Sabrina Tan is the brilliant and innovative mind that created the world’s first Customized Serum Cocktail Bar, Skin Inc. There is no denying the success of the brand and the amazing products that have lead it to become the award winning brand it is today. Beauty Insider was honoured to dive into the mind of Sabrina, finding out the vision and drive that made Skin Inc, her proudest creations, and the future of the company.

Curious to know what we found out? Keep scrolling for our full interview with Sabrina Tan.

The Beginning of Skin Inc

How did Skin Inc begin? 

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Born with sensitive and eczema-prone skin, I took a radical leap of faith with a mission to reboot the beauty industry. I took a look at my vanity graveyard of galore products that were not suitable for the type of skin I had. I felt that the skincare industry was stereotyping us by skin type and ignored that each of us are unique individuals, with specific needs.

I asked myself, was there a way to address the specific need of everyone evolving skin concerns according to our lifestyle and environmental stressors and how could I increase the efficacy and performance of skincare? I made a leap of faith to reboot beauty and launched Skin Inc in 2008 and the world’s first custom serum – customize, don’t compromise.

You left a tech career to start your own beauty brand, what kept you motivated during those times?

Having clocked in over a decade in Silicon Valley’s leading tech corporations (IBM, HP and Oracle), I was already inspired to create a fuss-free solution that will empower customers to develop a deep intimate relationship with their skin as it evolved with them. My past careers only inspired me to marry beauty with technology and I am grateful for that.

What would you be doing now if you were not a beauty brand founder?

Technically, I am not a beauty brand founder. I am a tech founder, as I love tech and that’s why I launched many tech products at Skin Inc so to answer your question, I would be a tech founder.

Skin Inc’s Success

When did you feel that you’d succeeded with the Skin Inc?

To some extent, I don’t think I will ever be satisfied and feeling like I have succeeded. To me, there is so much more to do, to answer the ever-changing needs of our customers. 

With that said, I wanted Skin Inc to be recognized as the most innovative skincare, wellness and tech company that harnesses the power of AI & Skin Inc Cloud to deliver customized skincare on demand, resulting in healthy glowing skin. We are on the way to doing that but as I said, I am too passionate to help other women and men for me to say “I am done”.

What are five products from Skin Inc that you’re proudest of?

Although of course, my favourite products are still our core, My Daily Dose®, cocktail serum (which you can get from filling up our Skin ID Check https://www.iloveskininc.com.sg/pages/skin-id) and Optimizer Voyage Tri-LightTM++, since COVID started, it’s been one of the most innovative time for the company and where we launched some amazing products that sold out almost instantly, here they are:

Mask Liner

While we are aware of the need to wear masks, we have heard complaints about the difficulty in breathing, being uncomfortable with the heat and dampness which causes skin to break out. We wanted to make lives easier with the mandatory mask-wearing which traps moisture, sweat, oil and dirt close to the skin leading to increased bacteria growth. The result: Maskne! We also got feedback from customers worldwide that have also seen how long-term wearing of masks can affect the skin for our front-liners – inflamed skin, pressure sores, broken blood vessels, contact dermatitis and rosacea from the constant physical friction and/or pressure of the mask against the skin. Through the Skin Inc’s Skin Identity Check and our community feedback, we know that 43%* of consumers suffer from sensitive, hyper-reactive skin, oily and acne skin, large pores and/or rough skin texture so we want to rescue your skin woes before things go south, that’s why we launched the Mask Liner last September. Consumers have been loving it ever since! 

My Daily Dose® of Armour: 

MDD of Armour is another one of our popular innovations to combat maskne, enlarged pores and skin sensitivity. You can pair up the Mask Liner with My Daily Dose of Armour for double protection to strengthen the skin’s barrier. Living with eczema myself, I understand firsthand that a strong skin barrier function is fundamental when it comes to having good skin.

Serum UV Moisturizer: SPF50+, PA+++; 

Serum UV Moisturizer acts as an invisible shield to protect your skin against blue light, hyper-pigmentation and the sun’s damaging UV rays. Deep diving into our Skin Identity Check, we found that consumers wanted a sunscreen that is lightweight, while 40% wanted a sunscreen with high SPF and PA properties. To combat blue light damage, this innovation is a hybrid that infuses skin-loving active ingredients (Vitamin B3, Licorice and Hyaluronic Acid) and powerful UV filters to care for your skin from inside-out. 

Serum Glow Filter

My skincare cheat sheet to look Zoom-Ready at all times is always to apply Serum Glow Filter. Combining ingredients and tech, it combines gold hibiscus extract niacinamide and hyaluronic acid with light reflection to hydrate, even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and fine lines. It’s perfect for day use and is personalized to your skin tone using Light Reflective Technology that enables external light to bounce off your skin, creating a glow, soft-focus effect. 

Tri-Light™ Body Sculpt Fit:

Skin Inc’s data, which is based on over one million skin identity profiles, told us that 82% frequently eat unbalanced meals, 79% drink less than six glasses of water, and 94% exercise less than five hours a week. Stress and imbalanced habits result in inflammation, including body acne, bloat, stretch marks and lack of elasticity in five key areas: stomach, butt, thighs, and neck. After listening to that information from our customers, we launched our first body device that detoxes, smooths, lifts, and enhances your best body features with six synergistic benefits including Micro-Vibration, Micro-Current, Heating and three NASA-inspired LED lights. We have been getting rave reviews from our customers worldwide. 

Skin Inc ‘s Secret

What are three things that you wish people knew about yourself and Skin Inc?After launching the world’s first supplement bar and the globally-acclaimed customized cocktail serum with the ability to fit up to 10 active ingredients for a personalized touch, we set the bar for innovation in one of the most competitive categories in beauty. Since then: 

The brand has launched 60 data-driven formulations, devices and timely innovations (like the Mask Liner to prevent maskne), in addition to solidifying the bestselling hero products, the My Daily Dose® Serum and the ground breaking Optimizer Voyage Tri-LightTM++.

We have won over 150 beauty awards globally, and personalization has become the gold standard of the industry.

Our Optimizer Voyage Tri-LightTM++, is well built and it lasts for 3,000 facials, making it not only a favorite of our customers but also delivering a huge savings to our customers as compared to facials or estheticians.

Sabrina Tan’s Beauty Advice

What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?

Not sure it was a beauty advice, but more something from my mother. When I grew up, I would wake up, and my mother would serve me and my brothers warm soya bean milk. It was SOOOO good as it gave you a little sweetness, warmth, and quenched that morning thrust! I later learned that soya bean milk is a good source of antioxidants known as isoflavones, which is good for your skin as it is known to reduce the appearance of skin aging and gives our skin it’s bounciness.

What’s your beauty routine like considering you have sensitive skin? 

For eczema and sensitive skin like mine, I have a 3-step morning routine: My Daily Dose® customized cocktail of serums which consist of Hyaluronic Acid which is great for dry skin, Ceramide for my eczema prone skin to strengthen skin’s barrier and Licorice to soothe skin. I top it off with our Serum Glow Filter and I’m set for the day.

Similarly, at night I also have a 3-step routine: Cleanser (I skip this in the morning as I have dry skin and it can strip my natural defence barrier). Then, I apply My Daily Dose® cocktail of Collagen, Vitamin A and C to boost elasticity and even skin tone, sealing it off with our Hydro-Cream night mask from My Nightly DoseTM of Uplift with serum boosters of Soothe and Age-Proof. These boosters help to hydrate, replenish skin barrier, target aged skin and renew radiance from ageless skin.

To enhance the efficacy of the products, I always supercharge my regime with LED Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ on alternate nights. Customising my at-home flash facial treatment with 5 different LED light options, switching between the combinations of Chromotheraphy and Sonic Technology to help skin Repair, Glow, Soothe, Optimise and V-Sculp.

Skincare Trends

The pandemic has significantly changed the beauty industry, what are the next skincare trends that you think will dominate the world? 

The big trends that are about to explode which have been part of our DNA since inception is the concept of wellness from within. Meaning what you put in your body determines not only your skincare but your entire health. In addition, look out for many developments around AI, where information is provided to consumers for them to make beauty decisions.   

The Future of Skin Inc

What’s in store for Skin Inc? Have you ever thought about creating a makeup line? 

At Skin Inc, our consumers are at the heart of everything we do, ensuring we continue to provide personalised skincare to address their concerns. My team and I are always focused on the following pillars to drive Skin Inc’s development:

  • Continue our global expansion
  • Developing a strong community of #skinnovators #skintech lovers and staying true to less-is-more skincare routines
  • Skin health as a service – look out for great innovations to deliver even more personalized skincare and services to our customers
  • It’s an exciting continuous journey, and we can’t wait to share our upcoming innovations.
  • No, I am definitely not going to create a makeup line, but one thing for sure is that we will ensure that our customers’ needs are served and that will include strong pushes towards wellness both from within and with the help of wellness partners.