Spilling the R&D Tea : Interview with CPO Sammie | NTY
At No, Thank You, transparency and inclusivity aren’t just core pillars of our brand DNA, they’re ways of life for our team. This week, we invite you to get to know our Chief Product Officer, Sammie Smith, a little bit better!
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Sammie: I first got into skin care when I was 18, while modeling in New York and struggling with acne. Being such a science nerd, I got really into researching what was happening on my skin and why, in order to fix it. That’s pretty much where my love affair with skin care started.
A few years later when I moved to Los Angeles, I started studying nutrition in school. This led me to a huge lifestyle shift where I started looking at what was in my products and switched everything to all natural and clean products. This was before the clean beauty movement and there was not a whole lot of great clean products on the market, so I decided to start making products myself. Eventually, my friends and family got hooked on the products I was making, so I decided to start my own indie skin care line. I did this for a few years until my friend asked me to join his CBD start-up company and run the skin care division. This is how I got connected with No, Thank You and our values and visions clicked immediately!
Being able to create products that have such an impact on someone’s self confidence, and makes them feel good about themselves is really what drives me and makes me feel so lucky to do what I do. I am also super passionate about skin care science education and teaching people how to take care of their skin and debunking a lot of misconceptions in the industry. I am all self taught and am a little obsessive about learning all I can about skin care science, so I am constantly reading scientific studies and experimenting in my home lab.
About a year ago, I decided to go back to school to get a degree in Biochemistry. I felt like I have taught myself just about all I could teach myself and wanted a proper education. I should be finished with school by next summer!
What sets No, Thank You apart in terms of formulations?
Sammie: From the very first meeting, Zain and Graham said that they just want to make the best products, even if that meant using more expensive ingredients that other brands wouldn’t use for cost reasons. The goal was to focus on the product and make the best product we can make. As a formulator, that is a dream job. It really opened up a lot of possibilities and options for what we could create.
Sustainability and safety has always been one of our core values, so I am always thinking of how we can source ingredients sustainably, or how people with sensitive skin might react to something. I have super sensitive skin, so I am a good guinea pig when testing our products. Everything is formulated to be safe for people with sensitive skin, and as efficacious as possible.
What is so special about the types of CBD products NTY carries?
Sammie: We don’t just throw in some CBD into the formula because it is a trendy thing at the moment. The entire formula is formulated around the CBD and how we can get the most benefits from it in that particular product. A lot of other brands will pick an off-the-shelf formula from a lab and put some CBD in it. We are creating new products from scratch, so we can really control the quality and make it specific to us and what our customers are looking for.
I am really inspired by Korean skin care, so there is definitely some of that influence in our line. At the moment, there isn’t a whole lot of unique and innovative products that have CBD in them on the market.
What really makes us different is the type of CBD oil that we use. Most CBD companies use either an isolate or distillate that doesn’t contain a wide variety of cannabinoids, because it is cheaper. We use the highest quality CBD oil on the market, that is usually just for making tinctures. We screen every lot of oil we use in production to make sure it meets our criteria.
Having a wide range of cannabinoids is going to boost the efficacy, because they all work together better. We also require high amounts of CBDa, which is the most anti-inflammatory cannabinoid.
What are some of the common CBD myths you’re looking to debunk?
Sammie: The most common one is that it will get you high. It will not get you high!!! We do use full-spectrum CBD, so there is a trace amount of THC present. But it is only enough to boost the effectiveness of the other cannabinoids, and not nearly close enough to a dose that would get you high.
Another one is that CBD can’t be absorbed deep into the skin. This is partially true (with the exception of nano-emulsified CBD), however for it to be effective, it does not need to penetrate deep into the skin. It works by reacting with endocannabinoid receptors on our skin, that then sends signals to the brain. There are some ingredients that actually work better wherever they are naturally absorbed into the skin. Deeper is not always better, and can often cause irritation.
The third most common one I hear is that CBD is better when you ingest it. CBD does have some great benefits when you ingest it, but it depends on what you are looking to get from your CBD. Oral tincture won’t be very helpful for eczema or acne, but topical CBD works great for those skin issues!
What are some of your favorite CBD partner-ingredients used in NTY’s products?
Sammie: One of my favorite partner ingredients is vitamin C. The antioxidant properties of the CBD really compliment and boost the antioxidant properties of the vitamin C. There is a very symbiotic relationship between them.
For someone who’s new to CBD or even apprehensive, what NTY product would you suggest they try first?
Sammie: I think the Relief Cream is a great introductory product. You can really experience how powerful the CBD is and feel it working. It is also the product I am the most proud about, with all of the life-changing reviews we have received from it.
Speaking of A Cream for Relief, we heard this was the first product you formulated for the brand – how did it come about and how does it work SO well?
Sammie: There are so many CBD relief products on the market, and a lot of them disappointingly don’t work well. CBD is such a great analgesic, I really wanted to create a product that would take full advantage of those benefits. I did a lot of research on what pain is, how it works, why we feel pain, etc. There is a mix of warming and cooling ingredients to basically over ride your body’s neurons that send pain signals. It tricks your body into feeling the cooling and warming sensations, instead of the pain. Each essential oil has chemicals in them that work on different receptors, so you get a wide range of receptors that are being “tricked”.
We were recently featured in How to Be A Redhead! As a redhead yourself, how have you benefited from incorporating CBD and NTY into your skin and bodycare regimen? Anything specific to our beautiful Redhead friend’s that would be helpful to know?
Sammie: I have really sensitive skin and I am always trying out new formulations, which can be harsh on my skin at times. But CBD really does help to calm any redness or irritation. It’s my go-to when I need something to fix my skin. I especially love the Vitamin C oil. I put it on my hair, I use it as a body oil, on my eczema, basically everywhere.
Where do you see CBD going in the future as it pertains to the beauty industry?
Sammie: CBD is a really interesting industry right now because there is so much research currently being done, and we are constantly finding new ways to use it. I think the next thing will be finding out more about what all the different cannabinoids do. CBD is just one, and there are over a hundred! Most of them are not well researched, or just being discovered. I think customizing cannabinoid profiles to fit a specific type of product would be really interesting and a lot of fun.
Lastly, for the fun of it, share a funny story from when you were first entering into the world of product formulation!
Sammie: When I was first starting to formulate products, I was making a turmeric mask with bentonite clay and jojoba oil. Apparently, I put in WAY too much turmeric and I dyed my skin bright yellow for three days. Even with a pound of makeup on, I looked like something was seriously wrong with me. Do not recommend trying that at home. Sometimes you have to learn from your mistakes the hard way!
Want to learn more about us and why CBD is an absolute must-have in your daily beauty routine? Check out our story and the science behind the brand now, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @NTY.co!