Meet Morgan Lang, a former physicist at Livermore Labs, the architect of 9mmedia, a software design and development company, transgender woman, executive director of ArtRevolution, and now founder and CEO of Surreal Skincare.
Surreal Skincare is not your average enterprise, churning out lotions and potions full of synthetic amalgams ostensibly beneficial for your skin. Instead, Surreal Skincare utilizes natural ingredients designed to nourish, restore, and preserve the skin. Each product undergoes extensive testing prior to being released.
Their newest product is called JADED Finishing Balm, a waxless, waterless cream made of exotic oils and raw African shea and cocoa butter. The neat thing about Surreal Skincare is their products are sustainable, efficacious, and modestly priced, along with the added attraction of access to Morgan Lang, who will aid you in determining what your skin needs.
Devoid of the usual pomp and circumstance of most skincare brands, Surreal Skincare reveals their creative technique on Instagram, allowing clients to observe how their products become reality.
Grit Daily caught up with Morgan Lang to discover just how a physicist and artist turned out to be the CEO of a burgeoning skincare venture.
Who is Morgan Lang? What’s your backstory?
I am a 45-year-old transgender woman with a pretty eclectic past. I grew up swimming and playing water polo in Southern California and somehow ended up as both senior class president and prom king. I studied physics at Cornell University and did the math for the optical components on the National Ignition Facility at Livermore Labs before I started 9mmedia, a software design and development firm I ran for 15 years. I came out to the world shortly after we closed down 9mmedia (when I was about 38) and took about a year off to focus on my transition and figure out what I was going to do with my life. Turns out the universe had some creative plans for my future!
How does someone who is a physicist and artist get into skincare?
I was fascinated by physics because it taught me how everything in the world worked, but it was a bit dry and a career path in physics definitely wasn’t in my cards. I started making art in my early 20’s which turned into a decades long passion that I eventually tried (and failed) to turn into a career. Strangely enough, that failure became the birth of Surreal Skincare.
Even if tons of people love your art, trying to survive as an artist is no joke and I was so broke that I couldn’t even afford drugstore skincare. I was also having issues with my monthly estrogen injections taking a toll on my mood for about a week after the shot…so I thought if I could just take a little bit of estrogen every day thru my skin, I wouldn’t have such raging mood swings. I did quite a bit of research and picked up some estrogen at a compound pharmacy and started making the first version of my estrogen serum!
You founded ArtRevolution a few years back. Why?
I had this crazy idea to help independent artists sell their art without having to deal with the pretentious art industry. The whole concept was kind of like a Pandora for art: people rated art in the system and the A.I. figured out their taste in art and exposed them to more indie artists around the world. If an artist sold something through the platform, they could choose their own commission to pay us. ArtRevolution also allowed artists to create a pop-up art show anywhere they wanted (living room, park, their studio, etc.) and users could see all the indie art shows going on in their area. Art Revolution was all about empowering the independent artist.
It was a really awesome concept that I thought would make the world a bit more of a happier place and I sunk all my money into it along with a bunch of investment cash. Turns out trying to get independent artists onto a digital platform was like herding cats. We ran out of money and crashed the company into the mountain. It hurt real bad and took me a few years to rebound.
You’re a transgender woman living in NYC. In other words, you have first-hand knowledge and experience as both a man and a woman. So, what’s the major difference between men and women?
Lol. Most of the memes are correct.
How and when did you come up with the idea for Surreal SkinCare?
I didn’t intend to start a company when I began making skincare, I was just following my passion at the time. As I started to pour my heart and soul into it, Surreal Skincare became more and more a reflection of the rest of my life, incorporating my art, design, music, and creativity. So, when it started to take off, I just kept doing what I love. I’ve also had a lot of other crazy stuff going on in my life these past few years, namely recovering from multiple, major surgeries….so my mindset has always been to take it slow and easy and not go too fast or try to sell too hard. I think that attitude really resonates with our customers.
You have a new product, called Jaded. What does it do and why should people buy it?
Yes, JADED Finishing Balm just graduated out of our Experiment Lab last month and is now an official Surreal product! I wanted to see what would happen if I combined the best, most powerful, and respected skincare ingredients into one formula that wasn’t your typical cream or serum. JADED has a ton of my Boswellic acid extract and three different strains of Frankincense oils in addition to so much more…I mean, look at this lineup of awesome, organic plant compounds!
Raw Organic Shea Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Prickly Pear Oil, Green Camellia Seed Oil, Kakadu Plum Oil, Boswellic Acid, Blue Cypress Oil, Pomegranate CO2 Absolute, Moringa Oil, Tamanu Oil, Roselle Hibiscus Oil, Frankincense Carterii Oil, Baobab Oil, Bulgarian Lavender Oil, Ximenia Oil, Cannabidiol Distillate, Myrrh Absolute, Cocoa Absolute, Immortelle Absolute, Vanilla Absolute, St. John’s Wort Absolute, and Honeysuckle Absolute.
Does Surreal SkinCare make any products for men?
All of Surreal Skincare’s products work on every type and strain of human skin, no matter the skin type. Men’s skin is a bit more tough and thick than woman’s, but the reality is that most ‘men’s’ skincare works in exactly the same way and requires the same potency. It might smell a bit ‘manlier’ and the marketing words men respond to are very different, but the skincare is the same.
We do make one particular product that is marketed to men, Muff Diver, a beard, skin & hair oil. Muff Diver was designed as an underarm and pubic area deodorant (and still is) but every time I gave it to a man, they would rub it into their beard and/or body and the women would rave at how good they smelled. Muff Diver pretty much sells itself! Men with beards love Muff Diver. And girlfriends and boyfriends of men with beards love Muff Diver. It’s some pretty amazing stuff.
How are you handling the coronavirus situation?
I wear a mask everywhere, try not to touch things or people and don’t go out a whole lot. I thrive when I’m left alone to my own devices, so I’ve really gotten a lot done in the last nine months and I’ve recovered from three different, major surgeries this year, so that really helped keep the FOMO at bay.
I’m also an herbalist and make a lot of my own health tonics and remedies, so my immune system is rock solid. I’m not nearly as worried about catching the virus myself as I am about spreading it to people without a strong immune system.
Looking ahead, what’s next for Miss Morgan Lang?
The future is looking rosy! I feel like my steam has been building and building and now that I’m completely through my medical issues I’m about to unleash a lot of ‘Morgan’ energy onto the world!
Surreal Skincare is about a week away from closing on our new headquarters in the heart of the West Village where we’ll be moving our entire lab and retail operation. We’ll also be offering an entire line of skincare services including a lineup of new and exotic face masks I’ll be making fresh every week.
Overall though, I’m just really excited that so many people are so fiercely in love with so many Surreal Skincare products and I can’t wait to keep innovating and getting better and better at helping people achieve flawless skin.