In the bustling world of academia and legal practice, it’s not often that you encounter a passionate advocate for natural skincare. Leslie Culver, a teacher of law at the University of Utah, is breaking the mold. She’s embarked on a remarkable journey into the world of natural skincare, driven by a love for her daughters and a vision of creating products that align with her principles.
Leslie’s story is one of empowerment, sustainability and beauty with purpose, as she brings the School of Natural Skincare into her life’s narrative.
A Natural-Minded Journey
Leslie’s journey into the world of natural skincare began with her natural-minded approach to life; “I’ve generally always been very natural-minded focused.”
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Leslie has also lived in California, Missouri and Florida, and her passion for all things natural has been a constant thread throughout her life. Her mindful approach to choosing products with recognizable ingredients and a preference for plant-based solutions set the stage for her venture into natural skincare.
The Catalyst: A Seven-Year-Old Dancer
The turning point in Leslie’s journey arrived with her youngest daughter, Nia, a seven-year-old competitive dancer. As Nia’s dance competitions loomed, Leslie was faced with the prospect of using conventional makeup products on her young daughter. Concerned about the expense, as well as the potential harm to Nia’s delicate skin, Leslie decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I’m just a DIYer by heart. If I can figure out how to make it, that is my jam. I love it. I was like, ‘I’m just going to figure out how to make this’.”
Armed with her DIY spirit, Leslie began experimenting with creating makeup products for her daughter.
Leslie’s initial foray into DIY skincare and makeup was not without its challenges. She grappled with understanding the science behind formulation, ingredient choices, and product efficacy. The trial-and-error process was both a learning experience and a testament to her determination.
Crafting homemade solutions that were fun but not fully complete, Leslie knew her creation needed professionalism; “It’s crumbling. It’s all over the place. So then when the competition started coming around, I was like, ‘Let me figure out how to really do this!’”
The School of Natural Skincare: A Guiding Light
Leslie’s journey led her to the School of Natural Skincare, dedicated to teaching the art and science of creating natural and organic skincare and haircare products. As she researched into the school’s resources, blogs and courses, Leslie knew the School was the way forward.
The School of Natural Skincare provided her with the knowledge and guidance she needed to elevate her DIY skills to a professional and safe level.
“I remember talking to my husband; ‘I think I really want to do this so that I can get off of the recipes online and actually know how to create some of these products really tailored towards my daughter.’ So, that’s how I got started.”
The Pursuit of Natural Skincare Knowledge
Leslie’s initial goal was to explore natural makeup for her daughter, but her journey took an unexpected turn. She began by enrolling in the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation offered by the School, initially focusing on skincare rather than makeup.
“I’m looking at stuff that my friends are using. And, DIY extraordinaire, I’m like, ‘Let me see if I can do that. Let me see if I can do that!’”
Studying the Diploma, Leslie realized she could create similar skincare products herself. The course allowed her to understand the science and theory behind formulating effective and safe skincare products. It was a journey of discovery as she learned the differences between ingredients, deciphered ingredient labels, and understood the role of various components in skincare.
“I love research. I love writing. I love learning. Walking through all the intro stuff, I couldn’t get through it fast enough. It’s so interesting. And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s why that DIY thing does not work!’”
The methodological approach to setting out step-by-step modules, learning the theory first and developing knowledge towards the formulating, was the perfect approach for Leslie. Appreciating the school’s approach of providing a strong foundation in theory and principles before embarking on hands-on formulation, she says;
“By the time I got to even the raw ingredients in module five and then finally to being able to actually start formulating something in module eight, I felt very prepared.”
This approach equipped her with a profound understanding of the science behind skincare and cosmetics, enabling her to make informed choices and create products that were safe and effective.
Leslie’s newfound knowledge of ingredients also transformed her perspective on what was natural and what wasn’t. She shifted from rejecting products with unfamiliar ingredients to recognizing the value of certain natural components, even when they bore unfamiliar names.
“I used to look at the back of ingredients and if I couldn’t recognize every word on there, then it was trash. I don’t want to see the word alcohol at all. But I didn’t understand what they were because there are things like cetyl alcohol. It just doesn’t have a plant-based name, it’s health-based. It’s an alcohol and a sugar, and it’s a fatty alcohol that’s coming from an oil. It’s totally natural.”
This shift in understanding allowed her to appreciate the complexity and diversity of natural ingredients and empowered Leslie to share her knowledge to other parents looking at the confusing names on her products’ ingredient lists.
Leslie confirms, “Having the confidence that I could now explain that to somebody ‘Hold on, let me tell you what this is and why it’s necessary,’ was a very highlighting part of the course for me.”
Advice for Budding Formulators
For those aspiring to become skincare formulators, Leslie emphasizes the importance of gaining a solid theoretical foundation and to not be afraid of jumping in!
“I think something that the school talks about from the very beginning is having that vision in mind and just holding onto that.”
Even so, Leslie sometimes feels overwhelmed by the prospect of formulating a new product, and feels she could never make a product like the established brands.
“I kind of come back to center again and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing this for my daughter. I think it’s having that clear vision. When I’m kind of focused, then it doesn’t feel as scary.’”
The Birth of “Nia: Natural Beauty with Purpose”
As Leslie’s knowledge and skills grew, so did her vision. She founded her brand, “Nia: Natural Beauty with Purpose“, inspired by her daughter’s name, which means “purpose” in Swahili. Her goal was to create products with clear intentions — products that were not just cosmetic but served a greater purpose; “I’m definitely purposeful, and I really am about sustainable and repurposing.”
For her daughter, she formulated makeup that helped manage oil and minimize shine under stage lights, whereas her products for more mature skin incorporated ingredients aimed at fine line reduction. Leslie’s makeup products were not about concealing but enhancing natural beauty while addressing specific skincare concerns.
“So, Nia might have to have something that is a very easy skincare makeup remover, a light hydrating moisturizer, while my friend’s going to need something a bit more intense that maybe has some particular active ingredients that are helping more active cell regeneration, something a bit more intense.”
Leslie’s formulations also focus on the healing and protective properties of natural ingredients.
She has successfully transitioned from a DIY enthusiast to a skincare entrepreneur, offering products that resonate with those seeking clean, purpose-driven skincare. Inspired by the many dancers practicing routines barefoot, Leslie formulated a natural ingredient antimicrobial “barre foot spray”.
Leslie’s plans for the future
Looking ahead, Leslie envisions expanding her brand, reaching a broader audience, and making an impact in the natural skincare industry. She’s passionate about expanding her makeup range and being ‘intentional’.
sharing her knowledge with others, both in skincare formulation and the legal aspects of the beauty industry. With a clear sense of purpose, Leslie’s journey continues to inspire others to embrace natural skincare and beauty with a meaningful cause.
“A lot of times, when you buy eyeshadow palettes, it’s got five, six, however many colors, and you have your three favorites. So, I’m even thinking through things like that, thinking through how can I allow people to get just what they need and not have the waste there?”
As Leslie continues to expand her brand and inspire others, her story reminds us that beauty and purpose can coexist, and the pursuit of knowledge can lead to transformative change. From a law professor to a skincare entrepreneur, Leslie Culver’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, purpose, and education in the world of natural skincare.
We’re inspired by Leslie. Now, what about you? What’s your next step?
What we love about Leslie is her desire to do things for herself. We love how she gives everything a go, tries to be creative and thinks for herself. She is an inspiration to us all. With a full time job and kids to think about, a home to run and family to support, Leslie shows us that it is possible to find the time to do something you love.
What’s better about Leslie’s story is how much formulating her own natural skincare products has benefited her life and her family’s too. She has gone that one step further than creating her own products. She has now formulated her own range of products that she is now selling with plans to expand in the future.
It all started with a critical thought about whether she really wanted to be using products bought in shops on her daughter. That led to some research, a bit of trial and error, some failed products as well as some good ones, before enrolling with the School of Natural Skincare.
Now her passion and hobby has led to something much greater and more ambitious than she had ever imagined.
If Leslie’s story is as inspiring for you as it is for us and if you’d like to follow in her footsteps and learn to formulate your own natural skincare products like the professionals – just for a fraction the price! – then we’d love to welcome you to the enrollment of our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation. You can find out more about the course here which is where you can also download a copy of the prospectus and take a free trial.
If it is haircare that most interests you, then we have a Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation. Or perhaps natural makeup and color cosmetics? Then our Diploma in Formulating Natural Makeup and Advanced Color Cosmetics might be for you. And of course, if soap is something you’d love to dive into then take a look at our Diploma in Soap Making. And for other people who are more interested in sustainability in cosmetics, then our Diploma in Zero Waste Skincare and Haircare Formulation is a great place to learn.
If you have any questions about our school and our courses, programs and membership club, please do get in touch by email using firstname.lastname@example.org.
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