Gabriel DeSantino has a natural charisma about him that is undeniable. He also has a long history with natural skincare that began when he was a child living with his grandmother, a naturopath and herbalist, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
DeSantino uses both attributes to promote his company, Gabriel Cosmetics Inc., which was originally begun by his grandmother and named for him in those early years.
Gabriel Cosmetics is based in Redmond, and its products, which include Gabriel Organics skincare products and both the Gabriel and ZuZu natural cosmetic lines, are sold in organic grocery stores around the area, such as and . They are also distributed throughout the US, Canada, and the UK.
“The skincare is ocean-derived,” said DeSantino, who builds on the natural seawater, kelp and seaweed products originated by his grandmother. “Seawater is our number one ingredient.”
DeSantino has built on the line, adding first Gabriel Color in classic contemporary colors, then the bolder ZuZu Luxe cosmetics line. The company also offers hair and skincare products for children and recently added a line of nail polish as well.
“You are what you eat—and what you wear,” DeSantino said. True to that statement, all of the US-manufactured products are veritable vegan delights; they are gluten free, feature natural ingredients and are never tested on animals. Ingredients include such things as St. Johns Wort, grapeseed extract and the pits of ripe olives.
DeSantino moved to the Seattle area with his parents in 1986 and has resided in Bellevue since 1989. Gabriel Cosmetic lines have been actively developed here since 1991, and the Redmond office and distribution center employs between six and 12 people at any given time.
On Friday, DeSantino was stationed in the health and beauty section of the new location in Bellevue, just blocks from his home, giving passersby impromptu makeovers, skincare tips and free Gabriel Organics samples.
“Personally, this is what I enjoy, working with customers,” he said.
DeSantino said he plans to make those connections easier by opening a showroom at his Redmond office to offer seminars and classes directly to customers.