Sara Demelio says the idea for her line of organic beauty products was born during a 1998 internship with National Geographic in Washington, D.C. Demelio, who has always had problematic skin, says she grabbed time during lunch breaks to do research on beauty-product ingredients.
"What I found is that in the beauty industry in the U.S., only eight ingredients are banned versus 30,000 in Europe," she says. "A lot of the products [corporations] are using are toxic on the skin." After a long, fruitless search for a moisturizer that didn't contain such ingredients, she concocted her own in her D.C. apartment. Since that 2001 experiment, Demelio, now 32 and living in Silver Spring, Md., has become a licensed esthetician and created her own line of Combat-Ready skin-care products, including a body balm, lip balm and a body bar.
The Combat-Ready Balm, originally called Miracle Cream, launched nationally in February 2005 after a military wife sent a jar to Iraq and her husband replied with an urgent request for more, saying the balm was the best product for treating the soldiers' flea bites, dry skin and other skin complaints. "I was honored that they liked and used my product," Demelio says. Since then, more than 2,500 jars have been sent to troops overseas, and she encourages customers to make a $12.50 donation online at skincando.com for a jar to be sent to Iraq.
Currently sold across the country and online at skincando.com, Combat-Ready products can be found locally at Ellwood Thompson's Local Market (4 N. Thompson St., 359-7525) and Amazing Face Spa (6740 Forest Hill Ave., Suite 101, 330-7546).