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The Conversation

I Saved My Sister's Life And Then We Built A Business: This Is Our Story

How close is the bond of sisters? In the case of Sarah and Lauren Murrell, it was truly life-saving and also triggered an award-winning beauty business.

We spoke to Sarah and Lauren to hear more about their inspiring story, and how Lauren’s experience with extremely sensitive skin post-cancer treatment gave rise to the sisters’ plant-based skincare range, By Sarah.


What was the inspiration behind By Sarah?

“By Sarah is more than just a skincare brand; it’s a testament to sisterly love and resilience,” reveals Sarah. “The story began when my sister, Lauren, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. As her stem cell donor, I was able to save Lauren’s life. Then, during Lauren’s recovery, I faced the challenge of finding restorative, suitable skincare to soothe and revitalise my sister’s skin ravaged by cancer treatments. This led me to develop my own formulas and, with this act of sisterly love, skincare By Sarah was born.”

 

 

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A post shared by By Sarah | The skincare brand for stressed, sensitive skin (@bysarahlondon)

Why is a sensitive skin range important for those undergoing cancer treatment?

“Restoring skin resilience can take time, particularly after going through an illness, but there are certainly ways to support recovery,” says Lauren, who understands the difficult process first-hand. “Itchiness, redness, dryness and sensitivity require a different approach to that of many mainstream, conventional skincare brands. At By Sarah we avoid synthetic fragrance, paraffin and essential oils, and nurture the delicate skin microbiome with prebiotics, natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.” These are the exact ingredients that helped Lauren recover her complexion after her own cancer treatment.

What is it like to run a female-founded business as sisters?

“Open and honest communication has been the cornerstone of our success,” states Lauren. “We set clear expectations, regularly check in, and address issues head-on. Our different skills and perspectives have also been a tremendous asset. While I handle the business growth, Sarah excels in the vision and product innovation (she is also currently studying a BSc as a functional medicine academic). Most importantly, we celebrate each other’s successes and support each other through challenges.”

 

 

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A post shared by By Sarah | The skincare brand for stressed, sensitive skin (@bysarahlondon)

Why was building a range for stressed, sensitive skin so important to you?

“By Sarah brings joy and hope to the lives of people struggling with stressed and sensitive skin,” explains Sarah. “Typically overlooked and excluded, buying products for stressed and sensitive skin usually feels difficult, dull and depressing. We are changing this, and making each purchase feel like a pleasure.”

It’s not just about buying skincare either. The sisters are passionate about sharing advice on dealing with sensitive skin too, especially as irritation and flare-prone complexions can be very confusing and overwhelming to try and treat. Here’s Sarah’s favourite piece of advice:

“If you have sensitive skin, avoid the temptation to over-layer the skin with lots of different products, and steer clear of physical exfoliants,” she advises. “Consistency in a gentle, nourishing skincare routine is key. Choose a mild, fragrance-free, non-foaming cleanser, such as our Balancer Cream Cleanser that removes makeup and daily impurities, without disrupting the skin barrier. Replenish cell moisture with a facial mist, such as our prebiotic Reviver Hydrating Mist that provides long-lasting hydration, while supporting the delicate skin microbiome. Finally, lock in moisture with products rich in ceramides, fatty acids and antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental damage.”

What sort of ingredients are important for the range?

“Every product in the By Sarah range is dermatologically-approved for sensitive skin, using only all-natural and nature-identical ingredients,” outlines Sarah. “Those include hydrating prebiotic inulin and pro-vitamin B5 to repair the skin barrier, and soothing German chamomile, squalane, mango butter, apricot and jojoba to reduce redness, soothe, nourish and deeply moisturise.”

Do you see your skincare routines as acts of self-care?

“Skincare isn’t just about finding the right products. It’s about caring for your skin in many ways, all year round,” says Lauren. “Our skin is an incredibly complex organ and it’s our first line of defence against environmental stressors, including UV radiation, pollution, viruses and bacteria. The skin is also our largest detoxification organ and houses various immune cells that detect and respond to infections, helping to protect the body from harmful pathogens. We may not realise it, but our skin deserves far more love and care than we often give it.”

 

 

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A post shared by By Sarah | The skincare brand for stressed, sensitive skin (@bysarahlondon)

Your products are manufactured in the UK – why was this important to you?

“As a certified B Corp with the full range also certified Cruelty Free and registered with The Vegan Society, we want to build a business we’re proud of,” says Lauren. “A business that supports both people and planet. Our skincare provides a reliable and trustworthy solution for sensitive skin while maintaining ethical and sustainable practices.”

What are some of your favourite By Sarah best-sellers?

Sarah: “Our Hero Facial Oil is the first skincare product I developed to help restore Lauren’s stressed, sensitive skin. So it has deep sentimental value. It’s also brilliant. It lends an instant glow and I can’t imagine a day without it!”

Lauren: “Balancer Cream Cleanser is both luxurious and soothing for my sensitive skin. I love our cream cleanser to whisk away daily impurities and makeup, without stripping the skin. It leaves your skin feeling clean, clearer and deeply moisturised.”


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