As told to Victoria Kirby
I’ve been interested in the fusion between health, wellness, and beauty since I was a kid. Both my parents worked in the fashion and beauty industries, so I grew up in that world. My father, Paul Cavaco, was the Creative Director of Allure magazine for many years, which exposed me to a lot of beauty experts and doctors who I got to know very well. They were always so open and honest with me and taught me so much about the connection between skin and health, and the value of expert guidance.
When I was approaching turning 40—or “knocking on 40,” as I called it, which inspired the name Knockout Beauty—I saw the need for a skin care-focused retailer. We launched in 2016 when cool hunting, i.e. finding the coolest indie beauty products, was the thing, but I wanted to go on an efficacy hunt to find formulas that deliver on their promise. We only take on products that meet our high standard of efficacy and ingredient performance. If a product has a proprietary complex, I need to know what’s in it. I’m not going to tell people your secret sauce, but I have to be confident in using the product on my own skin before I can recommend it to our thousands of clients who come to us for educated guidance.
I like to say that our Knockout Beauty advisors are the skin coaches, and our aestheticians are the skin trainers. Much like how a personal trainer or nutritionist would customize a program for you, we create a personalized routine for every client that supports their skin’s health with the most efficacious products and treatments. We sell makeup, hair, and body too, but Knockout Beauty is really about skin. All our stores have an on-staff aesthetician and facial treatment space because that’s part of our methodology for maintaining healthy skin—which, as your largest organ, is critical to your overall health.
We have a 73% client retention rate at Knockout Beauty. We serve a high volume of people in our stores daily, which gives us a lot of data points. We know what works and which products work together. We have five stores now: we just opened in Aspen this past December and are opening in Dallas this March. We’ll be announcing two more locations in major U.S. cities soon, and we’re in advanced discussions to open in another city as well. Store expansion has been our roadmap for some time because people love that we’re high touch, but we also have many clients who we serve through virtual consultations. I think beauty consumers are looking for places where they can have a one-on-one dialogue with an expert about their skin. Not someone talking at you in a TikTok video but talking with you. If we can help change your skin, we’re giving you confidence, and that’s really the heart of Knockout Beauty.
Here are the best-selling products in our stores and on our website right now:
Saro De Rue Freeze-Dried Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging System
Buy it now ($170 for a 60-day pack)
Winter is the time to repair and reset your skin. We like our clients to do peels and more aggressive treatments in the fall, then in the winter, focus on nourishment and bolstering the skin so it’s healthy and renewed by the time warm weather arrives. This brand by Mimi Kim, an accomplished entrepreneur who brings medical and pharmaceutical innovations to the beauty market, features this genius system that uses freeze-dried pellets of hyaluronic acid, which you activate into a liquid with the accompanying serum. Typical hyaluronic acid serums dilute the substance quite a bit with water and other ingredients. Here, one freeze-fried pellet is equivalent to the amount of hyaluronic acid found in over six bottles of regular HA serum, so you really notice how plump and radiant it makes your skin look. Women and men both love this system which is already a hit in our Aspen store since, at that high altitude, everyone’s skin is more prone to dryness.
We’ve carried Meder Beauty since our launch. Their Hydra-Fill Mask is an instant solution for dry, lackluster skin: it’s rich in hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and deep-sea water extract, plus it has tranexamic acid, an excellent brightener. So the mask both hydrates and brightens, which is great in the winter to bring vitality to the skin. Our clients love to put this on before an event or after plane travel. The mask contains a calming peptide to help prevent allergic skin reactions so just about everyone can use it, which I think helps make it a best seller. It’s also very popular with men. Zac Posen is a dear friend of mine and in 2017, I gifted him a package of these masks and he loved them so much that he mentioned them in a Wall Street Journal interview. Ever since then, we’ve had a whole crew of finance guys who buy this mask in droves. Men also love Meder’s Lipo-Oval Mask because it’s like a diuretic for the face—it dramatically de-puffs and tightens to make your features appear more sculpted. Guys love that it makes their jaw appear more chiseled, and girls like how it gives them the look of cut cheekbones.
Royal Fern Phytoactive Skin Perfecting Essence
Buy it now ($85)
We feature this product in our Masterclass, an in-person event that I teach about once a year in each of our stores where attendees learn about the connection between health, wellness, and skin and get to try a selection of our products. The Royal Fern Essence is for the person who was addicted to Biologique Recherche P-50 and now wants something a little more nourishing but that still exfoliates and delivers a brightening glow. This is another product that sells very well with our male clients, who like to apply it post-shave to prevent ingrowns. People will buy two or three bottles of this at a time so that everyone in the household has their own bottle.
We frequently sell multiples of the same product on a single order because the entire household is using the product. When we first launched our website, we thought people were accidentally ordering multiples of the same product—but then clients told us that they purposefully do this so everyone in their house has their own bottle or jar.
Lacrème Beauté Bee Venom Cream
Buy it now ($220)
This cream has been a best seller for us since the first weekend we opened Knockout Beauty. The brand is founded by Victoria Galbraith-Wachtel, a British former model who wanted to create highly effective organic skin care. The cream contains ethically harvested bee venom that delivers a Botox-like effect by tightening the appearance of skin and stimulating collagen. It has vitamin A along with tamanu oil, a potent anti-inflammatory that also encourages collagen production. So, it’s a rich cream but it doesn’t cause breakouts, even with acne-prone clients. I’ve found that once people try this cream, they keep coming back to it, because the skin becomes adept at utilizing the bee venom and maintains the Botox-like effect with continued use.
Sarah Wragge Wellness Restore Replenishing Minerals and Alkalize Detoxifying Green Powders
Buy them now ($50 each)
We lean into wellness this time of year, because winter is when people like to reset and restore. Customers become focused on the internal-external connection and how health presents in the skin. I’m really interested in women-led wellness brands, and the Sarah Wragge Wellness Method is a holistic diet-and-wellness process that emphasizes the connection between nutrition and well-being. I went on a wellness journey that I documented on our Knockout Beauty Instagram, during which I talked about the SWW Method, so a lot of our followers have now tried it or are at least familiar with it, and I think that’s why we sell a lot of her supplements. People often buy the Restore Replenishing Minerals and the Alkalize Detoxifying Green Powders together, so they’re tandem best sellers. Restore delivers electrolytes and minerals to help muscles recover post-workout and decrease bloating and food cravings, and Alkalize is powdered antioxidant-rich greens that help improve digestion, boost immunity, and reduce acidity.
MBR Medical Beauty Research Cream Extraordinary
Buy it now ($440)
People are obsessed with this cream because it acts like a filter for your face. It contains large flecks of gold that reflect the light to create this gorgeous radiance, and it’s packed with potent actives that stimulate collagen and teach the skin to hold on to moisture so it stays soft and plump throughout the day.
What’s amazing is that we’ve turned this cream into a best seller not just at Knockout Beauty, but at other retailers, too. We had a few big beauty influencers attend our Masterclass who posted about this cream from the event, then some of those influencers made the cream part of their regimen, talking about it frequently on their social channels. The cream went viral on TikTok and after that, it was picked up by more retailers and has gained a real cult following. Knockout Beauty has actually been the first retailer for numerous incredible brands that then went on to become very popular and influential.
Environ Revival Mask
Buy it now ($90)
People call this a “facelift in a jar,” because you really do see a difference in your skin after the first use. It contains three acids but unlike other acid masks that can dry out skin, this formula is very hydrating and nourishing. But it’s not a beginner product, and we stress this to clients. To avoid sensitivity, we prefer people don’t use this mask until they’re on a routine of topical vitamin A. Vitamin A is a great educator of the skin: it’s fat soluble, so your skin stores the ingredient as you build up your usage of it. When your skin has a reservoir of vitamin A, it can tolerate acids and will utilize them correctly to deliver good skin benefits. But if your skin hasn’t adjusted, this mask could be too strong and cause a reaction.
What makes this product a best seller is our high customer retention. Because we work with clients to advance their routines, their skin is ready for this mask by the time we introduce it to them, and then they fall in love with it. Without that guidance, a lot of people might try this mask, have a reaction, and never touch it again. That’s why our personalized service makes such a difference
MZ Skin By Dr. Maryam Zamani Lightmax Supercharged LED Mask 2.0
Buy it now ($950)
I’ve done Instagram Lives while wearing this LED mask—not to push it as a sell, but just having it on while I’m talking, so that’s brought attention to it. We also carry the first generation of this device, the Golden LED Mask, which is less expensive and has a wider spectrum of LED colors including green light to treat pigmentation issues. But the 2.0 mask works in 10 minutes versus 20 minutes for the original, plus it’s cordless, so now it’s become the best seller.
Though expensive, when compared to the cost of getting LED treatments in a dermatologist’s office, people view a high-quality LED mask that lasts for years as a good value. Customers also like that the device can be shared throughout the household, with a mom using the red light setting for collagen stimulation and a teenager using the blue light setting to treat acne. Plus, research suggests that red light therapy has mood-boosting benefits, so people tell us that their skin looks better and they feel better after using the mask, which is a win-win.