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Drugstore Scaries, Words from Care/of’s Founder

I sat down with Craig Elbert, one of the founders of Care/of. If you don’t know them already, they’re the vitamin supplier you need in your life, or in your mailbox, I should say. Each month they send you personalized vitamin packs that you can take with you on the go. When I first met Craig a year ago, his baby was just arriving and Care/of had recently launched. Now they boast thousands of subscribers and a growing catalogue of vitamins.

There are a number of ways to work on your glow, and an inside-out approach is a good one to have in addition to what you put on your body. Vitamins are important for giving your body what it needs to repair and thrive.Carotenoids (organic pigments) make a difference in the outward quality of your skin. Omega 3’s are the healthy fats that improve all skin types. They temper acne eruptions and reduce inflammation. Your lifestyle can tell you a lot of about what vitamin deficiencies you may have and what supplements might help.

Why did you start Care/of?

I launched Care/of because of the personal experience I had while purchasing supplements -- I was overwhelmed. I’m not someone who has been a lifelong wellness person so when I tried to approach the category, I was overwhelmed by options in the store.My wife was looking for prenatals and she knew which ones she was taking. When I went to pick them up for her I couldn’t tell the difference between the bottles on the shelf, and asking the store clerk was when I realized how hard it was. Honestly, guidance is really lacking. When you go into the store to ask for advice, a teenage store clerk is reading right off the bottles. Knowing this decision was for the health of my unborn child, I got an icky feeling.Before Care/of I was at Bonobos, focusing on user experience. In terms of my next career move, I wanted to build something delightful, honest, and transparent. Ultimately I wanted to build a brand to help improve people’s lives.

What role do you think supplements play a role in healthy skin? How do you think this category has impacted wellness?

Increasingly people are realizing the impact of diet and the microbiome, and what we put into our body and what that means for our skin -– it’s the inner beauty movement. There’s definitely a mix of hard science and anecdotal evidence behind all of this. We’ve seen so many of our customers coming to us thinking about healthy skin. It’s the top-requested goal for vitamins and supplements from our customers.Awareness continues to rise. The science is catching up because of the press this movement is getting, and the experience people are feeling. There are known studies for supplements and probiotics that can impact conditions from dry skin to eczema, to general quality and shine (read: glow) of your skin.

Do you have suggestions for people looking to augment their skincare routine using supplements? How do we know what vitamins to choose?

Our bestselling product is astaxanthin. Studies show it helps with building naturally healthy skin. We also have probiotics, fish oil, and evening primrose oil as another herbal. Some can be oral and some topical. We don’t have any topicals but we think that would be interesting down the line.

How do you choose which Vitamins to add to your catalogue?

We look for strong scientific indicators. For instance, we chose to provide Astaxanthin because it was one that we found the most science behind. We like natural products with good origin stories. It comes from sea algae and also someone on our team was a huge personal fan of the product. In fact, they took it as an additional sunscreen.

What vitamins are part of your skincare/daily routine?

I take fish oil (cause I don’t eat much fish), Vitamin D because I live in NY and had a deficiency, rhodiola for fatigue and prolonged periods of stress (launching a company and raising a 2 year old), and sometimes magnesium just because I probably drink too much caffeine and that makes it less bioavailable.

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