Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022
Tina Craig: From Bag Snob to Beauty Entrepreneur
Written by: Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
If there are three things Tina Craig really knows it’s Birkins, business, and beauty. The entrepreneur was one of the first in the fashion blogging game when she launched Bag Snob with fellow handbag obsessive Kelly Cook in 2005. The site quickly grew to become a go-to resource for all things handbags, jewelry, accessories, and beauty. It was while she was immersed in this new influencer world, receiving the latest and greatest products from skincare and beauty brands for editorial consideration, that Craig realized there was a white space and set out to fill that void with her own brand, U Beauty. We caught up with Craig to hear more about her beauty routine, what makes her Resurfacing Compound better than all the rest, and what handbag she’d bring with her to a desert island...
You’ve done a lot in the beauty and fashion industry since you started your blog, Bag Snob, in 2005. What made you want to start your latest venture, U Beauty?
Since embarking on this adventure now fifteen years ago, I’ve been privy to so much evolution, from within the blogging world to the onset of Instagram to the skincare industry. As an influencer myself, I’ve also been privy to the latest and greatest in skincare. One of the perks of the job is receiving the best that skincare brands have to offer — and one of the downsides is suffering from major cosmetic confusion and fear of missing out on what’s new and groundbreaking, not to mention concern about the waste that comes with copious amounts of products and packaging. I grew tired of using 13-15 products daily, twice a day. Eventually, it became clear a white space was glaring at me. What was missing: One great science-based, results-oriented product that successfully replaces at least half of the products I used.
Why did you decide to launch with just one product, the Resurfacing Compound? What sets it apart from other products?
I was really interested in finding a great resurfacing product, but was having a hard time. Laser resurfacing wasn’t an appealing option for me, since the results are unpredictable for Asian skin and it can cause permanent changes in pigmentation. Usually, I require between six and eight products at different times throughout the day (like glycolic acid at night alternated retinol plus with AHA, along with vitamin C, enzymes and hyaluronic acid in multiple forms). It was confusing, exhausting and honestly, it didn’t even work well. And if I forgot to thoroughly rinse my face in the morning and the vitamin C came into contact with last night’s retinol, my face would explode in a fit of irritation.
I wanted to simplify my routine, and I know half the population felt the same way. Everyone had grown tired of cosmetic confusion. One night, I caught up with Katie Borghese, the wife of a longtime friend, who’s now my partner, and she told me about a technology invented by a medical-grade lab in Italy — and that maybe we could use it to help me make my perfect product. After nine formulations tested for a year on humans (no animals!), also known as my friends, supermodels, designers, influencers and editors, we have developed what I call my skin’s secret sauce. Editors have nicknamed it “Tina Craig skin in a bottle.”
Here’s the secret: Our patented technology, featuring SIREN capsules, lures damage-causing free radicals to it like a magnet. By attracting only the compromised cells to our capsule, harm to healthy cells is avoided. Essentially, the U Beauty’s SIREN technology releases age-reversing actives strictly on free radicals (generated after exposure to pollution, secondhand smoke and sunshine), which materialize as vulnerable, damaged areas, instead of all over your skin’s surface. That’s because healthy cells don’t need harsh actives; by avoiding the delivery of ingredients like stable retinol and vitamin C, they get to maintain their integrity, avoiding dryness and irritation. The result: You get nothing but benefit. Part of our mission is to end the free-radical cascade, a chain reaction that rapidly wreaks havoc on living tissue, and I’m happy to say we’ve been hugely successful.
How has your own personal relationship with beauty influenced the brand?
I have never looked to skincare to change how I look. But great skincare can have a profound impact on how we feel about ourselves. It comes down to being comfortable with yourself, finding your autonomy and feeling ready to face the world every single day. Beauty should be a self-confidence booster, not a mask (no pun intended!).
What’s the #1 beauty tip you tell people asking how they can improve their skin?
Stop using hot water on your delicate skin! Cold or lukewarm water only, as hot water is not your friend. If possible, use filtered water. Our skin is an organ that absorbs everything, the water we use to wash it included. So you know the calcified circles of deposit around the faucet? They end up right on your face! An under-the-sink filter is fairly inexpensive and it has the potential to change your skin.
What does your beauty routine look like today?
AM I start with a swipe of Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water on T-zone. I don’t wash my face when I wake up because my face is very clean when I go to bed. I use the Spa Water because it’s gentle and rinse-free, and I try to avoid tap water on my face whenever possible. Then I apply the U Beauty Resurfacing Compound to my T-zone. (If I’m traveling, my skin looks tired, or I’m in hot, humid weather, it goes all over my face.) Next, Augustinus Bader Rich Cream on my cheeks and neck only, followed by Clé de Peau Beauté Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme.
The sunscreen I use depends on the activity. For a regular day, Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops with SPF 50 blend well with my daily treatment. If I’m at the beach, it’s Clé de Peau UV Protective Cream SPF 50+, which is a bit heavier, and if I’m skiing, I opt for Supergoop! Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion because it’s the only zinc sunscreen that glides on invisibly.
Finally, when I reach for a tool, I go for the SiO Cryodrop. It's an innovative self-cooling roller made of medical-grade steel that de-puffs and feels cold without refrigeration!
PM I do my serious cleansing at night, starting with Tula Oil Makeup-Removing Cleansing Oil, a makeup remover and cleanser in one, followed by iS Clinical Gel cleanser, which has subtle exfoliators to remove dead cells. While my skin is damp, I give it a quick roll with the ReFa CAXA roller to improve circulation and promote lymphatic drainage.
As for other tools, I alternate these two every other day or so: the Dermaflash Ultrasonic blade removes blackheads and gently clears pores for a supreme clean and the TriPollar RF Stop X tool is an insane at-home RF gadget that tightens skin deep in the dermis layer.
Finally, I treat my skin the way I do in the morning: I’ve cut down from 13 products to just three! The U Beauty Resurfacing Compound is my magic elixir, Augustinus Bader Rich Cream moisturizers and Clé de Peau Beauté Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme takes care of the delicate eye area.
How do you find balance between your work ventures and family life?
I don’t really know how to balance my family and work life because I don’t have a 9-5 office job — and that’s a good thing. It means I can prioritize my son’s needs first and work around his schedule, as he’s number-one in my life. I don’t work over school holidays so I can take him on trips. I leave by office by 3:30pm daily for school pick-up because it’s really important to me to spend time with him in the car. Those rides are when we have the best talks! Then when we get home, I can work there. It’s not a balance as much as it is a blend.
What makes you feel your best?
When I’ve had eight hours of sleep, followed by eight glasses of water. My skin glows from within! It’s so cliché, I know, but the combination of solid sleep and lots of water truly is the magic formula.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop being so hard on yourself! You’re never going to be as young as you are today. So enjoy every minute! Accept the good with the bad, the easy with the difficult, and recognize you can’t have one without the other. Also, know (and remember) your worth. Don’t devote time to toxic people who make you feel less than you are. It’s okay if some people don’t like you. Love yourself.
The three beauty products (or gadgets) you’d bring with you on a desert island:
- U Beauty Resurfacing Compound
- The Cryodrop self-cooling magnetic roller from SiO (I imagine it’s going to be hot on the island, so I’ll need it to de-puff and lift!)
And the one handbag you’d carry them all in?
My black Hermès crocodile Kelly.
Your wellness & beauty philosophy:
Less is more. Really, less is best. Simplify your life, amplify your skin.