The Microbrewery of Local Skin Care


“I’ve always been fascinated with skin care products,” Brook Dougherty told the Palisadian-Post.

This interest led the Palisadian to become involved in a network marketing company for many years, but her time was spent “teaching others how to sell instead of working with people on their skin.” It wasn’t what she ultimately wanted to do.

In March, Dougherty began experimenting with her own skin care products for herself and her friends. She later acknowledged that there were starting brands out there and realized she could be one of them.

Springing into action, Dougherty began by having her friends in the “guinea pig club” test products and give feedback.

“It was a steep learning curve,” Dougherty admitted, referencing the entire process. “I essentially said to myself: ‘Sit in this chair and figure out how all this works.’”

Brook Dougherty.

She did figure it out, and her company, Just Us, named after its humble beginnings, launched online in August with the mission statement: “Make, source and offer high-impact skin care at inclusive prices.”

Clarifying the moderate price consideration, Dougherty added, “It’s built into the American woman’s consciousness that high end equals expensive, so the biggest challenge is convincing people that really active skin care can be had for reasonable prices—but I’m down to fight that battle.”

In addition to cleanser, serum, eye gel, day and night moisturizer, toner and facial oil, the anti-aging line, named Arsenal, offers a sleeping cream that Dougherty adores called Sailor At Night. Her husband Jay, who loves to sail, inspired the name. The cream includes active peptides to reduce redness and maintain soft skin.

Dougherty emphasized that none of her products were created for the purpose of “looking pretty,” but rather, to be responsible in looking after one’s skin.

Of course, there have been many challenges along the way (or as Dougherty calls them, “epic fails”). One such incident occurred when she was attempting to make body butter in her kitchen.“It was like making a complicated cake, and resulted in a giant, oily mess—Shea butter from one end of the kitchen to the other, even the dog was covered,” Dougherty recalled with a laugh.

Another experiment involved real pain when she burned the side of her face with lactic acid. (Don’t worry; there was no permanent damage.)

While Dougherty’s first intention with Just Us was to create basic skin care products, which she is doing with verve, her second intention is to support worthwhile causes.

Hard at work.

Her upcoming Young Riley line, named after her friend Mike Riley, who hosts “The Uninformed States of America” podcast, will support the Young Angels Network Producer’s Incubator, which brings together business-minded youth—those in need of mentorship and resources—and facilitates the launch of their start-ups.

Early next year, Dougherty is planning to launch the Good Dog Project; a line of organic dog treats, pet shampoo and paw spray. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the ASPCA.

This intersection of e-commerce and causes is something that Dougherty is “enchanted” by. She recognizes that, just 10 years ago, her role in the “indie beauty business” would have been strikingly different.

As it stands, Dougherty has no need for a brick-and-mortar store or any diversion from the current path. She is “making, bottling, packing, shipping and designing her products” with the assistance of her husband, who serves as CFO, and chemists who advise from afar.

Welcome to 2018: This is business.

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