Lumion is an indie beauty brand based on two products: simple science and clean formulation. Hypochlorous acid is nature’s oldest disinfectant, discovered in 1834 by French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard, and known throughout the scientific community as your body’s own healing agent. It is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral, and brings skin back to its optimal health.
The inspiration for Lumion’s formula comes from a century-old oxygenation process that dates back to World War I where HOCl was used to heal combat wounds in half the time of traditional healing products. Initially, the formula would stay active for less than 24 hours, which made the product too unstable to widely distribute due to its short shelf life.
In 1998, machines capable of creating hypochlorous acid were developed and a shelf-stable formation that could be distributed to customers worldwide became available. In 2016, LUMION harnessed this age-old compound to reinvent the formula for a myriad of lifestyle use cases and has steadily evolved as a brand ever since.
At a higher concentration, HOCl is on the EPA’s N List as a disinfectant to kill emerging viral pathogens, and Google searches for HOCl spiked to an all-time high in March. The interest in the ingredient drove sales for the cult beauty brand Lumion’s Face Mist, representing growth of more than 3,500% in March 2020 compared to February 2020.
We spoke to Lumion co-founder Amy Briant to learn more.
Please explain the science behind HOCl?
The science is so beautiful and simple. We start with dead sea salts and water that are sent through a proprietary electrolysis process, and at that moment, oxygen is stabilized past sterilization. A by-product and preservative to the oxygen is hypochlorous acid (HOCl). HOCl is a naturally occurring chemical found in our bodies that acts as a healing agent and keeps us healthy. HOCl acts as an electrical conductor to the skin tissue bringing oxygen to every skin cell. When HOCl and oxygen work together, they become antiviral and antibacterial.
What was the impetus for starting Lumion and why did you decide to launch with only two products?
We started Lumion because after years of suffering from acne-prone skin, I wanted to share the feeling I had of finally achieving clear and healthy skin with the world. HOCl, which was used in World War I to quickly heal combat wounds, while effective, would only stay active for less than 24 hours. In 1998, my father, Cap Briant, acquired a machine capable of creating hypochlorous acid and spent the next 12 years formulating what is now known as Lumion. After trying so many products, this very simple, non-toxic solution that yielded stronger results than many toxin-filled products I had tried, was my saving grace. Lisa [Bonoff] and I set out on a mission to offer a better way to manage skin irritations with an all-in-one mist that does so much more than hydrate.
Lumion’s products utilize HOCl in two different forms of concentration. The mist is a lighter, more diluted formulation for on-the-go use throughout the day, and the serum is a more concentrated solution to use in your daily or nightly skincare routine. At the moment, Lumion only has two products because HOCl and oxygen will destabilize if most other ingredients are added. Lumion works for everyone with any skin type since HOCl + oxygen are already naturally occurring chemicals in all humans. We wanted to develop a product that didn’t take over anyone’s skincare routine, but instead, acts as a major player in increasing the overall health of their skin.
Google searches for HOCl have increased significantly since January, spiking the first week of March and again the first week of April. What impact has COVID-19 had on your business?
We believe that COVID-19 is making HOCl a household name as people are obsessively searching for education on ingredients and products that will optimize health and fight coronavirus. This gives us the platform to educate consumers on the benefits and efficacy of HOCl at a rapid pace. Lumion has existed in the indie green clean beauty circuit since 2016, and now, consumers are realizing how vital our products are for their overall health, not just their skin.
Can you explain the role of the mist? Is it a cleaner or does it act as toner? What’s the intended use?
We like to call the Lumion Mist your co-pilot because we recommend the mist should be with you wherever you go. On the beauty side, the oxygen hydrates your skin while, at the same time, calming a long list of skin irritations and smoothing fine lines. On the cleansing side, the antiviral and antibacterial properties of HOCl help keep bacteria at bay. Your on-the-go skin cleanser, clearer, and protector.
I would imagine educating consumers to use the mist on their face and hands might be a challenge. Did you pivot the use of the mist to include hands during the pandemic?
When we launched, we always positioned the mist as a product that could be used on your face and hands. In fact, LUMION’s solution is FDA approved as a medical device, cleared for cosmetic use on the face and skin. At the onset of COVID-19, we shifted our messaging to highlight that LUMION is a non-irritating, non-drying, cleansing alternative formulated with HOCL. The sales of LUMION Face Mist are up more than 3,500% in March 2020 compared to February 2020, which we attribute to the impact of the pandemic.
You found early traction for the brand in indie beauty retailers and the natural-food channel. What is your distribution strategy for growth?
We are focusing on DTC where we can control our messaging. We want to make sure, especially during this global health crisis, that every person is able to experience the magic of Lumion.
Have you seen a significant uptick with your business on Amazon during the pandemic?
At first, we did see a significant uptick on Amazon, but when they started experiencing shipping delays, our normal Amazon customers started coming to our website. Lumion is up 800% year-over-year and 400% month-over-month for March.
What is your strategy for keeping the momentum that was built during this crisis?
Our plans are to grow our DTC channel with education surrounding what Lumion does for the skin and how it supports health for the entire family. Lumion is going to launch more uses of HOCL as we shift into the future because the possibilities are endless. Our goal is that one day you will see Lumion at the local checkout counters as a household name.
What does the future of Lumion look like?
We are currently launching a Lumion Hand + Skin Cleanser in the next two weeks. The cleanser will have direct messaging pivoting out of the cosmetic functions and focusing on the wellness properties for cleansing the hands and the rest of the body. We see the post-COVID future as a whole new world of navigating health in how we cleanse and take care of our skin health.
Photo: via Lumion