With a firm belief that “customization is the future of beauty”, IRÉN Skin is a vegan, clean, cruelty-free and scientifically-proven J-Beauty brand that works to redefine skincare through science, nature and cutting-edge technology. Designed to be tailored to your unique skin's needs, IRÉN Skin is Japanese beauty innovation at its finest!
To celebrate the launch of IRÉN Skin at Sterre Rose Beauty, we just had to have a conversation with the brand's founder, Kristin Chen. She tell us why and how she developed her own skincare range after gaining over 13 years’ experience in the beauty industry across Asia and Europe.
Read on to learn more on the brand's beginnings, their breakthrough Ziplock Encapsulation™ cosmetics technology, and how Japanese beauty traditions inspired them to innovate for the future.
"Customization is the future of beauty"
Sterre Rose Beauty: First things first, can you tell us about the brand’s beginnings? What’s the IRÉN Skin story so far?
Kristin Chen: We were born out of frustration with the generic products of the skincare industry. I used to travel a lot for work and lived in many different countries throughout my career life. My skin went through turbulent changes because of the constant exposure to different climates, stress, hormonal changes and environmental attacks. I was often disappointed by the many generic products that are offered in the skincare market. Every skin is different and there is simply no one size fits all skincare. It was then when I knew customization would eventually become the future of beauty.
Back in the days when access to information was much more limited, I used to spend a lot of time studying ingredients and the correlation it has on the different skin conditions. I was very intrigued by the science of skincare and the difference between eastern and western beauty cultures. When I decided to create my own brand, I took my decade-long research and approached several scientists to convince them of my plan to create a beauty brand that would be very ingredient-focused, with visible results backed by science. I envisioned an innovative concept that would transcend cultures, customizable to cater to different skin conditions, and clean from toxic ingredients. We eventually formed our R&D team and started IRÉN Skin, a Japanese skincare brand that integrates age-old rituals with cutting edge technology, and break through new frontiers with the creation of ethical and customizable skincare.
"I envisioned an innovative concept that would transcend cultures, customizable to cater to different skin conditions, and clean from toxic ingredients."
SRB: Can you describe IRÉN Skin in just three words for us?
KC: Innovative, scientific, fun.
SRB: What were the main objectives when creating the customized serums?
KC: Superfruit Booster Customized Serums are designed to cater to different skin conditions, to allow fun and easy customization. It consists of a range of 7 serums, each with a specific function. The serums can be mixed up to 3 and used in a single step to create a customized and targeted treatment. Mix, match and play with 35 unique combinations.
SRB: What sets IRÉN Skin apart from the rest of the beauty industry and from other Japanese beauty brands?
KC: We are the first Japanese skincare brand to ban more than 2000 ingredients that are toxic, allergenic and comedogenic. We are 100% vegan and cruelty free. We are very science-focused and invest heavily in R&D. In fact, we are led by an all-female R&D team. Unlike other Japanese skincare brands, we are fun and colorful, but at the same time very serious about our science.
"We are the first Japanese skincare brand to ban more than 2000 ingredients that are toxic, allergenic and comedogenic."
SRB: Can you tell us which serum was the hardest to formulate?
KC: Our R&D team analyzed more than 10.000 ingredients, performed thousands of clinical tests and analyzed plenty of scientific journals to make the final selection of ingredients that are found in our formulas. I have to admit all 7 serums had their own set of obstacles during the development process. The biggest challenge was instead getting the right texture as we do not use any toxic, allergenic or comedogenic ingredients in our formulations, which can affect the texture. As we do not use alcohol (a common ingredient to make texture lighter and more refreshing), it took us a long time to achieve the ideal texture.
SRB: What is the IRÉN Skin ethos?
KC: IRÉN Skin combines tradition with innovation and redefines beauty and skincare from a perspective of science, nature and technology. We provide smart, fun and customizable solutions that are adapted to the active and modern lifestyle. We build and grow our brand based on these values: safety, diversity, honesty, science and women’s empowerment.
SRB: IRÉN Skin has modernized traditional Japanese skin rituals, can you tell us how?
KC: Japanese skincare has a long history dating back to over a thousand years. Like many other aspects of Japanese culture, beauty ideals and modern skincare are directly linked to traditional values and concepts. The art of Japanese layering is a concept that stays true to the culture of Kodawari, which means a sincere, unwavering focus on what you’re doing, with a goal of making it perfect. Layering is essentially adding layers of skincare products with a specific order of application. Day and night, Japanese women spend time putting on layers of skincare in the pursuit of perfect skin.
"The art of Japanese layering is a concept that stays true to the culture of 'Kodawari', which means a sincere, unwavering focus on what you’re doing, with a goal of making it perfect."
We have modernized the Japanese skincare by simplifying the art of layering. Our Superfruit Booster Customized Serums are created to adapt to the modern and active lifestyle. The serums can be mixed up to 3 and used in one single step with no contradiction, made possible with our patented technology, Ziplock Encapsulation™.
SRB: How does the Ziplock Encapsulation™ technology work, and why is this technology truly groundbreaking?
KC: The Ziplock Encapsulation technology is created to enhance the efficacy of skincare and to ensure visible results in a shorter period of time. It works in three functions:
1) Power encapsulation: each active ingredient is encapsulated in one tiny single molecule as opposed to the traditional method where many active ingredients will be encapsulated into one larger molecule. This allows active ingredients to retain its freshness for longer and there will be no contradiction of active ingredients even when they are mixed.
2) Nano-sized molecule: each active ingredient has been encapsulated into a nano-molecule that is tinier than the pore size, allowing active ingredients to travel faster and more effectively into the epidermis.
3) Time-released effect: there is a time release effect with ourZiplock Encapsulation technology. The active ingredients will take time to travel deeper into the epidermis before breaking to release its nutrients. This ensures maximal efficacy and visible results in a shorter time as active ingredients can work its magic on the deeper layer of the epidermis.
SRB: What advice do you give to consumers who are choosing their serum combination?
KC: We always tell customers to focus on skin concerns rather than skin type. Listen to your skin and understand what your skin needs. Are there flakiness or are there redness? Are there fine lines or are there blemishes? The serums are designed to target specific skin concerns. Our skin changes all the time, so by focusing on skin concerns, we are sure to be treating the exact skin issue at the right time.
"Our skin changes all the time, so by focusing on skin concerns, we are sure to be treating the exact skin issue at the right time."
SRB: What is your current favorite serum combination, and why?
KC: My all-time favorite combination would be Skin Reboot Antioxidant Serum (an all-rounder that makes me feel well protected through all seasons), Glow-Getter Renewal Serum (a gentle exfoliating serum that unclog my pores and gives it a smooth texture with of course the perfect glow!), and Quench-Up Hydrating Serum (with 12 hydrating ingredients in a bottle, it really does the job).
SRB: What are the future plans for IRÉN Skin?
KC: We are in the midst of developing more innovative and exciting new products. We are also planning to integrate more innovative technology like AI to perfect our customizable solutions.