Fusing a vegan, eco-friendly ethos with sensuality and a sense of humor, Touch Me is the debut skin care line of artist and entrepreneur Maheen Lemon. Inspired by her insider knowledge of the cosmetics industry and driven by a passion for all-natural, cruelty-free products, Lemon’s body scrubs, body butters and sexual lubricants use organic, chemical-free and preservative-free ingredients you can actually pronounce — and some you can even eat.
We recently had the pleasure of sampling some of Touch Me’s latest body butters, each with its own unique texture and recipe that conjures a completely different vibe. “Dirty Cake” is long-lasting, chocolate-dusted decadence: lather yourself up for slutty cupcake realness, while “Drunk On Absinthe” has a flowery, intoxicating feel like being kissed by the greenest of fairies. To experience these creamy and whipped concoctions yourself, find Touch Me on Etsy and well as in the flesh at the Long Island City Flea, which opens April 9th and will be held every weekend through October.
Check out our interview with this uber-babely former Slut of the Month about her sinspirations and business acumen below.
What initially sparked your idea for a vegan skin care line?
Since we live in such a synthetic and technology-driven world, the obvious reason is because I want to help reconstruct this planet by educating people through my products. We need to learn how to make this planet less unlivable and help others become more aware of air pollution that is caused by factory manufacturing and the amount of chemicals used in products that are damaging to our bodies and our beautiful Earth. This idea was spawned primarily from my experience with skin care and my passion for staying as close to natural as possible. I attended the Aveda Institute in Soho back in 2007, and that is where I acquired most of my skin care knowledge.
Aveda is known to be the “natural” brand — which is certainly true about many of their products — however, they do use chemicals and preservatives. Aside from attending school, I had many years of hands-on training when I worked for companies that were not cruelty-free and use chemicals and preservatives in all their products. I got to see both sides of the skin care industry. The amount of preservatives used in skin care and also hair care products is astonishing and should be criminal. I wanted to piece together all the information I learned over the years and add my magic touch. Aside from manufacturing items that are earth-friendly, I wanted to make it accessible to my vegan friends. There aren’t that many vegan skin care products and sexual products that are on the market. I want to bring the good stuff to the public. When I was younger, I had a collection of aromatherapy and alchemy books that I read over and over again. Back then I didn’t understand why I liked it so much, but now as an adult, it makes more sense.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Many of my ingredients are sourced from various suppliers. I carefully pick the raw materials needed for each of my products. For example, my body sprays have organic vodka that I get imported from Germany which adds a nice clean and long-lasting result. I only use raw materials such as coconut oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and essential oils. Since the products are all made with raw materials, their shelf-life is shorter than an over-the-counter CVS product. Touch Me products last between 3-6 months which is usually the amount of time you use a body scrub or body butter. The edible products have only edible ingredients like sugar flavoring and coconut oil.
All the titles of your products are pretty slutty, from “Silk Sheets” to “Drenched in Black” to “Dirty Cake.” Do you come up with each one based on a scent or a mood you want to set? What’s the process like?
My process is like a kaleidoscope of algorithms and is also a battle between raunchy and sensual. I’ve always been a bit of pervert and my humor definitely breaks boundaries and could be seen as offensive, but I don’t care. That’s why with Touch Me, I just went balls to the wall. Each product is so unique and special that I must set aside time specifically just for each one alone. I never name a product before I make it. Once I make a body butter or a lubricant, I test it out on myself or my husband. I usually wait a day or two before I decide on the name. The smells, looks, and textures are what resonate with me and are usually how I come up with an audaciously sexy name. “Drenched in Black” comes in both men and women’s scents (which are interchangeable because we don’t mess around with categorizing gender scents) and have a black tint which only appears in the shower.
What’s your soundtrack for creation?
Usually late 70’/early 80’s punk rock and hair metal. Sometimes, if the mood is right, I rock out to big band jazz era sounds and the occasional Michael Bublé.
For those who don’t know all the details, what are the health benefits of using your products versus the usual stuff with ingredients no one can pronounce?
The benefits will always exceed the drawbacks when it comes to products with raw materials versus chemical-infused. For one, you won’t get cancer! Big win! Most products with names you cannot pronounce have the word ‘paraben’ at the end of it. That is the chemical preservative that causes cancer and is just not good for your body in general. The factories that manufacture with parabens expose the air to so much pollution, which is why many of the factory workers wear masks on the job. Touch Me products only use up to 5-6 ingredients maximum. And they are all ingredients we know and already use on a regular basis like coconut oil. The edible lubricants only use two ingredients which is far better than store bought lubricants that have been tested on who knows what and with I don’t even know how many unpronounceable chemicals and additives. Touch Me’s philosophy is to love your skin without harming the planet. We are all part of this planet so it’s our job to take care of ourselves and where we live.
As a female entrepreneur, do you have any do’s and don’ts for young ladies just starting out as business bitches?
I should write a book because a paragraph won’t suffice. I’ll make it simple. Here is a breakdown:
Do: Research as much as you can before you start your business. The worst thing you can do is skip a step.
Don’t: Give out too much information too fast. Pace yourself. This is a journey that will start out small and will be a headache and you will get frustrated, but sharing publicly must be in increments.
Do: Hire one loyal and trustworthy person that you can rely on night and day for opinions, ideas, structuring, and launching.
Don’t: Rip off of competition. It is easy to go to another company’s website and adopt an idea or two but it is wrong and is also a crime. Be yourself. Put yourself into your business and it will show in the end. People know a knock-off when they see one. Being original is not easy at all these days, but you can Frankenstein all of your ideas and your inspirations into something that hasn’t been done.
Do: Be honest about everything. Your honesty will turn into loyalty with customers/clients.
Don’t: Let rejection bring you down. Where there is one closed door, there will be five open doors. Walk through them and you might be pleasantly surprised.