Fig.1 skin care launches for the ‘skinimalist’ consumer

As accessible skin care becomes a growing market, new brand Fig.1 is launching with a

As accessible skin care becomes a growing market, new brand Fig.1 is launching with a focus on simplifying the routine. 

Co-founded by four business partners including Harvard dermatologist Dr. Courtney Rubin, LVMH alum Kelly McCarthy, VC Kimmy Scotti and skin-care chemist Lizzy Trelstad, the brand came to market via DTC e-commerce on Tuesday. Six products in airless refillable bottles, ranging from $19-$38, make up the lineup. It will also be sold at dermatology clinics and esthetician salons. The brand is especially geared toward beauty shoppers in the “discovery” phase of skin-care research, and encourages them to buy individual products from the lineup to incorporate into their routine.

“Something that I see in my patient interactions is that there’s so much confusion around skin care, [including] what products to use, in what order and how to mix them together,” said Rubin. “Sometimes I feel like if you want to build a skin-care routine these days, you have to be your own compound chemist.” 

“In pandemic times, people were willing to go through 12 steps of skin care. Now, as the world opens, they want simplicity,” said McCarthy. Skin-care minimalism (aka “skinimalism”) has been on the rise as a response to the K-beauty-inspired 10-step routines that dominated beauty in the last decade. 

The brand’s DTC site gives customers the option to have a free consultation with an esthetician to receive product recommendations about their specific skin concerns. The format mirrors an intake form from a dermatologist’s office and includes questions about skin type, goals, concerns and products currently in their routine. 

The evaluation will “review everything you’ve told us about your skin and what else you’re using. And we can tell you, ‘Hey, you love this cleanser. We have another cleanser, if you want a two-step cleansing at night. This is how you would use them together. If not, then you would proceed into the treatment stage,’” said McCarthy. She added that customer feedback in the conversations will be used to determine which products to develop next.

“We’re really creating a one-to-one relationship with the consumer, which is so, so powerful,” said Rubin.  

“We felt like this needed to be stress-free and accessible,” said McCarthy. “We actually think there’s a lot of people that are sort of lost” when it comes to skin-care regimens. “For those that are curious about how to improve their skin and their health, this is a really good entry point.”

The brand has raised an undisclosed amount of funding, which it used for clinical testing and formulation. Co-founder Scotti is a founding partner of VC firm 8VC, which is among the brand’s investors.

For marketing, the brand will concentrate its social media efforts on TikTok and Instagram. Influencers it plans to work with include estheticians and dermatologists–including Rubin herself, who has nearly 11,000 TikTok followers.

Pricier than accessible skin-care startups like The Ordinary, the brand is positioned as an alternative to luxury skin-care products. As consumer perceptions about skin care and price change, a growing number of more affordable, ingredient-focused brands have hit the market. 

“We no longer just see something aspirational [based on] how beautiful the bottle is,” said McCarthy. “We really feel like there’s a multitude of products at the highest end of the market, some of which are great and some of which maybe don’t have as much chemistry behind them.” 

The brand predicts a downturn in consumer sentiment that prizes “the maximalism of a shelfie and showing that ‘I have 100 products that I use,’” said McCarthy. “Hopefully, we’ll see that decline as [more] people know what to use on their skin and that it’s the right product for them.”