Hill Harper actually means it when he says, “Thanks, Obama.”
Before landing the role of Dr. Marcus Andrews on “The Good Doctor,” 52-year-old Harper attended Harvard Law School, where he was classmates with the future commander-in-chief. The two became fast friends, and Obama later appointed Hill to the President’s Cancer Panel.
It was while serving on the panel, giving recommendations to the White House in conjunction with scientists, that Harper first learned about skin care. “I started talking to all of these doctors and they basically educated me that aluminums and sulfates and parabens and all these things affect our health in a negative way,” Harper told Page Six.
After he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2010, Harper — who’s lost multiple family members to cancer — began using only organic oils and lotions, but started thinking about creating an affordable line for those who couldn’t spend so much on clean skin care.
“At Target and Walmart and Walgreens and CVS, it’s hard to find this stuff,” he said.
Every item in both lines contains baobab oil, including the best-selling after-shower hydrating oil spray. Another key ingredient is vitamin D, which Harper said is sorely underestimated by the public. And the products cost between $12 and $14 each — cheaper if shoppers subscribe to monthly refills.
The star takes pride in his company’s accessible prices. “You shouldn’t have to pay $60 or $80 for shampoo. It just doesn’t cost that much,” he explained. “We keep our prices down and our margin is just lower, and I’m OK with that.”
Hill said he hates how the beauty industry manipulates buyers into either paying “astronomical” prices for organic ingredients, or accepting potentially harmful products as an alternative. “What happens with skin care is similar to what happened with cigarettes — they know what they’re doing,” he said. “How dare a company put a pink bottle top and a pink baby on a mineral oil body and sell it to people to put on their children. It should be illegal.”
So, has Barack Obama tried the products he helped inspire? “Not yet,” Harper said with a laugh. “I don’t want it to feel gimmicky. I want people to think, ‘These products are good and they’re good for me, and it might make me look younger because Hill Harper looks young.’”