Your answer to healthy skin, when you're not a skincare person 😎 Yeah, get it now!
From Frustration to Spark: The Why Behind Nation Botanics

By Mercedes Pepper

From Frustration to Spark: The Why Behind Nation Botanics

This is the story of frustration and inspiration behind Surf+Slope Revitalizing Serum and Nourishing Moisturizer and how it came to life to make a difference in the world and your skin.  


Cause you deserve healthy glowing skin from an easy all-in-one multitasking duo that adapts to your surf and slope lifestyle. All while knowing it’s from the power plants native to North America - that are grown by local farmers here - and how your purchase has a positive impact beyond your face.


Hey, I’m Mercedes Pepper.

Yup, I’m technically two nouns, but not a spicy luxury car ;)

Instead, I’m on a mission rethinking skincare to create a simplified yet effective plant-powered facial set for surfers, skiers, and snowboarders like us whose faces are exposed to a lot of harsh conditions. While we might not be skincare people, we still deserve an easy all-in-one product that aligns with our values. A skincare duo that’s beyond basic ingredient transparency to let us know where each ingredient is grown and how our purchase directly gives back to our communities and environment! 

Why can’t we have good-looking skin while making a difference?

And this my friend, is what Nation Botanics is all about. Inspired by nature in our backyard, connection, and real social good. Using a unique powerful blend of proven plants and botanical extracts native to North America to revitalize your skin so you don’t have to sacrifice your precious time and money, or compromise your values. 

You’d rather be playing outdoors than spending time thinking about your skin. 

I mean, hey, you revel in when and where your next outdoor journey will be. You seize every opportunity for an adventure whether it’s 5 mins down the road or that last-minute flight deal. You travel light. 

And well, admit it, you like to get dirty, sweaty, and sandy... Where’s the fun otherwise?!

But this doesn’t mean you don’t care about how you look or don’t like nice skincare products.

You want healthy glowing skin, but you’d rather be surfing, skiing, snowboarding, or simply focusing on life’s other priorities and not numerous skincare steps or bottles.


I hear you! And this is how Nation Botanics’ roots began...  

I kept encountering three problems. You’ve likely experienced them too. 

One, what my skin needs changes depending on where I’m at and what I’m doing outside. 

I’ve got a skin type that has mood swings. Sometimes it behaves as normal skin, combination skin, or sensitive skin. And varies from super flaky and dry skin, oily skin with blemishes, red and irritated, to regularly sun-kissed (despite sunscreen). 

My skincare needs change. What it needs daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally changes, especially when I’m skiing or boarding in cold high altitudes vs surfing or diving at warmer sea levels - hopefully, those humid tropical ones too! Yet, I’m not a multiple skincare product gal who's gonna have different bottles for different concerns and seasons. 

Two, I couldn’t easily travel with the skincare routine I was told I needed. 

I tried it. I splurged on a 6+ step skincare routine the skincare industry persuaded me was the only way to take care of my face… I wanted those anti-aging benefits as I started to notice fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, in addition to my changing skincare needs. 

Yet even with all those bottles it couldn’t adjust to my skin’s evolving needs and I was too lazy after a long day to apply the daunting multiple steps. It took up a lot of space and often stayed behind as it wasn’t in easy travel-friendly bottles. Until Heathrow Airport confiscated half my expensive products... Why could there be one product - or a travel skincare duo - with multiple purposes that was like a multi-vitamin for your skin?

Three, there’s a severe lack of transparency in the skincare industry. 

We’re talking about where ingredients are from to what – if any – social impact a brand has. As I tried to find an all-in-one skincare product that also did good I kept noticing this. A luxury farm-to-face brand may show a farm one ingredient is from but what about the other 30+ ingredients? Or try to make you think they’re all grown on their farm with vague and misleading language. I discovered the vast majority of ingredients in our personal care products, even the “native plant” and “locally grown” ones are from abroad. Then, marketing claims state they support this nonprofit, and how they’re helping better the world and environment. But there’s nothing tangible beyond those statements; no real evidence or measurable social impact. 

This disturbed me as my entire career was working to create positive change. To support a better and more equitable world. (I’ll get to that real soon.)

Finding truly transparent, genuinely sustainable, and socially responsible products is f****** hard work! Ohhh, and yeah, that works for your combination skin type, changing skincare needs, can go with you anywhere, and doesn't involve a chunk of your paycheck! This dream one-product didn’t exist.  

So you’re probably wondering where am I going with this...

The idea and ecosystem for Nation Botanics came to me in 2015, yet it wasn’t until 2017 that the entire concept was fully envisioned. 

I know the frustrating skincare scenario all too well. And I saw a way to do things differently in the industry. 

Yet let the idea simmer for years, cause I thought the same thing as what you’re probably thinking… 

“Wait, I’m not a skincare or beauty person!” 

I’ve never been a skincare or product junkie. Come on, I’d regularly dread applying my daily products. I was good at a facial cleanser but daily use of facial creams, hyaluronic acid, eye cream, and sunscreen (guilty!) wasn’t happening. And packing them all, oooh weee what a joy! Plus, I was far from the beauty industry. 

Cause instead, I have over 10 years of experience in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and public sectors working to better our world and alleviate global poverty. 

I had a great career working for some truly incredible organizations making a difference in international development and global health. 

And in that world, central to any program or project is transparency and social impact measurement. Fortunately, my job was to communicate and measure how we’re making a difference and show the data to back it up. 

I was managing multi-million-dollar portfolios for top international development nonprofits which meant communicating to our foundation, corporation, and international government partners basically what we’re doing with their money to drive social change. So, I worked internally across the organizations to find or create ways we could amplify our impact and effectively measure it. Maintaining over 50 relationships annually, I luckily became versed in numerous development topics including community development, environmental sustainability, and financial inclusion of farmers.

This knowledge and my background, paired with my love for problem-solving to improve complex ecosystems, formed my foundation of what true corporate social responsibility is.


Building upon this, Nation Botanics was born.


I yearned for an all-encompassing product that would give me healthy skin while addressing my multiple skin needs - especially when changing climates, surfing, snowboarding, and enduring long-haul flights!!!

I couldn’t get the idea of an all-encompassing multitasking skincare solution out of my head. One product for daily use with a powerful blend of active ingredients - that’d also target things like fine lines and wrinkles - for a super easy skincare routine. 

Plus, the skincare industry’s severe lack of transparency and push for using multiple products irritated me and my skin. Why isn’t there transparent skincare in the world?

So, I gathered my courage, took the plunge, and left my career.

Yeah, you’re probably wondering now what qualifies me as I’m not a skincare person.

Well, as mentioned above, I’ve got a unique background that has given me the skills and knowledge to realize and fulfill Nation Botanics' vision of changing the way we do things in the skincare industry. 

I’ve spent over four years researching plant active ingredients, suppliers, farmers, manufacturers, and the whole ecosystem because you deserve quality, high-performance plant-powered skincare that’s transparent and gives back beyond a product’s lifecycle!


So I’m here rethinking the huge skincare industry to give you your healthiest skin and do good!

There’s nothing better than having someone say, “you have beautiful skin” or “you’re glowing, what are you using?" and watching their disbelief when they learn you aren’t layering on countless expensive bottles. 

I started using my own skincare products (learned how to formulate too!) and comments like these have been an unexpected joy and affirmation of Surf+Slope.

So, ready to help change industry norms, improve livelihoods and our communities, and of course better your skin’s health while you’re at it!?! 

You can be a part of something bigger while improving your skin by carrying the multitasking Surf+Slope Duo with you in your bag, your RV/van, or simply behind your medicine cabinet. 

Real transparency without having to choose between quality skincare or doing good.

Ditch the numerous bottles and overwhelm you feel when it comes to taking care of your face. 

So join our nation - Nation Botanics - to get your healthiest skin in an easy all-in-one duo where you know where your bottle is from, and how your purchase helps make a difference for local farmers and our environment. 

Oh and yeah, Surf+Slope makes your life easier too ;)

Why not give it a try? 



🧡 Mercedes Pepper

Founder | Nation Botanics