Beauty line “Surreal SkinCare” is bringing an edgy and creative approach to the natural skincare market. Located in the heart of Manhattan, Surreal Skincare’s products deliver highly effective formulas for acne and aging skin. Founded by surrealist and physicist Miss Morgan Lang, who forges her skincare with both science and art and strives for results-based formulations. Surreal Skincare is created with all-star ingredients and botanical compounds Miss Morgan extracts herself directly out of raw plant material she ethically sources from around the world.
We sat down with Morgan to discuss the challenges she’s faced being a trans-owned business and the launching of her latest product JADED. Visit Surreal Skincare online here.
1) Surreal Skincare is a uniquely edgy NYC based brand and we’re loving it. What sparked the idea to launch your company and what was your biggest challenge in doing so?
Thanks! I’m an artist, a creator, a maker, a witch a mad scientist! I’ve always loved chemistry and actually graduated with a degree in Physics from Cornell but never dreamed I would ever become so passionate about formulating skincare. My obsession with extracting botanical compounds directly from raw, plant material is really what got me into formulating skincare. It allowed me to use high levels of potent, natural ingredients in all my products and blend them with a level of creativity that not only got my mind emotionally erect, but also changed people skin in a short amount of time. My biggest challenge is having the time to learn and do everything!
2) You just launched your popular new finishing balm ‘JADED’. Can you tell us more about what inspired the ingredients for JADED and what made you decide to feature it ahead of the holidays?
I wanted to replace my entire routine with just one product that had every badass ingredient I could think of in it. There were definitely challenges with solubility as well as texture because I didn’t want to make another cream or serum, it had to be completely unique! JADED has certainly gone through a few iterations in the Experiment Lab but I knew it was finalized when I had used it non-stop for 2 months straight and hadn’t touched most of my other products. The most powerful component of JADED is my boswellic acid extraction I pull out of raw frankincense carterii tears. Most formulators only work with frankincense oil but it’s the resin that contains the most beneficial stuff for the skin and I pour it in like its going out of style! Every single ingredient in JADED has a purpose in there and while I could geek out on all the awesome stuff happening on the molecular scale, most people will just tell you that JADED has the most intoxicating scent and makes their skin feel and look 20 years younger.
3) What are some of the challenges you face being a trans-owned business owner and what advice would you give to aspiring trans or queer entrepreneurs?
I had been out for 4 or 5 years before I started Surreal Skincare so I was fairly comfortable in my own skin and was able to convey my unapologetic and authentic self on social media and in real life. Never hide who you are and never underestimate the level of support you’ll get from the most unexpected places. Don’t forget that while some people are awful…most people are kind, understanding souls that are probably going to treat you the same way you treat them.
4) Your Instagram is filled with videos of you making your products as well as glimpses of the ingredients used. What inspires you to deliver a transparent, hands on scope into how you make your products and how do you feel your customers respond to it?
Yes, I’m very transparent and authentic with my skincare creation process which I think is a big reason Surreal Skincare has become so cult-like with so many people, they feel like they’re right there next to me as it all happens. People feel like they’re a part of it. I show my ingredient sheets and how much I add to formulas…I show pretty much everything except the actual ratios and quantities. Almost every other skincare company out there contracts a 3rd party lab to make their formulations and all they have to show customers is the final product bottle pictured in fancy, ideal settings. Skincare companies constantly post pictures of beautiful, smiling women holding up some random bottle with ‘whatever’ inside of it. It says absolutely nothing about the product or the brand. The only thing I absolutely knew is that I didn’t want to ever be that boring or that hollow. I also think people like my taste in music and would rather hear music in my videos than me blathering on and on and waxing poetic about all the great things it will do for your skin. 🤩
5) You include an ‘experiment lab’ on your website for fans and followers to try new products. You then take their reviews and feedback into consideration before formally launching the products as part of your skincare line. Do you find this method to be especially effective in deciding which products to feature and do you feel it would benefit other companies to employ this method? What are some of the downsides?
People like the Experiment Lab because it pulls their opinion into the process and lets them feel like they have a say in the final product. It also lets me gauge the interest in a product before I put a ton of time and energy into it. I’m always creating, learning, testing and experimenting and I’m not afraid to let my customers see me make non-perfect products; so the Experiment Lab works great because it gives me an outlet. I don’t think it would work as well for companies who aren’t quite as transparent or who don’t have as forgiving and die-hard of a customer base. When a product graduates from the Experiment Lab most people are already familiar with it and I rarely have to talk it up to get people excited about buying it. The only real downside to the Experiment Lab is that people sometimes get upset with me because the experiments don’t come wrapped in art. Not so bad of a problem!
6) Each and every Surreal Skincare product is wrapped in your very own artwork. What made you decide to include your artwork as part of your packaging?
I didn’t mean to, it just kind of happened. I was a full-time, independent artist a few years before Surreal Skincare and had invested in a pretty high-end, large-format, giclée printer that I used to reproduce my more popular art pieces with…and had a ton of blank rolls of canvas lying around. One day I wrapped a scrap of canvas around a bottle of skincare and taped it closed…one idea led to another and before I knew it I was printing out sheets of my art, cutting them up with a razor blade and using the product label to wrap it tight around the bottle. The string to rip the label off came a bit later and now I can’t imagine the packaging any other way! It’s definitely more expensive (and time consuming) to wrap canvas art prints around the bottle instead of a box….but it makes people so happy to get art with their skincare that its worth it!
7) Do you have any recommendations for combinations of products that would make an excellent holiday gift this year?
Absolutely! If you or somebody you know is at war with acne right now, take a look at either the Acne Arsenal or the Acne Arsenal Advanced Guide. Those are full routine/bundles that comes with easy instructions on how to use and will clear up most people’s acne within 1-4 months with daily, dedicated use. If you’re trying to get a handle on aging skin, take look at any one of our anti-aging bundle/routines The Beginner’s Guide to Cheating Death and/or The Advanced Guide To Cheating Death.
Also, I’ve recently turned my personal routine into a bundle called The Simpleton’s Guide to Eternal Youth, it contains Kieran’s Exfoliating Cleanser, WaWa Watrmln Moisturizing Serum and JADED Finishing Balm which in my opinion is the best product I make.
Also, I love it when people send me pictures of their skin…I view it as a personal challenge to help tackle their concerns! Feel free to DM me on Instagram @surrealskincare