Photo Credit: Beautyinthebag
A.J. Hanley and her husband, Jim Radosevic are the proud owners of a small skincare business that is dedicated to treating acne, called The Humane Company.
She had enjoyed a long career as a writer and editor specializing in beauty and health for publications like Shape, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Health, and Real Simple. After moving from New York City to the North Fork of Long Island, she and Jim, a former New York president of the iconic advertising agency Young & Rubicam, set out to embark on an adventure together. Their goals were to combine their unique skill sets, reignite their passion for creating and strengthen their relationship. That was how The Humane Company was born.
Targeted to acne-prone and oily skin, Humane products are dermatologist-tested, clean, vegan and cruelty-free. The brand’s signature formulation is the Acne Wash that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. Launched in 2015, this maximum-strength face and body treatment quickly gained a cult-like following, and continues to be a bestseller today. In fact, it currently boasts over 3,400 positive reviews!
Their cult favorite Acne Wash was followed by a Clarifying Toner that is formulated with 2% Salicylic Acid, then an Oil-Free Moisturizer, Acne Spot Treatment Gel and Clarifying Toner Pads.
Check out the whole Humane range here: thehumanecompany.com.
Tell us about Humane and your inspiration for transforming the brand as your own?
Clean, acne-focused skincare is an unusual niche for a beauty startup, which is one of the reasons Jim and I saw potential. The brands that dominated seemed to be more focused on celebrity endorsements, complex systems and big-budget ad campaigns than on the potentially harmful ingredients hiding in their products. Since you absorb up to 60 percent of what you put on your skin topically, having a thoughtful skincare routine is not something to take lightly. We went with a less-is-more approach, using only safe, clinically backed ingredients and eliminating anything remotely questionable. We defer to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database for hazard ratings. It’s pretty amazing how short the ingredient list becomes when you eliminate superfluous and potentially harmful stuff like sulfates, parabens and phthalates.
We’ve steadily grown the business, adding a few more products and enhancing the consumer experience. But in the process, Jim and I discovered that while our commitment has remained the same, our motivation has begun to shift. We’ve truly been touched and humbled by the many stories about how our products—particularly the Acne Wash and Clarifying Toner—have transformed lives. Both of us know from experience that having acne can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing, affecting your body image and self-esteem. Research shows that people with moderate-to-severe acne can experience social isolation, as well as increased levels of anxiety and depression. These days, it’s much more than just a business for us—it’s a responsibility to live up to the expectations of our incredibly loyal customers every day and in every single thing we do. While we have a few more launches in the pipeline, I can say with confidence that Humane will never be a company that bombards your skin with products. Instead, we’ll continue to focus on a handful of solutions that harness the healing powers of potent, proven ingredients.
How did your history as a health and beauty editor prepare you for the role of beauty brand owner?
It was a great training ground! In addition to reporting on the trends, beauty editors are tasked with sorting through myriad products to help the consumer figure out which ones are worth the money and which aren’t. I loved combing through the latest research and interviewing beauty experts—from product formulators to top dermatologists around the country. All of it fueled my fascination with the science behind skincare.
What’s in your makeup bag or on your bathroom counter?
Even pre-pandemic, my personal beauty regime has been pretty simple: Cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. After washing my face (my go-to is Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser), I swipe Humane Clarifying Toner over my skin. The BHA-powered exfoliant helped to clear up my recent case of “maskne” (acne breakouts caused by wearing a face mask). During the winter months, I’ve come to depend on the toner to gently slough away the dead skin cells that can clog pores and dull skin. In the evening, I follow that with our Oil-Free Moisturizer, which contains super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing antioxidants. I’ve tried a lot of eye creams over the years, but lately, Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb has been doing the job when it comes to plumping up the not-so-fine lines around my eyes. In the a.m., I tend to opt for a tinted moisturizer or CC cream with SPF over foundation. Lately, I’m been alternating between First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 and Supergoop! SPF 35 Daily Correct CC Cream. I’m obsessed with multi-tasking products like Olio E Osso Tinted Balms. Available in an array of sheer shades (including clear), the natural moisturizing balms can be used on cheeks, lips, brows and flyaways. The push-up tube is perfectly sized for popping in a handbag or clutch. When I do wear lip color, I tend to keep it light—say, pairing Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Medium with Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady. Mascara often irritates my eyes, so I try get my lashes professionally tinted every eight weeks or so. To maintain the length, I apply RevitaLash Cosmetics Advance Eyelash Conditioner to my fringe each morning. (It really works!) I then give them some bend using my trusty Shu Uemura eyelash curler. I add a touch of charcoal eyeliner to finish, and a swipe of MILK Makeup Kush Fiber Brow Gel to keep my brows in line.