Jackfir Conversations: John Warner, Ph.D.

written by Charlie Razook, Founder



We sat down with chemist and Jackfir advisor John Warner, Ph.D. to discuss chemistry and skincare. John is a co-founder of the field of green chemistry. With 300+ patents and 100+ publications, he has designed and created technologies inspired by nature with the principles of green chemistry. 

What was your path to green chemistry?

When I was just beginning my career as an industrial chemist, I was very successful. I had many patents, papers and awards before I was 30.
But disaster struck and I lost my 2 year old son to a rare birth defect. In anguish, I wondered to myself if something I might have touched in the lab, or perhaps even received an award for, had something to do with his disease and ultimate death. The answer to the question did not bother me as much as the realization that I could not answer the question. Reflecting on how universities teach chemists and materials scientists, I realized that universities almost never teach anything about mechanistic causes of cancer and environmental harm. I realized that this wasn’t a simple battle of good and evil between industry and environmentalism. It was something more fundamental. Based on the assumption that: if we teach chemists and materials scientists some information on how to predict the potential harm a material can do to humans or the environment, (Green Chemistry) they will start inventing things that are better. Over time we will be able to reinvent al the products in the world to be better. But it doesn’t matter how much we want it, if inventors don’t have the skills and knowledge necessary, they simply can’t. So, I left industry and helped start the world’s first PhD program in Green Chemistry. And ever since I have been trying to help teach people how to invent better products.

Do you have any health and wellness routines?


When I was younger, I was a long-distance runner. Age has got the better of my legs and feet, so I do my best to walk and exercise as much as I can.

Do you have a skincare routine? If so, what is it? When did you become attune to skincare?


I have eczema and am particularly susceptible to skin carcinoma on my face. I have already had 4 spots removed. In the past few years, this has become more and more important to me. To use a good gentle face cleanser and moisturizer with some SPF behavior.

Which Jackfir product is your favorite and why?


I like Jackfir’s face cleanser and moisturizer best. Because of my underlying problems with my face, the gentleness of the cleanser and moisturizer is perfect for me. I also enjoy the scent of the products.