“Barbara and Elsa and I had connected and gotten to know each other over the last year doing some collab partnerships with our brands,” said Christopher, founder of Ellis Day Skin Science. “We realized that we share a lot of common values and experiences. And I think, foundationally, we all saw the priority of having data-driven brands and the scientific approach to developing products and making marketing claims.”
The women, who each hold a Ph.D., are sharing their respective networks, resources and expertise with the aim of redefining beauty industry standards, while supporting other female brand founders. The collective — formed with the help of Odile Roujol, founder of the Fashion and BeautyTech community — currently has 16 members, a diverse group of beauty and wellness founders living in San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., Paris and London. Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu of Chemist Confessions, Rahama Wright of Yeleen Beauty and Hélène Azancot of Yodi Beauty are among the bunch.
“Part of the group is also about creating a support network,” said Paldus, founder of Codex Beauty Labs. “If you look at the beauty industry, it was geared more toward marketing and influencers. But with the emergence of COVID-19, there’s a resurgence and almost a renaissance of science. Also, with the change in the U.S. administration, I would say, there’s now a much greater respect and push for science again after the last four years. And so, one of the things we wanted to do was as a collective support each other.”
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Using science-backed data, they plan to create their own standards for reporting product performance and defining terms like “clean” and “antiaging” to create transparency and better educate the consumer along with the beauty and wellness industries as a whole.
“Not all founders understand necessarily the science but for anyone who wants to join, that’s why we did this movement, to bring more awareness,” said Jungman, founder of Dr. Elsa Jungman.
The group plans to host webinars with diverse industry experts to discuss various subjects and learnings, she added. Those interested in joining or knowing more are invited to sign up for the collective’s newsletter at scienceofbeauty.org.
“I think it’s also important to note here that while the cosmetics industry is regulated by the FDA, it’s very much a self-policing honor system,” Paldus said. “There’s also been an incredible amount of lobbying to declaw the FDA by the large companies since the 1980s. And so, the cosmetics industry is something where, if we are going to be expected to self-monitor and self-regulate, then we want to do that through science, through things that are measurable, through things that are obvious, through data. That’s why we wanted to start this group. We want to help people in that self-regulation of the cosmetics industry, to also help the consumers and prevent people from making mistakes.”