Jennifer Rock, if you don’t know, is the founder and CEO of The Skin Nerd® and the creator of Skingredients®. Without her, your new favourite skincare brand simply wouldn’t exist, so send love notes to our P.O. box.
As a dermal facialist and award-winning skin trainer, she knows a thing or two about skin but that doesn’t mean that formulating Skingredients was easy like a Sunday morning. Between international flights to labs, months of self-trialling and more official, scientific trialling, and scrapping ideas that she adored, the creation of Skingredients was filled with blood, sweat and skin cells.
Q: When you were deciding what would go into the Skingredients range, how did you choose what type of products to include?
A: Skin Veg and Skin Protein were the first two products I wanted to make. Antioxidants are the undervalued underdog of the skincare world. Both products are incredibly anti-inflammatory and I’m a big believer of that as a concept, whether your skin is healthy or “flawless” (if it exists) to begin with or not. Medical conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne are inflammatory conditions, and accelerated skin ageing is related to inflammation too. I strongly believe we can help with anti-inflammatory ingredients on the outside and on the inside, along with vitamin A and peptides, particularly with regard to anti-ageing.
Vitamin A is a crucial part of skin health, as I’ve known from the brands and bodies I’ve worked with throughout my career. However, I wanted to create a progressive approach to it with Skin Protein. When I had the idea for these two products, it became like making your wedding invite list. You can’t invite Uncle Brian without Aunty Mary and so on and so forth. If you’re going to undo the effects of the past, you have to protect for the future, so then I knew I needed an SPF in the range too.
Not all skins are the same, so I wanted to find a way to bring in active ingredients such as salicylic acid (Sally Cleanse), as clients online were asking about their problematic skin and weren’t sure what to use for it. Salicylic acid is a key component for me, and I believe ceramides (Skin Good Fats) and hyaluronic acid (Skin Veg) are integral too. From our experience with Nerd Network online skin consultations, we know how few people know how to cleanse thoroughly and in a way that benefits their skin, and that’s where PreProbiotic Cleanse came into the equation.
It’s quite simple, it ends up being a balanced dinner plate except for your skin, with enough of everything your skin needs to be healthy.
Q: You believe that everyone should be using the full Core 4 – why?
A: For me, the Core 4 is essential for everyone as many say that they have “tried everything” or “used everything”. When we dig a little bit deeper, it turns out that they have used the typical “cleanse, tone, moisturise” system but haven’t necessarily been aware of what has been in that skincare. At The Skin Nerd, we see ingredients as the centre of a skincare routine, regardless of the brand or type of product. The Core 4 contains the exact ingredients that we find help peoples’ skin, balancing it, helping it to become stronger, assisting in levelling oil production, hydrating it, brightening it and keeping it looking younger. We’ve already seen people’s results since launch, which is incredible. People are seeing differences in 10-14 days using just the Core 4 having never used active skincare before, and those who are used to highly active skincare are loving the products too and optimising their results.
Many feel that they’re using the right products, and they absolutely should be, but it’s about how you’re using them, amounts and having particular ingredients in wash-off formulations and others in serums. For a beautiful gown to look its best, you need a good pair of underwear to help shape and structure. The Core 4 is the good quality underwear of your skincare routine, that will lead to long-term skin health at a cellular level. Our goal is to bring people confidence and to aid in hoomans feeling good in their own skin and that’s what the Core 4 can offer. That’s why it’s so controversial in that it doesn’t conform to the “skin type” concept yet still delivers results due to the amino acids, peptides, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, good fats, SPF, vitamin A, vitamin C, green tea extract, probiotics, vitamin B3… Basically, all the goodness inside the Core 4.
Q: Would you consider Skingredients to be natural or clean skincare?
A: Having just attended a conference about natural skincare, it’s clear to me that what natural skincare is is not necessarily cut and dry and everybody has a different opinion over what it is. We focus on what is in the product rather than what is not in the product, that’s why we have the ingredient glossary or as I call it, the “bum recipe” on the bottom of our packaging, so you can educate yourself on what exactly is in every single product! Education is empowerment and we’re all about empowered skincare usage. If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that I am fond of saying that’s what natural to me is not natural to a tree. Ingredients like peptides, amino acids and vitamins are all compounds that my body recognises so I would personally call them natural.
Our formulations have a little of column A and a little of column B: the more classically “natural” botanical ingredients that are proven to have benefits for the skin plus lab-made ingredients that have papers to back up exactly how they work. You’ll see a lot of teas and plant extracts on our INCI lists, including green tea, rooibos tea and resveratrol-rich japanese knotweed extract, as they are extremely potent antioxidants with lots of evidence behind them.
To answer the question, it is up to you to decide if you feel that Skingredients is natural skincare! Chemicals are not to be feared – you’re essentially a walking, talking collection of chemicals, filled with H20, a chemical.
Q: Skingredients contains no fragrances, parabens, SLS or animal-derived ingredients. Were you conscious of this from the get-go?
A: I’ve always been very conscious of what I’ve applied to my skin from a very early age and that’s why I got into skincare. When explaining skincare to my own clients, I tend to reference the INCI list, the legally-required ingredients listing on product packaging. For us, it has always been important that we understand what we apply to our skin, particularly in 2019 in the consumer-driven world. Now, people are very conscious of what they’re putting into their body and sustainability and broader concepts like that too.
It’s been an awareness of mine but I do feel that sometimes there’s misinformation out there about the ingredients that some brands decide to omit and then market heavily around what they’re omitting. There’s an element of this that I’m intrigued in, but only because of the science behind it as opposed to trendiness.
Q: Did you learn anything about skin or skincare ingredients from being involved in the formulation process that you wouldn’t have learned before?
A: I’ve learned an awful lot more about ingredients, I respect the journey so much more, I now know what you can and can’t claim when it comes to packaging, and how ingredients work (or won’t work) together. I think before I may have had different opinions about preservatives and different ingredients. I would have been fairly certain about the amounts of ingredients depending where they’d land on an INCI list but I now know I may have been wrong more often than I’d like to admit.
Through the process you learn that there’s a reason why salicylic acid won’t be third on an INCI list, for example, because it’s only allowed to be in products up to 2% in the cosmetic world, but it’s still highly active at this level. I have tonnes more respect for those who have gone before.
Q: If you could explain the inspiration behind Skingredients with one song, what is that song and why?
A: Hmm, I wanted to recreate that empowerment feeling from Alessia Cara’s ‘Scars To Your Beautiful’. I hear how people’s skin makes them feel nearly everyday and that’s not something that I can’t think about it. I know how my skin has made me feel in the past. It can have such an effect on your self-confidence, on how you feel about yourself and on your mental health. Skingredients is not only about improving the health of hoomans’ skin, it’s founded to make skincare fun and to be something that helps people to love themselves a bit more.
On a less emotional note, the usual work theme song that plays in my head is Bittersweet Symphony. It’s a real “grab it by the whatevers” song.
More Skingredients Q&As with Jennifer Rock coming soon…