her sons developed eczema and the doctor-recommended treatments seemed to make things worse, instead of better. But that was then, now her company,KYI, Inc., which is short for Know Your Ingredients, boasts a growing product line and a legion of devoted fans.
She took time out of her hectic schedule to talk with Beauty in the Bag about why it’s important to K-Y-I.
How do you define beauty?
I identify beauty in a person when that person exudes naturalness and confidence. Beauty to me is minimal, natural; its stands on its merits.
What is your company’s signature product?
KYI’s three flagship products are really our signature: whole food products that nourish your skin the way that whole grains, vegetables, and fruits nourish your body. These include a whipped shea butter mask, sweet almond softening oil, and argan oil serum with vitamin C.
How did you get started in the beauty business?
I started making my own whole food beauty products after I had my first child. He suffered from eczema and nothing worked, not even the products the dermatologist recommended. In fact, they seemed to hurt him when applied. So I started focusing on what was in my skincare products. I started looking for products that were minimal and contained the equivalent of “whole food.” I had trouble finding them so I started making my own. I shared them with friends and I was overwhelmed by the demand for these types of products and I started KYI.
What sets you apart from others in your space?
In a word, honesty. We want the consumer to focus on the ingredients. So we are really 100% honest about our ingredients and what our products are. When you look closer at labels that say “natural” or “organic,” you notice that most are of the ingredients are NOT 100% natural or organic. They contain preservatives, emulsifiers. and other additives such as synthetic fragrances. KYI does use organic ingredients when they are available, but our products are not 100% organic, and we do not label the products as “organic.”
Who is your beauty inspiration?
Everyday women who look natural and down to earth. I appreciate not only the simplicity of that type of beauty, but also its ease. It could be a woman in a business suit on the train or one behind a counter at the deli; if she is fresh and natural, I can’t help notice the beauty that shines through. And that is what inspires me to make my products.
What is your beauty mantra?
KISS: Keep it simple silly.
What are your next steps?
KYI is focusing on getting the word out to consumers and raising awareness regarding what they are putting on their skin. Once consumers start reading ingredient labels, we believe they will demand better quality, whole food skincare products. We are working to become available where everyday women shop. Knowing your ingredients doesn’t help if you can’t find them in the products you like!
How did you create your Argan Oil Serum with Vitamin C?
A few years back, I had generic argan oil that I used for my hair all the time. I ran out of face moisturizer one day and the argan oil was handy so I thought “why not?” Once I tried it, I never went back to regular face cream again—I loved the way the oil was quickly absorbed, how my skin felt all day, but I did miss my vitamin C and the way it smoothed lines and brightened my skin. So I did some research about vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. I learned that it is water soluble and not very stable so that most forms used in beauty products have to be modified slightly to be stable. In just days, ascorbic acid can turn from being an anti-oxidant to an oxidant when used in beauty formulation. After further research, I found a newer form of vitamin C, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which is very stable and oil soluble. I added some to my argan oil and wow! After a few weeks, I noticed that it worked better than previous vitamin C products when a pesky line I had between my brows started softening. I started sharing with family and friends and all of them had similar reactions.
Do your kids help create products?
As much as they would love to … no. They are supportive (they asked me to make KYI t-shirts for them so they can advertise) and are the biggest fans of the Whipped Shea Butter, which they keep in their back packs and sports bags and use on everything from chapped lips, to sunburn, and to aid in super quick healing of their scrapes and cuts.