Mother-daughter power team Marci and Kristi Lopez are obsessed with natural skincare. With diverse backgrounds in beauty and fitness, it's only natural that the duo would combine forces to create a company dedicated to health and wellness. They launched Toots Skin Savants in early 2013, introducing a collection of pure handmade serums and scrubs to Southern California. A nod to their extensive knowledge of the body's largest organ, the name sticks, as does their core belief that beauty is not just skin deep. If you care to disagree, Kristi might just kick your ass, given that she's a newly turned professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
Marci, 55, raised her one and only daughter in a Quartz Hill household of five men, all of whom boxed. The active crew maintained a healthy, holistic lifestyle throughout the years, largely thanks to mom and dad's athleticism and mom's healing hands. Influenced by the paths carved by her family, Kristi, now 31, swam during her early years, scored a water polo scholarship, then went on to become an Aesthetic Nurse and a pro in the ring. The family spent their summers barbecuing in Huntington Beach, where Marci's uncle owned a Shell gas station some 45 years ago. Little did the Lopez ladies know, they would return to Surf City years later to showcase their skills and spunk.
During her years as a professional makeup artist and licensed esthetician, Marci met many products cowering beneath her towering beauty bar. She wanted a product made with safe, natural, cruelty-free ingredients, and her search ended when she decided to make her own. Of course, two skin experts are better than one, and Kristi's experience in skin treatments helped add the "s" to the tail of "savant." The cutesy term "toots" is Kristi's nickname, given to her by mama Marci. "We've always done it," Marci says of "making up potions and creations for people." These women are true wizards of chemistry and ingredients from the earth.
"The reason why we launched the business is because we both are very natural people," explains Marci. "Even though we're in the beauty industry, we honestly feel that true beauty comes from within first, that who you are, your heart makes you beautiful. But being women, you want to feel good about yourself. And it's not about the makeup you wear, the clothes you wear or anything like that. How you feel is how you see your beauty. The best way to be beautiful is to feel good about yourself, be healthy, happy. It starts from the inside. What you do can help."
The two got to work in their Quartz Hill lab, dreaming up and concocting unique combinations of soothing tonics for various skin conditions from scratch. When sourcing their healing ingredients, they opt for local and organic first. Essential oils, botanical oils, certified organic salts, chamomile, lemongrass, cucumber, jasmine, sandalwood and rose are just a few of the ingredients mixed into their aromatic body and foot polishes, butter bars, balms, serums and oils. Names like "Cali-Rican," "Hollywood Zombie" and "Nice Stache" beckon curious eyes, but the smells and instant effects are what seal the deal for "tootsies," or fans of the pungent line.
Kristi is the nose of the company, according to Marci. If a sniff is met with a wave of the hand, it's back to the garden. In between her two full-time jobs and surf breaks, Kristi also designs the product labels—bringing the jars, bottles and tins to life. Many Toots products were born as cures for ailments of the makers as well as their friends and fans, and tootsies can even customize their very own body polishes or have one whipped up for a friend.
Bestselling body polishes include Platinum Knuckles, Two Karats and Running Barefoot thru the Park, and Bye Bye Bumps along with Lean Bean Coffee Bean will smooth dreaded cellulite patches with a few fierce massages. For ladies and gents with lumpy backsides, Marci says the key is breaking up the bumps. "You just really gotta rub your dupa," she advises, noting a couple of her favorite products: the versatile hair and facial serums.
While Marci still resides in Quartz Hill and Kristi now calls Playa del Rey home, their hearts belong to HB. Aside from their website, the only other place to score their products is at the monthly Pier Plaza Art-A-Faire at the HB Pier. Says Marci, "We have a product that people really have to sample," adding, "Once they try it, everybody falls in love with it."
On the heels of their booming holiday season, the pair took a brief hiatus while Kristi trained at Kings MMA in HB for her first pro fight. Now they're ready to get back in the ring—the spa in a jar type of ring, that is. Kristi continues to train at Kings three days a week, and the duo should be setting up shop at Pier Plaza come spring. "I grew up going there," says Marci of HB. "I feel like I'm coming home when we do the festivals."
With a mission to create beautiful products for beautiful people, Marci and Kristi aim to continue serving and educating the community by emphasizing one life lesson: health first. Says Marci, "I want to cure everybody's owie."
Handmade soaps are next on the agenda, and one day Toots and its two starring tootsies will offer their salty scrubs and creamy body butter under the roof of their very own shop. We can only hope their brick and mortar opens here in HB, here in their hearts.