How One Woman Went From Fighting Power Rangers To Saving Skin

Photographed by Jamie Trueblood.
We've already established that there are some crazy beauty-discovery stories out there. And now Jennifer Yen, founder of Pūr~lisse, is telling hers.

The former actress got the idea to start the skin-care line, which is inspired by her Chinese grandmother's traditional beauty secrets, while on set during her role in the '90s favorite Fox Kids sitcom Power Rangers. Yep, if you spent a healthy amount of your childhood jumping on the bed doing your best karate moves as the Pink Ranger (anybody?), you might recognize Yen for her role as Vypra, the evil villainess in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue in the early 2000s.

As she mighty-morphed in hair and makeup, the condition of Yen's skin transformed, too. "Within six months of landing Power Rangers, my skin was wrecked from wearing layers of heavy makeup," she says. "I developed rosacea, psoriasis, adult acne, hives — you name it, I had it!" So when the series ended in 2001, Yen left her Hollywood days behind and went from fighting superheroes to saving sensitive skin everywhere, with her own simple line of produces for women with problem skin like hers.

Read on for our talk with Yen on the skin concerns she developed while filming Power Rangers, the line that changed it all, and her advice for Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, and the rest of the cast filming the Power Rangers movie that's slated to hit theaters this time next year.
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Photographed by Jamie Trueblood.
What was the glam process like during your time on Power Rangers?
"Because I played [Vypra] the evil villainess, I had to [undergo] a complete transformation. So I was in hair and makeup for almost two hours every day. The makeup artists used matte foundations and topped it off with powder and heavy eye makeup. I also wore fake eyelashes for the two years that I was on the show. To make them more dramatic, the makeup artists would put beads at the tips of them. That was cool."

How did your skin react to having all of that makeup piled on?
"My skin was always itchy and irritated. Unfortunately, back in 2000, the makeup artists didn't educate us on how to care for our skin properly after wearing this heavy makeup. Some of the products that I've created were actually developed because of my experiences on Power Rangers. For example, I would leave set around 6 p.m. and sit in traffic for up to six hours sometimes with all that makeup on my face, and by the time I got home, I would have to use multiple products to take it all off. [This experience is what inspired me to] develop the Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Cleansing Milk, a sulfate- and soap-free cleanser that fuses blue lotus, white tea, and oatmeal to calm the skin. It's a face- and eye-makeup remover, a gentle cleanser, and a toner in one, so it gently but thoroughly cleanses without stripping your skin of its natural oils. That'll be coming out in May."

When did you have the "Aha!" moment that led you to create Pūr~lisse?
"After Power Rangers, I continued acting and every time I would work on a commercial or guest star on a TV show, I'd notice that my skin was reacting to the makeup again, and my skin-care routine wasn't helping. I had the idea to create the line and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising's [FIDM] Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing program. Once I finished the program at FIDM, I started traveling to New York a lot, because that's where my consultant and a lot of the beauty industry were based. But I was still going on auditions, too. Every time I would land in NYC, my agent would send me information for auditions that would require me to be in LA the following day. I was so stressed out between developing the line, traveling, and pursuing an acting career, so I stopped acting completely by the end of 2006 and put all of my energy into Pūr~lisse."
Photographed by Jamie Trueblood.
Many of the ingredients that are featured in your products are inspired by your grandmother's beauty rituals. Can you share some of her DIY treatments?
"Yes! She used to make soy milk for my family to drink, and then she'd wash her face with it. She also always had white tea brewed for us to drink and would use it as an antiseptic on cuts and rashes. And then there was the blue lotus. She would brew the lotus leaves with tea and sauté the seeds with vegetables for us to eat. She'd also steam and sauté the lotus root with sesame seeds, which is very detoxifying. Our first collection is based on the blue lotus, because my grandmother always revered the flower. It's very powerful and has a lot of spiritual symbolic meaning in the Asian culture. I took her time-tested beauty rituals and fused them with modern skin technology, for everyday modern women."

Walk us through your beauty routine today.
"In the morning, I cleanse with the Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Cleansing Milk, then I put on the Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Eye Adore Serum (because serum should be the first thing that goes on your skin) and the Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. I finish with the BB Tinted Moist Cream SPF 30, an eyebrow product, blush, mascara, and lipstick — and that's my routine for the day!"

Did all those years of heavy makeup on Power Rangers scar you from wearing makeup now?
"Oh my goodness, yes. I used to really enjoy putting on makeup, but after sitting in hair and makeup for two hours every day, I don't want to wear makeup when I don't have to anymore. And one thing I won't do is wear fake eyelashes. They were cool, but I can't even imagine wearing them again! I'm super pared down now. I don't even get facials. My skin still gets very irritated, so I'm scared."

What skin-care tips do you wish you had during your time as an actress?
"I wish I would've known that fragrance is highly irritating. I also wish I would've known to not use mineral oil. When my skin would break out, I would turn to luxury products not realizing that mineral oil was the second item on the list of ingredients or that they were highly fragranced. I'd keep piling them on my face, which would make my skin so much worse."

What skin-care advice would you give the current female cast of the Power Rangers movie?
"Power Rangers is going to be huge! I'm excited to see Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, one of the main original villainesses. I'd say the actresses should lock down a really healthy skin-care regimen, because they're going to be in makeup for more hours than they are not. Also, don't use the trailer water to wash your face. Just as you wouldn't drink the water, you shouldn't use it on your skin. It's not very clean and can cause irritation. I would use bottled water instead."

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