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About Us

Luminance Skincare. Our Philosophy. Our Passion. 
Since 2010

I founded Luminance Skincare a little more than 13 years ago in a very small garage barely large enough for a mini cooper. My time in the first years was divided between my work as an Analog Micro Electronics Engineer, the research stacks at Stanford University learning about skin and skincare, local farmers markets doing ground level market research on the weekends and late nights in my tiny garage lab developing new products. It was more than a little bit lonely. Exhilarating. And fun. Lots of fun!

Now there are 5 of us soon to be 6. Almost 5000 square feet of studio space and over 50 products. And growing. 

I'd like to introduce the wonderful people that I have the honor and privilege of working with. These are the individuals who make Luminance Skincare such a special place to work. These are the individuals who make the products extraordinary. - Kim Emanuel


Image Of Alex An employee of luminance skincare



I hired Alex it seems like yesterday, and in what seems like a blink he has matured into a truly world class master soap maker. Alex is one of the two people I have ever completely trusted to make my soaps, and I can say without equivocation that is a big deal for me. I’m very attached to my soaps. Alex has a tattoo of Frank Zappa’s Mustache on his shoulder. Funny thing about Alex is everyone in the small town of Benicia knows Alex. I constantly run in to someone who knows me because they know Alex works for Luminance. He has made us locally famous.


STEPHANIE torres image for about us page luminance skincare



Stephanie is absolutely brilliant. We hired Stephanie to help me in production since the growing demand was more than I could handle by myself. With blazing speed, she mastered my recipes, methodologies, and philosophy of skin care products. All I can say is “Damn” and then “figures” that Stephanie studied Astrophysics at San Francisco State University. In addition to being more than a double scoot north of brilliant, she loves cats. But not just cats, Stephanie has a deep love and profound respect of all living things. Stephanie sneaks out from time to time to volunteer at animal shelters.

ARI Thomas an employee at luminance skincare



Ari is amazing. Shay hired Ari to help in product filling and shipping. And she has turned out to be so so much more. Ari has a subtle and mischievous sense of humor, and you’ll probably get a sweet note from her in your package. She has dual advanced academic degrees from a Mongolian university, as well as Mills College in Oakland. When the mood strikes her, Ari doubles as a model for our product photos so you’ll see her in our social feeds. Another very, very smart super human addition to our staff. Task by task, Ari has learned or is learning every aspect of Luminance.


JENNIFER toccini photograph jennifer is an employee at luminance skincare



Jennifer is that very rare combination of creative brilliance and technical savvy. Her writing is clear, concise and personal all at the same time. And whenever I have a computer or website issue Jen always seems to be able to arrive at a solution. Effortlessly. 

Jennifer has been interested in skin care from a very early age and her knowledge is extensive :: this leads to the cool new development, Jennifer has just completed her training as an Esthetician and is waiting for a date to take her final exam. After Which she will be setting up her first spa business in a space here at luminance. Very exciting. 




 I don't have a picture of Teresa yet and have not had a chance to write a bio for her. I will do this in the near future. But for now know she is a remarkeble person who has been instrumental in the development of our new site, our emails and our customer service. She is an extraoridinary person who will be working remotely from Hawaii.


KIM emanuel photograph, kim is the owner of luminance skincare



My story is a bit longer with history behind why I started Luminance. After Art School, I worked as a colorist and fabrics pattern designer in the fashion industry. After a few years, I needed a change, so I spent the next decade or so in Los Angeles as an Art Director, Graphic Designer, and Copy Writer in the advertising business. At 36 I was ready for another change, so I returned to university to study Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, I became an Analog Micro Electronics Engineer in the Semiconductor Sector of Silicon Valley. I'm not sure if I’m more artist and writer or more engineer. The truth is, I don't believe there’s much difference between the three; just problem solving, but with very different tool sets.


Everything changed around 11 years ago when my wife Priscilla and I discovered her migraines were triggered by the synthetic and largely toxic ingredients found in almost all commercially available, and many of the so called “hand crafted and natural” skincare products. Specifically and most egregious are the synthetic petrochemical fragrances. These nasties are everywhere. Even “unscented” products have a toxic synthetic fragrance called Masking Scent to cover all the nasty smells of the awful commercial ingredients. Masking Scent is why almost all unscented products smell the same regardless of what’s in them or who makes them. Be suspicious of things that always smell the same.

Initially I explored “natural” products available commercially, those handmade by small companies, and even those made by single individuals. What we found was regardless of claims and declarations of purity was that most products from companies large and small contain harmful synthetic ingredients ranging from synthetic fragrances and preservatives to a wide range of petrochemical derivative oils, synthetic vitamins, nano-particulate metals, paraffin wax emulsifiers, animal part derived gums, and glycerine binders. 

As the synthetic ingredients become less and less expensive, they have become more and more pervasive. The worst part is that many are known carcinogens and remain completely unregulated by the FDA because they are not consumed orally.

We, on the other hand, maintain that if you put it on your skin then you’ve eaten it, you just didn’t have to chew it up and swallow it.


So what started as a pilgrimage to free Priscilla from severe migraines has turned into a passion to create the finest, cleanest skincare products in the world. And now the product line includes deeply moisturizing handmade soaps and skin care products that are safe to use, vegan, and raw. Without any harsh synthetics, toxins, or anything harmful in any way. Every product was formulated and handmade by me.

In the beginning, I was making all the products, shipping online orders, selling both wholesale and in open air markets around the Bay Area and, quite frankly, working myself to extreme exhaustion. I needed help. The success of the business had become my greatest adventure. Priscilla was helping when and where she could, certainly emotionally, but she has a full time career as a University Financial Aid Director. Very committed and very busy.


Now, for the first time in my life, I absolutely love my job. I love coming to work at the studio. I love our company and I absolutely love all the wonderful human beings who make it so special and who make my work day such a complete joy. Every single day when I walk through the studio door I know it’s gonna be special.
So here we are. We are always at your disposal, very easy to get in touch with, and we are always be pleased to hear from you. 

If you have a question, comment, or any concerns, send an email to any of our team members (see our Contact Page), or feel free to reach me directly at my email address: