By Kimberly Hundley
Walk into a spa, Sephora store or Macy’s makeup department, and a whirlwind of skin-care options insistently whisper their names. There’s Lancome, Clarins, Clinique, Shiseido and Chanel, and a plethora of other national brands, not to mention locally crafted lines such as the Airpark’s own Caniglia MD Skincare.
Nevertheless, above the din of this crowded marketplace, North Scottsdale resident Tanaha Hairston detected a niche, one ideally fitted to today’s global marketplace and populace of blended ethnicities. Along with dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Haley, Hairston created Derivations Skincare, a line based on best-beauty practices plucked from cultures across the world.
Hairston, who describes herself as a biracial mix of French, American Indian and black, was studying at the famed Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix when the seed for Derivations was planted. Her young daughter asked some of her Indian classmates the secret to their luxuriant black hair. They explained that in their culture it was normal to oil one’s hair one night a week, and the result was gleaming, healthy hair.
Already traveling internationally for school, the Greater Airpark resident began researching beauty regimes in a variety of cultures. “What I found is every region of the world is an expert, if you will, on solving particular skin-care issues,” she says. “For example, for hundreds of years, the Asian region has been concerned with brightening their skin. The Nordic region has been intensely concerned with correcting fine lines and wrinkles.”
Hairston and Haley mined a spectrum of beauty “secrets,” taking the recipes to an Arizona manufacturing company that Hairston found through her contacts, where skin-care scientists agreed to work with the most potent natural ingredients available.
The result, she says, is the first truly global skin-care line—products not only gleaned from time-tested practices around the world but also able to resolve the challenges of every skin type.
“It’s not that you would use the brightening serum because you are from Asia. You would use it because your issue is brightening your skin,” she says, and then points to her own ethnicity to paint another example. “I would use two products: Intensive Moisturizing Cream with Pomegranate and Olive, sourced from the south of Europe, where they traditionally have darker skin and aren’t as worried about fine lines but want a dewy, glowing look; and, if I had pigmented skin, I would use more of the Flawless Moisturizing Cream, which we modeled after Latin America [beauty secrets].”
The Derivations line made its debut in June after about two years of primary research and a year of development in which the women worked with chemists to source ingredients, tweak formulas and test blends.
“While there is significant research behind most of the active ingredients in our products, we elected to invest in clinical trials,” says Haley, who maintains a practice in Colorado and a concierge service in North Scottsdale, where she lives part-time. “We recruited a group of women with diverse ethnic backgrounds to use our products for a 12-week study. The results were impressive! Not only did we receive positive feedback from the majority of participants regarding the uniqueness and elegance of the products, we were able to identify remarkable changes in the appearance of the women … based on their before and after photos.”
Why are Derivations Skincare products so beneficial for the skin?
Haley says it’s the selection of natural ingredients, with perhaps the best example coming from the Nordic region, where women use the same active sea enzymes, marine collagen and algae extract to combat fine lines and wrinkles that the company has incorporated into its product line. Other examples of powerful components, she says, include white willow bark extract—an anti-inflammatory that increases skin-cell turnover and controls acne (used in Derivations’ purifying cleanser)—and antioxidants such as grape seed extract, tea oil, pomegranate-seed extract and a mixture of substances derived from rice-bran oil.
Hairston doesn’t hesitate when asked which Derivations offering is destined to be a best seller.
“Our Ultimate Rejuvenation Night Cream, and I’ll tell you why. It has the highest concentration of vitamin A an over-the-counter product can have,” she says. “Vitamin A increases collagen, giving the skin a more youthful appearance. The cream also has every single amino acid that your body needs to feed the skin and make it healthy.” The night cream incorporates more than 25 amino acids in addition to sea kelp coral, turmeric, mitochondria from cauliflower and several other ingredients. The concoction is so potent, Hairston adds, it was necessary to add natural fragrances to disguise the vitamin aroma.
The name Derivations was chosen for the line to reflect the importance of the ingredients. “It’s a synonym of ‘origins,’” Hairston says. “It’s really that simple: to derive from a root.”
Derivations’ mission is two pronged. While conducting market research, Hairston unearthed another problem shared by many consumers of skin-care products. “People have no idea what to buy,” she says. “If they knew what products worked and were personalized for the skin, they would purchase them, independent of what the cost was.”
So when Hairston and Haley built their company, they included a plan for experts to virtually provide customers with free personalized evaluations. When someone buys a Derivations product, they receive an email inviting them to complete a checklist of skin issues and information about their background and ethnicity. A consultant then responds with recommendations and checks in with the consumer monthly for at least three months, up to a year—depending on how long the service is wanted. Clients are asked to email photographs every three to four weeks so the consultant can see how the skin is progressing.
“I like the idea of experts solving skin-care problems. Period,” Hairston says. “When we hire somebody to be a consultant, they have to be a trained aesthetician or a nurse.”
Derivations Skincare may now be purchased online, with products ranging in price from $40 to $150. Customers can expect a follow-up email from one of the aestheticians from Haley’s office, who have been trained in the product line. As business grows, more consultants will be added to the team.
In the meantime, the women are busy networking with local aestheticians and spas to spread the word about their product.
“This has really been an exciting and fun adventure for us because we know our product works,” Hairston says. “At this point, it’s really about marketing and just sharing with others this great company.”
To contact Dr. Haley about her concierge service, call 970-417-9636. She is also available for appointments at Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics Center, 20201 N. Scottsdale Healthcare Drive (480-398-1550).
The Derivations Skincare line includes cleansers, toners, eye creams, brightening serum, SPF protection, and body lotion designed to target wrinkles, dark spots, dry skin and aging prevention. Prices range from $40 to $150. Visit derivationsskincare.com to shop online or find local retailers.