Skincare matters. Just ask any woman trying to maintain a clear, healthy complexion during a humid summer or a bitterly cold winter. That’s why Therese Lasswell feels fortunate to have met Virginia Easterling in 1981. Lasswell was in her mid-20s at the time, and she was impressed by a work acquaintance’s beautiful complexion and flawless makeup.
“She told me that she bought her skin care products from a business called J. Rich Cosmetology,” Lasswell says. “I was thrilled because the business was in the same city (Ypsilanti, Mich.) that I lived in. I called the business and made an appointment for a consultation with Virginia.”
It was the first of many meetings with the licensed cosmetologist, certified nutritional consultant, and aroma therapist who would later go on to found Real Purity with the assistance of her daughter-in-law. But Lasswell didn’t know that in 1981. She had just called Easterling, who also was a registered nurse, licensed esthetician (a person who specializes in skin care and makeup artistry), and trichologist (a person who specializes in hair and scalp care), for guidance on make-up products.
“After I got to know her better and understood how gifted she was, I started to schedule routine facials and purchase other skin care products,” Lasswell says. “(Virginia’s) knowledge of vitamins, herbs, nutrition, and alternative medicine led me to follow her recommendation for a healthier lifestyle. In 1986, when Virginia launched Real Purity, I began using the full product line — skin care, hair care, makeup, and deodorant.”
Now 56 and still living in Ypsilanti, Lasswell has no regrets. While her skincare needs have changed over the years, she continues to use Real Purity products because they are natural, organic, and “the results are amazing.”
Virginia’s daughter-in-law, Karen Prain Easterling, worked with Virginia at her skin care clinic in Ypsilanti when Virginia was starting Real Purity. When Virginia Easterling died in 1995, Karen Easterling took over the company with her husband, Rich Easterling, a naturopathic doctor who has a Ph.D. in nutritional science. Now headquartered in Evansville, the family owned company that is in its fourth generation produces all natural and organic skincare, cosmetics, hair care, and body care products in two labs in California and Michigan.
Rich and Karen Easterling moved to Evansville because Rich’s son, Rich, and grandsons, Zachary (who now works at the company and is the fourth generation of the family business) and Joshua, who is a senior at North Posey High School, live here.
“We wanted to be closer to family, and we wanted them to be able to learn the business so they could take it over,” Karen Easterling says.
The 5720 Vogel Road, Suite B, location between Burkhardt and N. Green River roads serves as the company’s global shipping point. Yet local customers are welcome to ask for samples of lipstick, lip gloss, blush, eye shadow, toothpaste, shampoo, and more. Most of the company’s sales, however, are done online and by phone.
Lasswell, for instance, usually places phone orders every three months. She’s been using Real Purity products for 27 years and, while new products have been added and formulas have been changed, “the quality has always been great.”
The company refuses to test products on animals. Real Purity says its products are created with naturally occurring, high-quality components. Its products are “wild crafted, as opposed to using chemicals manufactured in a lab.”
“This means herbs and plants that have been pulled from the ground or harvested from the ground without actually being planted by someone,” Karen Easterling says.
The company also uses botanical, plant, and earth pigments as opposed to artificial colors and dyes. And all products are made in the United States.
The company’s philosophy is based on Virginia’s concerns about chemicals and their long-term, negative impact on the body and the Earth, Karen Easterling, who also is a licensed cosmetologist, says.
“She was a teacher,” Karen Easterling says. “She loved to teach about the skin and hair. She got tired of using chemicals on clients. She loved herbs and essential oils. She would make up specific masks to match her clients’ needs.”
Virginia Easterling also had famous clients, like comedienne Phyllis Diller. She worked on models. In the 1970s, she tested products for Redken, the upscale hair care company.
Medical doctors noted Virginia Easterling’s talents, too. Patients from the University of Michigan Hospital (now the University of Michigan Health System) who had skin and scalp problems were referred to the J. Rich Cosmetology Clinic, which closed when Virginia passed away.
“She was intelligent, passionate about her life’s work, and compassionate,” Lasswell says of Virginia. “She was a teacher, a confidant, and trustworthy. She was a friend to many of her clients, and I am sure that she made each one of us feel like we were her best friend.”
“Mom was a deep thinker who was many years ahead of her time,” says Virginia’s son, Dr. Rich Easterling. “She would be very encouraged as to where we are now as to people’s awareness today as far as what people use to put on and in their body.”
For more information about Real Purity, call 812-473-0800 or visit realpurity.com.