New You Chats with Bronze Buffer’s Paige Axel
Posted On May 07, 2015
Meet Paige Axel, a feisty and fabulous Miami-based beauty editor-entrepreneur whose simply sensational invention—the Bronze Buffer—has made streaky self-tans a thing of the past. This indispensible sponge, housed in an adorable handbag package, has become a must for the world’s savviest bronze gods and goddesses. We chat up this busy mom, as she juggles family life, blog posts, and running a successful business.
By: Andrew C. Stone
NEW YOU: Paige, you live in Florida, among the best—and perhaps some of the worst—tans in the world. How much of a social faux pas is it to trot down the street with a streaky self-tan?
PAIGE AXEL: Self-tanning is a year-round affair here in South Florida, but I’d rather see pale, pasty legs than streaky orange ones! It blows my mind when I see a beautiful woman decked out in fabulous clothes and accessories—but I can’t stop staring at her botched tan.
NY: You have a strong beauty editorial background, and are very familiar with what makes a new product successful. When did you realize there was a need for the Bronze Buffer?
PA: I realized there was a need for Bronze Buffer when I had my own self-tan emergency. A few summers ago I was using a gradual self-tanner just about every day. After a few weeks, I looked down and realized I had a horrible ring around the tops of my feet. Being a beauty editor and writer for so many years, I knew there was a place for a product that could fix faux tan faux pas after color has developed.
NY: Walk us through it… How does it work?
PA: When we self-tan, most of us say a little prayer that it will turn out OK. And once color develops, it’s common to have streaks, lines on your wrists, or uneven color on the knees, ankles, and feet—but there’s no need to freak. Simply wet the Bronze Buffer, wring out the excess water, and gently wipe away unwanted color. The sponge’s points were designed to help precisely fix small mistakes, so you don’t wind up taking off too much color. The points also make it easy to get between fingers and toes and since the sponges are reusable, you won’t have to stress about self-tanning for at least a few months.
NY: In what ways is your buffer specifically ideal for its task, versus other sponges?
PA: Bronze Buffer is made of a unique type of foam—with no added ingredients or chemicals—that gently exfoliates unwanted self-tanner. Regular sponges do not have the same effect. There’s another great use for Bronze Buffer: When dry, it easily wipes deodorant marks off of clothing.
NY: We all love to look golden-bronze, yet old-school tans are so dangerous. Why is a self-tanner—plus a bronze buffer on hand—the right idea? And do you have any self-tanning creams you personally prefer?
PA: The only safe tan is a fake tan. Most women go to great lengths to minimize visible signs of aging, and using the sun to get a golden glow totally derails any anti-aging efforts. And let’s not forget that sunbathing is basically like asking for skin cancer. It would be hard to pick one favorite, but I really love a self-tanning spray called Brownberry. It smells amazing and it delivers amazing color every time. For the self-tanning novice, I recommend a tinted mousse, because it’s easy to control and see where you’ve applied it. And nothing beats a professional spray tan—but just make sure to do a test-run if it’s for a special occasion or event to make sure you like the end result.
NY: What are some of the most common pitfalls of self tanner application, and how does Bronze Buffer help to mitigate the madness?
PA: A few self-tanner pitfalls are streaks and an orange hue. Self-tanner reacts with each of our skin’s pH, so a product that looks amazing on your friend might not look so hot on you. It might take a little trial and error to find the best self-tanner for your skin. Bronze Buffer is basically like insurance for your self-tan, because if you make a mistake or you don’t like the result, you can wipe away unwanted color, instantly.
NY: The Bronze Buffer is available at great spots like Sephora, Beach Bum Tanning, and high-end pharmacies across the country… What was the reaction of these retailers when they saw what you were up to?
PA: Bronze Buffer essentially created a new body-care category, and the response is usually, “This is amazing!” or “I wish I thought of that.” We’ve had great success here in the U.S., and in just few short years, Bronze Buffer has become available in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand as well.
NY: The packaging is super, super cute, too. What’s the thinking there?
PA: When I started working on the design, I knew I wanted something different that would look fabulous on a shelf—and make women want to pick it up. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with handbags, so I think that probably had something to do with in on a subconscious level.
NY: You are a successful journalist-turned entrepreneur… What have been some of the great rewards and challenges of making this career change?
PA: Truth be told, I didn’t change careers, I just started a new one! I’m still a full-time freelancer by day, and I focus on Bronze Buffer at night after my son goes to sleep. My experience as a beauty editor definitely helped me get Bronze Buffer off the ground. After getting pitched thousands of products over the years, I know what it takes for a new product to catch my interest, and it makes it a lot easier to pitch Bronze Buffer to editors. As a result, Bronze Buffer has gotten some amazing press, and it’s been featured in Allure, InStyle, Us Weekly, Self, and Real Simple, as well as a bunch of magazines in the U.K. as well. As for challenges, I am not a salesperson, so that’s one aspect of the business I outsourced early on.
NY: You still keep close tabs on the beauty biz. What’s your own beauty regimen like, and which brands are your go-tos?
PA: I have a daily beauty blog called InsiderBeautyBuzz, so I’m always trying new products. I take my skincare routine very seriously, so my bathroom is filled with devices, tools, and too many bottles and jars to count. But when I find something I love—like SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF or Jouer’s Luminizing Moisture Tint—I’ll stick with it.