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Sustainable Beauty

Hand-crafted skin products rely on natural ingredients to enhance natural beauty.

When Skincando creator Sara Damelio set out to find a cure for her own skincare woes, she didn’t expect that her solution would develop into a wildly successful national and international brand, a refreshing antidote to toxin-and chemical-laden drugstore products.

“I always had problem skin,” she explained. “I was a salesperson at a beauty boutique, and I tried a lot of brands—but using conventional products made my skin worse.”

Damelio began to research in earnest, expending thousands of hours over five years to find a safe, healthy and organic solution to common skin problems like acne, eczema and severe dryness.

“The benefits of natural products became very clear through my research,” she explained. “Our skin is porous—whatever you put on it goes into your bloodstream. The average woman uses between 15 and 24 products a day, every day, and that adds up if you use toxic drugstore products.”

Improved health isn’t the only benefit consumers can expect from natural skincare, however:

“The best thing,” said Damelio, “is that they really work. With Skincando products people see results almost immediately, and nearly everyone will be markedly improved after only a week.”

Damelio developed her now famous Combat-Ready Balm by hand in her own kitchen, testing countless ingredients before settling on the balm’s soothing combination of apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, beeswax, black tea and several other natural oils and extracts.

“I think of Combat-Ready Balm as organic Neosporin,” she said. “You can use it for acne, eczema, bug bites, minor abrasions, even sunburn. It’s a natural solution for real skin issues.”

The success of Combat-Ready Balm inspired a line of Combat-Ready products including a Combat-Ready Bar created with organic rosemary and black tea—“an alternative to chemical body-washes,” said Damelio.

A peppermint-flavored lip balm and a DEET-free natural bug spray complete the Combat-Ready collection. 

Skincando’s products are Combat-Ready both in name and in fact: “They’re literally battle-tested,” explained Damelio.

Her not-for-profit Operation Sand Flea allows customers to purchase Combat-Ready Products at a discount and donate them to American troops overseas. Damelio packs the shipments and pays for shipping, frequently adding additional products.

“The idea was inspired by a military wife who purchased the balm and sent it to her husband serving in Iraq. She sent me an email asking if I would send more—her husband loved the balm, and had shared it with other soldiers he worked with. Many of our soldiers work in extreme sun and heat, and the balm really helped their skin issues.”

Operation Sand Flea has met with wonderful success, with word of the Combat-Ready Balm spreading nationally thanks to appearances in The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Military Times and many others.

Damelio has also developed a beauty line called Skincando Luxe, as a way to “green up the everyday products people use on their faces,” she said. The Miracle Cream, Eye Balm and Brew Lip Balm made with the essential oil Myrrh replace conventional products that can be particularly harmful.

“Facial products sit on your skin all day,” said Damelio, “It’s especially important to keep them pure and simple.”

Skincando’s Luxe line is the only organic luxury skincare line in D.C., and all products are still hand-crafted by Damelio and her team of ten. Damelio uses many local ingredients and sources all others from elsewhere in the United States.

“I’m so lucky to be supported by the people of D.C.,” she said. “Giving back to the community is important to me and, the community supports us in turn. Thanks to support from friends and local customers, I’ve grown from small batches in my kitchen to selling Skincando products online and in 150 locations across the country.”

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