November 13, 2019 - Allure
APR in the News
Kinship, a New, Sustainable, Skin-Care Brand, Wants to Save Your Skin Barrier — and the Planet
When we're talking about the future of the beauty industry, among all the many uncertainties are a few trends that are almost sure to continue: transparency and quality of ingredients, affordability, and sustainability. Kinship, a new direct-to-consumer skin-care line launching today, aims to check all of those boxes, and then some.
Created by two beauty industry veterans — Alison Haljun, formerly the vice president of marketing at Benefit Cosmetics, and Christin Powell, who cofounded Juice Beauty — Kinship is based on the principle of affordable wellness for everyone. And if that sounds all too familiar, the brand also offers some additional points of difference.
All the products contain what the brand calls the Kinbiome complex, a proprietary blend said to promote the balance of your skin microbiome and barrier.
"The [skin] microbiome itself refers to bacteria, yeast, and viral organisms that make up our base environment," explains board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, who is not affiliated with Kinship. Bhanusali explains that through a growing body of research we are starting to learn which organisms are beneficial and which are harmful to our skin's health, but cautions that our understanding of the microbiome, in general, is still in the preliminary stage.
"One of the big things with the biome is that it's early [in our understanding] and we are just now scraping the surface on our knowledge," he says. "It's important to remember that everything has a consequence."
Kinship is one of many skin-care brands betting big on products that are meant to balance the skin's microbiome. The Kinbiome, which is the base of all Kinship products, is a plant-based pre-probiotic, derived from the fermentation of lactobacillus (one of the most common and trendy probiotics out there, including in probiotic skin care).
What you won't find in the formulas: more than 1,300 ingredients that are considered "questionable," and therefore banned by the European Union, including sulfates, silicones, and parabens.
Lastly, and in my opinion, the most exciting, is the packaging: In addition to being minimal (most products don't come with a box), all packaging is fully recyclable — and made of recycled materials. Two of the products (the Supermello and the Insta Swipe) are packaged in Ocean Waste Plastic (OWP). The first batch of products will eliminate 1.5 tons of OWP! What's even cooler is that you can scan the QR code using your phone's camera, and it will tell you where and when the plastic was harvested.
"It's a great way to bring the problem into our consciousness," Powell says. "For us as responsible founders, there was no way we couldn't actually build in that level of sustainability from the beginning. [And] we hope to encourage many other brands in the industry to also use ocean waste," Haljun adds.
As for the lineup itself, Kinship is launching with five different products, or what Haljun calls "the essentials": the non-foaming Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser ($20), the exfoliating Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads ($22 for 45 pads), the lightweight Supermello Hydrating Gel-Cream Moisturizer ($22), the breakout-reducing Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acne Treatment ($18), and the turmeric-spiked Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen ($25).
To test the QR feature, I scanned my jar of Supermello Hydrating Gel-Cream Moisturizer, which brought me to https://www.oceanwasteplastics.com/how-we-collect-owp-kinship"}" href="https://www.oceanwasteplastics.com/how-we-collect-owp-kinship" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">a website that explained how the plastic used to create the jar in my hands was collected (by local fisherman) and where it was collected (in Indonesia).
According to Kinship, it's the first clean skin-care brand to launch products packaged in OWP (the founders credit hair-care brand Kevin Murphy as inspiration, which follows a similar suit). To learn a bit more on OWP, I spoke with Steve Alexander, president and CEO of the Association of Plastic Recyclers, who says that almost 90 percent of all global OWP comes from just five rivers in Indonesia (which is precisely where Kinship collects). Fortunately, the cosmetics industry (just think of all the plastics used to produce your favorite beauty products) is starting to catch on and use the material.
"I can tell you that we've seen an incredible uptick in cosmetics companies who are now working with precisely that issue," Alexander says. "I think a lot of times industries don't understand what they can do. But I do believe that the cosmetics industry has seen the light; they recognize what's going on."
As for the products themselves, after testing the line for a couple of weeks I found that I kept reaching for the Supermello Hydrating Gel-Cream Moisturizer and the Pimple Potion more than others. When my skin is feeling extra parched (especially now that temperatures are dropping), I slather on the Supermello moisturizer, a cocoa-scented cream made with a hydrating blend of sodium hyaluronate, marshmallow root extract, and coconut water. It's pretty heavy and goes on thick, but I like it because it still manages to be absorbed into my skin easily and quickly.
As for the Pimple Potion, an acne treatment made with 2 percent salicylic acid, it also delivers as promised. I first used it as a spot treatment when an unwanted breakout popped up on my chin one afternoon, and the next day it had dried up significantly. Now I keep the small blue tube atop my vanity in case a blemish appears overnight.