Health | December 15th 2017

Work & Play: Lena + Christine Saleh

For all of those entrepreneurial spirits out there – this ones for you.  We spoke to sisters Lena and Christine Saleh, to talk about their journey launching their own product line – Skinvolve.

How did you get into the wellness industry?

Lena: We are first generation Lebanese and spent a lot of summers in the Middle East and in Europe as kids. We were inspired by what we saw people use on their skin on a daily basis, their rituals, what ingredients they used and how this changed across time zones. Essentially, we wanted to create globally inspired products that we encountered throughout our lives.


What was the motivation to create Skinvolve?  Was the wellness and beauty world always attractive to you? What has been most important to you throughout growing your business?

Lena: We created Skinvolve to be a personal reflection of what we would like to see in beauty. Products that are energizing, meaningful, fun, multi-functional and not too serious. Skinvolve is a representation of the modern woman and man, a unisex brand that holds its value in minimalism, health and the positive evolution of each individual through body, mind and soul. The wellness and beauty industry was attractive to us because we felt like there was always a missing message, a racial group skimmed over in advertisements, and we wanted to completely change that to be more inclusive and real.

What were you doing before you started Skinvolve?

Lena: I was living in New York working for an Advertising Agency and Christine was in Los Angeles working in the film industry.

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What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Christine: Knowing that something we personally crafted, formulated, designed and spent loads of time on is in the hands of thousands of people with a purpose to help and heal their skin. Whether it’s alleviating someone’s eczema or assisting them reach a goal of losing weight. I have vitiligo (a loss of pigmentation) so it’s been very rewarding to be able to create formulas without Phenoxyethanol, which can be an irritant for people with skin conditions. We’re not just creating things for the sake of it, but because we love them ourselves and truly believe in it.

How do you find working with family?

Lena: It’s weird. When we were kids we really hated each other and swore to never, ever be nice to each other. People told us that when we got older we would be best friends, we didn’t believe them, but now we do. We are both really different, but we do balance each other out surprisingly well. We’ve experienced so much together that sometimes our responses are even the same. I think the joy about working with a sibling is that you can be brutally honest one second and the next second have a laugh about something completely random, it’s knowing that they are still your family at the end of the day. We are always laughing so much that sometimes it is hard to focus and we need to sit in separate rooms. Christine is really funny and good at accents. Half our conversations are in foreign accents actually.

How do you stay inspired in ventures such as expanding Skinvolve?

Christine: It’s an interesting time in the wellness world. There is so much that is vastly changing due to technology, which makes the beauty and wellness industry stand out more than ever. More stimulus means spending less time on yourself. For that reason, we feel more compelled and inspired to evolve our own brand and think critically about how we can stand out to make a positive impact in the beauty and wellness sector.

Tell us what a day in the life looks like; the first thing you do in the morning, and last thing you do at night.

Lena: Our lives are in transition for both of us. I just finished my Masters from London’s Central Saint Martins and we are between different cities a lot of the time. This does make it hard to have a set routine and schedule. However, most mornings start with a “wake-up coffee conference call” to regroup and adjust our goals for the day. When we are together we are working, drinking loads of coffee, and ending the night with some sort of fitness and probably Netflix.

What does self-care mean to you? What do you do to keep sane? What products do you enlist to help?

Christine: Self-care to us comes in many forms. Allowing yourself daily time to meditate or pray before you start or end the day, and taking care of your health physically (immune system) and mentally to live in a positive light. A lot of our inspiration comes from being minimal in our choices. What we allow into our lives has a great effect on us.

Lena loves to run, be outside, and hike to stay sane.

Products we love and swear by are Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, The Organic Pharmacy’s Detox Body Oil and Tata Harper’s Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil are current favs.

3 things you’re obsessing over right now.

Lena: Thinking positively is one, every time a negative thought enters my head I remove it and replace it with a positive one. I think the world we are living in can be very toxic if we let it be. With the amount of social media we are engaged with on a daily basis and the turbulent political climate across the world, being supportive of each other and being real about life is so important to convey now more than ever.

Other than a mental adjustment, things I can’t live without are weekly sauna sessions and their pore minimizing wonders, as well as lots of Kombucha for optimal gut health!

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting their entrepreneurial journey?

Christine: There are no short cuts. Don’t take yourself too seriously and just go for it. The biggest decision is the decision to start, don’t wait for the perfect moment because it will never come. Also, don’t try to do it all and master everything because let’s be honest, there simply isn’t enough time in a day. Surrounding yourself with people who are subject matter experts is key to help advise along the way and save you loads of time (and mistakes) down the road. I’d also recommend reading Essentialism by Greg Mckeown for some practical tips on the disciplined pursuit of less and how to prioritize decisions. Oh and welcome failures, because they truly are the life’s greatest teacher.

What is next for Skinvolve?

Lena: Skinvolve is getting bigger! We are working on exciting new products, engaging concepts, and finding the right mission we want to attach ourselves to, something that we are really passionate about. Stay tuned!