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Chef Skills Help Cook Up a Nourishing Skin-Care Launch

When she was appalled at ingredients in products she was using, chef Gina Maisano cooked up her own skin-care collection.

As a chef, Gina Maisano was known for blending ingredients in the kitchen. Those skills benefited her when she needed to formulate skin care for her special needs during cancer treatment.

While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation after a second diagnosis of cancer, Maisano started taking a closer look at the composition of the skin care she used to help alleviate some of the side effects of treatment such as her peeling feet and tender eyes. “I was horrified that some of the ingredients cause cancer or change hormone levels,” she said. “Everyone is always asking me how they can avoid cancer. I wanted to make something safe for all.”

Maisano, who grew up around the beauty business as the daughter of a former Revlon executive, decided to create her own line. The result is Bétèrre Skin + Care which launches on her company web site,, on June 15. It is the latest in a movement of “kitchen created” skin care gaining traction with consumers looking for more “good for you” ingredients.

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She looked to inspiration from the kitchen. “I never would make something I wouldn’t eat myself. I wanted the best ingredients. I am doing that with ingredients that nourish the skin,” she said.

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To ensure formulas were nontoxic, she tapped the expertise of a botanical chemist and teamed up with two physicians to create Bétèrre Skin + Care.

The 12 items, which range in price from $36 for a facial cleanser to $54 for an elixir, feature nature-based ingredients such sunflower, Argan, Sea Buckthorn, cucumber and milk. Maisano said the lineup includes items for men, women and children. “There are ways you can synergize natural ingredients to make them more effective,” she said, noting there is no silicone in the formulas. During her research, she built a community of cancer patients looking for the same qualities in skin care. “That grew into moms who always wanted nature-based and effective products. This line is growing from word of mouth,” Maisano said.

As she seeks to build out her offer, she admitted she has a secret weapon. “When I need advice I can call my dad [John F. Maisano, former executive vice president at Revlon]. He always has ideas.”