It wasn’t the stress of party planning that made Julie Rice pass out 5 days before her wedding 6 years ago. She was 33 years old at the time, and her body was trying to tell her something.
“All the doctors thought I was just being a crazy bride,” she told Healthline.
No one suspected Rice actually had multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.
“All of a sudden, I started having weird sensations and tingling feelings, and I couldn’t keep up with the work or multitask like I used to,” Rice said, recalling how she urgently tried to guess at what her symptoms might mean. At one point, she thought it could be Lyme disease.
At the time, Rice was working for a small cosmetics company, and she had a lot on her plate already.
“I was totally stressed out and overworked, but my whole life has been like that — I’m a hard worker!” she said.
Rice went through a series of tests during her night in the ER. It was a neurologist who first detected what was wrong.
“The neurologist called and told me, ‘The MRI of your brain is abnormal and the lesions are indicative of MS,’” she recalled.
Rice couldn’t believe it. She didn’t know what it meant for her future.
“I was sitting there on my hospital bed in shock with a low-battery phone Googling what MS even was,” she said. Rice was grateful that she had her future husband with her to figure out her new normal.
Rice made it to her wedding day and managed to walk down the aisle as planned, but nothing was the same.
Her diagnosis was early stage MS with relatively mild symptoms, and she began treatment right away. Rice has managed her symptoms ever since — but some of the most important aspects of her life have changed.
After 15 years of working in the cosmetics industry, she began to realize how little the beauty industry catered to people with MS or those with sensitive bodies managing other autoimmune disorders.
It was hard for Rice to give up her longtime beauty routine, but she felt like switching over to all-natural products was the best, healthiest decision for her.
“I was hesitant to switch over to natural beauty products, but I had to take it down several notches,” she expressed. “I was wearing a lot of makeup, a full face every day, but I knew I couldn’t keep it up.”
Overall, Rice is grateful that her symptoms aren’t as intense as they could be, but fatigue still has had a major impact on Rice’s daily life.
That’s why she was on the hunt for simple, dual-purpose beauty products that she could slip on in minutes. She didn’t want to mess around with multiple steps or rummage through drawers for different products for each part of her face.
“I couldn’t get a quick, full makeup look with all the moisturizers, mascaras, and concealers I was putting on,” she said. “Plus, having all this on felt like it was weighing me down, and that didn’t make me feel great.”
While she knew she needed to make a change, she also didn’t want to splurge on beauty products that didn’t work as well.
As soon as she got her diagnosis, Rice started shopping at the popular healthy hot spots, like Credo Beauty and Whole Foods.
“Every time I bought something, it was always expensive, and I didn’t like it,” she explained. “I wanted to use things with natural ingredients, but I didn’t want them to feel as if they’re lesser quality.”
Rice’s entrepreneurial solution was to launch her own all-natural beauty brand online, called Inner Beauty Cosmetics.
“It’s called a snowflake disease because it’s different like a fingerprint for everyone — not one size fits all.”
— Selma Blair, diagnosed with MS in 2009
Rice noticed her body was more sensitive than it had been in the past, and this made it challenging to develop and test a beauty line. In fact, her medication ended up getting in the way of production.
“I changed medications a couple of times,” she shared. “We went through 12 different formulas for the mascara because I kept having allergic reactions, and we found out my medication was causing the complications.”
She found that creating beauty products for the eyes was the most difficult part, because some of the product can be absorbed through sensitive skin.
Beyond prioritizing quality, Rice didn’t want to go back to a long and complicated getting-ready process either. She cleverly cut her makeup routine time by more than half with her extra-versatile line.
“It shouldn’t be difficult to make yourself look good,” she pointed out. “Most of my products are multiuse, nothing requires a brush, and everything can be applied with your fingertips.”
According to Rice, she now gets ready in exactly 5 minutes, and she doesn’t skip out on anything either.
“From concealer to my lip balm that doubles as a moisturizing primer, I embrace the no-makeup makeup look and apply everything in 5 minutes,” she excitedly said.
Even for people who love their beauty routine, sometimes beauty has to take a back seat. At the same time, Rice proved to herself that it’s possible to enjoy a natural makeup look without putting in much effort.
Her ultimate mission is bigger: Convince fellow beauty lovers with health conditions that they don’t need to compromise on their beauty routine to feel healthy.
“I don’t even want anyone to know these products are different,” Rice said about her beauty line. She doesn’t want people to think of her products as “alternative.”
Instead, she added, “I’m hoping they become the new standard for beauty.”