Introducing Marina Turso: The Creative Genius Behind Erasa's Skincare Marvels

Introducing Marina Turso: The Creative Genius Behind Erasa's Skincare Marvels

At Erasa, our products transcend mere formulations; they embody the brilliance and dedication of our team. Today, we turn the spotlight on Marina Turso, the powerhouse driving our exceptional skincare innovations. Marina's journey is nothing short of inspiring, and we're thrilled to delve into her background, insights, and invaluable contributions to Erasa.

Marina's academic journey—from earning a BA in Film Studies & Italian Studies at Muhlenberg College to attaining an MS in Cosmetic Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University—reflects her diverse interests and unwavering dedication. Her passion for cosmetics, nurtured by her love for cooking and baking, led her to follow in her father's footsteps into the world of skincare chemistry. Over her thirteen-year tenure at Grant Industries, Marina's ascent from Lab Assistant to Director of R&D Formulation underscores her exceptional talent and expertise. She's been instrumental in spearheading projects with industry giants like Skyler Brand Ventures and mentoring budding chemists through Rutger's School of Pharmacology preceptor program.

At the heart of Marina's journey lies her profound commitment to crafting exceptional skincare solutions. From her early days at BeautyStat to her pivotal role at Erasa, Marina has played a pivotal role in developing groundbreaking products. Her knack for sourcing unique materials and creating truly functional skincare marvels has set Erasa apart in the industry.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Marina's vibrant personality shines through. A New Jersey native with a penchant for adventure, Marina finds joy in exploring new cuisines, spending time with her family, and immersing herself in a good book or cult classic movie.

Check out our conversation with Marina Turso—a visionary, mentor, and driving force behind Erasa's skincare revolution.


Introduction: Could you please share your name and a brief overview of your background?

Marina Turso

BA in Film & Italian Studies (Muhlenberg College)

MS in Cosmetic Science (Fairleigh Dickinson University)

Attended several SCC Courses

What inspired your decision to pursue a career in skincare chemistry?

My Dad! He knew I love to bake and cook so after college he told me to come try this out and I fell in love. I’ve studied hair care and dabbled in color but skincare is my love not just for the activities but also the sensory capabilities.

When you embarked on your journey as a Chemist, did you anticipate collaborating with your father, or did that opportunity arise unexpectedly?

I anticipated him helping me, but I did not know how intimately we’d be working. We actually even each other out quite a lot, we balance each other with our strengths.

Could you walk us through a typical day in the life of a chemist?

Check stability and batches made. Write adjustments, make adjustments. Research new materials. Record notes, update projects, type formula versions. It’s like cooking dinner where you are trying out new meals versus making loved ones that you know come out every time. 

As a mother and professional in the skincare industry, how do you manage to strike a balance between your personal and work life?

Homelife work balance is really important and I’m lucky that the company also greatly supports this as well. When you have a sick kid, you need to run out unexpectedly. I also will come in early, stay late or tackle some paperwork items from home gladly too. I love what I do and don’t feel restricted by having my kids too. Both love coming to the lab with me and learning about mommy’s work.

Have you begun sharing any skincare knowledge to your children? (if so, what?)

Yes! They know the importance of sunscreen – both are incredibly pale. They both also love mommy’s moisturizer and will help me apply or want to apply some themselves on their face or arm or somewhere! My oldest also knows I give skincare as presents to his teachers and he’s very proud that I made them. He’s also helped fill raw materials like coconut oil and shea butter when in the lab. He thinks it’s as cool as digging in the dirt but not as dirty.

Could you offer insights into your approach to formulating skincare products, considering your dual perspective as a chemist and a consumer?

I’m pickier as a consumer because I know many materials and I know some I really like and do not always have their combinations on the market, or a level of use that I prefer – especially for a body product. I often make my own because I can maximize the benefits and I also try hard to minimize additional add materials to make sure every material I’m using as a formulator is functional. As an example, some materials are in blends that have a thickener or another preservative – sometimes you can align these with similar in your formula and sometimes you can’t. Functional also has multiple purposes i.e. actives versus preservatives – both are very important. When formulating, I always want the best combination of being affordable and most efficacious because no one has money to waste.

What challenges have you encountered as a woman in the field of chemistry, and how have you navigated them?

I’m very fortunate to not have this been singled out. Could I say that some male colleagues advanced over myself – potentially but I advanced in a different way. I never see a stumbling block as a strict I’m female and not going to have the opportunity. I put in the work, the research and more often than not I’ve been able to surprise even myself at what I’m capable of achieving. 

Given your expertise, what upcoming trends or ingredients do you believe will shape the future of skincare?

Trends in skincare always focus around moisturization and anti-aging results. I think the biggest trend that needs tackling is the Ozempic face – firming and lifting. There’s a great need for face, decolletage but even more so for body. I think there needs to be a shift for higher priced and more active body products.

What advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to pursue a career in Skincare Chemistry?

Bake or cook. If you don’t have an opportunity to have an internship, then experiment in the kitchen. A lot of cosmetic formulas follow the same basic principles of baking especially the need for specific temperatures and quantities. Take time to learn about the skin – if you can take a class focused on it. Learning about interactions, how the mechanism of tyrosinase or inflammatory response work then it’s helpful to learn how materials can stop them. Be inquisitive and never stop learning.

Lastly, what is the one skincare tip or ingredient everyone should be following or using?
1. Sunscreen. No one uses it enough, including myself. 2. Doing research on your materials outside of social media/marketing. Materials can get bad reputations solely based on marketing campaigns. Example: Vaseline (petrolatum jelly) is one of the most controversial materials due to its origins. Check out the refinement process and what designates a level for cosmetic use versus USP grade (most high-level use in cosmetics is USP grade). However, it is one of the safest products with a 30% use monographed by FDA as a skin protectant. It is an occlusive layer, which is wonderful when you’re protecting your skin from wind burn or dry skin in winter. However, a downside could be that you unintentionally trap dirt or irritants underneath, which could cause an issue. Pediatricians will still recommend Vaseline, Aquaphor & A&D Ointment over any other products to be used on a baby or child. It’s also the main carrier for most pharmaceutical delivery systems.


  • Dylan Skinner said:

    As someone who worked under you Marina, I am extremely thankful for everything you taught me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your guidance. My students and I thank you!

    March 28, 2024

  • Laurie Joseph said:

    Marina is a genius in the lab. Her unique understanding of the art of formulating is unsurpassed. It is in her genes! Her drive to perfection is shown in each of her finished goods! I can’t wait to see her next accomplishment!!

    March 28, 2024

  • George Wolbers said:

    So very proud of your path and accomplishments!

    March 24, 2024

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