Skin Care


Photo Mar 01, 1 45 28 PM.jpg

One could argue that customization and personalization have been a trend as long as the beauty industry has existed. Perfumeries have created fragrances for individuals, including royalty and the insanely rich, for centuries. The desire to have something tailor-made is not new, but as consumer appetite for it increases, technology is making it more accessible and scalable.

The topic of customization has been top of mind for us, so we were excited to explore it at the Millennial 20-20 conference in New York, where BeautyMatter founder Kelly Kovack moderated a panel entitled “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, personalization is everything.”

Christine Chang, Co-CEO of Glow Recipe, Sabrina Tan, CEO & Founder Skin Inc, and Jill Tomandi, Vice President Product Development and Innovation at Smashbox, shared how they’re integrating the consumer’s desire for personalization into their brands and their thoughts on scalability. These brands may vary in size and in their approach to personalization, but they agree on the need to reimagine how consumers interact with and purchase beauty.

Glow Recipe, the go-to curators of Korean skincare, are integrating personalization as sales animation. Many K-beauty products like single-use sheet masks lend themselves to mixing and matching based on daily skincare concerns.

Smashbox has leveraged customization in their business for the fall launch of their Be Legendary 120-shade lipstick collection with digital activation and limited-edition 3-D printed lipsticks. They also animate the brand through encouraging influencers to come to the “lab” and create their own shade—fueling excitement and social media engagement. Jill Tomandi’s advice regarding innovation is test small, then scale.

Skin Inc has created a simple regime based on suiting individuals’ specific skincare needs through a custom-blended serum called My Daily Dose. An online quiz of about two dozen questions and an algorithm recommend three out of nine targeted serums to decode individual skin identities and address a consumer’s unique needs.

We followed up with Sabrina Tan, CEO & Founder Skin Inc, after the conference for a mini interview:

1. What role does customization play in your brand? (is it the foundation, a marketing touchpoint, animation at retail, etc)

Skin Inc’s backbone is customization, and we’re the global leader in skincare customization. We started with our signature customized “my daily dose” serum followed on by mask, LED devices and the latest with our moisturizer. Millions of consumers have done our Skin Identity service.

2. Customization is inherently complicated. How do you reconcile the consumer’s desire for customization with their desire for simplicity?

Not anymore with technology and on digital platforms. It is probably much faster with a few ticks online. Look at NIKEiD.

3. The desire for customization isn’t new. One could argue it’s as old as the beauty industry. What do you think is driving the customization segment now—Millennials or technology?

I will say it feeds on each other—the desire of individuality, self-expression, and having that voice heard. And technology and digital enabled that whole life cycle and experience.

Beauty consumers have never been more educated or discerning, making made-to-order beauty a way to differentiate a business in the crowded beauty sector. Startups and established brands are increasingly finding ways to leverage technology to allow consumers to create their ideal products.  Only time will tell if technology is truly going to be able to scale customized beauty. Will customized beauty businesses be the next billion-dollar brands?

Originally written for and published by BeautyMatter

A Diamond in the Rough


Inspired by Catherine's video, I couldn't wait until my next trip to Vancouver to pamper my skin. The ever tempting offers from Lifebooker in my inbox were finally too hard to pass up; facials for $39 at the Skin Spa lured me in.

After careful review (and a mini phone consult with Cath), I decided to go for a microderm treatment followed by a peel. Catherine's advice was to spread out the treatments by about a week. So I went in for the exfoliation part of the process first.

This wasn't my first micro experience so I wasn't surprised by the raspy wand that was waved over my skin. For those that have not had microdermabrasion, it feels like a super-powered cat with an extremely rough tongue licking your face over and over. In other words, not painful but not relaxing. Little diamond crystals work to deeply exfoliate rough patches and can even smooth wrinkles. My skin was a little bit red after the procedure, but quickly calmed with a little bit of aloe lotion. I was able to put makeup on right away to cover any blotchiness. That night, my skin felt really smooth and the ever deepening line on my forehead seemed to have faded just a little bit. The clarity of my skin increased over the coming days.

The next week I went in for the peel. I was really surprised by how quick the procedure was. After application, which felt like any old mask, the peel was on my skin for a total of 4.5 minutes. After that, it was washed off, followed by a cooling lotion. My skin wasn't too red after this treatment but tingled slightly. The esthetician figured my skin would probably start to peel in two to three days. I never experienced any kind of peeling action. I did however break out more than I was anticipating. I wasn't aware of this side effect so I was a little caught off guard when I woke up with a number of eruptions. After an emergency call to Cath, I was informed that this was in fact a normal reaction to a peel - so be fair warned...!

It's been a week since the peel and my skin has finally calmed down. Overall I think my skin looks like it has a more even tone and my hyper pigmentation has been somewhat reduced.

A series of three micro/peel combo treatments is recommended to see the best results.

At home treatments are also becoming popular. If you have problem skin or are looking to smooth those pesky fine lines and wrinkles (who isn't...!) then a mini peel may be a good option. Glycolic acid pads are gaining popularity in the market and are available at medical spas for home use.

Product to try: Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (DCL) Glycolic Acid Pads 20%

DCL Glycolic Acid Pads 20

FNO: Linda Rodin at Barneys NYC


Last night, New York City was full of energy and life on the street for Fashion's Night Out. I spent the majority of my time at Barneys keeping the fans at bay with Linda Rodin, who made a guest appearance on the beauty floor at the department store.

As a special gift for the FNO event, Linda teamed up with long time friend and artist Lesley Schiff to create a collection of 6 prints--each of which was designed with one of the Olio Lusso products in mind (another example of a collaboration of skincare and art joining forces). Those that were lucky enough to stop by went home with some beautiful works of art. For all of you that missed out, see pictures below.






Insider scoop: stay tuned for a soon to be launching fragrance from the RODIN Olio Lusso collection!

Fragrance Trends at the Elements Showcase

This week I attended the second edition of the Elements Showcase--a fragrance tradeshow in NYC. I was excited to see the expansion from the first show (back in November); from its single floor space, to now spanning two levels. There were lots of new and fantastic vendors ranging from fragrance to skincare. Visiting the booths and speaking to the exhibitors, I started to pick up on some distinct trends.

Wood and Natural Materials: The first trend that I see carries over from last season. The use of wood in packaging has an even stronger presence than we've seen in the past months. Everything from the lids on boxes of candles, soap and perfume to entire wooden bottles (TAY) were on display.











Profumi Del Forte took the natural materials trend to another level, creating marble lids for their fragrances


"Box of Chocolates" Packaging There was a definite thread of inspiration derived from the classic beauty and simplicity of chocolate box packaging.




Fine Art Meets Fragrance Another trend that emerged was the inclusion of fine art in the packaging on fragrance bottles and other products in this category.





Among the artist/fragrance duo's, jewelry collaborations were another strong trend popping up. Both Joya (known for its porcelain bottles) and Sage released solid perfume in beautiful amulet's. Joya teamed up with jewelry design company Vane to launch their "Shades of Dusk" collection.

In general, it seems that the fragrance and skincare industries continue to be concerned with 'natural' elements--whether or not their products are chemical-free or are made with sustainable materials. The key is to come across as being concerned about the process of the product, in the form of an eco-friendly looking package or by including an artisanal touch.

Skn Deep Feast your eyes on an up close and personal video of a chemical peel in action. Featuring the most delicate, calming hands ever to give a facial (trust me on this one -- I know first hand!), Charm School contributor and my go-to skin care adviser, Catherine Nordman takes us through what looks to be a very relaxing while highly restorative Vitamin A Infusion peel. Anyone in the Vancouver area would be giving themselves an incredible treat to visit Cath at Yaletown Laser and Cosmetic Dentistry. This video was filmed at her previous place of employment - SKN spa in Yaletown (also highly recommended by Ms. Nordman even though she is no longer there). I know where I'm headed as soon as I land on the west coast...

Juara Tumeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask

Unwrapping a Christmas present from my dearest esthetician/nurse friend Cath, I was introduced to an amazing line of skin care: Juara. The company is inspired by and uses Indonesian botanicals; very fitting for my holiday trip to Bali. Catherine has been in love with this brand for months, infatuated by the scents and happy with the results. She was excited to share this beauty find with me.

My gift was the turmeric antioxidant mask, said to “detoxify, brighten and strengthen skin” (on the first application!). Turmeric is one of the most powerful antioxidants and has traditionally been used to heal various skin conditions.

Light ocher in color, the formula glides on with a texture similar to foundation and is almost unnoticeable in low lighting. The scent isn’t anything to write home about, but has a slightly spicy / turmeric-y smell (which is a key ingredient and likely also explains the color). As the mask starts to dry, it becomes a little bit more yellow and tingles (apparently that is the active botanicals taking effect). The box says to leave on for 10-15 minutes – but I’ve left it on for over an hour (when streaming an episode of mad men or posting a blog!). After washing off, my skin has consistently felt clean and appeared to have an even tone and soft texture. It definitely leaves skin moisturized, but not heavy or oily.

I’m excited to discover more products from Juara!

Note: Cath swears by candle nut everything...