By Meredith Jean Morris
For many women makeup is a daily ritual that makes them feel their most beautiful. The acts of covering imperfections, adding color and reducing shine can seem like almost an artistic accomplishment. However, for some women, makeup can be a horror story of breakouts, inflammation and various skin maladies.
Annie Theiss battled with acne, rosacea and sensitive skin, making cosmetics an agonizing landmine to navigate.
Her own challenges led her to seek other options when it came to her own skincare, and it occurred to her that other women might have similar experiences.
“My father is a retired pharmacist, and I worked in his drugstore while I was growing up,” Theiss says. “I mostly hung out at the cosmetic counter where he sold brands such as Revlon, Coty, Max Factor and Bonne Bell. But, I also watched him make different lotions and salves for the doctors in the area. This gave me the idea of creating my own products.”
Theiss says she tried many products currently available on the market, but couldn’t find an ideal fit for her skin.
“I had a lot of redness from my rosacea, so it was hard to find good coverage for my skin,” she says. During the time she was experimenting with mineral products, she worked as a nail technician.
“I started out by developing cuticle oils, nail lotions and sugar scrubs… all to make people’s hands nice and help the artificial nails adhere better,” she says. “My nail clients were my first guinea pigs.”
Through some research and experimentation, Theiss realized that the supply companies where she bought her ingredients to make bath and body products also sold many of the ingredients in mineral makeup.
“I would order zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and mica from these supply companies,” she says.
Theiss says that mass-produced makeup often contains water and requires preservatives, hence the unpronounceable ingredients in many liquid bases that clog pores.
“Minerals do not because bacteria will not grow as long as they are kept dry. My skin is highly sensitive to preservatives and some of the waxes and emulsifiers that are used in traditional cosmetics,” she says, and adds that minerals feel much lighter on the skin compared to traditional liquid makeup.”
Lucy Minerals are not only better for the skin, it’s less expensive than other mineral makeups sold.
“One of the things that people really like about our products is the price. We charge $15 for a jar of foundation with a rotating sifter, and it has a net weight of 10 grams,” she says.
“Bare Minerals charges $27 for a jar with a net weight of 7.9 grams,” Theiss says. “Ours contains antioxidants which Bare Minerals does not. A lot of people comment that they thought we would be more expensive since we are a specialty store and were surprised about our prices.”
In 2007, Theiss brought her mineral mixes to Winter Haven from her hometown of Crestline, Ohio.
“My parents winter here, and my cousins moved to Winter Haven in 1976, so I had vacations here starting in 1977,” she reminisced. “I love the area, so I really felt at home when I moved down here.”
It was around this time that Theiss officially created her cosmetics company, Lucy Minerals. Theiss, a dog lover, named her business after her beloved chocolate Labrador, Lucy.
“Lucy Minerals is also a play on the words loose minerals,” Theiss says.
During this time, the online business for Lucy Minerals started to grow, developing into a company designed to match a variety of skin types with the perfect cosmetics.
The first year Lucy Minerals had offices in the EZ Storage Building in Dundee, then the shop moved to Orchid Springs on Overlook Drive in Winter Haven where it remained for two years until more space was needed. Two years ago Lucy Minerals moved to its current location in downtown Winter Haven’s Olde Towne Square, located at 311 Third St. N.W.
“I’m trying to rebuild the business and get more people into the shop,” Theiss says of the move.
“I made a big mistake and renamed the shop AnnieL Cosmetics, because I sell a lot more than just mineral makeup. But people thought I had gone out of business. I decided to go back to the name Lucy Minerals, and now some of my previous customers have found me,” she says.
“We mostly work on our online orders. Some days we don’t have one single person come into the shop. It is mostly online and wholesale,” Theiss says. “But we love it when people come into the shop and play with our makeup. I have a beauty bar with all the testers.”
There have been some challenges in owning an online business — particularly when a majority of the clientele is overseas.
“A good portion of my business online ships products to Poland, Russia and the Ukraine,” Theiss says. “I send a lot of wholesale orders to Russia.”
The international acclaim started when an Australian beauty blogger named Alice Tung mentioned Lucy Minerals’ antioxidant makeup in an online forum.
“She was the one who first told people about it,” Theiss says. “Then, a woman in Poland with a popular blog with a lot of followers posted about Lucy Minerals. It really took off after that.”
Bloggers have helped to promote and spread awareness for Lucy Minerals. One such blogger is Sam Tarascio, a college student and nanny in northern California, who reviews makeup products on her YouTube channel.
“Lucy Minerals has changed my skin from an acne-covered oily mess to smooth and beautiful,” Tarascio says. “I’m not a liquid-makeup kind of person, I’ve found that there are a lot of things on the bottle that you can’t pronounce, and if you can’t pronounce it, then you probably shouldn’t put it on your face. I love Lucy Minerals.”
Despite the hundreds of online reviews and comments about Theiss’ products, her business saw some challenges when shipping rates increased.
“The rates of shipping to Europe almost doubled,” she says. “That was a huge setback. The world economy cut into my orders.”
However, Theiss is working to overcome the hardships, and the responses she gets from customers make the challenges worth it, she says.
“A lot of women write thank you notes saying that this is the first makeup they have been able to wear,” she says. “They also say that it looks natural and covers acne. I love being able to help people feel beautiful and enjoy wearing makeup. It’s also great because it’s so good for their skin.”
Renee Schmal is a Winter Haven-based esthetician who owns Renee’s Facials at Images Salon.
“Probably 60 percent of my clients use her makeup,” Schmal says. “I see quite a few people who have rosacea or broken capillaries that causes redness in the face. Her makeup covers up redness so well, and but it doesn’t feel heavy since it’s powdered minerals.”
Schmal says she has been recommending Lucy Minerals to her clients in Florida and across the United States for more than five years.
“It makes them feel better to have something that works,” she says. “When they look better, they feel better. And, since it’s minerals, it’s good for their skin. Really a win-win.”
For more info about Lucy Minerals visit LucyMinerals.com.