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Sensitive And Allergenic Skin Is Our Thing

Nathalie Yavonditte and Lisa Larson Murphy first bonded over an obsession with skincare. As co-workers for one of the world's leading retail companies, they learned what it took to make women feel great about themselves. Devotees of high-end skincare and cosmetic lines, they started to realize that their skincare was hurting them ... literally.


Lisa was diagnosed with sensitive skin and multiple allergens. Worried about toxins in skincare products, she started using clean skincare brands that left her face red and inflamed, leading to frequent visits to dermatologists and allergists. She finally learned — after a solid year of tests and food eliminations — that she had multiple allergies, including nuts, gluten, and chemical preservatives.

Although this information came as a relief, it also made finding the right skincare an incredibly tough task. Almost every clean brand on the market was using nut oils and different forms of wheat in its products. Her first line of defense was to eliminate these ingredients, which was easier in theory than practice. Because Lisa was also allergic to phenoxyethanol, a key preservative found in almost every clean skin care product, the search became more complicated. Frustrated and running out of options, Lisa began to dream of a day when she could make the products she needed for her sensitized skin. In the meantime, she started reading every label on every product and found a few products that would work for her. She also began making a few items on her own to help heal her skin.

At the same time, Nathalie was experiencing strange reactions to her skincare and developed a turbo-charged version of the rosacea she had previously kept in check. She opted to go without skincare products for months, until the dermatologist and allergists were able to confirm her problem: An allergy to parabens. Not just any allergy, but the type that swelled Nathalie's eyes so much that it affected her vision. Needing to make big changes, she decided to strive for a 100% clean lifestyle and eliminate preservatives for herself and her family. She also realized it was time for her and Lisa to create the skincare line they had once hoped to find but couldn't.

Starling is that skincare line.

Here's what sets us apart from other clean beauty brands:

  • We eliminate all "common" allergens from our products. That's right — NO nuts (including peanuts), gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, or shellfish-derived products in our skincare. There's more we exclude, too. Our total allergen exclusion list is at the bottom of this post. We only buy our ingredients from vendors who can confirm there is no risk of cross-contamination. Find us another skincare brand who can back-up that claim. Go ahead, we'll wait ...⏰
  • We eliminate all chemical preservatives from our formulations, including Phenoxyethanol and all parabens. We preserve our products with natural preservation methods that include radish-root extract and grapefruit-seed extract.
  • We use organic ingredients whenever and wherever we can. It's important to us that we are as clean as we can be.
  • We don't use synthetic fragrances ... ever. We use only essential oils to make our deliciously scented products. And we use essential oils in concentrations (less than 1% of formulation) that are tolerable to most people.
  • In an effort to ensure safety, we don't use aluminum or other known toxins in our products. Find our complete exclusion list (it's long) at the end of this post.
  • Every product we develop is formulated to be solution focused. You won't find products in our line that chemically alter your skin (like a peel or anti-aging/lifting products). Our products gently give life to your skin, adding moisture and lots of healthy fatty acids to help plump skin and keep it looking great.
  • Simple formulations are always better for sensitive and allergenic skin. You won't find our ingredient lists massive. Starling always keeps it simple and better for sensitive skin.

At Starling, happy skin is in.

Our allergen exclusions | We never use the following known allergens in any of our formulations: Peanuts, Tree Nuts (Including Shea Butter), Gluten (No Wheat, Rye, Barley or By-Products), Soy, Dairy, Sesame Seed Oil, Avocado Oil.

Our harmful ingredient exclusions | We never use synthetic fragrances, retinyl palmitate, detergents, dyes, drying alcohols, toluene, pore-clogging emollients, mineral oil, ethanol, propylene glycol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones or BPAs, formaldehyde, carcinogens, triclosan, aluminum, phenoxyethanol, hydroquinone, coal-tar derivatives, BHA, BHT, animal byproducts.