Femtech Startups for Your Personal Selfcare Routine
While personalizing your skincare, makeup and haircare isn’t a new trend, technology, research, and cultural emphasis on our individual differences has made the beauty industry invest in product personalization. A recent Accenture study found 75% of consumers are more likely to invest in a product when the company has personalized the recommendation. It makes sense, if the product is performing for you specifically, it’s worth a bit more investment. Here are our top 2021 recommendations for customizable makeup, skincare, and haircare lines.
SheSpoke Makeup has a custom lipstick line; Shespeaker. This is awesome. You take a quiz. They ask everything from the color of your veins, to how you want to wear your lipstick. The company allows you to select your color, texture, intensity, shimmer, sparkle, aroma, and even name your creation. All for a reasonable price of $35. I quizzed my friends for name inspiration and definitely recommend other friend groups try this activity. The lipstick is packaged as expected and ships to your door with no hassle. So far, not just the lipgloss (I opted for lipgloss rather than lipstick), but the entire experience feels empowering, special, memorable. I recommend it to all women. Custom lipstick, yes please.
Ipsy may be a brand you’ve run across before. It runs the gamut of makeup and hair inclusivity (full disclosure; speaking from a middle-class white woman perspective). Still, the extensive quiz reviews your coloring, brand loyalty, and general concerns with your beauty care upkeep. In the end, they present three “levels” of subscriptions. The idea is to introduce you to products that work specifically for you. On one hand, this is a fantastic idea. You get to try a lot, for little money and save time by not shopping and re-shopping (or wasting) a million products not made for you. On the other hand, you potentially might end up with a lot of small bottles and ointments you don’t want. Either way, it’s worth a try! You can cancel at any time easily on the website. Buying-for-beauty sure is changing.
Giella is the SheSpoke, but for your lips and foundation, even nails. You start with a clean intro - choose your product, price, and image is transparent from the home page. While the quiz is not quite as inquisitive about your looks and needs, you still have the control to build your own product. Choose the sheen, the color tone, the scent. It’s an obvious personalized alternative to your basic Walgreens’ solution at about twice the cost. The shipment is simple, and there isn't much grandeur with the experience. However, having the control the choose what you want for yourself is again, empowering. In my opinion, it's worth the upcharge. I’m not going to lie, this is the only way I will buy makeup from now on.
Famous from SharkTank, Proven skincare was designed by, well women. Their in-depth skincare quiz asks questions beyond "are you worried about aging?" like, “And what about fine lines, wrinkles or crow's feet around the eyes?” Yes! I am! All women over the age of 27 are! I appreciate the specific question, along with the range of other questions that formulate my personal needs. In the end, you're recommended three products based on your answers, geography, lifestyle, and personal concerns. Customer support, events, and the reformation of custom products for you are included. This almost seems like skincare of the future, but it’s today. The pricing is fair ($129 for all three custom products), and it does feel worth it. From the time of publishing this review, mine haven't arrived, but I look forward to following up and letting the readers know. The truth is, I don’t have too many skin issues. Lucky-in-life, with a boatload of other challenges, my skin generally doesn’t breakout, or wrinkle too much with age(yet). Still, the idea of a beauty company like Proven, founded by women, and run by women, gives me nothing short of immense hope and aw for the future of our skincare.
Mixing high ingredient standards and AI technology, Y-ourskin is an example of what a 2021 beauty company should practice. They ask questions in a sensitive format, “How young are you?” (Yaaaasssss!) The company takes into consideration lifestyle, personal concerns, environment, and goals. You’re sent four products to try. AND beyond ingredients, there are more high standards the company meets. Are you vegan? Is the product cruelty-free? Is it made in the US? The two questions the makers ask of their ingredients, “Is it safe to use while I’m pregnant?” and “Would I recommend it to my mom?’ tell you everything. Their quality concerns are steep. This is for the woman who is concerned with ethical and social impact, interested in a personal skincare routine, AND can afford to fix both. My four solutions are $180 as a package. Not too shabby for all custom and quality service. Still, a bit out of my budget today. A friend testing the service calls and gives her first impression after a Y-ourskin personalized face wash and mask, "I feel more ownership in my own treatments, and proud I made selfcare a priority." Her glow could be external or internal. In short, I look forward to affording this phenomenal service one day.
Men should try personalized skincare too. Let's be honest, their skin is often an afterthought. But frankly, I want him to have the right solutions just for him as well. Does he have ingrown hairs from shaving? Yes. Is his skin dry? Yes. I’ve decided to get him a solution to make him (and me) feel comfortable. Geologie was created by men. The customization quiz questions are designed so men can relate to them, “after a night out or eating spicy food...”. There are also answer options, “I’m Skeptical” and “I’m Not Sure”. Often men haven’t thought much about their skin. And I don’t know about you, but I like the men around me to look and feel good. If that means encouraging a little more custom attention to help boost his skin game, I’m in. What’s interesting is the pricing. You get five custom-picked solutions for $30 the first month, and $45 each month after. This is astonishingly less than the female-driven brands. Yes, maybe more sensitive or higher quality ingredients are included for the women-branded companies. But at some level, you wonder if women have created their own pink tax (markup). After two weeks of use my man didn't notice a difference. Frankly, I didn't either. Maybe his skin isn't sensitive to the specific formulas, or he wasn't actually using each product every day (that's a lot, even for me). But we both agree the concept of personalized selfcare should be available and enjoyed by anyone. And thank Geologie for taking the custom leap for the men in our lives.
Hair is the first thing you notice about someone’s appearance, as someone who has fought hair my entire life, and came to appreciate my unique mane, I can only welcome haircare that’s specific to each of us. If you have been on Instagram at all in the last year, you’ve probably seen an Ad. for Prose. The subscription-based haircare line customizes your haircare. The longest online consultation out of all nine personal care companies in this article, it’s impressive how in-depth their questions are. From textures, coloring, treatments, lifestyle questions, “how often do you wash your hair?”, to haircare goals. This quiz takes 10+ minutes but also feels like you’re given an experience beyond basic computer-fixed algorithms. What is more enticing is the hair treatments work. I was recommended 4 ointments + one supplement. It’s a lot. A lot of time and more money than I typically would spend. I selected three out of the total five and placed the order. On the other side now, if you are prioritizing your hair treatment, I say "it’s a really good bet." The cost averages to be approximately $28/treatment, and the ingredients are high quality. Prose offers to update/change any selection as your hair develops and treatments progress. Honestly just the act of doing something for myself felt special. It feels like I joined a digital spa. I get to pick-and-choose-and-adjust treatments specifically made for me. A high recommendation for the woman looking for a boost with her hair.
8. Function of Beauty
For what SheSpoke is for Lips, Function of Beauty is for Hair - in the marketing sense. Function of Beauty immediately presents a list of products to choose from on their website, then you take the online quiz for your preferences. In short, the cost is effective (~$20/bottle), and the subscription service makes it easy to get your customized haircare. The only holdup is, it feels a tad less customized than Prose. Perhaps good for the college student, or someone wanting to have customized haircare, but not quite ready for the Prose price-tag. You can again choose a fragrance, and this time the colors of shampoo too. It’s also nice to be able to again name your treatments (it’s printed on the bottle). Function of Beauty is founded by two men and a woman. It feels a bit like that. It doesn’t quite have the level of personalization, empathy, or warmth the companies founded by woman-alone seem to have. Not there there’s a correlation, but Function of Beauty simply has a style that’s more efficient, more cost effective, more transactional than Prose. I recommend this to those that want to dip-their-toes in the personalized selfcare trend. Especially if they are more interested in creating their own treatments rather than solving a specific, personal haircare challenge.
9. Aura Haircare
After experiencing the first two haircare customization companies, I’m still assessing the special angle for Aura Haircare. It’s not quite as personal as Prose, a little more sophisticated (in branding) than Function of Beauty, but just as costly as the former. After completing the online consultation, selecting a fragrance, and name my treatments, I was recommended three bottles. Led by a group of women, Aura Haircare's intention is clearly to uplift your looks through hair - not necessarily to squeeze the largest profit out of each bottle sold. And with an emphasis on sustainable packaging, vegan-based formulas, and cruelty-free products, Aura is aiming at the ethical hippy in all of us. Honestly, I love the angle! The subscription box again ships with ease right to your doorstep every-few weeks or months. My selected treatments (shampoo and conditioner) were a tad too fragrant for me. But my mane was bumpin' (get it?!) It feels like a great alternative to store-bought, under-ethical brands I have used in the past. In short, I recommend Aura to anyone leading with sustainable, cruelty-free standards in her (or his/their) life.