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Millennials Want Real Beauty, Says Nudestix Founder Jenny Frankel

When her teenage daughters didn't relate to the models in beauty advertisements, Frankel spotted an opening for a new brand.

After her teenage daughters kept peering into her makeup bag instead of sourcing cosmetics inspiration from the web, chemical engineer Jenny Frankel, who founded Nudestix, realized there was a white space in the beauty market for a line that focused on easy, natural beauty.

“Millennials are increasingly after a no-fuss, natural approach to beauty,” Frankel said. She also started CoverFX, a brand she exited in 2011, followed by a brief period of retirement which she intended to use to connect with her children.

“I noticed very early on that in order to connect with Ally and Taylor, I literally needed to connect,” Frankel said. “I needed to connect with technology, I needed to connect via iMessage, text, not even e-mail — they don’t check e-mails — but I had to connect through what they were using.”

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That process also included Frankel following the same thing as her daughters on social media to gauge and discover the online communities they were interested in, she said. “What they didn’t follow was a lot of beauty,” Frankel said. And after they kept popping into her bathroom to check the contents of her makeup bag, she realized there was an opening for a new brand. “Aspirational beauty has evolved,” Frankel said. “They want beauty that feels authentic.”

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“It became very clear to me that there was an obvious neglect, or disconnect, for real beauty, which is natural-looking beauty, by brands and influencers,” Frankel said. When she’d take Ally and Taylor to the mall, they would pass by the beauty counters and acknowledge the advertisements and models were beautiful, but kept saying, “this isn’t for me,” Frankel said. “They were seeing so much perfection it totally served in turning them off, because they do not aspire to be perfect,” Frankel said. “They don’t believe in perfection and they don’t believe in being flawless either. They kind of like being quirky.”

Another thing they don’t believe in is waking up early to spend time putting on makeup — they’d rather sleep another 10 minutes and scroll Instagram, Frankel said, and frankly, at 44, so would she. So the trio created a cosmetics line in the form of pencils — all they require is for a user to apply and smudge with their fingertips. The technique is demonstrated across Nudestix’s broad social media following in quick videos, which take much less time to watch than full YouTube tutorials.

“I’ve been told before that we can’t talk less-is-more because it doesn’t sell product, and I don’t agree with that statement,” Frankel said. “I think that we need to talk less-is-more because that is what the client wants. It doesn’t mean they’re not using six products to get less-is-more.”