It took me a long while to accept sponsors for Style Maniac. I wanted to make sure that any links appearing on this site would be of interest to you, my loyal readers, and something I myself would click on. So it was a true delight when Monique Richards, co-founder of Budhi Teencare contacted me about becoming a Stylish Sponsor.
Immediately I liked the mission of Monique and her partner Charlene Short, to offer teens a positive, healthy option for skin and haircare. Over the last few months of corresponding with this team of models turned moms turned entrepreneurs I have found out more about the story behind the bottle, a mix of maternal love, friendship and chemistry I thought you'd all enjoy.
THE BUDHI TEAM: Monique Richards & Charlene Short
STYLE MANIAC: Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds, and how you became friends.
CHARLENE SHORT: I worked for 15 years in the fashion industry as a model doing editorial, advertising and commercials.
[see one of her Vogue shots here.]
MONIQUE RICHARDS: I also modeled during my University days, but eventually moved into the field of fine arts. We knew each other socially and became good friends before we became business partners.
How did the idea of Budhi Teencare come about?
CHAR: The inspiration for Budhi came about after I took my son to see a pediatric dermatologist over my concern for his acne and eczema. The dermatologist’s first question was: "What skin and hair care products does he use?" Feeling like a proud mommy, I told her he’d been using an organic skin and hair care line, after having tried name brand acne lines that were too harsh on his skin. The doctor told me that just because a product is organic or natural doesn't mean it's better for your skin. It turned out my son was having an allergic reaction to the plant oils in the natural products because he has hay fever! His skin had become so inflamed from the acne and allergies his skin pigment was beginning to change.
The doctor put him on an antibiotic to help his acne and told us to go buy a simple fragrance-free cleanser and sulfate-free shampoo. After using this simple skin care routine the pigment in his skin came back and his acne became more manageable with just a few break-outs here and there.
The products we found were fine, but the products seemed so boring and uninspired! These "hospital type" products also contained some chemicals that were questionable as to their safety. So the thinking was: "Why is there not a cool-looking, unisex, skincare line for teens that combines the best ingredients that science and nature have to offer?"
After a lot more brainstorming, Budhi was born.
It's one thing to think of an idea for a product and quite another to found a company. What made you take the leap?
CHAR: It was scary but we took the leap because we knew there had to be a better solution! As moms of four teens and one pre-teen, we were constantly trying to find products that would be gentle, safe and effective at fighting acne. Every parent who has had a miserable kid suffering from acne and break-outs knows what we're talking about. You're desperate to help them. We wanted a top quality product line that we ourselves would buy, but couldn't find.
Do either of you have a chemistry background? If not, how did you approach the development part of actually mixing up the product to produce the results you want?
MONIQUE: No, neither of us has a chemistry background. However, we had a great concept and the desire to create something special. We worked very hard at finding a top notch and highly ethical manufacturing lab and then worked diligently for two years with the cosmetic chemist (here in the U.S.) to develop our custom formulations.
Your mission statement talks about kids using their heads to make responsible choices for the health of their body, and to look deeper beyond the surface of the skin. How can teens do that?
CHAR: Budhi is the Sanskrit word for Intellect. By asking kids to use their heads we are asking them to take responsibility for their health, to think about their bodies in a holistic way. Your skin is the bodies largest organ and it acts as a mirror to the health of your insides. So, just as not getting enough sleep = dark circles under your eyes; if you eat junk food your body will reflect that by gaining weight, acne break outs, generally feeling gross.
We also want kids to make the connection that what they put on their bodies can go into their bodies.(Think of prescription patches to deliver medicine.) All those yummy smelling pink sparkle body lotions or octane smelling body sprays are full of chemicals that have not been studied for long term exposure in humans.
By asking kids to take look beyond the surface of skin we are asking kids to not judge people based on looks. That’s hard in a culture that bombards us with images of "perfect" looking people 24/7. What kids don't know is that those images have been Photoshopped to death and celebrities have access to personal trainers, stylists, make-up and hair people. It's not real life. We all know how it feels to have acne breakouts and feel like people are only looking at that instead of the person inside. Acne can cause emotional scarring that can last a lifetime. When you look at someone, really look at the whole person not only the surface. See people as you would like to be seen.
I have to say my immediate reaction when I read about your product was--I'd love it for myself! Do you have any plans to expand the line to other age groups?
MONIQUE: Yes! This is definitely a goal of ours for the future. Many adults have expressed to us that they too love Budhi because our products are super gentle and never aggravate or dry out their own sensitive and changing skin -- and their own adult break-outs.
How would you each describe your personal style in beauty and fashion?
MONIQUE: We definitely have unique approaches to personal style. Char is more of a "downtown bohemian" girl, while I favor a more classic "uptown girl" look. I think we can all agree: the key to great personal style is to find what "works" for you: make choices that are complimentary to you, wear what pleases you and makes you happy ... this in turn will help you look and feel your best. And of course, a healthy, glowing complexion is always a great asset!
NOTE: Although Budhi advertises on this site, this profile was not guaranteed in the sponsor package, but is presented at my discretion, as with other non-advertising companies and products I've featured. For more on Budhi visit their website budhiskincare.com and Facebook Page.
"Use the good china for breakfast."