BENTON COUNTY – Your skin is 90% of your selfie. Great skin doesn’t happen by chance: it happens with proper care. Your face is the first thing the world sees, yet many women—and men– do not have a skin care regimen. Television ads for products can lead consumers to believe that skin care needs to be expensive or complicated, but it doesn’t have to be, according to Lea J. Samples, 51, a Benton County self-proclaimed DIYer, who has created her own popular line of skin care products. When asked how she came up with her current skin care product line, Samples admits, “It took lots of trial and error.”
Originally from Falkner, MS, Lea (pronounced “Lee”) J. Samples, 51, has resided in Benton County for the past twenty years with her husband, Pete, 60. Samples’s history of tackling DIY projects began long before she curated her products. The couple bought their vintage Benton County home and worked on it for a year, restoring it themselves.
Currently, Samples is the most sought-after home décor seamstress in both Tippah and Benton County. Years ago, as a young single mother, she was determined to customize her home with pinch-pleat drapes for a large window. The catch? Samples had never taken home economics class and had no idea how to sew. She taught herself, laying fabric out on the floor, measuring, cutting, and sewing until the drapes were perfect. “It didn’t take long because I was consumed with wanting to see the results,” she said.
Samples is passionate about her interests, and her inquisitive mind and industrial nature have contributed to her many successes. Among her interests: skin care. She claims she always had oily skin and was looking for a product to help improve it but couldn’t find anything to give her the results she desired. Using her knowledge of skin care from nursing and cosmetology courses she had taken over the years, Samples set out to create her own product. Her VitaC formula was the result of trial and error until she got the results she wanted. She never intended to sell her skin care products. “I was just trying to improve my own skin,” Samples confesses. Shortly after using her own products, her sisters and close friends noticed a change in her face and asked her what she was doing to achieve a healthy glow. Samples began giving out VitaC as gifts to her family and close friends, and, before long, from word of mouth, her skin care business started. Says Samples about her product line: “It just sells itself.”
Samples claims she inherited her meticulous nature from her grandparents, who were always well-groomed and impeccably dressed. Her mother instilled proper skin care in Lea and her two sisters. “I was taught to preserve what the Good Lord gave me,” Samples says. She does this through her skin care routine. “A skin care routine should start in the teen years,” according to Samples. “Hormonal acne brought on by puberty is an issue for both girls and guys, and using a Vitamin C product can help,” she explains. Even past the teen years, no one is “in the clear” when it comes to acne. Wearing masks all day at work can create “maskne,” which, Samples says, can be quelled with Vitamin C.
Skin care doesn’t have to cost a fortune, according to Samples. She suggests that everyone get into a simple routine with just a few items. Start with a pH-balanced cleanser. Next, “use a toner to keep the skin’s barrier from being affected by free radicals,” she says. She suggests toners containing niacinamide (she makes one herself containing roses, lemon, and vitamin B3, which is niacinamide).
She suggests following up the toner with a Vitamin C product, like her VitaC Serum. “It brightens by gentle exfoliation, in turn retexturizing and reducing pores for a more youthful glow,” she says. An unexpected benefit of Vitamin C? “It reduces the appearance of sunspots and age spots. Use it anywhere you have unsightly spots,” Samples suggests. She claims one of her customers had a sunspot on her thigh and claims it has gone away since using Vitamin C on it. “It can’t be washed off like a moisturizer; it is absorbed into the skin and enhances it,” she says. Some experts claim an application of Vitamin C is actively working in your skin for about 72 hours after application, and Samples concurs. “Using it daily is just increasing the benefits.”
To decrease puffiness, Samples suggests using an eye cream. She makes her own “secret recipe,” which is infused with caffeine. “Caffeine reduces puffiness and Zinc oxide reduces dark circles,” she explains.
Finally, Samples urges everyone to use facial sunscreen. Unlike body sunscreen, face sunscreen is noncomedogenic (doesn’t clog pores). Although Vitamin C is nature’s sunscreen, “Still use a sunscreen as a precaution,” she recommends. She suggests using moisturizing sunscreen for dry skin or oil-free if for oily skin. Her favorite is Cetaphil.
“Many users report seeing results after the first use,” Samples says.
Samples keeps busy with this new business, but will never quit sewing because, just like with skin care, she loves to see the results. Message, call or text Lea Samples to discuss particular skin care needs. “I am always happy to offer recommendations,” Samples says. Her page, LJ Skincare on Facebook, provides skin care resources and Christmas specials.
When asked if she had any general skin care advice to share, Samples advises, “Quit using bar soap on your face, take your makeup off at night, use a moisturizer, and use sunscreen. Your skin routine is a bank account. Invest wisely.”