#BeautyBoss: Liana & Roxane Pekelharing, Co-Founders of Cleban

Sisters and Cleban Co-Founders, Liana and Roxane Pekelharing.

Sisters and Cleban Co-Founders, Liana and Roxane Pekelharing.

This week’s #BeautyBosses are Liana and Roxane Pekelharing, sisters and Co-Founders of Cleban—a line of wellness products inspired by the magic of the natural world. Using both ancient and modern active ingredients to develop products that are truly transformative, their products are designed in sets that complement each other (like sisters) to restore balance and awaken beauty.

We chatted with the Co-Founders, who shared the fascinating family history behind the brand, beauty and wellness tips, and more:

What inspired the creation of Cleban?

Our dad was diagnosed with skin cancer many years ago. The doctors found alarmingly high levels of aluminum in his bloodstream. We suspect it had something to do with his skin care products, possibly the anti-perspirants or the filler that was used for his teeth. In response, I started making products for him that were powered by plants and purely non-toxic. I made them under the Cleban name in honor of his father’s apothecary. My passion for learning more about skin care formulation and herbalism grew from there. - Liana

How long has the brand been around?

Cleban was originally founded in 1850s Amsterdam as an apothecary owned by our ancestors. We remember it as our grandfather’s shop, a place of community where women would gather for the latest “it” supplement or skin care line. It sadly closed in 2008, and my sister and I promised to one day bring it back to life. It wasn’t until years later when we both found ourselves in the same moment of transition. We knew the stars had aligned and the time was now. We finally launched on the new moon of November 2018.

Tell us more about your line. Do you have a hero product?

We offer sister products designed to work together to achieve the same goal. Powered by duality, our sister sets are comprised of one ingestible and one topical. Your body experiences our potent formulations on multiple levels: from the skin into your bloodstream, to the nervous, lymphatic, and digestive systems. It’s a whole body approach to beauty in honor of the holistic approach of the original apothecary.

It’s tough to choose a hero product as they’re all such workhorses. But if I had to choose, I’d say our Electra Tincture—a botanical extract designed to awaken both mind and body. She was certainly my hero when fighting 12-hour jet lag with two kids. - Roxane

What’s your favorite product from your line?

Electra Mist—our facial mist and sister product to Electra Tincture. She’s just so versatile—from refreshing mist and balancing toner to make-up setter and light perfume. Thanks to her expert level multi-tasking, she’s so easy to use and so hard to live without. 

Where are your products sold?

Primarily on our website, but also in select retailers in the South like Lemon Laine in Nashville and Trellis Beauty in Raleigh.

Electra Mist is an aromatic, invigorating facial mist that moisturizes, nourishes, and refreshes skin.

Electra Mist is an aromatic, invigorating facial mist that moisturizes, nourishes, and refreshes skin.

Who inspires you?

Nature will forever be an inspirational teacher. The more we study plants, the more we learn how much of a true and powerful ally they are to our health and wellbeing. We see this with adaptogens—the word “adaptogens” was coined by the notion of being able to adapt in a harsh environment; therefore, it’s not surprising that they naturally grow and thrive in some of the toughest environments found on this planet. We can juxtapose this harsh environment with our bodies in a stress response in which adaptogens help the body adapt and defend against the effects of multiple stressors. - Liana

My sister. She's the formulator of our products and the biggest nerd I know. She's basically part-scientist part-artist. Her attention to detail is borderline maniacal and often leaves me pulling my hair out—but what she creates always leaves me in awe. What inspires me most though, is her determination to find light in times of darkness and her everlasting belief in love. - Roxane

Secret to success?

Always take time to do the things that make your fire brighter. Whatever that looks like—time with loved ones, a sacred space for your creativity, a rendezvous with nature, or just a really good song. This is the sentiment behind our tagline “Nourish your wild beauty.” Discover what it is that feeds your spark and protect it like it’s your greatest asset because very often it is.

Beauty secrets?

  • When applying skin care on your face and neck, take the time and massage your lymphatic system in circular motions. Taking this moment of self-care helps to drain out the toxins within your system, improve blood flow, and reduce puffiness. You don’t need a jade roller or Gua Sha tool for this—you can simply use the tips of your fingers and palms with any product of your choosing like a facial oil or moisturizer. Remember that the skin on your face and neck is very open to suggestion—this means moving in lift enhancing motions.

  • Make sure you are not solely focusing on topical treatments alone- taking the right ingestibles is important to maximize skin benefits in a holistic way. Ingesting ingredients like Gotu Kola, rose and pearl help increase collagen production and skin tone. -Liana

Wellness tip?

We believe in wellness as a gateway to beauty. This often means finding the time to practice self love. For me, this translates to crafting a bath that alleviates any tension or stagnation that I feel in my body. It’s different each time, most of it guided by intuition and mindfulness. It often starts with drawing an epsom salt bath laced with dried herbs and flowers like lavender, rose, and a bit of sage (heart chakra openers). I then like to light a candle and pick out two to three crystals from my crystal cabinet that speak to me the most and lay them on the bathtub edge. I sometimes use a guided meditation, or massage my neck and occipital lobe to release any more tension that my body may be holding. It’s all about creating a loving space for yourself to recharge your power. -Liana

Best advice?

In response to almost every roadblock in life, our dad will sum up his advice with “It’s all part of growing up.” It has the effect of being both reassuring and also a reminder to live your life with the same curiosity, energy, and optimism of a child.

For more information and to purchase, visit cleban.com and follow the brand on Instagram: @cleban1850

[Images courtesy of Cleban]

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Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk