The C2 California Clean lineup.

When she was young, Clarissa Shetler developed a skin conditioner called ichthyosis, which made her skin scaly. “I was like a snake lady and the only thing the dermatologist could suggest was Crisco Oil,” she recalled.

Fast-forward and Shetler, who became a pharmacist, was once again on the hunt for skin care. Like many contemporary consumers, she sought clean ingredients. “Skin is our biggest organ and we have to be careful what we put on it,” Shelter explained. “I was surprised at the ingredients in skin care, many hadn’t changed since the Fifties. I was concerned what they are doing to our bodies. It opened a Pandora’s box.”

She partnered with NASA scientist Christine Falsetti who also had reason to cast a wary eye on skin care formulas. After Falsetti lost a child to cancer, she started investigating what’s in personal-care products and realized many ingredients were carcinogenic. Falsetti discovered the average woman exposes her skin to around 168 chemicals every day when using synthetic skin care and makeup as part of a daily routine.

With that as a backdrop, Shetler and Falsetti devoted two years of research to develop C2 California Clean, a plant-based skin-care line. The four stockkeeping unit collection ranges in price from $88 to $115. Sold exclusively online, the duo hope to expand to brick-and-mortar as well.

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The collection launched earlier this year and is gaining traction by word of mouth and building with repeat purchases, she said.

“We developed a clean line that is effective, supported by scientific research and doesn’t compromise your health,” Shetler said. Plans are in the works for antipollution products to add to the portfolio. C2 California Clean meets the Environmental Working Group’s certification requirements, the go-to resource for many consumers who want to verify ingredient safety.

Beyond the current lineup of an Advanced Hyaluronic Hydrating Primer, an Apple Stem Cell Regenerating Serum, an Ultra Replenishing Oil Squalane + Vitamin E and a Citrus Stem Cell Intense Moisture Lock Crème, the company will add a feminine lubrication item. “We find moisturization is key since that is skin, too,” Shetler added.

C2 California Clean’s web site stresses education with a tool to help consumers understand their skin types as well as a section of “leave” ingredients the company feels people should avoid.