PEORIA – What began as quest for healthier skin turned into a business for Xochitl Stafford, who is opening Succulent Skin Care in Peoria’s Sunbeam Building. 

Xochitl (pronounced “Sochi”) Stafford had always struggled with acne-prone skin, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her first child that she decided to take the bull by the horns. Once she started doing the research, Stafford was horrified by what she learned about the ingredients in most skincare products. 

“There is little to no regulation when it comes to ingredients, especially with fragrance,” said Stafford, 38. “One fragrance can contain up to 3,000 ingredients, and a lot of people don’t know that. And they can disrupt your hormones and wreak havoc on a lot of things in your health, not just your skin.”  

Moxie’s Resale:After tough COVID year, Moxie’s still spotlights vintage fashion at its new location in Peoria

For Stafford, a Trivoli resident who has been selling her all-natural products online and at one-day markets for a couple of years, the shop is a natural progression in an effort to make the business a full-time endeavor. 

Stafford’s first skincare products were made using do-it-yourself recipes found on Etsy. 

“Then from there it just kind of snowballed into me making stuff for my family and friends, and me testing it out, getting feedback from them,” she said. “Then I wanted to start making the products for a wider audience, but before I did that, I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing, so I went to school and got certified in natural skincare formulation.” 

Stafford took online courses with the School of Natural Skin Care, where she learned a lot more about the physiology of skin and the business of making skin care products. She also learned how to create a preservative ecosystem in her products so they would have a longer shelf life. 

“Radish root ferment is a preservative that is going to protect against microbial contamination, and so is sorbic acid, which is sugar cane-based,” said Stafford. 

Stafford’s products range from moisturizing body butters to toners and cleansers, which contain ingredients like mango butter, sweet almond oil, eucalyptus and jojoba oil. She also has products for men, like beard oil, and she’s soon to release a new line for children. Named “Willola,” the line was inspired by her daughters, Willow and Isla.