Our Founder's Story
My name is Jennifer Lugo, founder and formulator here at Verefina. I’d like to share my story with you.
At the age of fourteen, I became very sick and was diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus which was responsible for the Mononucleosis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that I was also diagnosed with. I’d suffered from Hypoglycemia since I was a small child but it wasn’t diagnosed until this time and I wasn’t surprised when the doctors told me it was “off the charts”. On top of all that, I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that caused a very dark depression. After being seen by many doctors and a specialist without any improvement, my wise mother decided it was time to try stepping outside of the conventional box of western medicine.
This was the moment I became empowered to tune into my body and take control of my own health — something that isn’t easy to do at first. (It involved trusting myself and my intuition). During this exploratory time, I was introduced to just about every holistic modality there was, from herbs, homeopathic remedies and whole foods to meditation to energy work to reflexology, to magnet therapy and so on. What I discovered on this journey was that my body responded extremely well to all of this unconventional, sometimes seemingly “weird” stuff! And my body absolutely loved herbs and natural substances...and I began to heal. Not only did my body heal, but my mind became open and I felt connected to myself and others in a very profound way.
Several years later, I became pregnant with my first child. Because of my earlier experience and what I had learned, I approached my pregnancy in an unconventional way as well. I gave birth in the hospital using a midwife and self-hypnosis, and had a very positive experience! My labor was short and comfortable and my baby was healthy and alert! (My birthing experiences with my two younger children were even more wonderful as I chose to give birth at home with a wonderful and experienced midwife.)
Up until this point, I was very educated and selective about what I put inside my body, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third child that I became aware of just how toxic most commercial personal care products are and how negatively they can impact our health. While doing some research for an article I was writing for a magazine, I stumbled across the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. They rate over 70,000 health and beauty products on a hazard scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the most toxic). This data is all based on 3rd party scientific research on ingredients commonly used by manufacturers and their effects on the body. When I looked up the products I had been using on my two children (Johnson’s Baby Lotion and Baby Magic Baby Wash), I was appalled and completely taken by surprise to find that they rated a 7 and an 8 on the scale. Baby products in the red zone? In my naivety I was completely confident that these products designed for babies would be a zero on the scale. I was so very wrong. This was another major turning point for me as my mind was yet opened even more.
When I learned that approximately 60% of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream (this percentage increases dramatically for babies and children) it became very important to me to find products that were truly safe and natural. After extensive research I became very knowledgeable about cosmetic ingredients and could easily spot an ingredient that had no right being in a product. When I couldn’t find safe products – even at health food stores, or online, my mission became to formulate products that were safe and natural without all the extra toxic stuff at the end of the list! So after thousands of hours of research and study I was able to create a line of products I could feel peace of mind using on my children and myself.
It’s a very wonderful and profound thing to look back on my life and see how all the health challenges I faced were a very important part of my journey. I went through all of my health problems and other life experiences for a very specific purpose! It has all given me experience, has opened my mind, and has given me a deep sense of love, compassion, and connection to the human race. It has brought me to where I am today — able to provide others with products that enhance health and provide peace of mind. It’s very satisfying to be able to find my own products on the Cosmetics Database at the very safest end of the hazard scale.
It is my hope that we at Verefina can empower you and equip you with knowledge so you can make educated choices for your own family! (I invite you to follow the informative Verefina Blog!) It is my promise that Verefina products will add value and improve your quality of life if you will invite them into your home! Each product has been crafted with great love — with you and your children in mind!