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Skin care brand founded by Atlanta-native treats skin with science

Francine Porter is admittedly a bit of a Francophile. More than 20 years ago when the Atlanta-native created a line of skin care, she took a decidedly French approach.

Osmotics would use science to create skin care that actually works,  she decided, resulting in skin that looks so great at every age that it doesn't need to be covered by makeup.

"Europe has a much healthier attitude. If your skin is healthy it will look beautiful," said Porter during a recent visit to Atlanta from Denver where she is now based.

Porter's mission to bring innovative cosmeceutical products to market is the foundation on which Osmotics was born. One of the first products, the vitamin C transdermal patch introduced in the mid 1990s, was then considered groundbreaking technology.

Osomotics has since evolved to include a full-range of moisturizers and treatments, but only when Porter feels there is a gap to fill and only when the science is there to help fill it. "We try to stay true to the guiding principles of science and integrity. I don’t bring out a product to add to the skew count. I don't bring it out unless there is a need for it," she said.

Most recently, Porter felt there was a need for Osmotics to venture into color cosmetics. Colour Verite (verite means "truth" or "genuine" in French) takes what you have and enhances it, said Porter. She was tired of seeing women over 50 wearing thick makeup designed to mask their skin.

Porter is sensitive to the skin care needs of all women. Her passion started when she was very young.  "I have always been insane about skin care. As a kid I could never get in the sun. I have always had super sensitive skin. There was nothing I could use," she said.  Her Irish/ French ancestry and red hair often left her as the odd woman out when her friends were in the sun tanning and she was covered up with a hat, she recalled.

She and her husband set out to create a brand that would address important skin concerns but that also had scientific credibility and really worked.Even Colour Verite -- the new color collection --  features some of same ingredients found in the brand's best-selling skin care products.

The Colour Verite discovery kit includes a primer, a facial tint (in three shades with SPF 45), a concealer, a blush in a rosy shade suited to all skin tones and a lip color that enhances the natural tone of lips. The discovery kits come in three shade selections -- light, medium and deep -- and cost $98 for about $200 worth of products.

The products are infused with ingredients that take on the latest skin stressors such as the skin damage that comes from blue light of computers and cell phones, Porter said.

Osmotics is perhaps best known for putting skin-healing copper peptides in their products and the newer Blue Copper 5  Prime collection features triple strength copper peptides well-suited for skin after 40.

Women are confronted with so many options in skincare, they may find the process of choosing just one overwhelming, said Porter. But throwing many different things on your skin is just asking for irritation. Porter developed a simple 4-step system which allows women to streamline their regimen into a five-minute routine that fights the three potential types of skin aging -- intrinsic, environmental and photo.

Today, organic skin care is the trend, and while it can be tough to stay true to a brand that is science-based when everyone is big on organics, Porter said the company continues to let science be the guiding light.

"We let the science guide us and really tried to bring out the very best no matter what it is and we never cut corners on that," she said. While it isn't a huge part of the brand's marketing push, she does let customers know that Osmotics does not use parabens, phthalates, or artificial colors in their products.

"We try to give the consumers the information and let them make their own decision," Porter said. "There is so much craziness out there. If there is anything I ever thought would be bad to put in a product, I wouldn’t use it either," she said.

Porter talks to women all around the country and everyone seems to have one thing about their skin or face they are concerned about, she said. Like the French, Porter is an advocate for keeping it simple. "Your skin works best when you are not using 50 things," she said. Using sunscreen daily and exercising are two of the best beauty treatments there are, she said.

Beauty is a tough business, and Porter attributes Osmotics' longevity to loyal customers who know the products really work. "When we first started, people thought I was insane," she said. "I don’t think they thought we were going to last very long."

More than two decades later, Porter is proving them wrong.

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.