If there's one thing that is a total misnomer in the Singapore retail industry, it's the concept of the 'free size'. Popular in local boutiques, the free size is meant to magically fit all body types, weights and heights, but the reality is that it usually caters to just a UK 8 or 10. Most women would not accept the idea of a one-size-fits-all blouse or pair of pants, but it's strange that we readily accept the idea that one or a few skincare products can fit all skin types and concerns. Sabrina Tan, the founder and CEO of Skin Inc, did not buy into that premise and ended up being a pioneer in the field of bespoke skincare. Here she shares with us the thought and care behind her brand.
What inspired you to start Skin Inc and how has being ahead of the game in terms of bespoke solutions helped your business?
Being a busy, working mother of two, the last thing on my mind is to go through 11 skincare steps every night and day. At the same time, I have very sensitive and eczema-prone skin. I've tried products from various brands and categories such as toners, serums and moisturisers. While some worked, I could not figure out which ingredients were good for my skin. In a quest to find a solution to this, I realised that there was a gap in the market. I wanted to streamline my regimen and find a product that was truly customised for me. With that, the concept of one-size-fits-one was born. Rather than stereotyping skin, I wanted to empower the differences.
Products out there are all very generic and they mainly cater to the standard skin types — dry, oily, normal or combination. They do not take into account changes in skin as we go through different phases in life or simply changes in our lifestyle. Skin Inc celebrates your uniqueness and puts the complete focus on the individual and the lifestyle he or she lives. We constantly endeavour to make skincare 'smarter'.
The concept of bespoke solutions has become very popular in the last couple of years, from fashion (such as with NikeID and Burberry Bespoke) to beauty and even F&B where consumers get excited about having their names printed on a product. Revolutionising the way the beauty industry works, Skin Inc has been doing this since day one, not because it is a trend but because we truly believe that skincare should be one-size-fits-one.
What is the real difference that Skin Inc can offer its consumers?
Combining skincare and technology in a way that hasn't been done before, Skin Inc allows consumers to co-create a customised serum blend to meet their unique skin needs, based on a simple yet sophisticated Skin Identity quiz. In a time where everyone wants to be the creator of their own lifestyle, we were able to develop a brand that not only customises but personalises a product.
To determine their very own My Daily Dose Custom-Blended Serum (MDD), a customer will need to do a three minute online Skin Identity Check, the results of which will see us recommending three concentrated active ingredients that she needs the most based on answers to questions pertaining to lifestyle, hereditary and environmental factors. The Skin Inc regimen is fuss-free, yet effective. The nine concentrated active ingredients have a unique encapsulation technology that breaks upon application to ensure only the freshest and most concentrated ingredients are delivered right to where it is truly needed.
Skin Inc is all about purity, keeping to the essence of what's needed to benefit skin and stripping out the fillers, scents and parabens that are superfluous to the care of you skin. All Skin Inc products are made in Japan with no added scent and parabens.
You've been very savvy with your marketing working with influencers like Aimee Song and Chiara Ferragni as well as influential websites like Refinery29 and Style.com? How important has digitalisation been to the brand?
The world is connected by social media. As Skin Inc is globalising, digitalisation is the brand's key strategy. It helps the brand to instantly reach out to people from different parts of the world. As Aimee Song shares her reviews on Skin Inc products, not only does that help us reach out to people on her side of the world but consumers in Singapore and Asia as well. Before working with any famous and popular influencers, we ensure that they try and love the products and that they truly believe in the products as well. We believe in establishing a relationship. I'm still in close contact with Aimee and Dani Song, we Snapchat each other all the time and always try to meet up when I fly to the US, which happens to be every other month. Besides these key influencers, my customers are also my ambassadors. They are always very happy to share their purchases and reviews on instagram with the hashtag #iloveskininc.
With the other renowned titles, the initial stages were painful and it was a slow process. For the launch, together with my managing director and PR agency from the US, we had to do an editors' desk meet. However, once the meeting was granted, it is not difficult to impress them with the concept of Skin Inc. Soon after, we had features in WWD. For the very second press meet in USA, the journalists were brought to meet us instead. Coming up very soon, I would also be doing a talk with CEW as one of the beauty disruptors of the industry.
Today, Skin Inc has won over 70 beauty awards across major titles and is available at 68 different cities including major Sephora stores in the US and a spa at Me Ibiza Hotel by the Melia group in Spain. We are also looking to expand in Europe this year.
You travel so frequently. What's your daily skincare routine and how do you change it up?
My daily regimen is pretty simple, as I like to keep things simple and fuss-free. it consists of three essential steps — prep, nourish and perfect. I prep with the Pure Revival Peel, this peel gently exfoliates skin, lifting away dead skin cells, to prep my skin for the following skincare products.
I nourish my skin with MDD. This staple is a must have to keep my skin in the best condition, regardless of the weather, climate and lifestyle changes. I would do the Skin Identity check every three months to see what my skin needs most at that point and change the ingredients accordingly. For holidays, I would sometimes bring along up to six active ingredients and apply the most suitable ingredient based on the climate and weather and skin changes. That's the best part about this serum, you could customise on the go.
I perfect my skin with the Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask. My skin is pretty dehydrated, so this hydrating mask deeply hydrates my skin, and at the same time, the gel-like texture ensures that it is well-absorbed and does not leave a sticky after feel. At night, I would also use the Optimizer Voyage — which is a skincare device — to reboot my skin and ensure that whatever that I have applied to my skin works harder.
What, in your opinion, are Skin Inc's top three products?
Top of the list would definitely the MDD simply because it is suitable for anyone, everyone, regardless of your skin type, race or geographical location. There are 84 different formulas altogether with this one product. anyone could use it. And going by popularity, the other product would be the Pure Revival Peel. Besides MDD, Pure Revival Peel is usually the first product from Skin Inc that many would purchase as soon we try it on them. Seeing is believing. Skin is instantly brighter and smoother after using it.
For the third product, I would say it's a tough fight between the Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask and Get Glowin' Brightening Mask. Most of our consumers own both and they use it on different days when they want to achieve different results. The Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask lets you get well-hydrated skin without the stickiness while Get Glowin' Brightening Mask draws out melanin and gives you instantly brighter skin and smaller pores. For an intensive treatment, use it daily for a week — the creamy texture ensures skin stays hydrated at the same time. Due to the intense popularity of these two masks, we will be launching an exclusive set, Mask-To-Perfection.
Skin Inc is available at their outlets and here.