When I first launched our facial oil, a friend asked me: “Is this just for women?”. I was taken aback. He loved skincare. Had we failed at being inclusive? Were we exclusive to women? I thought about this question for many months and in turn, about the industry and its gender-specific product development and marketing. The industries’ concept of gender is, unfortunately, parallel to societal ideas of masculinity and gender ‘norms’. Somehow, self-improvement relating to one's appearance is feminine, or vain. There are hidden ‘rules’ on aesthetic/colours (green, blue, grey) for brands/products targeted at men, forced ideas of what and how many products a man should use. Whilst men do have thicker skin, more facial hair and (potentially) higher sebum production due to androgenic activity, skin is skin. We benefit from the same ingredients, we all need sun protection, we all need a gentle cleanser. Skincare should not be determined by sex, but by skin type and conditions.
I decided to overhaul the brand aesthetic and strip the line of product names, colour and marketing - the products only represented by roman numerals that communicate the order of application of each product. There were times throughout this process that I felt conflicted; was I enforcing these ideals myself, by omitting certain colours or phrases? But I realised that, for me, it was crucial that EVERY person felt comfortable using or displaying our products, regardless of their own beliefs around gender. It was equally important that the non-binary nature of our products was subtle, not ‘trendy’ and not a marketing tactic. Instead, a nod to say ‘hey, we represent you too.’ 💚
. 📸 @casperkofi