Hard Science, Soft Center


We shot this SuperSkin Care campaign in the spring in Central Park with my sister (doing the family’s Superskin roots proud — Superskin Toner was our mom’s very first formulation) and some of her closest friends from college, including the very talented photographer Talisman Brolin. I love looking at these and think many of them are our most iconic images. Exuberance, ambition, love, brilliance, friendship, family, bubbly (noun and adjective) and a good dose of laughter (possibly from the bubbly).

In family lore, Superskin Toner is also known as “that which made dad fall in love with mom” (she was his dermatologist and cleared his adult acne).

His grandmother Minnie, our great grandmother, is the Minnie of our Grandma Minnie’s Mom & Baby line…created after a panicked phone call when I was pregnant with my first. “Mom,” I yelped above the Baby Einstein soundtrack in the pristine, pastel and otherwise quiet calm of some baby kingdom or another, “there’s nothing without fragrance…NOTHING!” Not my calmest mommmy-to-be moment but it did lead to a product category of which I’m particularly proud. Grandma Minnie is the home of The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm and many beloved products that have eased other parents’ panic and come to care for entire families. A personal tickle that never gets old is hearing kids yelling “Boo-Boo Balm!” at the mere whiff of a boo-boo, theirs or a playmate’s…or a parent’s! I love that it works, it doesn’t hurt (I still associate bright pink and iodine brown with pain due to the memorable disinfection concoctions of my own childhood), and that kids feel empowered to grab it and fix their own boo-boos, thank you very much!

I work at VMV with my mother (still our head of formulations and clinical research), sister CC (a walking allergy and litmus test for many of our formulations) and husband JP (whose rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis inspired our Red Better line). Our children are following in our footsteps as eager, rather too opinionated,) guinea pigs for new formulations.

We’ve always photographed friends, family and real VMV fans. First, we love them, we think they’re beautiful people, we love what we do, and inasmuch as VMV is my mother’s formidable science, it is also family — the fit was obvious…and this might be why our photo shoots are more playdates than anything else. Second, we’ve noticed that real fans of the brand exude a health and happiness that’s impossible to manufacture. Why not show off the best of our science with the people who actually use, and love, our best science?

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Friends and family populate VMV Hypoallergenics photos so much that all of our campaigns, brochures, and posters could double as albums. Just the other day we shot one couple (she used to work at VMV; he’s the son of one of my mom’s med school buddies…if this world got any smaller we’d look up and see Horton), pregnant with their first child. They said the whole story of their relationship was told in VMV photos: dating, wedding, belly, and — we’re already campaigning — baby!

Hard science, soft, sweet, chewy center. #ilovewhatidew #gratitude #happiness 🙂






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