How a small town in rural California inspired this high-end personal care brand

Chris Salgardo’s skincare journey began around the age of 18, when he encountered obstacles shopping for acne solutions and struggled with his self-image. The products he encountered were aimed at women with delicate pink packaging or sophisticated floral scents. It was in these times that Chris discovered a passion for skincare, beauty and transformation and was eager to start a career in the industry.

He entered the beauty space while living in Los Angeles, becoming a makeup artist at Chanel, then taking on a corporate role with beauty entrepreneur Bobbi Brown. In 2000, he served as vice president of sales and education for Kiehl’s and rose through the corporate ranks to become president of the legacy international brand. With his corporate exit from L’Oreal nearly two decades later, he established the brand as a renowned leader in skincare, opened 86 retail stores and made Kiehl’s one of the world’s biggest success stories. of the world of beauty.

The next step in Chris’ career came unexpectedly at the onset of the pandemic. “I left my life in New York behind and moved up north to the Catskills. I was exhausted and wanted to embrace nature and finish my BA to help manifest what was next in my life and my career,” Salgardo said.

It was during his full-time studies that Chris decided he was ready to add the brand founder to his growing resume. “As a consumer myself and having worked in the industry for over 30 years, it was time to work on my own business. My mind was clear and focused on building a brand dedicated to simplifying, and no to dumbing down, men’s grooming routine,” he said.

Chris has taken his time to curate an edit of high performance, premium quality skincare essentials that have been intentionally designed to make grooming and self-care easier for men. He chose the name ATWATER to honor his father’s hometown of Atwater – a small town in central California – and was further inspired by his love for beauty, adventure sports and glowing skin. and healthy.

“ATWATER has been guided by a lifetime of trial and error. From texture to design, every touchpoint of the brand has been infused with decades of invaluable knowledge from my tenure at the world’s most successful beauty companies,” said Salgardo.

The bootstrapped brand debuted in August 2022 at select Nordstrom stores in the United States as well as on and the brand’s own site, The ATWATER philosophy emphasizes the importance of not overloading the skin with unnecessary products or steps and is fast becoming the most trusted name in grooming.

The collection is clean, vegan and cruelty-free. It consists of a series of collections ordered by skin type and regimen – Skin Armor, Heavy Armor, Oil Regulator, Smooth Target and Clean Impact: Oil Regulator Facial Moisturizer ($35), Skin Armor Facial Moisturizer (35 $), Eye Moisturizer ($29). ), Facial Scrub ($25), Oil Regulator Facial Cleansing Bar ($18), Heavy Armor Facial Cleansing Bar ($18), Shaving Cream ($18), and Clean Impact Body Cleansing Bar ($17)

“I formulated each product with intention and avoided harsh, abrasive treatments that compromise skin health. brighter and healthier through a consistent daily regimen – a routine that will last a lifetime,” said Salgardo.

Top Atwater Attractions

Live like Chris Salgardo when he was growing up as you explore the best that Atwater has to offer:

Castle Air Museum – Castle Air Museum is an experience that focuses on the evolution of aircraft and past aviation milestones.

Rancho Del Rey Golf Course – A semi-private 18-hole, par 72 golf course, Rancho features a driving range and two practice greens.

Atwater Flea & Farmers Market – 200 vendors flock to this market selling everything from produce to artwork to antiques.

Corbin Cash Spirits & Distillery – Soak up sweet potato vodka, rye whiskey, blended whiskey, dry gin and sweet potato liqueur at this family-run distillery on a nearly century-old farmhouse.

Jantz Cafe & Bakery – A family run bakery that has a following for its ‘from scratch’ philosophy. Breakfast, lunch, pies and pastries are MUSTs.

About Thomas Hereford

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