Written by Lara Kajajian

“ Most people don’t understand how precious their skin is. We take our skin for granted every day_ wearing it all day and all night without ever really thinking about it."

People come into my apothecary shop, Larissa Love in Santa Monica all the time and
ask me what inspired me to create my body care products. My answer? I’ve learned through my life experience that your skin is often the first thing that people notice. I live by a philosophy that most creations that are brought forth are from life experiences. My life experience that led me to formulate my products was a painful one that eventually became a personal obsession in pursuit of perfect skin.

When I was 12 years old, my family was living in Beirut. At the time, my parents and baby sister were in United States arranging our relocation to Los Angeles, while my younger sister and I stayed behind to complete our school semester before summer break. in the early 1980’s, Beirut was a war zone, so sometimes we couldn’t safely leave our home for days on end. One evening, my legs were severely scalded when a pot of boiling water was accidentally spilled on me. Because of the dangerous situation outside, we were delayed and unable to get to the ER. By the time I got medical help, my legs were seriously infected and in really bad shape.

After the nurse finished bandaging my legs, I was still in excruciating pain but my grandparents opted to take me home. They wanted to call my parents in L.A. before approving the least invasive procedure which involved hiring a nurse to take care of me 24 hours a day. It was pretty gruesome routine performed several times day_ first she would abrade my wounds and scrape all the infections out, then clean and medicate my legs. Finally she would wrap them with gauze_ which was incredibly painful when she would have to pull at the gauze that was stuck to the burn sites. This process was repeated for months until my skin redeveloped with discolorations.

Every early morning I would wake up before the sun came up to be driven by our driver to the beach club where I was obliged to get into the sea for about an hour a day in order to effect a cure. “The salty sea water,” the doctor explained, “will naturally exfoliate my damaged skin.” I was also strongly warned to keep my legs away from any sun exposure for many years. I faithfully followed the skin care instructions provided until eventually_ except for some mild, occasional eruptions of eczema and rash_ my legs looked normal again as if the scalding accident had never happened.

A few years later after moving to Los Angeles, I started looking for products that were organic and natural to help with these types of special skin problems, but frustrated in failure. There just wasn’t anything available that satisfied my high standard demands for superior natural skin product line. In 1995 my family opened a beauty supply store on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, California. People constantly came by searching for products that would help certain skin conditions. This made me feel that I was not alone with my history of skin problems on my legs that I sometimes still suffered from. I was inspired to renew my quest for natural skin products and I became determined to contact all of the vendors we now had access through the family business. I was even able to research overseas brands from Europe. Unfortunately despite my best efforts, I still couldn’t find a complete and effective product line that was available for the mainstream market.

When I finally decided to create my own body care collection,it took me years to find the right ingredients to formulate products that suited everyone_including people with skin conditions. My ultimate goal was to create and introduce my American- made formulas that were vegan, organic, paraben-free, sulfate-free, with no animal testing to the general market. This proved to be very difficult at the time because “organic” was not part of the world lexicon. Each line of product, from lotions to bath gels, to specialty profusions and oils, has been focused solely to help heal all skin types.

With the launch of Larissa Love product line to the market in2005, I felt a sense of pride that I had completed a lifelong dream to create something that makes people feel really good. When you have a healthy and happy skin, you’ll often find that people subconsciously want to touch and feel you. In our current health conscious society , more and more people are becoming aware that the body you are given as human being is a special entity and that one must respect it.

I truly believe that how you treat yourself shows how much respect you have for yourself and for others. I learned through my own life experience that your skin is often the first thing people notice about you. With my natural Larissa Love bath and body care line, you can make the first impression count!

Edited by: L.D.SCOTT