Gabriel de Santino, CEO of Gabriel Cosmetics
My name is Gabriel De Santino.
I am founder, owner and CEO of Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc.
3. Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Ventura, CA near the ocean and have enjoyed living in beautiful Bellevue, WA for the last 30 years.
4. Tell us about how and why you started Gabriel Cosmetics.
When I first started my career as an esthetician, I had many clients whose skin was sensitive to chemicals and they weren’t using any type of skincare on their face because of it. I then went searching for a chemical-free skincare line to use on their skin, and after weeks of researching ingredients and exploring different companies I realized that the skincare and makeup industry were both extremely lacking in products that were truly natural and chemical-free. I really struggled with the fact that women were using toxic products on their skin, and I really felt it was important that I have products my clients could use everyday. That’s when I decided to create my own skincare line. The response from my clients was amazing, they loved the results and wanted more. It took years of research, and lots of testing (on humans ONLY!) to find alternatives to each and every chemical ingredient, but I was determined to bring a fun and exciting line of color cosmetics to the natural products industry that would complement my skincare products.
5. What advice do you have for people who want to transition to cleaner and more sustainable beauty products?
I find it is easier, less wasteful, and more cost effective for people to replace products as they run out of their current favorites. Start researching and trying samples now, so you know what you want to purchase when your current products run out. Reading labels is key—aside from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, there are several other ingredients that should be avoided including coal tar derivatives, synthetic colors, antibacterials, DEA/TEA/MEA, dioxane, formaldehyde, lead, fragrance, oxybenzone, toluene, and petroleum. It’s also important to look for companies like Gabriel Cosmetics that place a high priority on eco-friendly practices and sustainable and recyclable packaging as well.
6. What is your favorite Gabriel Cosmetics product?
I can never pick just one! I’m currently loving our Sea Mineral Hydra Mist. I spray it on between tasks, while traveling and flying, and really anytime I need a quick burst of freshness. Another favorite is our Gentle Exfoliator, which I mix with my cleanser 3-4 times a week to gently resurface my skin. I also wear our Dual Powder Foundation daily to even out my skin tone and I am obsessed with our new searum.
7. What are your best makeup and skincare tips?
Healthy skin is our best accessory and acts as a necessary foundation for makeup. The key is to understand your skin type and really tailor the products you use toward the specific issues you’re facing, whether they are acne, wrinkles, etc. Your morning routine should be all about protection and include sunscreen, while your nighttime routine should focus on rejuvenation and include a clarifying mask several times a week to absorb all the toxins out of your skin. Consistency and clean ingredients are crucial—look for a good cleanser, tonic, and serum that works for combination skin and features calming, natural ingredients like seaweed, rosemary, kelp, aloe vera, vitamin E, and sea fennel. If you want to start using anti-aging products, focus on the delicate areas of your face—like the eyes, lips, and neck—which show signs of aging first. And remember to get your beauty sleep! Your skin repairs itself at night, so a full eight hours will help to improve your complexion. With makeup it is just as important to know your skin type as well as your color undertones so that you can choose the right products. For example, I would not recommend an oil-free foundation for someone with dry skin, however, I would recommend they use a cream blush.
8. What challenges have you faced running a clean and natural makeup brand?
Keeping up with the demand for the latest makeup trends has been challenging, as I am not willing to compromise on quality, holistic ingredients when it comes to our line—this means it can take us longer to launch the latest craze and trending product. However, I have found that staying true to myself and our company’s philosophy has created tremendous brand loyalty and I love the challenge of taking everything to the next level. Without compromising aesthetics, functionality, or accessibility, we offer consumers earth conscious and ethical options to their beauty needs—we are committed to sustainable natural beauty and earth-conscious practices that keep our ocean blue, our planet green, and our animals safe. We remain a constant in an ever changing, fast-paced culture. We are non-disruptive. Gabriel Cosmetics has really committed to being as eco-friendly as possible in our practices, which can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it—our recently revamped and customer beloved Gabriel Green program reflects that.
9. What advice do you have for aspiring beauty entrepreneurs?
Create products you are truly passionate about and would use yourself, never compromise on what you and your brand represent and what it was founded on, keep our planet and sustainability as a top priority, and surround yourself with a talented, creative, and diverse team.
10. What’s next for you?
I see our products available globally and more accessible to anyone and everyone. I want to make Gabriel Cosmetics within reach for all consumers because it’s important for everyone to have access to natural, chemical-free, and sustainable beauty products that really work.
11. What is your motto?
Every day is a Monday, and I love Mondays!
12. Website: www.gabrielcosmeticsinc.com
13. Instagram: @gabrielcosmetic