For those of us who are a little bit Goldilocks about our skincare products—too greasy, too drying, just right—now is the moment we've been waiting for: Check out four Bay Area start-ups that are democratizing the beauty industry by customizing skincare regimens and even giving consumers a chance to co-create products ranging face masks, body lotions, and the ever-elusive perfect eye cream.
One might think of Volition Beauty as the Kickstarter for pretty creams and potions. Both a skincare brand and an online platform for the democratic creation of new products, Volition brings the new ideas of labs, chemists, formulators, and artisans to a vote by the community of beauty enthusiasts. (Currently up for a vote is a Detoxifying Silt Gelee, a purifying mask made from the nutrient-rich mineral compounds found in black silt, created by Takako Mohri McGowan, owner of Taka Cosmetics.) User can read the creators' profiles; vote for the products they want to see manufactured; and, if the product is accepted into Volition's collection and manufactured, voters receive a hefty discount. “The best way to produce any beauty line," says Volition cofounder Patricia Santos, "is to go out and ask people what they want to see, create, and what they really need.” // Volition Beauty, volitionbeauty.com
Acne, redness, dryness, oil...Each woman's skin has different needs for care. Based in Japantown, Ayla specializes in nontoxic products and personal consultations. “We use technology to understand our customers needs,” says founder Dara Kennedy. First you complete an online form to generate a recommendation for a personalized sample kit ($32) based upon individual skin type. Two weeks later, an email follow-up reconnects you with your consultant in case you have questions, need tips or new products altogehter. // Ayla, aylabeauty.com
The days of makeup color wheels are long gone. Now, thanks to Plum Perfect's color technology, all you need is a smartphone and a decent selfie to get just that right shade of lipstick. Snap your selfie (natural light, no makeup) and upload it to Plum Perfect's mobile app, which will analyze your various hues (skin, lips, eyes, and hair) in real time. Once the data is collection, the app will offer product suggestions—lipsticks for day and night, eye shadow, liners, foundation, powder, blush, and concealer—all available for purchase via the mobile platform. // Plum Perfect, plumperfect.com
If you've ever wanted to tell a big box beauty brand exactly what you think of them, Poshly is your next click. Via every Cosmo girl's favorite pasttime, the quiz, Poshly collects data about millions of womens' products and habits. Giveaways are the carrot (you might win acne solutions from Clinique or Marc Jacobs Mod Noir perfume), but big data is the name of the game. Poshly aggregates all the data and shares your feedback with brands such as L’Oréal, all in the name of helping those companies really understand what women want. // Poshly, poshly.com