The Silicon Review
“More importantly, we focus on sustainability and giving back to communities in Africa to help those in need.”
Karen Ballou, founder and CEO, developed Immunocologie Skincare after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She discovered a need in the beauty industry for products that support holistic skin health, and with a passion for clean beauty and over 30 years of experience as an esthetician and entrepreneur, founded her brand — Immunocologie Skincare.
Immunocologie is an innovative, fully natural skincare brand devoted to strengthening the skin’s microbiome and immuno-protection system through mineral science.
Meanwhile, Karen and her husband are also founders of a New York- based growth equity firm, LB Equity, which invests in emerging brands in the wellness, beauty, and personal care space.
Since 2013, the firm has invested in more than a dozen brands in addition to Immunocologie.
Karen and LB Equity are committed to building ‘brands with a mission.’ True to this conviction, Karen sources ingredients for Immunocologie directly from female producers in Africa, with whom she works closely. She also works with one of the world’s leading botanists to create truly distinct skincare products and of the highest efficacy. As Karen says, “To me, it’s about creating the most incredible brand ever.”
Karen has been in the beauty industry since the start of her career, working with giants like Elizabeth Arden and Redken before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. With a desire to develop a deep understanding of the skin and how it behaves, she also decided not only to earn an aesthetician’s license but also founded the organization, Aesthetic America, and opened her spas in Atlanta, Chicago, and Connecticut. With her expertise in formulation and skin science, she has been involved in the development of more than 65 products during her career.
However, after successfully battling cancer, Karen took another step forward, creating her brand and utilizing some of the insights and ingredients that helped her combat her illness.
Saving the best for last, Karen is thrilled by the success of Immunocologie and the impact it is having for so many women, and men, too, across the world.
The Silicon Review speaks exclusively with Karen Ballou. Below is an excerpt.
“Immunocologie Skincare was discovered out of a need for effective skincare that is non-toxic, safe to use. After 30 years in the beauty industry, I knew it was time for a change in how we look at skincare both personally and professionally. I became an esthetician to better understand the skin and learn fascinating facts about skincare.”
“I began working with individuals treating skin disorders and it became really clear that many people were using products that were much too harsh and increased skin sensitivity and irritation that led to general inflammation and disorders of the skin. I was on a mission to create my own line until I was in remission for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I wanted to address each person’s skin with utmost care and that’s what I have been doing.”
“I want to be a brand that stays around forever.” In addition to managing her company, equity firm, and brands, Karen is also in the process of writing a book about the beauty industry and her journey within it.
“More importantly, we focus on sustainability and giving back to communities in Africa to help those in need. Through our services, a good number of women receive scholarships and financial aid to provide for their families beyond food. We hire women (particularly) to collect nuts for our products and work for us in other in-house domains. It’s called the Nagya Protocol or Fair Trade Act.”
“Besides, we work with Nomi Group to prevent human trafficking incidences in Africa.”