If you’ve ever looked at your skincare labels and got spooked by the long, complicated list of ingredients, you’re not alone. Toronto-based chemist and BAO Laboratory founder Julia Bao once felt discouraged by the harsh skincare products on the market until she took matters into her own hands. Turning her scientific background into a successful skincare brand, Julia’s motivation was to use a science-based approach to develop high-quality, natural products designed to help people across the globe by enhancing their skin’s health.  We sat down to learn more about her career journey and the innovative products from BAO Laboratory.

When did you first think of creating your own skincare line?
I thought about creating my own skincare line in late 2016 when I was writing my Ph.D. thesis.

What made you take the big leap from being a chemist to a skincare entrepreneur?
I was trying a lot of different skincare products on myself every day and I developed a very bad rash all over my body because of it. I realized most of the skincare products I was using at the time contained harsh ingredients that didn’t benefit my skin. At that moment I knew I had to do something to fix this problem, so I began researching and developing all-natural, science-based formulas that would be gentle, but effective. 

How do you define success in your business?
To me, having a successful business is being able to help my customers solve their skin problems. 

What are a few brands that you look up to and why?
A brand that I look up to is Johnson Johnson. This is a perfect example of how a personal care brand was able to transform into a healthcare/pharma giant. 

Where would you love to see BAO on the shelf one day?
I’d love to see BAO in the Beauty Boutique section of Shoppers Drugmart one day as it would make BAO easily accessible to everyone.

What do you want BAO Laboratory to look like in the next 5 years?
The essence of BAO Laboratory is to bring a new type of formulation, which focuses on health rather than being just a beauty brand. We are 100% committed and serious about solving problems for our customers. We want to see people recognize us by not only our branding but by our concept of small molecule formulation. Our products can provide a solution to every customer, no matter what skin problems they might be experiencing, so our goal is to see at least one of our products in every household. 

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