Does Skincare Need To Be More Data Driven?


There are all kinds of skin care startups on the market that promise to deliver some kind of epidermal miracle, particularly on one’s face. Sometimes the secret is in the ingredient list, such as collagen that will fill in the wrinkles. Other times the magic is in the routine — K Beauty regimens, for example, aren’t just about using the right products, but using a long list of the right product in the right order multiple times a day.

But for Hyderabad, India-based SkinKraft, the magic to good skin is actually to be found in data.

Specifically, data about the individual consumer’s individual skincare needs. The founding concept behind the brand, CEO and Founder Chaitanya Nallan said of the skincare brand he founded in 2017, is that the skincare industry today has two main problems.

The first, he said, is that the shopping experience is miserable, insofar as women often end up on a never-ending quest to put together the right set of products. The experience alone is grueling, and no one wants to use their own face as a testing ground for an unproven skincare regimen. But women don’t have much of a choice.

That is because, he said, the second major problem with the skincare industry worldwide is genericness. Despite a world full of variety when it comes to skin tone, texture and type, the products rolled out are one size fits all.

“Despite growing levels of frustration among their consumers, skincare brands continue to churn out generic formulations catering to the mass market. This led us to set up SkinKraft,” Nallan said in an interview with YourStory.

The theory behind the brand is simple — and likely familiar to those with an interest in direct-to consumer (DTC) brands that make personalization their entry point to the market.

“Data is at the core of SkinKraft — for the first time a cosmetic product has been designed driven by data,” Nallan said.

To get that off the ground, the start of the consumer journey with the brand involves what Nall calls a “holistic assessment” of the customer’s skin, in much the same way they would if they were to go to a dermatologist. There is a good reason for that: the “skinID” questionnaire the firm uses was designed by a dermatologist.

Practically speaking, it means the customer fills out a questionnaire.

From there, the data is fed to artificial intelligence (AI) that then turns out a detailed analysis of what the problem areas in a consumer’s skin are, and what the right set of ingredients to manage them would be.  That ingredient list is then developed into a list of three of product recommendations — those products, as one might expect, contain the ingredients identified in the skin profile. The three products in the regimen are a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a skin issue-specific product addressing the area of primary concern. On the list of common concerns among users, according to Nallan, are dark spots, light spots, uneven coloration patches and acne.

The products themselves, however, are all first and foremost chosen for gentleness on the skin and are advertised as being free of parabens, phthalates, SLS and formaldehyde — common cosmetics ingredients that have been known to cause irritation and inflammation in some users.

The products are also cruelty-free and are ethically manufactured according to Nallan, and designed over the 10,000 hours alongside “Indian, Taiwanese, and Japanese dermato-cosmetologists, pharmacists and pharmaceutical engineers,” he said.

SkinKraft is a small, up-and-coming brand, and thus far through a marketing campaign that is almost wholly carried out via word of mouth, it has racked up over 400,000 customers. The goal is to keep growing that number,  a feat the firm believes it is more than up to considering the hunger in the market for innovative cosmetic products. According to some estimates the Indian cosmetics industry is expected to grow to approximately $20 billion by 2025 with an annual growth rate around 25 percent. The global market, by comparison, is growing at around 4.3 percent.

“The SkinKraft brand has been built by the product itself and the unique proposition that comes with customisation. We have created a network through word of mouth. So, we don’t have to spend anything on branding as such,” Nallan said.


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