b-glowing is beyond lucky to partner with some of the industry’s most amazing, inspiring female founders—like Marisa Arredondo, creator of PHACE BIOACTIVE. Marisa is—without a doubt—a powerful force to be reckoned with. Not only did she create the first ever line of pH optimized skincare, but worked as an analyst on Wall Street for twelve years, AND got her degree from Harvard Business School. Despite Marisa’s impressive resume, she remains down-to-earth, fiercely real, and refreshingly honest. For Marisa, PHACE is a labor of love, and her #1 goal is to give women the confidence that comes with having healthy, radiant skin. We hope you enjoy Marisa’s thoughtful answers to our questions, and allow them to inspire your daily life.

Before starting PHACE BIOACTIVE, you worked as an analyst on Wall Street. It takes a lot of courage to make a career change and start your own company! We’d love to hear more about your personal journey. What inspired you to create PHACE BIOACTIVE, and what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur, especially when first starting out?

I always knew that I would start my own skin care line because I suffered from terrible cystic acne both as a teen and as a young adult. It has been my life-long dream to understand the root causes of my skin issues, and to develop treatments to address them.  Having worked as a Biotech Analyst on Wall Street for 12 years, I had the privilege of developing my own network of world-renowned chemists, researchers and dermatologists.  As a function of this experience, I learned about the importance of pH balance not only in maintaining healthy, radiant skin, but also in formulating treatments that are truly effective.  And hence, PHACE was born.

What is your #1 mentoring tip for female entrepreneurs, young girls in school or women graduating from high school?

Follow your passion.  Really figure out what it is you love to do, so then work no longer becomes work. What I do is so much fun!  Because I love it so much, I have boundless energy.  My passion and determination also help me to manifest all of my big ideas, and my authentic experiences afford me a deeper connection with my customers. PHACE BIOACTIVE has been a labor of love for me, I’m not just the inventor, I’m also the spokesmodel and the visionary for the brand.

What’s your superpower as a boss?

I have a very analytical mind which enables me to prioritize well. I’m good at taking complex topics and boiling them down to simple explanations. I also enjoy deciphering the root causes of problems so we can solve them more quickly and move forward.

If you could have a dinner party with 3 female artists, icons, politicians, authors, wellness aficionados, spiritual leaders, or any person alive today or not, who would they be and why?

1. Margaret Thatcher – She was incredibly courageous, respected and fearless as Britain’s first female Prime Minister – the “Iron Lady”.

2. Lucille Ball – She had gumption in spades. She believed in herself and never took no for an answer.

3. Benazir Bhutto – She became the first woman to head a Muslim state, Pakistan. She was so bold, strong and creative in her fight for women’s rights.

PHACE BIOACTIVE is the first ever line of pH Optimized Skin Care. Most people aren’t aware of what pH is, let alone how it affects their complexion! Can you explain how pH affects the skin, and what problems arise when pH is unbalanced?

pH is a scientific term that stands for ‘power of hydrogen’. It measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is, and runs a scale of 1-14, where 1 is most acidic, and 14 is most alkaline. 7 is neutral, water is neutral.

The outer layer of your skin is a thin protective barrier made of oil and sweat called the Acid Mantle. The Acid Mantle has a mildly acidic pH of 4-5.5 and protects the lower layers from oxidative damage, keeps your skin firm and elastic, seals the moisture in, and protects from bacterial invasion and inflammation.

The biggest mistake people make with skin care is washing with harsh soaps and detergents, foaming agents like sulfates – all of these are very alkaline and strip the Acid Mantle, rendering your skin defenseless.  After the age of 40, it takes 8 hours for the Acid Mantle to recalibrate.

Skin that is too alkaline cannot ward of MMP’s, the enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles and sagging.  Consequently, many dermatologic issues such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, seborrhea, rosacea, and acne can be attributed in large part to a high pH.  Our pH Optimized serums and creams are designed with a low pH for maximum effectiveness and absorption.

On your site, you say that “Beauty is more than skin deep.” Also, we notice that your Instagram account features lots of pictures of beautiful, nutritious-looking meals! How does diet come into play in maintaining pH balance?  What foods do you recommend, and which do you suggest avoiding?

For healthy skin and a healthy body, you need an acidic pH on the outside and an alkaline pH on the inside. An alkaline diet relies heavily on antioxidant rich foods like leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  It avoids acid-forming categories like sugar, dairy, meat, processed grains, yeast, alcohol, and caffeine.

A body with an alkaline pH functions like a well-oiled machine. Cells are communicating with one another, energy and focus increase, sleep is deeper, and immunity is higher.

Your brand is all about balance—pH balance, yes, but also balancing natural ingredients with high-tech actives, etc. On your Instagram, you reference a Taoist quote and talk a lot about leading an all-around “balanced” lifestyle. Can you tell us more about this, and how the idea of “balance” influences your brand and personal philosophy? 

pH balance extends well beyond just skin and diet. It’s a way of life. Your thoughts create your reality. So I like to practice a regular routine of meditation and journal writing. This helps to quiet my mind and keep me focused. I also try to exercise everyday. My favorite workout at the moment is Pilates.  Because things like lack of sleep, too much stress, eating acidic foods and drink alcohol and caffeine can throw one’s pH off balance, I consciously try to mitigate my exposure.

We’re absolutely in love with your brand’s packaging, and noticed that all your products come packaged in glass. Can you explain your intention with this?

Thank you. First off, I just feel that glass is class!  Our bottles are sourced from Italy and we use a patented airless technology inside to protect our formulas from exposure to oxygen and UV light—elements that weaken the actives.  This means our product stays as powerful the day you use it as the day it was made.

You have such a clean, radiant aesthetic which we love. How do you personally define beauty, and what’s your “beauty philosophy?” 

Beauty is simple and natural for me. This aesthetic translates not only into my brand’s formulas and image, but also into the way that I live – how I dress, how my house is decorated, how I eat, even how I think.  Less is more for me.  Keep it simple.

What does your personal routine look like, and what are some life rituals you do daily to stay happy, healthy and balanced?

I’m an early riser and every morning I meditate first thing.  This is fundamental to my well-being as it quiets my mind, keeps me centered, and gets me focused on what needs to be accomplished that day.  My silent ritual coupled with a specific breathing technique is the most important aspect of my day.  I follow with a glass of lemon water, my vitamins, and a healthy breakfast.  Whenever I am commuting, I always look at various quotes on my i-phone, I like to keep my mind filled with positive, inspirational thoughts all day, and I practice gratitude daily.  I find that positive vibrations are contagious, and I tend to be a more successful and happier person when I’m functioning from a place of love every day.

Both your personal blog and Instagram are so beautiful and uplifting! What blogs or Instagram accounts inspire you the most?

Thank you.  Awake_spiritual, before 5am, and we_are_spiritual are three of my favorites!

Your Instagram is filled with beautiful, powerful quote cards. What’s one of your favorites? What quote do you return to again and again for inspiration?

“The universe does this thing…where it aligns you with people, things, and situations that match your vibration. The higher you’re vibrating, the more you will see things that are beneficial to your well-being, manifest in your reality.”

Who’s on your playlist right now?

I Follow Rivers (Anna Summer), Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding), A Sky Full of Stars (Coldplay).

What’s next for the future of PHACE?

Continuing to expand our distribution through retail, the internet and television. We’re also introducing some very exciting new products that are deeply hydrating…stay tuned!

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