Like most interviews in our seemingly never-ending pandemic times, this one begins with technical difficulties.
Isabel Lazo is set to call in from Alabama; meanwhile her mother and business partner, Heather Lasrado, is joining from Qatar. When it’s time for us to start, though, only Lazo is present. It seems that Lasrado is having some issues logging on. Moms and computer troubles—some things never change, do they?
In any case, Lasrado does eventually connect to the call, and what results is a charming, sincere, and downright heartwarming discussion. The love and respect that Lazo and Lasrado have for each is infectious; it’s no doubt part of what makes their luxury skincare line,Isa Lazo, so special.
The brand’s goal is to create high-end, clean, and genderless face and body items that are effective and easy to use. Stripping away the pomp and circumstance, Isa Lazo products—from its silky, nourishingBody Oil to its calming, refreshingFacial Toner—focus on the act of taking care of yourself. It’s about the ingredients, which incorporate many natural essential oils, and the experience, which is artful thanks to sleek glass bottles.
The brand was born when the mother-daughter duo were both living in Spain, and has since spanned multiple locations; Lasrado is currently in Qatar, where her husband works in oil and gas; Lazo is currently in Alabama, where she spent most of the pandemic hanging out with her brand parents (“They’re so cool and they’re so fun to hang out with,”), but is soon relocating to California. The strong family ties are felt throughout the company, and are exemplified in the ways that the cofounders speak to and about each other. More below.
What made you want to create Isa Lazo?
Isabel Lazo: It was a natural progression, because we come from a long line of avid gardeners and I’ve always really been interested in plants, but also in beauty routines. My mom was a single mom, so a lot of the time that we spent together would be trying out hair masks; that was our quality time. And when I was nine or 10, I used to make soaps and then go sell them in the neighborhood. We both have a real appreciation for essential oils, so this kind of just naturally happened where I was making these products, and then more people started to get interested—and then it snowballed into the company.
I love how the time that you spent together when you were growing up was surrounding those beauty rituals. Can you talk more about that foundation for your relationship and for what eventually became the business?
Lazo: I’m an only child, and being able to kind of work together has always been natural for my mom and me. A lot of really cherished moments were spent doing a face mask or trying out a hair mask, or we’d watch a movie and paint our nails. That was really something we bonded over. So it’s been really easy working together. And it’s funny: you think of a parent sometimes just in that parent role, but working together now, it’s been really interesting to see a completely different side of my mom—and I think that’s one of my favorite parts about it, actually. Like, “Oh, wow, I never knew you could do this,” or, “You’re so great at this, I had no idea.”
What are some of those things that surprised you about your mom?
Lazo: The first time it happened, we were doing a photo shoot for the products, and my mom just jumped right in there and was helping style things and had all these photography skills. I was like, “Holy smokes, when did you learn how to do all of this?” It’s been a string of those moments since we started.
You might hear this comparison a lot, but I’m getting “Gilmore Girls” associations—that super close mother-daughter relationship that is really more of a friendship.
Lazo: I think that’s the nice thing about being older, too, is you can relate a lot more. We’ve also just been learning a lot; neither of us were in skincare professionally before starting this. I used to be an elementary school teacher and she worked in HR, so it’s been a big learning process.
What do you admire most about your mom?
Lazo: There are so many things. I admire her resilience. She’s always able to make the best of a situation, and she does it with a lot of grace. If I could handle stuff as well as my mom, I would be so happy. She’s so resilient and she’s so positive, and I admire the fact that she always allowed me to dream big. She’s always your biggest cheerleader, but also has really great advice to back it up. She’s actually messaging me now.
[Heather Lasrado joins the call.]
Heather Lasrado: Oh my goodness, another technical difficulty.
We were just talking about what Isabel admires most about you.
Lazo: I was saying I admire your resilience and your positivity.
Lasrado: Thank you.
Lazo: Definitely not your technical skills.
Heather, what do you admire most about Isabel?
Lasrado: Her sense of humor. And her positivity, and her ability to see the best in any situation.
What have you learned from each other?
Lasrado: I won’t say the technical side of things—I haven’t learned that yet. Although I am much handier now with my phone. But Isabel is very creative. When she was growing up, I was the mother who was taking care of things, and she would let me. And now that we’re both in this together and we’re partners, there are a lot of things that she’s taking the reins on. And it’s just been really interesting and actually really gratifying as a parent to see your daughter be a grownup. I feel really honored to be working with her.
Lazo:I feel the same about working with you. I feel like I’ve learned so much about just managing multiple things at the same time, and especially having a sense of responsibility. And being able to see how my mom handled situations and work stress has been really vital.
Where did your interest in essential oils come from?
Lazo:I think our appreciation for essential oils has been hand-in-hand with our appreciation for plants, and also just knowing the power of plants. What I love about essential oils is their versatility. We wanted to create products that were effective for all skin types, and also all ages and genders. So I wanted to make products that would be applicable for my grandmother and just as good for my niece. And I think essential oils are crucial in doing that in a natural way because of their ability to adapt.
What are each of your favorite Isa Lazo products currently?
Lazo:I would say the body scrub. It’s amazing.
Lasrado: What I use every day, twice a day, is the toner and face oil. The face oil—I go into crisis mode when I run out. My husband is using it as well.
It’s a testament to your products that your husband uses them, in terms of what you were saying about wanting them to be for all ages and all genders.
Lazo:We wanted to create products that were also easy to use. I think skincare has become so hyper-focused that it’s become complicated. And if that’s what you’re into, that’s awesome because there’s something on the market for you—but I also feel like there’s something relaxing and nice about having a product that is multifunctional and also easy to use and apply, so that you’re not intimidated.
I know you both love vitruvi, too—what are either of your favorite products?
Lazo: Grove Blend is life-changing. That one’s gorgeous, it’s so beautiful. It’s almost become the signature scent of my house.
Lasrado: The portable Move Diffuser is really nice because I can take it with me from one room to the next. I really appreciate that.
Lazo: In the evening, I like to put Lavender in the Move Diffuser while I’m doing my skincare routine, just to have that nice fragrance in the background and then also before bed. It’s so relaxing.
Aside from skincare and scent, what else do you use to set up your spaces and make you feel truly at home, no matter where you are?
Lasrado: I always have flowers. Everywhere I go, I find the best place to get fresh flowers. That, to me, is just so cheerful.
Lazo: I think for me, my answer pre-COVID probably would have been different. But now, I’ve realized the funny things that make a place feel at home. Obviously, you know, it’s the people you’re with—either your partner or your family or even your pets. But also, there’s this one mug that I really like, and I use it every morning. It’s those small little things that are sometimes born out of routine that give that really nice home feeling.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.