ESTAS Beauty, founded by Cristina Beltran and Alejandra Thompson and formally launched November 4, is a luxury skincare brand designed specifically for scarred skin. The cofounders said, after trying to care for their own scars from major surgeries, they realized there was not only a market for scar-focused products, but a gap in cosmetic culture around women’s scars.
“They’re so much to be done in this space,” Thompson told Cosmetics Design. “I think because of the stigma, it’s almost a taboo subject, so people don’t even realize that scarred skin is really different skin. There is such a baseline gap in just understanding of our own scars.”
Cofounders developed relationships with their scars
At the age of 24 Beltran went into cardiac arrest and fell into a coma, from which she had a 7% chance of surviving. Though she did come out of the coma, she said it took years of procedures and medications for a doctor to tell her the best chance she had of fixing her heart was a major open-heart surgery.
The first thing she asked her doctor was if it would be left with a scar.
Her surgery was both successful and left her with a large scar down her chest. The doctor couldn't recommend a specific cosmetic product to care for the scar but told Beltran what ingredients from a medical store she should apply.
“I created this little scar care routine, and in doing that routine I not only was helping my scar look better, but I built a relationship with my scar and was really proud of it,” Beltran told Cosmetics Design. “It was this self-care moment for me where I realized I’d been through a lot and shouldn’t be ashamed of a mark down the center of my body, I should be proud of it.”
When Thompson had a baby via cesarean section, Beltran went on the hunt for scar-care products as a gift that would also help her learn to love the scar which represented the birth of a child. While Beltran couldn’t find what she was looking for, she said it gave her the idea to start ESTAS with Thompson.
Turning scar-care into a business
Thompson said they spent two years in development to create the scar-care products in their line, and did a beta launch because, while they believed in the product, they weren’t sure how much of an interest there would be.
Not only did the product sell out quickly, but Thompson said consumers sent vulnerable messages over social media about their own scars.
“I think this whole routine around caring for your scars, it’s really resonating with people,” she said. “It’s kind of everything we dreamed it would be. (Customers) are interacting with their scars more, they’re starting to love it and embrace it as opposed to ignoring it and hiding it.”
The cofounders said there is a culture around scars which encourage people, particularly women, to be embarrassed, ashamed or secretive about their scars. Thompson said when she spoke to the surgeon before her C-section, they told her they would try to place the scar low enough it could be cover by a bikini, assuming she would want to hide it.
Because of that culture, Thompson and Beltran said there was not only a space for cosmetic products focused on the unique needs of scars, but an opportunity to build a routine for those consumers. Consumers appeared to respond to the idea of a routine, as their most popular product during the beta launch was the routine kit, as opposed to single products.
“Even though they’re very effective scar-care products and packed with effective scar-care ingredients, part of it is that we want women to feel like they’re pampering themselves while they’re taking care of their scars,” Beltran said.
Moving forward, Thompson said she hopes ESTAS encourages the cosmetics industry broadly to adopt scars into their vision of inclusive beauty. Nearly every person has a scar of some type, and she said she hopes to see scars embraced both at a consumer level and as a central feature on a runway.
Beltran also said they hope to add products for specific types of scars, like C-section and acnes scarring.