Serial entrepreneur Mariya Nurislamova, CEO & Co-Founder of Scentbird, began to notice a drastic change in her skin tone, a result she ultimately deduced was due to prolonged exposure to blue light from all of her digital devices. Not one to shy away from a problem, Mariya and Jeniece Trizzino, VP of Product Development, set out to create a line of clean skin care solutions to address this modern problem, one that almost no one was talking about. Here, Mariya shares her news about Goodhabit; the almost non-existent knowledge of blue light and how it’s this generation’s silent ager; and what it’s like to launch during a pandemic.
Being a tech entrepreneur, I spent my life in front of screens. I like to joke that most people have a life, and I have a life in front of a screen. A couple of years ago that lifestyle began taking a toll on me. I started noticing a big shift in a number of things, including my skin, which looked very dull. I looked tired all the time, but not normal CEO-tired. It was like something was wrong with me. So I tried changing my skincare. I drank as much water as I could. I tried to get as much sleep as I could. But I just didn’t see any of it make a difference. Then, I bought my first pair of blue light blocking glasses. And that really changed my life. So, I started diving into the topic of artificial blue light because of my experience with the blue light blocking glasses. And I started to wonder if blue light was the culprit behind what I was seeing with my skin. What I learned was very disturbing. It turns out that one hour in front of a screen equals about 15 minutes in the sun without SPF in terms of skin damage.
The average American spends about 12 hours in front of a screen. And that’s pre-COVID-19. And depending on the study, screen time is up 15 percent to 35 percent. And in many ways, artificial blue light is the silent ager of our generation, causing the same kind of damage that the sun would.
My VP of Product Development, JenieceTrizzino, and I wanted to know if consumers were aware of what blue light is and what it does, so we did a survey leveragingScentbird’s 300,000 subscribers. Basically, 50 percent of respondents said they knew what it was, and about half of that number said they thought blue light was good, that it was soothing or had to do with meditation and light therapy. The remaining 25 percent were unaware of what blue light meant. We were like, ‘Oh God.’ It turns out 75 percent of the population has no clue what blue light is and what it does to their skin.
While we love SPF, it doesn’t really protect from artificial blue light. There are a lot of myths and there needs to be education in the space in general. And we created Goodhabit, a 100 percent clean, vegan, skincare line that is designed to protect people from artificial light. One of the most important things in launching a skin care line is having it be clean. Our ingredient blacklist is over 1,300 items long. The second thing that was very important is efficacy. We weren’t targeting overnight results, that was the North Star. But the product had to do what we said it would, and do it quickly.
When we first started out we did a pretty thorough deep dive on the market and we noticed that there were a couple of brands that had one–off products here and there that spoke to blue light protection. But the way they were talking about the blue light protection was around incorporating antioxidants into their formulas, which makes sense to a degree, but it’s like putting a Band Aid on a broken arm and expecting it to heal properly. We really wanted to create a much more holistic form of protection.
For the better part of five to six months we researched more than 400 ingredients with the goal of creating this perfect protecting blend. And what we came up with is our BLU5technology, which is kind of the heart of the Goodhabit brand. It’s present in each and every one of our formulas. The hero is a marine active extract that is sourced in the cold deep waters off of the coast of Greenland. The extract is rich in proteins and polysaccharides and it’s actually produced by plants and microorganisms to form a protective film around themselves. When you apply it topically, it has a similar mechanism, except that it is specifically able to block out blue light damage.
BLU5 also helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to premature photo aging; brighten skin tone and minimize dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It helps rebuild elasticity in collagen, so skin has a better tone and texture.
All products are DTC, very much by design and intention. There’s so much education that goes into the products. Right now there are four items, Clean Scene Micellar Gel, Texture Magic Exfoliating Toner, Glow Potion Oil Serum and Water Jelly Dew Cream, and they all require a direct connection with the consumer.
Launching during COVID-19 is like launching during the eye of the storm, but our launch date was always around May 1. We did push it out to make adjustments for COVID-19, but this was always the time period that was planned. Of course we had to adjust messaging and be very mindful, but we are coming from a place of wanting to help as opposed to anything else. This line has been years in the works with so much research, homework and due diligence that went into creating truly efficacious formulas. We couldn’t have timed it this way if we tried.