Julie Bowen played a devoted mother on Modern Family, which closely mirrors her role in real life. Bowen is the mother to three teenage boys, and she’s looking out for the best interest, even when it comes to skin care. After commiserating about their sons’ scents, Bowen and Jill Biren decided to collaborate in the name of helping boys take better care of themselves.
The teenage boy, and even men, are oft forgotten in the skin-care space, but not on Bowen and Biren’s watch. They’re determined to get more boys on board with skin care and wellness by making the process simple, uncomplicated, effective and inviting. JB SKRUB aims to encourage a sense of ownership over boys’ hygiene while instilling confidence in their routines, says the brand. The line features The Body Wash ($20), The Body Spray ($20), The Face Lotion ($18), The Face Wash ($16) and The Toner Pads ($20).
While many celebrities have been getting into skin care as of late, the teen boy demographic is a stone we’ve seen largely left unturned. Thankfully for moms everywhere, Bowen and Biren have stepped in, and we think it’ll make classrooms and bedrooms smell better throughout the country. We talked to Bowen about what inspired her (hint: it’s the smell of her sons) and what she wants for the brand.
There’s obviously a white space in skin care for tween boys, which we know is likely when they need it the most. What made you confident you were the team to take this on?
“Have you smelled our boys? Well, of course you haven’t, but if you had… you’d fully understand why Jill and I are pretty confident that we’re the right people to take this one. We’ve lived this, we’re currently living the ‘evolution of smell’ into the pre-teen/teen years, and we’re ready to help ourselves and parents everywhere introduce a simple ‘get clean’ routine to their kids. By the way, that includes all kids who want a no-fuss routine. JB SKRUB was inspired by our boys, but it is absolutely designed to be used by any kid, no matter how they identify.”
The way girls and boys are brought up surrounding hygiene, self-care and wellness is so different. How do you hope these products help shift that and how can we work to shift that in general?
“When our babies are born, we choose their skin care. It’s not about boy or girl. We consider their skin sensitivity and pay close attention to the products we buy. Once our kids get older, they have an opinion on everything! Sneakers, food, music—EVERYTHING. When it comes to self-care, they develop their own preferences based on scent, packaging, and what their friends talk about.
The beauty industry starts marketing to girls at an early age. As for the majority of boys, the issue isn’t that they are dirty. The issue is that no brand is directly speaking to them, and they don’t know how to get clean! My own dad said, ‘Hand ‘em a bar of soap!’ I get where he’s coming from, but the reality is when a 10-year-old kid closes the door to the bathroom, he is looking at way more than a bar of soap.
JB SKRUB is straightforward. It can be really overwhelming when you’re looking at a row of bottles that have barely legible instructions on the back. With JB SKRUB, we want to empower these kids to feel ownership over their own hygiene and develop good habits for life. We hope that our fun packaging and easy-to-use instructions make them WANT to get clean.”
Do your kids have a favorite product from the line?
“Well, they use all of them, but the Face Pads are the biggest slam dunk right now. In the past, they had tried toner pads from the drugstore. Their skin wasn’t quite ready for salicylic acid, as it can be a bit harsh and drying. JB SKRUB uses succinic acid in our toner pads which is much more gentle and kills acne-causing bacteria. The chia seed prebiotic and niacinamide also help protect their natural skin biome. Those little white, pre-acne bumps kids get around 11 or 12? My kids were thrilled to see them disappear after they regularly used the face pads— a true game-changer.”
Have you always been interested in skin care, or was there something about this project specifically that made you want to get into the industry?
“When I was my kids’ age, I thought I had to strip the hell out of my skin with Sea Breeze and suffer through the ‘greasy stage’ of adolescence. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned from experience that proper skin care is a confidence game-changer. I had professional makeup artists and skin-care specialists giving me six-step morning and evening routines, and I loved it! However, seeing my boys emerge from the bathroom looking damp but still dirty was frustrating.
After a certain age, they didn’t want their mom in the bathroom with them, but what were they doing in there? They were not ready or willing to embrace some sea-kelp mask of mine, and they were definitely past a fruity-smelling body wash with unicorns on it. I didn’t see any skin care out there that met kids like mine where they were: wanting to be independent but not really knowing what to do once the bathroom door closed.
I’d been approached to partner with skin-care lines a few times, but I wanted to do something that was important to me and not just slap my name on a brand. When Jill and I got to talking at a birthday party about solutions for our kids, it all clicked—this is something I can get behind!”
What are some of your favorite skin-care products for yourselves?
“The face lotion. It’s one item in our launch line that I definitely steal for myself. It’s incredibly gentle and still moisturizing. The best part is how it absorbs fast. (Kids HATE greasy feeling stuff on their faces, and if it feels gross, they won’t use it.) The ingredient list reads like a who’s who of my own bathroom cabinet. Niacinamide, squalane, willow herb…these are legit ingredients also found in the pricey face creams I’ve been buying for years. JB SKRUB is not just cute packaging—it’s the real deal.”
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