4.5.6. Skin is steadily moving toward its goal of understanding and delivering on the needs of melanin-rich skin.
Founded in 2020 with a range of facial skin care essentials, the brand is now introducing three different versions of its Max Glow-Getter Serum and Sevenly Delight Serum, with each version optimized to cater to the needs of a specific skin tone.
“We have been working with our community on bridging the research equity gap, and iterating and improving based on consumer feedback — we’re doing the work from the ground up,” said Noelly Michoux, who cofounded the London-based direct-to-consumer brand with Imen Jerbi Azaiez and Carlos A. Charles.
In addition to its existing “universal” line, 4.5.6. Skin aims to introduce skin tone-specific iterations of each product in its collection. These new variations will cater to skin phototypes IV, V or VI, which are the three darkest skin tones designated by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick’s skin phototype system. The system asserts there are six skin phototypes, each classified by the amount of melanin they have and how they react to sunlight.
“There has been an increased awareness around inclusivity in beauty, but I feel like it has mainly benefited makeup,” said Michoux, who aims to help driving comparable breakthroughs in skin care. “Hyperpigmentation, for example, is a massive topic within the Black community, but the way it needs to be addressed varies depending on how much melanin your skin produces — there are nuances there,” Michoux said.
The brand’s new formulas leverage data and feedback the brand has been collecting since its debut.
“I always say: Science is great, but if you’re not involving the people who are going to be on the receiving end of that science, you’re not quite there,” Michoux said. “While most of the feedback we’ve received has been amazing, we’ve also had a good 30 percent of people coming to us with not-so-great feedback; we realized we need to create gentler formulas that allow people to get results that were kind of softer, but more sustained over time. Like with anything with melanin-rich skin, these weren’t straightforward answers.”
Some of the feedback-driven changes the brand has made include swapping retinoids for bakuchiol, and harnessing coenzyme q10, azelaic acid and resorcinol alongside vitamin C for treating hyperpigmentation and brightening.
The brand is also introducing a new product to its universal line: A hydrating mist called Skin Bouquet, which includes vitalized water (which it says penetrates skin cells more effectively), emulsified berry wax, fatty acids and a number of flower extracts. The mist retails for $38, while Sevenly Delight and Max Glow-Getter are $75 and $65, respectively.
Industry sources estimate that Skin Bouquet and the new iterations of Max Glow-Getter and Sevenly Delight could collectively reach $2 million in first-year sales, though Michoux did not comment on the estimates.
“I wanted to create a brand and a product that made me feel the way that the industry never made me feel: that I am put on a pedestal, that a product was made specifically for me. I want to say, ‘I see you, I value your unique beauty and I am working hard to make you feel special and unique,’” Michoux said.