When Fiona Co Chan first had the idea for a beauty brand that makes makeup you can sleep in, foundation was the first product she wanted to create.
“I've been working on it ever since I had the idea for the brand, and now we’re finally launching it,” Chan tells BeautyMatter.
Chan launched Youthforia in 2021 with BYO Blush, the world's first color-changing blush oil, which quickly went viral on TikTok and has gone on to be duped by other makeup brands trying to capitalize on the color-changing trend. The oil is made up of a blend of plant oils and extracts that react with your skin's pH level to leave a uniquely flattering flush on the cheeks. Youthforia continued to demonstrate its commitment to plant-based beauty ingredient innovation with the launch of Pregame Primer and Pregame Setting Spray in 2022, which are both silicone-free and formulated with plant-based polymers.
After three and a half years of development and a $400,000 deal from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, Youthforia launched Date Night Skin Tint Foundation on August 21. BeautyMatter caught up with founder Fiona Co Chan at the launch event for the new foundation held in Dallas, Texas, on August 15 to find out more about the innovation behind Youthforia’s newest launch.
The Power of a Neutral Foundation Shade Range
Youthforia’s Date Night Skin Tint Serum Foundation launched with 15 shades and a mostly neutral shade range for added flexibility. It’s a medium-coverage buildable foundation with a glass skin finish and costs $48 for 35ml.
“A lot of other brands have warm, cool, and neutral [foundation undertones],” explains Chan. “I thought, how do we make all of our shades pretty flexible? And what we did differently was we made a fairly neutral shade family.”
In Chan’s product development research, she heard from customers who thought a lot of foundations were either too orange, too pink, or too red. Every product in Youthforia’s 15-shade foundation range has a neutral base with slight undertone variations, which allows for the shades to flex to your skin’s perfect match. The true neutrals are the most flexible shades in the entire range.
But are 15 shades of foundation enough to be truly inclusive? In the six years since Rihanna launched Fenty's 40-shade foundation range, many brands expanded their limited foundation lines to be more inclusive of every skin tone in what has been dubbed the “Fenty effect.”
Today, inclusivity is table stakes for color cosmetics brands. At the same time, consumers are feeling more overwhelmed than ever when it comes to picking a foundation shade. Consumers have a greater number of choices today than ever before, and many don’t know their undertone. Unless you have an in-depth knowledge of color theory, it can be difficult to find the right foundation shade with the correct undertone.
While 15 foundation shades may seem like a limited range in comparison to other beauty brands, the mostly neutral shade range takes a lot of the guesswork out of finding the perfect shade because every shade is flexible. The brand tested its shades on 120 real people and reported that everyone found a perfect shade match.
“It allowed me to come up with like a 15-shade range that could cover a wide variety of undertones,” says Chan.
Luxury Texturizing Ingredients at an Affordable Price
Youthforia invested in expensive texturing ingredients to create the brand’s silicone-free foundation. It’s an oil-in-water emulsion made with 68% skincare ingredients, which Chan says makes it so that your skin's oils won’t dissolve your makeup. It also features patented ingredients designed to reduce skin sebum and the appearance of pores, as well as adenosine, which has proven anti-wrinkle benefits.
“It took a lot of development trying to figure out how to make it silicone-free and making sure that it lasted long and that the texture was good,” she says. “In order for us to get the finish that we wanted and for it to not look cakey on the skin, we had to come up with a completely new manufacturing process, which was challenging.”
Chan took inspiration from high-end foundations, which are often silicone-free. Silicone is often seen as an inexpensive filler ingredient that helps improve a product’s texture and make it smooth to the touch, but it can also clog pores and cause breakouts. Chan says she wanted to make these luxurious silicone-free formulations more affordable.
“When I first had the idea to even create a foundation, I really liked going to department stores, and I loved feeling the textures of $300 foundations,” she says. “I thought it was unlike anything in the $50-ish price points that we're in.”
The expensive ingredients in some of these high-end foundations are the texturing ingredients, which can end up looking cakey on the skin. Chan says much of Youthforia’s available capital has gone towards product development for this foundation launch.
“For us, all the innovation went into the finish and how it lies on the skin,” says Chan. “That’s something we really invest a lot in, and that's why I still run our TikTok, and I still do a million other things for the business.”
All of Youthforia’s products are formulated to be so good for your skin that you can sleep in it. In a dermatologist-monitored study where 31 participants slept in Date Night Foundation for 28 days, 96% agreed Date Night lasted all day long, 90% agreed their skin did not feel dry or dehydrated, and 87% agreed their skin did not experience an acne breakout.
Mark Cuban’s Big Bet on Youthforia
Youthforia made Shark Tank history when it became the first makeup brand that Mark Cuban struck a deal with. Cuban broke one of his own investment rules (he reportedly likes to invest in companies that have products he could see himself using) when he invested $400,000 for 8% equity.
As part of the deal, Cuban even offered to do in-store demos, which is a promise he made good on last week when he attended the launch event for the new foundation in his hometown of Dallas, Texas.
According to Chan, Cuban has been a great partner in this foundation launch, despite his admitted lack of knowledge in this space.
“Talking about this foundation launch [with Cuban] has been really helpful,” she says. “How do we make this foundation launch happen fast? How can we think about shade matching? How do we think about making it easy for customers to shop foundation? It's basically all we've been talking about for the last nine months.”
Chan is hosting another event at Credo Beauty in New York City on Friday, August 25, with more events in other locations to be announced soon. Youthforia’s Date Night Foundation is available now on Youthforia’s website, Ulta Beauty, and Credo Beauty.
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