Beauty

The Founder of 'Yours' Tells Us How She Made Custom Skincare Affordable and Sustainable

We speak to founder Navneet Kaur about the work that goes into her customisable and sustainable beauty brand.
Reading time 7 minutes

Custom-made skincare sounds like a dream — a particularly expensive one. But it's a dream that Yours Skincare founder Navneet Kaur wanted to realise, while making it both affordable and environmentally-friendly.

We speak to Kaur, who tells us more about the "endless loop" of experimentation she did in the creation of her brand — and how she wants to help ease wastefulness in the beauty world.

What made you want to start your own skincare line? And why did you want to make it a customisable one in particular? 

It all started with a personal experience that I went through in 2017 when my husband and now co-founder, Shivam’s skin was flaring up and he had no idea where to start. As a result of an endless loop of trial-and-error to find the ‘right’ skincare products for him, we had over 35 products on our shelf. That’s when I realised that there is a lot of wasteful consumption in skincare because of the trial-and-error process. Today, there are 120 billion units of packaging that are produced globally every year – that’s not sustainable! 

I went on to speak to different women across age groups and countries, and I learnt that many struggled to even understand their skin needs. This sparked the idea – what if the brand did all the hard work instead of the user? What if the user could just tell the brand about themself and the brand would deliver what’s right for them? This would not only solve the problem of finding the ‘right’ skincare products, but it’ll also be better for the planet as we can eliminate wasteful consumption. 

That’s how Yours was born with a mission to make skincare simple and sustainable. Through a selfie analysis powered by computer vision, we can decode a user’s skin needs accurately without any guesswork. We further analyse the lifestyle and environment of the user to create a personalised routine. 

How did you source the ingredients in your products, and how did you figure out what works the best? Was there trial-and-error involved? 

After spending close to 3 months travelling across Europe to find the right lab partner to work with, I finally found one in Switzerland that was a perfect fit with our brand values. I went deep into learning about how skincare products are made, the ingredients and the sourcing process, and got senior skincare experts and scientists on board. An additional few months were spent working closely with them in developing and innovating formulations based on well-researched, and effective active ingredients. We heavily indexed on R&D to create products that stand for the highest quality and safety and standards. 

Beyond just being a customisable skincare line, what else do you think makes Yours stand out from other skincare brands? 

What’s unique about Yours is our proprietary personalisation technology using selfie analysis. Most are not sure of their skin needs and hence end up guessing when taking their skin assessment. We take the guesswork out of the equation by using computer vision to accurately decode a user’s skin needs. With these data points, we map out 6-10 active ingredients in each formulation that caters to the skin needs of the user, to create their minimalist skincare routine. That means you don’t need an elaborate routine, which ultimately is more sustainable. 

Next would definitely be our formulations – all our products are made with high-quality ingredients. We blacklist over 1,400 ingredients to ensure our formulations are safe and effective. While Swiss skincare has traditionally been very expensive, starting at $200, we are able to deliver premium quality products at a much more affordable price point of $25-$38 USD because we are a direct-to-consumer brand. 

"Being a sustainable skincare brand, it’s extremely important to us to ensure that every product we create serves multiple functions and solves actual user needs – and not a means to simply increase our product assortment."

Sustainability has been an issue talked about quite often in beauty today. How does Yours incorporate it into its decision making process and products? 

The beauty industry is rife with non-recyclable packaging waste, ingredients are often farmed unsustainably and animal testing is rampant. When I set out to create Yours, I wanted to reimagine every aspect of the skincare industry, from ingredients and formulation to packaging, by balancing nature and science to find the right fit for users and the environment. 

As shared, this meant leveraging technology to personalise skincare at scale, and in the process, reduce product waste by eliminating skincare trial-and-error, which is often expected by customers in the beauty industry. This results in a lot of wasteful consumption – we all have a shelf full of products that don’t work for us! Yours is all about minimalist consumption, wherein we combine multiple active ingredients in fewer products so our users can enjoy a simple, hassle-free routine. Users no longer have to buy and consequently throw away products that don't work for them, combating the issue of unnecessary product waste. 

That was the starting point of our sustainability efforts. Next, we assessed how ingredients were being sourced. Yours is a clean beauty brand producing high-quality skincare formulations using only Swiss actives and ingredients that are sustainably and ethically procured through transparent supply chains. As a brand, it’s important to us that we only work with suppliers that align with our brand values so we can put our trust in them. Having full visibility into supply chains means being able to tell how ingredients are being farmed and how workers are being treated. It is the only way to verify and optimise for sustainability in our manufacturing process. 

Lastly, when it comes to packaging, recyclability is a bare minimum requirement for Yours. All of our current packaging and shipping materials are fully recyclable, down to the water-activated paper tape that seals delivery boxes. A personal goal of mine is to reduce our current packaging waste by 50%. On that note, products in our personalised range are specially designed in an airless pump bottle format (as shared earlier), where a vacuum mechanism ensures that no product gets stuck to the walls, making recycling easy and reducing product wastage. 

Overall, we’re striving towards a zero-waste vision – we had recently launched our sustainability page in April during Earth Month, and as we wanted to be absolutely transparent about our sustainability efforts, our team put together a live sustainability roadmap that tracks what we’ve accomplished, are currently working on and what we have in the pipeline. 

 

What is your personal skincare routine using Yours? What’s your #1 item or favourite product from your own brand and why? 

I use all of the products in the range (of course!), but I particularly love Bounce Back, a balancing and ultra-nourishing toner. Toner has a perception of being a non-essential step in daily skincare routines and is often skipped in favour of serums, but we’ve developed it to go beyond just pH-balancing to restore and strengthen the natural skin barrier – with Niacinamide, Epidermist, 5 essential minerals and more. 

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