We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsten, how does your business help the community?
At Ayr Skin Care, our motto is “Healthy skin. Beautiful you.” My personal goal has been to make a difference in the self esteem, that mature women have about their own beauty. Our products were designed for women approaching, experiencing, and post-menopause. It was inspired and created based upon my own journey through this time. Coming from a place of allergies, sensitive skin and acne, I was surprised to find that as I approached mid-life, my skin changed to very dry, and then after menopause…extremely dry. Many of my allergic reactions came from food, but many also came from the supposedly natural skin care products I was using. I knew when creating my own line that I needed to formulate products that women could use that would help them take care of changing skin care needs, minus the usual allergy triggers. I write blogs every week to show women how to take care of themselves. You can’t help others unless you practice self care. We also only use models on our website that are over the age of 50, which is almost unheard of in other skin care companies! We include affirmation cards in each order, and remind women that taking care of themselves, and seeing how they are beautiful and unique ladies, leads to the true understanding of beauty. We also buy Fair Trade ingredients, and in this way help women and children in other countries who process the ingredients that we all use. Helping them, and their villages, makes us all feel better, and in this way we all benefit.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always created things. Whether it be a painting, cooking a meal, or performing a song, artistic expression has been the thing that has brought me joy. I think that everyone has a creative and unique part of themselves. I decided to take the years of chemistry and skin care formulation classes that I had taken, and begin creating skin care that would suit the changing needs of my skin. As I created over the years, I ended up with a “cult following” of friends and family that loved the products, and ultimately led to me starting Ayr Skin Care, a natural skin care line that focuses on mature and sensitive skin. We’ve been in business for three years now, and although I still have to force myself to do things like accounting or everyday tasks, my true joy is when I am in my lab, creating products that I know will help people. One of the art forms that I learned while taking my skin care formulation courses, was cold process soap making. I love making soap by hand, that gets its marbled colors directly from plants like nettle and olive leaf, or ingredients like activated charcoal or turmeric. We do not use any mica or synthetic colors of any kind, which is very tricky, but well worth the natural results. We spend a lot of time researching and finding the best sources for our ingredients, to help small villages in rural areas, which means a great deal to me. The boxes that we have our skin care in, are beautiful marbled swirls, and were inspired by the swirls in our facial and body soaps that we create.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Even though my mother was from Scotland, she quickly adopted Southern California as her home. We traveled back and forth, but this is where we felt like we loved to live. When Scottish relatives come to visit, they always want to go to the beach. We are five minutes from Dana Point Harbor, which is a great place to take them to lunch, and walk along the rocky cliffs near the Marine Institute. Above Dana Point Harbor, there is a cliff with a natural reserve, where we like to go for walks.When you come out onto the cliff point, you can often see whales and seals, and get a fresh breath of air. We have a boat, so we like to also take our friends and family out whale watching. Our relatives and friends from Scotland may have never seen a whale before, so they say it is a highlight of any trip. Laguna Beach is only a 20 minute drive up the coast, and we like to go up there, park the car, and walk around the quaint little town, with its shops and beautiful beaches. We live in the city of San Juan Capistrano, whose claim to fame is the mission downtown. I am not a huge mission person, but the town has adopted a look that reminds us of mission days, with red tile roofs, and older styling. There is a really great area called the Los Rios District, down by the train station, where you can stop for a meal, or a coffee, and walk around some cute boutiques and shops. There are also a couple of wine tasting places that serve lunch, and Trevor’s on the Tracks, the restaurant right at the train station. We like to sit outside there, and order lunch or dinner and a cocktail. In the evenings, they have live music, and it is really a great local hangout.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a spiritual shout out to my mother, Bunty Petersen, who passed 9 years ago. She was my support, my strength and showed me what unconditional love was. When I was a child with sensitive skin (back before people knew what that was!) she had to rinse my clothes several times in vinegar after washing, to remove perfumes and dyes. She did so much work my whole life, to make sure I was taken care of. When she got cancer, I brought her to my home and took care of her, in an effort to be there for her with that same love that she had modeled for me. My mother was a very stubborn, driven woman, and very independent. It took so much effort for her to hold it together during her chemo and radiation and surgeries. The last couple of months of her life, there was this beautiful transformation, where she just relaxed, and let others show their love to her. For the first time, she allowed people to massage her feet, or to pray with her, or do simple and loving things. She was honest and open with her feelings in a very vulnerable way. I named my business after the place of her birth, Ayr, Scotland (pronounced “air”). Every day, and every thing that I do, is in honor and in memory of that incredible lady, who in the last months of her life, eventually stopped trying to control everything, and simply allowed things to unfold. She then was able to feel beautiful and see beauty in others. A difficult way to learn this lesson, but she did it with grace.