When I grew up in Chicago in the ‘60s, sunbathing was considered an almost religious experience. After months of long cold and grey winter months, breaking out the iodine in baby oil and sun reflectors of tin foil wrapped over record albums to become “tan” made you look rich and glamorous, even if you weren’t. Sunscreen and skin cancer were yet to be on anyone’s radar screen.

My girlfriends and I spent summer afternoons camped out on our plastic woven webbed lawn chairs in my backyard listening to the Beach Boys wishing we all could be California girls. Meanwhile, my Mother, known for her beautiful and smooth olive skin, was singing a different tune. She spent her time leaning out the back of our suburban house upstairs window yelling, “Get out of the sun! You’re going to be a prune.”

Each night as I nursed my summer sunburn, she would stop by my bathroom and hand me a jar of moisturizer. “Start now honey, it’s never too late to take care of your skin,” Mother told me. Most girls my age thought skin care consisted of ivory soap, Ponds cold crème or “take it all off” Noxzema. Now that I have daughters of my own, I realize Mom was right.

To help make my job easier in 2006 is TESS, otherwise known as Teen Everyday Skincare System, an easy-to-use line of skin care products targeted to educate and help teenage girls ages 13-17 care for and protect their delicate skin.

One of the co-founders of the company is Montecito mom Susan Shand, who has nearly two decades of work in fashion and lifestyle advertising, and is former editor of Teen Magazine. Her partner, Sheri Poe, was founder and CEO of Ryka, the first and only athletic footwear company designed exclusively for women.

Shand and Poe worked side by side with their daughters Ryan Shand, 14, and Taylor Poe, 12, and created a focus group of local girls who provided opinions on everything from naming and scents to packaging design and marketing strategies.

TESS comes all in one kit that simplifies the process of caring for teenage skin, but it also has a la carte items such as Out and About Sunscreen lotion, Perfect Pout Lip Gloss and Peppermint Blemish Stick. TESS has gentle cleansers, moisturizers and teen-friendly fragrances, with packaging that is young and hip and comes in convenient “sleep over or travel size” with inspirational mantras that promote a healthy attitude toward beauty.

TESS features two easy-to-use, comprehensive, day to night skincare system for combination and problem skin and bottles with a hassle-free, easy-to-follow numbered regime. This line is formulated for young skin, which means my daugher, Lizzy, 14, won’t be using my products any more – women’s products are intended for more mature skin.

Susan and Sheri and their daughters held TESS’s official debut at Nordstrom’s in Paseo Nuevo on June 17 and will roll out nationwide at select Sephora stores beginning in August or September, including the new store in Paseo Nuevo in the former Victoria Secret location adjacent to Nordstrom’s.

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