As a teenager, Tina Craig, the founder of U Beauty, was a sun worshipper. It was the '80s (a time when there was less awareness about the importance of SPF), and she regularly laid out in the SoCal sunshine without protection. It wasn't until Craig flew home to Asia between semesters at USC that she began to think about skin care. Her grandma took one look at her sun damage, and brought her to a Chinese herbalist who treated her skin with a "slime-y" goo sourced from the immortal jellyfish, which would later come to inspire the barrier-restorative technology in her own product line.
Marine researchers from all over the world have long been fascinated by the immortal jellyfish and its ability to transform itself, at any life stage, back to its earliest stage of development, effectively reverting its aging cells into stem cells. From a skin-care perspective, this sounds almost too good to be true. For Craig, the immoral jellyfish stuck with her.
"This was like 1989, so none of this was cool," Craig recalls. "I flew home to Asia and my grandma literally dragged me to this scary place that would stick me with acupuncture needles and put slime on my face — come to find out the slime was actually immortal jellyfish stem cell treatment." At the time, Craig felt embarrassed about her grandma's experimental skin care. However, when she returned to school and people started telling her she has "really good skin," she figured grandma might have been onto something with the jellyfish goo.
Fast forward to adulthood and the launch of U Beauty in 2019. Craig considered her curated skin-care line — currently, the Resurfacing Compound, Super Hydrator, Sculpt Arm Compound (she calls, "Spanx for the arms"), and an SPF 30 — and wanted to add an overnight treatment inspired by the immortal jellyfish facial from her youth.
Luckily, no jellyfish were harmed in the making of this cream. "I didn't want to use real immortal jellyfish, I wanted to bioengineer it in a lab," Craig explains. "It took four and a half years because the texture and technology had to be perfect. There's this gooeyness to it. You know how babies wake up with juicy skin? That's what we had to make this do."
I can attest to the fact that using this treatment leaves my face curiously childlike, making my adult skin feel supple and almost doughy. Caroline Sands, U Beauty's VP of Product Development tells me that the effect can be explained by the combination of bioactive ingredients. There's urea, which is both a humectant and an emollient, vitamin B6, which promotes healthy oil production, hyaluronic acid, and sodium DNA. The other key component is an "immortal siren capsule," which is a proprietary delivery system that targets active ingredients to already-damaged areas of the skin and contains bioactive marine ingredients engineered to act on the skin's stem cells and essential growth factors to boost the proliferation of new cells. You're suppose to use it overnight, as the final step in your skin care, with Craig's promise of "thicker and softer skin" by morning.
Considering the rise, fall, and overuse of exfoliating acids in skin care, the design of this skin-barrier treatment, inspired by the slime of a Peter Pan jellyfish, is appealing to me and my dehydrated, fragile skin. (Like Craig, I am actively repairing teenage sun damage.) In use, I can say definitely my own skin is softer and more plump almost immediately after application. I'd use it really anytime I'm feeling crepe-y, before a long flight, or while existing in a dry climate, like my stuffy New York City studio apartment. While I haven't been able to get behind the slugging trend using Vaseline or Aquaphor, this feels like the same general idea — and my face is almost stickily plump.
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