tracy blatter founder of raisin face

About a year ago, I read a reader review of Skin Fix Concentrate by Raisin Face on the Truth in Aging website. This anti-aging moisturizer had glowing reviews, interesting ingredients, high concentrations of actives and an awesome price — just $20! I was hooked, and placed an order that day. Over a year later, I am still using this wonderful moisturizer.

I recently placed another order for Skin Fix Concentrate and started a casual email correspondence with the owner, Tracy Blatter. As I learned more about Tracy and her business, I thought it would be fun to share with Truth in Aging her journey into developing skin care products. Here’s her story.

How did you get started in the skincare business?

Developing skincare products was never something I thought I would be doing — my background started in broadcast communications. I was in radio and TV for about ten years and did a lot of news, commercial and promotional copywriting. After a while, the market became very unstable so I made a career change to laboratory science. For the past fifteen years I've worked at a medical laboratory that does standard blood and chemistry testing.

I became interested in the science of skincare about the time I hit forty. I learned that most anti-aging products were, in fact, mostly water and thus not very effective. Many of the big skincare companies boast that their products contain these “amazing ingredients.” However, the actual percentage of those “amazing ingredients” added to each jar is oftentimes too small to be significant.

Most of the money we pay towards these products actually goes toward the cost of advertising and packaging. We need to understand that the most expensive product is not necessarily the best. Read the label and you’ll notice that the first ingredient listed is almost always water, and the percentage of ingredients used is very rarely listed.

With that in mind, I decided to go the “do it yourself” route. I took a few online classes and began to study peptides, ceramides and oils, anti-oxidants and vitamins. I also became more knowledgeable of molecule size and delivery systems. With that knowledge I began mixing up concoctions in my kitchen.

Once I developed a product I liked, I started making it for myself and several people made the comment that my skin looked good. I gave several jars as gifts to friends and family, and almost every one said, “You need to sell this stuff!” A few months later, I took out a small business loan and “Raisin Face” was born in 2011.

Why did you choose the ingredients in your product?

I played around with a multitude of combinations with the goal of creating one product that does it all — plumps wrinkles, fades sun-related spots, ensures all day hydration, and eliminates sagging skin. Finally, after four years, I came up with a formula I was happy with that addressed most of my concerns. That formula is now known as Skin Fix Concentrate.

Skin Fix Concentrate contains emu oil (almost 20%), organic aloe vera juice (30%), shea butter, green tea extract, and organic coconut, jojoba and castor oils. The reason I chose emu oil is because it's such a good “carrier oil.” It not only absorbs deep into the tissues of aging skin, but as it does, it carries the other ingredients and nutrients with it.

Matrixyl 3000 is added at a 10% concentration. Matrixyl 3000 is a powerful peptide combination that effectively fights wrinkle length and depth. It's a good alternative to Retinol, but without the irritation.

I also add ceramide. Most manufacturers who include this important lipid in skincare use either ceramide 3 or ceramide 6, but I think the ceramide 2-based Dermaxyl does  the best job of helping the skin retain moisture. The manufacturer (Sederma) recommends adding 2% Dermaxyl, but I decided to add 10%, which keeps your skin plumped and hydrated all day long.

As you can see, Skin Fix Concentrate contains high concentrations of actives. So high, in fact, that I add just 15% water. A little of this cream goes a long way. If your skin is really dry, you might want to try Skin Fix Xtreme, which is the same basic formula but with a higher percentage of beneficial oils.

Is there anything Skin Fix Concentrate doesn’t do?

Earlier, I mentioned that my product addresses most of my concerns. The one area it can't “fix” is sagging skin. And, truth be told, at this point in time there is no ingredient that will effectively eliminate sagging skin. There just isn't. Several large R & D departments are getting close, and the answer may lie in stem cell technology, but nobody is there yet.

That’s something to keep in mind next time you see a product advertised that suggests otherwise.  I'll continue to look for new actives and try them as they’re developed, but sadly, as of early 2014, there is no skincare ingredient that will noticeably eliminate or reverse sagging skin.

The cost for a jar of Skin Fix Concentrate is only $20. How do you keep the price so reasonable?

Starting out, I did everything possible to keep costs down. I chose not to do any advertising, which can be a huge expense, relying instead on word of mouth. I don’t have any employees — I handle everything from formulating and mixing the product to building the website and managing the Facebook page to packaging and mailing the product. And lastly, I chose to keep the price reasonable so that it would be affordable to a wide audience while still making a reasonable profit.

Where did you come up with the brand name “Raisin Face”?

“Raisin Face” is a tribute to my Grandmother. I was raised in a small Nebraska farming community and my sister and I grew up working in the fields. Our Grandma used to say, “Girls... protect your skin... you don't want to end up with a Raisin Face!”

Most people kind of chuckle at the name. They also realize the name implies you can prevent a Raisin Face with regular use. That said, there was one woman who was offended by the name... she said she wouldn’t want a jar labeled “Raisin Face” anywhere in the house where her husband would see it.

The way I look at it is we’re all getting older and there will probably a few wrinkles we’ll never get rid of. If that’s the case, isn’t it better if they’re the result of some laugh lines as opposed to a face lined from worry? I think we should learn to have a sense of humor about aging.

What has the response been to your products?

Initially, it was pretty slow going. During the first year, there were lots of craft fairs and sample giveaways. Customers also bought a lot of the $5 trial jars, which was great because almost every one of them came back to order the larger size online. To this day, almost everyone who tries a jar comes back for more. The return rate is over 90%. It’s such an honor to know people like my products.

Slowly, I started to catch on by word of mouth. In addition, I was lucky enough to get some good reviews in online blogs and forums. Each time there's a review, there's a boom in business. I'm extremely grateful for these nice comments as I'm adding new customers each week.

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I offer the two versions of the Skin Fix Concentrate: Regular and Xtreme. Future plans are for an all-natural, shea butter based lip balm that I'm currently working on. There have also been several requests for a body lotion and I’ve toyed around with that for some time, but thus far, haven’t come up with anything I would want to sell for a good price.

Finally, I’d like to create a few items for men. Straight-razor shaving has been making a comeback and I’ve been working on a men’s shaving oil. I’d probably call it “Razor Face” and offer it in Lavender, Citrus and non-scented versions.

Any skincare tips you’d like to pass along?

You’ve heard them before, but they are so important. Protect your skin from the sun. Also, if you smoke, do your best to stop. We've all heard and often seen how it does terrible things your organs... and skin is your largest organ. And most importantly, start taking care of your skin early in life... which is something I regret not doing. You may not see the effects now, but neglect in your twenties definitely shows up in your forties and beyond.