By  on June 12, 2009

NEW YORK — When Kim Grustas and Grace Petrarca couldn’t find an effective natural skin care line for their respective preteen and teen daughters, they decided to solve the situation by creating their own.

“We found there was a gap between baby and mature skin in natural,” said Grustas, co-owner and co-founder along with Petrarca of Good for You Girls.

Good for You Girls is already sold in specialty shops, independent pharmacies and upscale supermarkets such as Von Mar and Central Markets. Grustas and Petrarca have their sights set on mass doors ranging from drug to discounters who are enlarging natural departments and luring more shoppers on the prowl for natural. And, they even hope to expand the Good for You Girls franchise into everything from lip gloss to organic yoga apparel.

Skin care, however, was a logical starting ground. Many adult products were too irritating or had heavy exfoliating ingredients, which could harm young skin. Some of the formulas also caused allergic reactions. Grustas cited studies showing there are up to 16 hormone-altering chemicals in common beauty items used by adolescent girls, which could be linked to skin sensitivity in preteen and young girls. Good for You Girls targets girls 8 to 15 years old.

To help make it easy to start a skin care regimen, the debut item was a kit with the key three steps young girls need to start a skin care regiment, explained Grustas, containing two-ounce bottles of a gel, toner and moisturizer and retailing for about $24.99. Individual four-ounce bottles will be the next to hit shelves, followed by an acne line. The packaging alerts consumers to the fact the formulas are free of parabens, dyes and petrochemicals. Packaging is also green and Good for You Girls is affiliated with natural organizations such as the Natural Products Association. The creators turned to natural ingredients such as arnica, green tea, lavender and olive oil to create formulas.

In focus groups, Grustas said young girls have different expectations about naturally positioned products than older women. “They don’t get the plain brown paper bag-ish package. They are drawn to more color and a fashion look,” she said. To that end, Good for You Girls sports a cheery pink, green and white design.

Despite the youth-friendly packaging, the women behind the line said it will often be the mother selecting the products because they believe in naturals. While consumers are cutting back and pinching beauty sales, Grustas believes there are those committed to a natural positioning who will dig deeper into their purses for the right items. “They go without some things, but not when it comes to skin,” she noted. She also thinks retailers could promote mother and daughter events to help introduce skin care to a new generation. “Our skin care can even serve as the setting for moms and daughters to have that ‘talk,’ since it is a good way to chat about hormones,” added Grustas.

Grustas and Petrarca, who is certified in Ayurvedic medicine, should know. Between them they have six daughters. “We have our own focus group,” said Grustas.

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