Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.
Let’s get something off our chest. Breast cancer is not a topic we enthusiastically discuss – but given that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed, we want to do more than tout #womensupportingwomen.
We’re proud to bring you the female founders – and the genius brands they develop – that strive to enable us to live our healthiest, fullest lives. Our latest discovery elevates breast care from crisis mode to holistic wellness with products that nurture and optimize breast health. Welcome to our world, Complex Creatures.
A Lifetime Of (Un)Learning
Complex Creatures co-founder Tara Elmore was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 despite no family history, which co-founder (and sibling) Lisa Lundy informed me is common; familial genetics represent only 12-15% of breast cancer diagnoses. The remaining 85%, the founders noted, is linked to the science of epigenetics – lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, sleep, stress, fasting and hydration among them) and environment that can cause changes that affect the way our genes work.
Following a triple positive, stage two diagnosis, Tara endured five months of chemo, a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation. Her close-knit family felt powerless: “We could only throw money and luxury at the problem to make it less horrific but realized there is nothing out there.” The turbans were “synthetic and ugly,” and they longed for nurturing products to heal Tara’s drying skin.
While grateful for her family’s support, once cancer-free Tara, could not revert from the deep knowledge and insight she’d gained during her metamorphosis. She also lived with the nagging thought, “How can I not get cancer again?” Lisa, learning alongside her in the journey as she was in a “high risk” program and being tested frequently, wondered what to do in between breast exams. Together they agreed that the incredible results from prominent fundraisers’ storytelling is more about “treating the cancer versus empowering yourself and knowing your body.” The world needs a more hands-on approach, which is the ethos of Complex Creatures.
Quite The Pair
Complex Creatures, a brand moniker coined by Lisa, recognizes no two – people, breasts, or cancer journeys – are alike. With products that heal and conversations that normalize breasts, the founders are eager to get down to the business of breast health. And it’s about time, as breast cancer has taken over as the #1 cancer globally.
Complex Creature products are the “final frontier of self-care” – and the start of your relationship with breast health:
Developing a healing balm was a priority given Tara’s experience. Once provided a cream at radiation that included aluminum – “I knew enough to know that was not nourishing to a body part trying to heal itself,” Tara remarked – she turned to an elderly, local practitioner specializing in post-mastectomy massage who had created her own healing balm. Doctors were amazed at Tara’s subsequent skin health. With limited (to no) replenishment available, the founders were inspired, turning to a chemist to develop their own. Their mission: Make a healing balm widely available, not just for breast cancer radiation but other parts of the body, as well as scar treatment.
Nutrient rich with botanicals and oils, the Complex Creatures balm is a protective barrier for skin as well as a deep moisturizing, antibacterial treatment that fights inflammation. Healing herbs including calendula, chamomile, curcumin, arnica, and St. John’s Wort soothe skin – and nerves. Antioxidants Vitamin E and elderberry neutralize free radicals, while Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, castor oil, evening primrose and sunflower oils moisturize compromised skin. Omega-6, comfrey and calendula promote healing.
While there is a faint scent of chamomile (which was added for its healing properties), the Healing Balm was intentionally left unscented as fragrance can be off-putting in recovery.
Tara and Lisa told TQE that the High Vibe Healing Balm is “a popular gift” once someone receives a diagnosis. “People are putting it everywhere” and it is “incredibly meaningful to be part of someone’s healing journey,” the founders said in unison.
While researching preventative measures, the many benefits of breast massage came to light. Moving the lymph through the breast decreases stagnation (which is excess estrogen) and drains excess fluid, which contains bacteria, toxins and pathogens. Massage also boosts blood circulation. And news flash: it can relieve PMS.
Women, the founders learned, know little about the benefits – and even less about how to self-massage. “They don’t know what to look for – and are afraid of what they might find,” Tara acknowledged. “We aren’t eradicating cancer but keeping the tissue healthy, being connected to your body and lymphatic flow (which no one has been talking about!) is tied to prevention.”
This oil was developed as Lisa, who worked with multiple herbs and tinctures to boost her own immune system, liver and breast health, sought a solo product to support her needs. “I didn’t just want to detect cancer, I wanted to avoid it altogether! What’s preventative?”
Made with the help of both their chemist and an herbalist, this highly concentrated oil, nutrient-rich in plants and botanicals, permeates the skin to work on a deeper level. Healing calendula, jojoba and broccoli seed oils, poke root, dandelion root extract, frankincense and pink peppercorn are among its therapeutic ingredients.
Given the extent of self-massage benefits, Deep Reservoir Breast Oil is made for everyday use – after the shower is the perfect opportunity as you often have a moment to yourself. Women, including myself, also find this helpful even on decade-old scars, such as C-section incision lines.
Becoming familiar with your breasts is vital, for young women in particular. “Younger women are not being screened in the way older women are and there is a rising incidence among them; the younger you are, the more aggressive the cancer,” Lisa shared with TQE.
Regardless of age, connecting with your body can help familiarize yourself with how your breasts change throughout the month, which can aid early detection. Learning about your breast density is also important; more dense breast tissue has a higher risk of breast cancer.
As we consider our 7-step skincare routines and beauty cabinets heaving with product (or multiple products, let’s be honest) for each body part, let’s take a pause. Neither the $564 billion beauty business nor the $4.75 trillion global wellness market has dedicated themselves to breast health. As Complex Creatures touts, “Breast care is the epitome of self-care.” I couldn’t agree more.
FIVE MORE REASONS TO HEART COMPLEX CREATURES:
1. Complex Creature products are developed in a clean lab and without the use of endocrine disruptors – but always includes a team including a Chemist, herbalist and medical advisors.
2. More than breast care products, the brand seeks to be a trusted, reliable resource for information – and strives to see prevention studies done to provide “real information and real data” for this unknown space.
3. Complex Creatures provides videos and resources to teach about self-massage – social media bans be damned.
4. Having learned – both first-hand and through research with experts – that so much can be addressed internally, Complex Creatures is planning to launch a supplement.
5. The founders are partnering with specialists during development of each product to ensure they have the most current research and insight – Lactation nurses and breastfeeding are on their radar.