DOCTOR ROGERS RESTORE $72
How this Seattle-based dermatologist turned an old-school ointment into a hypoallergenic, plant-derived hero.
Written By JAYME CYK
In this series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to Dr. Heather Rogers, the Seattle-based dermatologist and founder of Doctor Rogers Restore.
Dr. Heather Rogers is a problem solver. But more specifically, she conquers skin issues, sometimes in 20 minutes, flat. “Dermatology was the first area of medicine where I felt you could solve a problem quickly,” she says. “I can identify it; I can give you medicine that's going to clear up your acne, or I can cut out that skin cancer. Seeing what my patients were up against and seeing the improvement against it was really exciting to me during my dermatology rotation while in school.”
The Columbia University-educated dermatologist never expected to create a skin care line, but lo and behold, in 2015 she unveiled Restore Healing Balm, a multi-purpose ointment that alleviates irritation, eczema, cuts, burns, scrapes, you name it. The everyday essential was inspired by a dermatologist industry standard: petroleum-based Aquaphor balm, which she saw two types of reactions from, that got her thinking of alternatives. The first problem was lanolin, a common irritant. Her patients also didn’t like the idea of using plain petroleum because of its environmental implications—and because they thought it was, simply, “gross.” Another issue she encountered was that her patients would go to Whole Foods or Pharmaca and get a healing balm filled with essential oils and other ingredients that would then irritate their scars. “We would do all this work with lasers to make the injury prettier and then whatever was getting put on top was moving us backward,” says the Seattle-based doctor. “That, to me, was a very concrete issue."
For her second product, Dr. Rogers took the same approach as with the Healing Balm. She had a similar struggle with Cetaphil. “It feels like spit, it doesn't take off your makeup, and it has parabens in it,” says Dr. Rogers. “That's what made me make the cleanser. Essentially, my whole concept is simply to be your sure thing. So you go and you get a procedure done or try a new face cream or new makeup and if it irritates your skin, my products will get you back to where you want to be.”
Down the line, Dr. Rogers is looking to create more essentials that you’ll always go back to. “The hardest part is finding ingredients that meet all of the criteria,” she explains. “It has to be beneficial. But then it also has to be plant-based. It's very labor intensive to be true to your message because people, in general, have a lot of skepticism.”
Ultimately, the beauty industry is an entirely new journey for Dr. Rogers. “I love my fellow female doctors,” she says. "I love physicians in general. But I’ve been in this community of MDs for so long. When I got into the world of beauty, I met people, women in particular, from all walks of life who are really inspiring. The willingness to help each other, the fascinating stories, and just that impressive intelligence and creativity is really wonderful.”
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
Dark and quiet. It was designed for cozying up.
We have a king size heirloom bed, which was a big investment at the time. My husband is a terrible sleeper and I'm a really good sleeper. I'm a white and black, and gray girl, so the vibe is very calm. I also love 100% cotton, high-thread sheets and lots of very soft pillows. I can be asleep in 30 seconds. I just need to sleep more.
I’m up at 5:00 a.m.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
I used to take a lot of pride in my ability to function on little sleep. I'm realizing as I get older that this is short-sighted. I should be getting seven hours of sleep a day.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
On my bedside table, I have a retinol product, which rotates. I like to put retinol on my arms and the backs of my hands before I go to sleep at night because it helps with cell turnover and keeps you from getting crepey, wrinkly skin. I like to treat every part of my body like I do my face. Then I put a moisturizer on top of the retinol and apply my Restore Healing Balm around my lips, eyes, and fingers because I have very dry skin.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
I get up at 5 a.m and I usually go to my office and I drink a cup of tea. My husband gets up an hour after me and he makes us coffee. I always eat breakfast. I'm somebody who gets hangry, so I typically make a big smoothie for the family and take that with me.
If I can, I do 20 to 30-minutes on my Peloton. I try to do it at least three days a week. But if there is a crisis going on it's the first thing that doesn't happen.
What is your morning skincare regimen?
I get up and put out some fires and then come back to the bedroom and I splash my face with water. Then I use a vitamin C serum. My favorite is from a company called Skin Better. It doesn't feel greasy and it has really good data on protecting skin from pollution and the sun. After that, I do an eye cream and that alternates depending on whether or not I'm fighting dark circles or puffiness, or both. Then I put on a moisturizer and on top, I apply Dermaquest Zinc Sheer SPF 30. It has a tint, which makes the skin a little bit more even toned.
What makeup products do you use on a daily basis?
I put some concealer around my eyes. I'm a big fan of the Chantecaille Camouflage Stylo Concealer. Then I put on mascara and blush. I don’t leave the house without mascara. Right now I’m using Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill. Also, I love the Jillian Dempsey Lid Tints. I feel like they look good even if you have older eyelids.
Honestly, it’s usually quite dirty! I am a slave to dry shampoo.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
To help me sleep at night, I have taken to making a to-do list on a legal pad. So that's the first thing I read so I know what has to happen before I go to work. I find if I get up and I look at social media or if I look at my email then that can take a half hour of my time. Making that list helps me check out and be present for my kids and my husband.
All of it. I leave the house by 7:15 a.m. I drop off the kids by 7:30 and then my first patient is at 8 a.m.