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Not so long ago, the inclusion of a single ingredient in a product served as a signal to consumers that a brand was bringing something new to the table. Think: an Australian plum with the highest concentration of vitamin C or retinol formulated to be the least irritating. For a new school of brands, however, the ingredient itself is only half the story. After all, the ingredient only matters if it still works by the time it hits the skin. However, “Fresh” skin care doesn’t come from a traditional jar of cream. To design ultra-fresh solutions, brands have learned that they have to get creative. And, more interestingly, they do it in radically different ways.
Exponent, a new skincare brand that launched in April, has designed a “first precision-dosed refillable package” that mixes an active powder of a typically highly unstable ingredient, such as 10% L-acid ascorbic. , in a serum base. The user mixes the two on the spot for a freshly blended serum.
“The core principle of our line is to deliver effective skin care in every dose… Freshness is the means to the end. make fresh [at] timing allows us to provide the optimal focus you need to see the real benefits of your skincare,” said Founder Liz Whitman.
The brand launched with four $88 mix options: its Brightening Boost Vitamin C Powder, Firming Filter CoQ10 Antioxidant Powder, Calm Revival Green Tea Resveratrol Powder, and Clear Comeback Probiotic Enzyme Powder. All are compatible with its Hyaluronic Acid Quadruple Moisturizer, which costs $68. The brand is sold on its own website.
Researching the premises of Exponent, Whitman first purchased the top 20 clinical brands from beauty retailers that were made with vitamin C, retinol and CoQ10, and sent them to a lab. independent. “The headline” of the results, she said, was that from day 0 to day 60, “the products lost about 40% of their active ingredient in just eight weeks.”
Dr. Robb Akridge, the inventor of the Clarisonic, introduced his second high-profile beauty device, the Opulus, in 2020. The Opulus is a “device,” he said. The device itself not only mixes the product, but also serves as a “bottle forever”. Each Opulus is sold on the brand’s website, as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, with a month’s supply of the brand’s retinol for $395.
Dr. Akridge’s original inspiration for Opulus came from the world of food. “I was in a very expensive chocolate factory. I looked around and each one is like a work of art, with a different texture, a different taste and a different aroma. And I thought, why can’t skins be like this? Akridge lamented that the existing beauty system takes months, where a contract manufacturer develops a product, puts it in packaging, and ships it to the actual manufacturer, who perhaps ships it to a warehouse. “There’s this long chain of distribution, and by the time it gets into the consumer’s hands, it could be six months, a year or more before they take that bottle off the shelf and buy it.”
Like Whitman, Akridge sought an alternative. “Why can’t we [give customers] freshly activated beauty, instead of that three-month supply they constantly go into, as their skin changes every day? »
Monday Born, a brand founded by influencers and created by Teni Panosian, takes a different approach to freshness. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel when it comes to delivering its products; they come in your standard containers. But the products are only available in pre-scheduled deliveries, forcing its customers to plan their purchases in advance. It sells its products through its parent company’s website, beaubble.com.
When I spoke to Panosian and Beaubble co-founder HeeKyeong Seo, in May, no Monday Born products were yet available for purchase, although some would be in 48 hours. Panosian said products, like the brand’s soothing essence, which are used day in and day out, are made and sold more frequently than the brand’s lactic acid serum, which doesn’t need be used daily. Of course, the business model also has environmental benefits, although Panosian acknowledged that “no brand is sustainable and [sustainability] is a matter of decreasing your impact.
Like Opulus, LightWater Skin Nutrition was inspired by food. It launched on May 23 with just two products, a day cream and a night cream, each available in single-use sachets. “There are no preservatives, there are no fragrances, there are no irritants – and the reason they aren’t there is because it’s fresh. L he whole idea of conventional skin products is that they have to sit on the shelf for years, which means you have to put preservatives in them,” said dermatologist and co-founder Dr. Rox Anderson.
In a way, all these brands ask their customers to adapt their habits, some more drastically than others. Since all of these brands are still new, it remains to be seen how ready consumers are to change, whether it’s shopping, planning their purchases, or playing the role of (hobbyist) chemist at the House.
According to Whitman, the verdict comes down to three key factors. First, there must be a “genuine gain” or “real and substantial reason why you are asking me to do this, relative to the alternative”. In the case of Exponent, for example, she said that it’s the brand’s clinical results that take center stage on her site. Second, “it should be as convenient as possible”. Again, in the case of Exponent, it received feedback from consumers indicating that they appreciate the dose control. The user hears an audible click as the powder and gel converge, which people find “oddly satisfying,” Whitman said. Finally, the third is related to pricing: “Bonus points if the price is appropriate, for what you expect from a price.”
For now, since most of these brands are direct-to-consumer, there’s probably a long way to go before skincare “freshness” becomes a customer expectation.
Like Whitman, Panosian finds its customers ready to adapt. “The industry average [retention rate] is around 22-23%, and we’re over 50%,” she said. “It’s enough for me to believe that what we’ve done so far is exactly what we need to keep doing.”