Sara Happ's Personal Lip Care Routine and the Inspiration Behind Her Brand
From lip scrubs to entrepreneurship
Did you know your lips are 100x more sensitive than your fingertips? They are made of muscle and the thinnest skin on your body. While lips are susceptible to sun damage they will never get a pimple as they lack sweat and oil glands. So how do you take care of these delicate-but-strong members of your face's family? We reached out to lip guru Sara Happ to spill her secrets on lip care and tell us about the inspiration behind launching her own brand, Sara Happ.
You started creating lip scrubs at home in 2005. What were some of the ingredients you tried? What goes into making a good lip scrub?
There were no lip scrubs in 2005 – and so when I took to my kitchen I tried out so many different exfoliants. From crushed almonds to oatmeal and everything in between, it became very apparent that finely ground sugar crystals were the only option. Sugar is an amazing natural humectant, it helps lips retain moisture while gently exfoliating the dry, dead skin cells.
What inspired you to found your own company?
I originally set out to create a product, one that had never been on the market before – The Lip Scrub was my main focus. After perfecting our scrub, I moved on to creating the most moisturizing and nourishing lip balm to follow up with, and thus was born our Lip Slip® One Luxe Balm. In the beginning, I didn’t see Sara Happ as a brand, I only saw our products.
What have you learned about ingredients and the cosmetics industry along this journey?
So many lip products out there contain a multitude of dehydrating ingredients! Which is why it is our number one priority to create products with treatment in mind first. We always say our products are skincare for your lips – every single one of our products, from our scrubs to our glosses to our balms, are crafted with only the most moisturizing and nourishing ingredients.
In an industry bursting at the seams with products, what sets Sara Happ lip care products apart?
We’ve never put out a product for the sake of putting out a product. Each item of our lip care line has a distinct purpose and intention – we set out to fix problems that we see in the lip space of the beauty and skincare industry. Each and every one of our products is tailored to the idea of “skincare for your lips.”
We have really seen a rise in indie brands over the years and a focus on clean and sustainable beauty. How have these trends affected your brand and approach to cosmetics?
The rise in indie beauty brands and focus on clean and sustainable beauty has been fuel and inspiration. 15-20 years ago, there weren’t any indie brands and the fact that today, these brands are not only being picked up by major retailers but they’re setting the new standard of quality over quantity is incredible. For me, female founders have become a network of amazingly strong individuals to bounce off of. We support each other, and we stick together.
You are also a founding member of The F Project, a social-impact initiative aimed at raising the profile and economic success of female founders. What inspired you to join this organization? What has your experience been like?
The F Project is a collective of female founders focused on creating a space where we can give each other the much-needed support that the entrepreneurial world hasn’t yet given us. But what really drew me to this initiative is that yes, we are always there to support each other, but we are also charged beyond that and work hard to give back. From the initiatives we align ourselves and our brands with, to the organizations that we follow and donate to – the F Project has created a beautiful space of support and discovery.
You can apply to become an honorary ambassador directly on The F Project website. If you are a female founded brand with ties to a philanthropic platform, you can become a member directly on The F Project website.
“All-female founding teams received only 2.8% of capital invested across the entire US startup ecosystem in 2019. Women make up 70% of all consumer spending, generate over 1.7 trillion dollars in sales with their businesses and employ over 9 million people. 2.8% isn’t enough.”
– The F Project website
What is your advice for other young women and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Reach out to people you admire, don’t be afraid to take initiative! Slide into their DM’s and ask them for tips or advice. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you and who will be honest with you. So much of your initial success reflects on those who you are going to for business advice – make sure you’re choosing wisely!
You are known as a lip guru and expert. Why is it important to take care of your lips? What do you see people get wrong in their own routines?
Way too often, people aren’t treating their lips with the same care they are treating their skin with! People will have a 12-step skincare routine and just keep slapping on the same dehydrating lip balm day and night. Your lips need the same care and attention as the rest of your face! Layer on that lip care, we have individual products tailored for daytime hydration, nighttime conditioning, rejuvenating exfoliation, and everything in-between. Treat your lips the way you treat your skin, trust me.
What is your personal lip care regimen?
Two words – Lip Layering!
- AM lip routine: Sparkling Peach Sugar Lip Scrub (such a yummy summer flavor!), Lip Elixir (locks in hydration), Lip Slip® One Luxe Balm (seal in moisture)
- PM lip routine: Our Sweet Dreams Lip Kit! Never underestimate the soothing powers of aromatherapy. Lavender Chamomile Lip Scrub (so relaxing), Sweet Clay Lip Mask (frosting-like clay mask that will renew your lips, leaving them seriously soft!), Dream Slip® (overnight lip mask for deep conditioning)
Any plans to expand beyond the lip? What would convince you to expand your product line?
No, there is so much left to do in the lip space! We’re going to keep doing lips until all of the lip problems have been solved.
Editor's Note: Sara just dropped the next product in her collection: The Dream Slip® No2 which brings the benefits of her overnight lip mask into a daytime-friendly balm.
What are some of your favorite beauty brands?
- Black-female founded and owned - Nykaio, Klur, The London Grant Co
- Female founded and owned - Tatcha, Josie Maran, Becca
How important are online reviews and customer feedback to the success of your business?
Customer feedback is so important to us! Our goal is to help solve lip problems that people are dealing with every day, and we want to put out products that our customers love. We’re constantly running polls and surveys to obtain feedback, we’re always learning.
You can shop Sara's full line of lip care products at SaraHapp.com.