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The Family History of Hyaluronic Acid

By Grace Gavilanes, she/her

ICYMI: Youth To The People just launched the Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum, an ultra-hydrating, firming, and plumping vegan hydrating serum starring 4D hyaluronic acid. This pro-grade vegan ingredient has become a fixture in so many skincare routines thanks to its user tested and approved benefits, and the Oasis Serum packs a hydrating punch. But hyaluronic acid (aka HA) has been making a splash long before the birth of Youth To The People. The history of hyaluronic acid actually began decades earlier, and beauty pioneer Eva Friederichs, the grandmother of YTTP co-founders Greg Gonzalez and Joe Cloyes, was the first to make it mainstream.

“Growing up in a family of estheticians, we always joked that we knew what hyaluronic acid was when we were nine years old because our grandmother launched one of the first hyaluronic acid serums in the U.S.,” Gonzales and Cloyes share, noting her impact on not only on YTTP but skincare as a whole.

How It Started

It all began in 1963 when a family of nine (with Friederichs serving as matriarch) opened a beauty salon in California. It was there that Friederichs, who worked alongside her hairdresser husband, first became interested in “the palette that makeup was applied on.” 

“Our mother was the type of person who, when she did anything, she did it completely,” says Friederichs’s daughter (and Greg and Joe’s aunt), Lori Nestore. “She didn’t just casually get into it like, ‘I think I’ll learn about skin.’ She got into it in a way that, in the early ‘60s, our salon had ten facial rooms and four to five employees but six estheticians.” She adds, “Every time she did anything she did it above and beyond the call of duty to an extreme extent.”

Friederichs got her hands on as much literature as she could to absorb all things skincare education. Her unrelenting passion and curiosity led her to look into the skin’s ability to heal post-surgery, specifically in babies. What is in the skin that helps it heal so quickly with very minimal or no scarring? The answer: sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid that’s found in the body and wanes in production with age. Friederichs took note of the discovery.

Fresh Beginnings

After a few years of formulating as a family, Friederichs and her husband got divorced. German distributors refused to work with a woman, so the mother of seven took skincare matters into her own hands. She revisited her learnings and continued on her journey to make effective, good-for-you skincare that worked for people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.

“She found a formulator and, with a medical-grade chemist based in California, created a hyaluronic acid serum with the intention of it being a professional line used in spas,” says Lisa Nestore, Friederichs’s daughter and Lori’s sister, also Greg’s mom and Joe’s aunt. It took just under 12 months to create the product, which remains a Tuel Skincare best seller to this day, 30 years later. 

“It was the first time sodium hyaluronate was being used in a serum,” says Lori, sharing that the ingredient was initially being used by ophthalmologists for eye surgeries before Friederichs had the idea to incorporate it in a serum form. A serum, she found, was the most efficacious way to promote healthy, hydrated skin due to its minimal barrier for penetration.

“It was such a groundbreaking ingredient at that point,” says Lisa. “It gives the skin so many benefits if you put it under a cream or your suncare.”

Naturally, the skincare gene was passed down to Lori and Lisa—both licensed cosmetologists—who took over the family business after Friederichs retired in 2000. The sisters have been at the helm of Tuel Skincare ever since and serve as mentors to Greg and Joe, who affectionately refer to the industry icon as Grandma Eva. 

“It just changed the face of all product lines in that they can say, ‘now we can hydrate the skin,’” says Lori of hyaluronic acid’s big introduction to the skincare world, courtesy of Friederichs’s innovative thinking all those years ago. 

Lisa agrees, sharing what we’re all thinking: “Mom really was ahead of her time.”

Now, Youth To The People is offering the latest evolution of hyaluronic acid in the Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum, chock full of pro-grade vegan ingredients like organic cactus elixir, bio-peptides, and, you guessed it, 4D hyaluronic acid. Click here to learn more about this future-thinking serum.

Written by Grace Gavilanes for Youth To The People. Grace is an NYC-based writer, editor, and content strategist. She’s also the founder of Viva La Mujer, a Latina empowerment blog.




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