New Makeup Brand Youthforia Is Built Explicitly For Post-Pandemic Beauty Exuberance
There’s been nothing frivolous about the past year. Amid the pandemic and political crises, the notion of relief from the gravity of global conditions in the impulsive pleasures of hanging out with friends to the wee hours of the morning seems simultaneously retro, revolutionary, scary and seductive.
New makeup brand Youthforia captures those exhilarating feelings for consumers emerging from isolation and despair. Exploding with bright hues, it was built for a new sort of roaring ’20s that’s experimental and edgy (packaged like a lip product, Youthforia’s BYO Blush oil shifts color in reaction to skin pH), and clean and conscious (the brand champions green chemistry as it tries to avoid fossil fuels).
“I was always intentionally thinking about what was going to happen post-COVID, what type of makeup looks were going to be popular after a year of skincare and at-home self-care,” says Youthforia founder and CEO Fiona Chan, who worked in the software sector until she made the leap into the beauty industry. “I think post-COVID makeup looks are going to be really different than what we did before. Lips and cheeks are going to be such a focal area as we are opening things up.”
As masks begin to come off—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States now advises that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places—consumers will be able to show off their lips, and Youthforia is here for the change. Along with BYO Blush, the brand went live in March with five shades of the lip gloss Dewy Gloss. Its assortment broadens from Dewy Gloss and BYO Blush to Blush Brush, Bullet Sponge, Silver Makeup Bag and Magnetic 4 Pan, a Lego-style piece allowing customers to stack products on top of each other.
BYO Blush is Youthforia’s bestseller so far—and it’s not the only brand having success with blush of late. Online at Sephora, LYS Beauty’s Higher Standard Matte Satin Cream Blush sold out within a day on Feb. 19, when Sephora reported to The Zoe Report that one of the blushes sold every five minutes. Eight days prior to LYS Beauty’s blush bonanza, The New York Times published an article entitled “Embrace The Blush” describing blush as “the unlikely makeup hero of the masked generation.” Data supplied to the newspaper from Semrush found that blush is the third-most searched beauty product in the United States.
“I think post-COVID makeup looks are going to be really different than what we did before.”
Chan says she’s currently loving “a soft-focus blush look, even blushing your nose is really in, and playing with it around the eyes. It’s a less angular look than pre-COVID. It’s not a straight contour line. It’s a little bit rounded.” Overall, Chan foresees two divergent cosmetics trends being huge for post-pandemic beauty consumers: Makeup that reveals wearers’ healthy skin, and makeup pushing the boundaries of the imagination.
“If I’m at home doing Zoom calls, I don’t have to commute, and I have that extra time back in my day. The last time I had this much time to do makeup was when I was 16. I can use that time to make art with my face,” says Chan. “We are definitely going to see that translate for makeup junkies.”
Those fearless makeup junkies are gravitating to Youthforia as are skincare junkies uninterested in makeup that’s going to compromise their careful skincare routines. Chan has taken potential impacts on the skin seriously in the formulation of the brand’s products. She and her husband actually slept in them for two months during development to ensure they benefit the skin. The products feature a blend of six plant-based ingredients chosen to nurture and hydrate the skin, and foster blood circulation that Youthforia labels the Skin Chi Complex.
“The idea that makeup can be an extension of your skincare routine was really important to me,” says Chan. “When I’m testing samples, the first thing I do is put it on my arm before I put it on my face, and I will see if the skin starts looking duller or dryer. You can tell, and it’s super important to me that doesn’t happen, especially if it’s something you are going to put on your face. I’m very into this idea that you put something good for your skin on your face.”
“The idea that makeup can be an extension of your skincare routine was really important to me.”
Chan is also into the idea that cosmetic ingredients shouldn’t harm the planet. Youthforia’s products are certified under USDA’s BioPreferred program as being comprised of bio-based materials, which the federal agency defines as “renewable domestic agricultural materials, renewable chemicals and forestry materials.” The agency says bio-based products “generally provide an alternative to conventional petroleum-derived products.” Chan is a fan of plant-based synthetics and mentions, for example, that Youthforia relies on a plant-based synthetic version of the conditioning agent butylene glycol rather than a petroleum-based version.
Chan considered the earthly effects of the pricing of Youthforia’s products, too. On the brand’s website, Dewy Gloss is priced at $26 for a 6.5-ml. size. In comparison, she figures most brands would sell a similar lip product at $18 to $22 for 3- to 4-ml. sizes. “I wanted to put in more milliliters per plastic container to not create more plastic, and they’re priced cheaper if you look at it by volume,” says Chan. BYO Blush is priced at $36 for a 6.5-ml. size.
Chan pegs Youthforia’s core customers as genZennials. At 30 years old, she fits within the genZennial age range of roughly 20 years old to 30 years old. Following a beauty industry awash in millennial pink and minimalism, genZennial consumers are drawn to a brasher aesthetic. Incorporating neon and a bold capital-lettered logo, Youthforia certainly isn’t timid.
“I wanted it to have a nostalgic kick, but also be really fun. Youthforia is a very fun brand,” says Chan. “I looked at my makeup, and it was black and white. I wanted Youthforia to be a lot more colorful. I took inspiration from fashion and interior design, where I was seeing a lot more colorful things. It was something I thought would make sense post-COVID.”
At the moment, Chan says she doesn’t have a sales target for self-funded Youthforia’s initial year on the market. She’s enmeshed in perfecting additional face products to expand the direct-to-consumer brand’s selection. “I just love product development. I think I could do this forever,” says Chan. “I think our customer likes that we are doing things a little bit differently than what is already out there. We are going to look at different ways to do textures, ingredients or functions.”