Thursday April 19, 2012 4:17 AM
Chemotherapy badly damaged Linda Joffe’s skin.
She had a double mastectomy, and her skin was frustratingly dry.
What helped dramatically, however, were beauty products made of natural ingredients by a Mennonite family in northwestern Ohio.
“It really made a big difference,” Joffe, said. “People kept commenting on how great I looked.”
In 2008, Joffe, an entrepreneur who lives in Bexley, took over the line. She renamed it Devera Naturals (after her mother, Devera Rose). She enlisted the help of a successful beauty-product executive to tweak some of the original formulas. And she created new products, including a lip scrub for chemo-parched lips and, most recently, a product to help reduce the effects of radiation burn.
“When I started doing research, . . . I was surprised to find out that some of the ingredients in products we use are known carcinogens, some of which have been found in breast-cancer tissue,” Joffe said. “My products are natural.”
You can find Joffe’s line locally at Hope’s Boutique, Over My Head, Celebrate Local, the Hills Market and Better Earth. And after attending a trade show this year for shops that cater to women with cancer, she recently received orders from 10 more stores across the country.
“Women love it,” Joffe said. “I cannot believe the response I am getting.”
Vera Garofalo, manager of Hope’s Boutique, which caters to women with cancer, is a fan.
“First and foremost, I think it’s fabulous, the nature of the ingredients that she uses in these products — completely natural,” Garofalo said. “It really focuses on protecting the skin, rebuilding the cells.”
There are no perfumes, just natural fragrances — which is “huge,” she said, for chemo patients.
Plus, she noted, the line isn’t just for cancer patients.
“A lot of our staff buys it,” she said. “It’s very good.”
Top sellers include the lemon body scrub and face serum, which is Garofalo’s favorite.
“It just helps those wrinkles and really helps the skin around your eyes and the top of your lips,” she said. “I use it in the morning and at night.”
The products range from $2.50 for soap to $40 for “topical Botox.” Joffe donates a portion of the proceeds to help financially disadvantaged women afford wigs, prostheses and more.
“I cannot tell you,” Joffe said, “how great I feel about it.”