Renan Kennedy: “Our inspiration is nature.”
“If you asked me 10 years ago what I'd be doing today, I don't think making natural skincare products would have been on my short-list, or even on my long-list for that matter,” said Potomac’s Renan Kennedy. “I've found that life takes some very unexpected turns, and if we are open to the notion of following a new path, we may sometimes find that new and wonderful adventures await.”
Kennedy was working as a graphic designer when her mother was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. She and her sister immediately sprung into action, searching for the best treatment, physicians and hospitals while revamping her diet to organic foods and eliminating those foods that feed cancer. Their mission was to save their mother and keep her as comfortable as possible during the required medical treatments. One problem that surfaced while she was in chemo and radiation was the drying of her their mother’s skin.
Kennedy said, “I wanted to find an all-natural lotion or cream that we could apply to her skin, but at that point, like so many people, I didn't really know what ‘all natural’ was. So I started researching and digging. And let me tell you, I didn't have to dig too deep when I began uncovering all sorts of things. There are so many ingredients that are not only carcinogens but chemicals that attack the central nervous system and disrupt the hormones in our bodies. A truly ‘all natural’ product, despite what all the labels on the products claimed was very hard to find.”
And so her journey began. She was determined to eliminate the bad chemicals from the creams and lotions she used. Thus, she created Sans Skincare — skin care products without the harsh chemicals. Her products are made with essential plant oils, plant butters and other pure and natural ingredients. She said, “Every single ingredient used is beneficial for the body, nourishes with the plant's own nutrition, and every single ingredient matters.”
Kennedy and her sister were not able to save their mother. However, Renan left her graphic designer position to develop and launch her skin care line. For three years, she researched oils and plant butters and how they work as ingredients to impact the skin. She uses hempseed butter, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, cherry kernel oil, cherry seed oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, avocado butter — and absolutely no water, because water breeds bacteria, she said.
She also researched the shelf life of her products. She couldn’t use preservatives, but had to be certain they would last at least six months. She wanted to keep the final product from becoming too oily — but had to be sure it would not dry out the skin. Kennedy finally developed a line of skin care items that include cleansers, masks, moisturizers, scrubs and serums. This is the first year for marketing her skin care items.
“I’m excited because our products are now in stores and boutiques,” said Kennedy. “We are sold in Varnish Lane in Friendship Heights, in Mod Cottage in Rehobeth, at the Bethesda Women’s Farm Market and on-line. Some of our best sellers are the African Black Shower Soap, handcrafted in small batches and made with pure and simple ingredients, including eucalyptus; the Nourish Face Serum, a very careful and well thought-out blend of natural plant ingredients that target specifically cell nourishment and cell regeneration, the Whipped Sugar Scrub, which gently exfoliates the skin and leaves behind its wonderful moisturizing benefits and the Pure Bentonite Mask, a combination of volcanic ash and montmorillonite originally found in Fort Benton, Wyoming. It is highly absorbent and powerfully draws oils and toxins from the skin. Bentonite Clay is one of the most powerful healing clays. It is unique due to its ability to produce an ‘electrical charge’ when hydrated.”
Kennedy’s prices are competitive with the lip balm selling for $10 and the serums at $65. Her Whipped Hand and Body Butter is $40 and a Sans Starter Kit is $55. “Our goal is to provide you with skincare you can love and trust,” said Kennedy. “Our inspiration is nature."