Shortly after launching their new brand last September, Pure Culture Beauty’s co-founders realized an indicator that was a sign of the times: customers began posting how much they enjoyed their customized skin care products, but was there something that could help with maskne?
“It became a question of expanding skin goals,” said Joy Chen, the former CEO of H20+Beauty and YesTo, and a co-founder of Pure Culture Beauty. “We wanted to improve and innovate our existing formulas to include breakouts, maskne, pore size, oil control and pollution.”
The new formulations launched April 2, essentially an offering of anti-acne ingredients that will be incorporated into Pure Culture’s original line-up of clean ingredients. Delivered via a cleanser, serum and moisturizer, and with the option of adding a toner, the new breakout-battling elements include salicylic acid, niacinamide, red clover, caviar lime and African yellowwood.
Joy said the concept for the brand, which is based in Toronto and San Francisco, came about as she read data that indicated that more than 75 percent of people mistakenly use the wrong product for their skin type.
“That’s a pretty alarming number,” she said. “There hasn’t been a really data-driven way to determine your skin type. The best that is out there is going to a dermatologist or aesthetician who can look at the skin visually and assess it. But there is so much about the skin that is not visible to the naked eye.”
Victor Casale, the brand’s co-founder along with Joy, is the former Chief Chemist of M.A.C Cosmetics and founder of CoverFX. He came up with an at-home skin test involving Ph strips that are moistened and placed on the skin; the changes in the strips indicate the nature of the skin, including how much oil and sebum is produced.
“It tells us the health of the skin barrier; the Ph level is a huge indicator of your skin health,” said Joy. “We look at the forehead and cheek areas because the levels of oil production are different.”
Instead of having to send anything back to a lab, the results are uploaded by the customer into an account created with the brand, and formulators then get to work customizing the products with the right ratio of ingredients for maximum effectiveness.
“The platform is based on allowing us to have specific formulations to deliver specific end results based on the data,” said Victor. “We’re able to connect the dots using actual data points.”
While there are four different product types, Victor said that the “customization options are endless.” People who experience changes in skin condition – such as, for example, with maskne, are encouraged to retake the at-home test, especially now that the expansion in ingredients offers targeted solutions.
“We wanted to provide a non-prescription solution to blemishes and breakouts,” said Joy. “It was something people were asking for.”
Joy recommends using the three products as a regimen – the system, including the test, is $100 – and the products are designed for all ages and are gender-neutral. In keeping with the clean beauty ethos of the brand – it has banned more than 2,700 questionable ingredients often used in the beauty industry – the products are packaged in sugarcane-derived materials, FSC-certified paper and glass.
“We have tried to be mindful with our every decision,” said Joy. “We’ve hand-selected the ingredients, and consider very carefully how everything is produced and the process that goes into it.”