Jasmine Banks creates safe, chemical-free options through her business Perfect Imperfections 608
Perfect Imperfections 608 started with Jasmine Banks’ sugar scrubs and soaps, but she has since expanded the line.
A new chapter in Jasmine Banks’ life began after her mom’s death in 2012 from cervical cancer. The longtime Madisonian, whose family has been in the area for five generations, was left wondering why.
Banks knew about cancer’s connection to chemicals in food and toxins in tobacco products, but then she decided to research the ingredients found in toiletries and other daily items. This started her personal journey in creating her own body products.
“It was just me saying, ‘OK … I want to be aware of the things I am putting on my skin,’ and I just started to research,” Banks says.
At first she focused on products for herself, starting with toothpaste, then deodorant, then soap, then exfoliators and so on. On Facebook, she shared a “mine vs. theirs” series where she compared the ingredients of her homemade products with the store-bought items that she used to use. Banks says it was just a hobby at first, that she wanted to make her friends aware of the toxins that were going in their bodies, especially on the largest organ, the skin.
It grew from there as people became interested in purchasing the items she made, and there was enough buzz surrounding her products that she decided to launch Perfect Imperfections 608 in 2016.
Banks is self-taught and makes everything out of her home, which is the same home she was born and raised in. Perfect Imperfections started with Banks’ sugar scrubs and soaps, but she has since expanded the line to offer candles, whipped body butter, neck pillows, lip balm, lotion bars, toner, body oil and a floral facial steam. The facial steam is one of Banks’ favorite products, as it gives her a reason to pause — something she says she needs in her busy life.
During the day, Banks is the program manager at Operation Fresh Start, a building trades nonprofit that works with people ages 17 to 24 and helps those who “don’t usually have access to opportunities.” At night, Perfect Imperfections allows her to “change hats.” While her day job is busy and high-energy, her small business is calming.
“I like to be able to come home and go upstairs and take a nice long bath and change my clothes and come downstairs and put on some music, maybe pour a glass of wine, and then that’s the kind of energy I want in my products,” Banks says. “When you use my products, I want you to feel like you’ve just exhaled.”
It’s not just about the products for Banks. She’s also motivated by the people she meets and the impact she can make in their lives. Two women recently reached out to her at the same time, both of whom were looking to give to those who are grieving losses. Banks wanted to make sure there were products to help soothe them, so she chose lavender satchels to facilitate restful sleep and a rose product to “comfort the heart.”
Banks also made hundreds of chocolate lip balms for the Black Girl Magic Conference in 2021 and wrote a note about legacy for each girl to read. “[It’s important for] these young Black and brown girls [to be] able to get a lip balm that was made by a Black woman,” Banks says. “And what an honor that is, that somebody is asking me to create for them in these moments.”
Perfect Imperfections 608, she says, has become her way of showing love to people through natural goods.
“I didn’t realize that my products were both going to be my platform and my vessel to care for people,” Banks says. “It didn’t dawn on me that these products were now a different way for me to care for folks and folks that I don’t even know.”
Banks is also interested in herbalism and she is in her first year of an herbal apprenticeship to learn about the properties and effects of scents from botanicals. Banks says she wants to learn from as many different people as possible by traveling and reaching out to others — she recently went to South Carolina in March for a conference to learn from the Gullah Geechee, who are descendants of enslaved west and central Africans forced to work on rice plantations.
She’s hoping to incorporate that knowledge from her herbalism classes into her natural Perfect Imperfections products.
The products were inspired by her mother and the business was named for her father, who, Banks says, “was the perfect dad, but just like with all of us, he has his imperfections.” Banks always had an interest in starting her own business, and after quitting an insurance company, she told her mom she wanted to work for herself, later launching a short-lived caregiving venture before Perfect Imperfections was even a thought. Her mother, she says, just couldn’t understand why she would want her own business and told her, “You don’t really want to work, do you?”
Now, six years into Perfect Imperfections, Banks says that because she started the business after her mother’s death, it feels like it has come full circle.
“I always say with Perfect Imperfections — because it was after my mother passing away and it was because of my mother I started this business — that self-care is a divine responsibility,” Banks says. “That business came divinely to me from my mother to say, ‘Now I get it,’ ” Banks says.
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Maija Inveiss is an associate editor of Madison Magazine.
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