Dear Reader, have you ever had a chat that amps your energy and opens your eyes to so many things?
That was my enlightening hour talking to Naples-based dynamo Julie Koester, the gorgeous woman in the photo above.
Just like your FBP team, Koester did time in NYC, earning her Master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University. This Ivy Leaguer still has that uptown girl moxie (courage and determination) complementing her creed (a set of guiding beliefs), practicing whole-body wellness, clean and vegan living.
Moxie Creed is Koester’s genius skincare line that epitomizes everything she preaches.
I discovered just how good her products are when SWFL’s climate finally took a turn with drier air.
Despite the myriad treatment potions in my cabinet, I was sadly lacking a simple moisturizer, so I gave Moxie Creed’s a try.
You all know by now FBP loves discovering our Florida entrepreneurs.
Sometimes you can score a dewy glow with just one great product. That’s Moxie Creed’s moisturizer.
Still, it took me a week to get the optimum benefits, as you’ll read below.
Why? Because I was doing it wrong.
So I hopped on a call with Julie, and here’s an excerpt from our convo.
FBP: Please share how your background inspired you to create a skincare line.
Koester: One of the things people find most interesting about how Moxie Creed came into being was that my transition into skincare came through food politics research. It was a very serendipitous journey to get there.
My academic history: I’m a researcher by training with a PhD ABD (all but dissertation) in public health focusing on the politics of big food companies’ marketing and how deceptive it was, how toxic the ingredients were that they were using to try to make food cheaper and last longer.
I started researching ingredients on my shampoo bottle, toothpaste and things like that to see what was in there, where they were sourcing them from, what the EWG (Environmental Working Group) said about it. EWG is such a goldmine for ingredient research. Things that are recognized as cancer-causing were in my foundation which was being absorbed into my body daily.
What I started recognizing is that the health effects of the big companies in the food industry were directly parallel to what was happening in the skincare industry. Your skin is the largest organ of the body: what you put on it is no different than what you put in your body.
Once I committed to actually doing the line, the research shifted to very historic research — back to medicine men, back to Cleopatra, the real origins of understanding how natural ingredients affect the body, affect healing — skin specifically.
They’ve been documented for thousands of years. When I started working on the formulations, Cleopatra was a huge influence; she was known as the woman who never aged.
That’s how I got there.
FBP: Tell us about your development process.
Koester: Development of Moxie Creed was a very scholarly, nutraceutical approach to skincare — not pharmaceutical. There’s a huge market for pharma-based skincare lines, as they do their job — but at what cost to the rest of your body?
So many are of the mindset that looking five or ten years younger is worth risking that possibility of living five or ten years less just to look amazing on the way out.
I was using them before I did this too…before I knew better.
The marketing piece of it is fascinating. Just think about major products you’d definitely recognize using the words “blend,” “complex,” “solution.” It’s nothing but a cover for things that companies know are toxic; this way, you’ll never know.
“Patent-pending” usually means we don’t have to tell you to keep you from knowing the real ingredients. It’s a way to avoid disclosing what really goes into your skincare and makeup. It’s classic spin to make it sound extra special.
For those who are done putting their health at risk, and want an alternative that does actually work, there’s Moxie Creed. There are ingredients out there and a level of understanding between skincare and food consumption, it’s all connected.
It’s of huge value to understand this. It’s not hidden. It’s not a secret. We’re just not bothering to look for them because we’ve become so comfortable having stuff just handed to us, being told it’s great and it’ll be fine, that cancer warnings are just a technicality we have to put on the label.
FBP: Your ingredients are plant-based with quite a few foods regularly found in my kitchen. Tell us about that.
Koester: One of the challenges of understanding how food affects our bodies with a global food economy is that the natural seasons of food in their specific locations serve a fundamental purpose to protect your body. For example, watermelon and kiwi offer natural systemic sun protection.
Fruits that grow naturally in heavy UV-intense places, those summer fruits have those qualities. We include these elements in the serum and the moisturizer to inherently protect you. It goes into your tissues whether you drink it or apply it topically.
People have been so conditioned to believe chemicals are the future, relying on them to quick-fix things from pills to pests, so when you talk to someone the value of raw honey or aloe vera, it’s too pedestrian – it couldn’t possibly be powerful enough to make a difference. And that’s a real learning curve that we need to revisit.
FBP: Why only three products in the Moxie Creed collection?
Koester: All three products were launched together. When thinking through what pieces should initiate the line, I surveyed people, asking if you could only use three products on your face, not cosmetics but for caregiving, what would they be? They almost universally said a cleanser, moisturizer, and serum. They really are the foundation pieces.
Pros in the field, including dermatologists and medical estheticians, love the serum because it’s the natural equivalent to the hardcore, chemical-laden popular name-brand versions and they see the same results — without the added stress of any potential long-term side-effects.
FBP: Care to share your secret ingredients?
Koester: One of a handful of key ingredient differentiators is Tamanu, a nut oil from the Tamanu seed. It’s very isolated to the Pacific islands, and we learned about it as westerners during World War II, when soldiers were getting burned in attacks, and the local medicine men were helping medics by giving them this oil to help with healing.
As this was utilized, research was documented about what Tamanu’s effects were. It creates a situation in your skin to form new tissue and facilitate wound healing. It has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. When researching, I saw there is an ingredient or two — extremely powerful and naturally occurring — in every culture.
We use only Himalayan salt in our products, it’s part of what juices the acid reaction in the cleanser… and so much more. Discovered by Alexander the Great while he was passing through India, Himalayan salt contains roughly 80 elements, 72 of which are essential to the human body. (In comparison, sea salt for contains four elements, table salt two).
A few highlights: sulfur has been used since biblical times to heal skin disorders, hydrogen increases elasticity and decreases inflammation and sun damage. Calcium regulates skin cell creation. By increasing calcium in the epidermis, we increase cell turnover, leaving skin youthful and glowing. These are just three of the 72.
FBP: Given I was using the cleanser and serum incorrectly, please share your application tips.
Koester: Apply the cleanser to humid, not wet skin. I put it on before wetting my hair, leaving it on for the entire shower. It’s the last thing I rinse off. When I get out my face is red.
I put the serum on, right after I pat my face dry, neutralizing the activation of the cleanser and clearing the redness. All you need is a tiny bit. A little goes a long way, more doesn’t equal better here. A pea-sized dot will do for your whole face. (Note from Diana: I was using too much.) You can see that it’s working. Next, while I put my teapot on, the serum is all soaked in and ready for the moisturizer. But you can apply the moisturizer without waiting.
I’m not a heavy foundation user, but because I was raised in Utah in the 80s, sunbathing with Crisco and was an every-weekend-of-season skier with no sunscreen, my skin has decades of damage, so I do use a little foundation. I dip my foundation brush into the moisturizer, wipe it off, then do a tiny tap into the foundation and brush it on over my face.