Care Options (SCO) is the cutting edge skin care line created by
Theresa Ma who opened her intimate beauty boutique in New York three
years ago at 230 Mulberry St in Nolita.
in Hong Kong, Ma came to the United States at the age of six and
grew up in Connecticut. Her passion for developing her own line
of skin care resulted from her personal experiences as a child of
dealing with severely dry skin and skin allergies. This led to her
obsession for achieving the perfect complexion. Six years ago, with
an excellent layman's knowledge of the ingredients used in skin
care, she began collaborating with three cosmetic chemists to develop
her unisex line of products that she could customize with special
botanical infusions to address specific skin issues in any given
Ma, owner of SCO (Skin Care Options), "cooks" up my own
facial "cocktail" using a pippetter to add bergamot, soy
and three anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E infusions to
the SCO oil free face lotion.
Photo credit: Lia Chang
shares her SCO philosophy for designing the perfect skin care regimen.
don’t do a visual on someone’s complexion," says Ma. "The
day I see you, may not be a good indication of what your skin really
is like. I identify the products based on three questions."
- After you wash your face without putting anything on -- what
does it feel like? If you tell me that it feels very comfortable,
then I know that you are not extremely dry and you are not extremely
Can you walk out of the house without using a moisturizer?
issues do you want to address? Then I recommend the active ingredients
offers eighteen fragrance free products: purifying cleansers, facial
tonics, an antioxidant booster, a clarifying complex, an oil free
conditioning face lotion, conditioning face creams, an eye cream,
a firming eye lift, several masks, an SPF 30 oil free face shield,
body products and her new signature SCO scent.
SCO Skin Care Line.
Photo credit: Lia Chang
I started this line I wanted all of the products to be effective
on their own," relates Ma. "I told the chemists to include
flower acid in all the products. Derived from the hibiscus flower,
it works to retexturize the skin, conditions and acts as a skin
softener. It functions very much like an alpha hydroxy except there
is no stinging, no irritation, and no redness that you would experience
with an alpha-beta hydroxy. Flower acid makes all of the products
very effective on their own."
loved the elegant texture of the oil free face lotion and the SPF
30 oil free face shield. Smooth and transparent, the face shield
is a non-greasy formula which blocks against UVA and UVB rays and
dries to a matte finish. Both are light enough to be worn under
search of the perfect eye cream?
your issue is puffiness, I would put caffeine into the product."
suggests Ma. "Caffeine is a great diuretic when applied topically. It
depuffs and firms up the skin. If you told me your concern was dark
circles, then I would do vitamin K. Whatever your concerns are we
would choose the correct ingredient."
refining face scrub is one of the most popular items in her line.
intense -- it removes all the dirt and debris that sits on your
face. It makes your skin very soft and yet it's very soft because
the beads are made from pressed jojoba oil." Ma enthuses, "People
love this product!"
pharmaceutical grade infusions of natural extracts are displayed
in vials behind the counter. The menu includes algae, aloe vera,
almond, bergamot, caffeine, calendula, chamomile, cucumber, ginkgo
biloba, green tea, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, milk protein,
mushroom, papaya, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, soy, vitamins A,
C and E, vitamin K and willow bark.
assessing my particular skin care needs, she uses a pippetter to
add bergamot (which acts as an antiseptic), soy (for hydrating and
speeding cellular turnover), and three anti-oxidant vitamins A,
C and E to the SCO oil free face lotion creating my facial “cocktail."
Within five minutes, she hands me my custom blend in an amber colored
bottle labeled with my name, the infusions and an expiration date.
newest infusion is Song yi, a Korean mushroom that helps even out
skin tone, gives a glowy look and lightens up hyper pigmentation.
Samples of her products are available at the store and assessing
your skin care needs from three key questions is a process that
can easily take place over the phone. In addition to her shop in
Nolita, SCO products are available through mail order (1-866-966-SCO8),
the Internet at www.scocare.com
and Barney’s NY.