Desiree Verdejo’s Hyper Skin is Prioritizing Melanated Complexions
By Johanna Ferreira
After years of struggling with hormonal acne and stubborn hyperpigmentation, Desiree Verdejo had tried just about every skincare product she could get her hands on to address her pressing skin concerns. But nothing worked. The breakouts continued and would often be followed by dark spots she couldn’t get rid of. “As a woman of color, I was really unimpressed with the way I saw people that looked like me spoken to and prioritized,” she tells Thirteen Lune. “So I set out to create a skincare brand that was steeped in multiculturalism and that was very hyper targeted and that is how Hyper Skin was born.”
Verdejo set out to create a brand that’s hyper-focused on prioritizing the skin needs of people of color. The brand’s best seller is the Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum which is designed with 15-percent vitamin C, ionic, vitamin E, and fruit enzymes, to fade dark spots left behind by breakouts leaving skin clear, bright, and luminous.
Her beauty goal is to achieve results that are gentle and long-term. “These are products that you want to reach for because they’re gentle and because you know what to expect from them,” she says. I also do have a strong view that effective products and effective skincare and healthy skin in general should be accessible in terms of a price point. So while we are not the cheapest price in skincare — that’s not our goal — it is an aim to be accessible.”
“Beauty is crowded. It’s a cluttered industry but I’m still very excited by it. I’m excited by the ingredients. I’m excited by exposure to the beauty of other cultures and ingredients from other countries.”
Get to Know – Desiree Verdejo
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences?
My first beauty memory is of my great grandmother. She was actually a domestic worker. But one of the most elegant and stylish New Yorkers that I still can remember and she always wore wigs and always when going out wore a nicer wig and a really bright red lip and black slacks and I just always remembered how she put herself together and always had this view of putting her best foot forward. Growing up we didn’t talk a lot about beauty. But there was always this idea of putting your best foot forward when going out and that I think traces back to my family’s church-going roots and all of that. I think that pulled togetherness when I was younger, was what I associated with beauty. My views have developed into a way that’s much more personal now.
What does self-care look like in your life?
I have two young kids and a business that is growing faster than I ever would have expected it to grow in its first year. And so self-care is something that I have to remind myself of. But it is something that is very important to me and I can’t say that it looks the same everyday right now. But when I’m at my best, self-care looks like taking out a little bit of time for myself — usually in the mornings whether that’s a quick workout or a nice breakfast or reading a couple of chapters or a book. Self-care is really a bit of me time. Skincare for me is part of my self-care routine especially because I use skincare to treat an ongoing problem that is acne, so taking out the time and always remembering to do my routine and to drink water. To use my UV lights and to get a facial. That’s a huge thing that I do for myself and that I do for my own happiness and comfort.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
Beauty is crowded. It’s a cluttered industry but I’m still very excited by it. I’m excited by the ingredients. I’m excited by exposure to the beauty of other cultures and ingredients from other countries. I am excited for Hyper Skin and I think one of the reasons it’s resonating with folks is because it’s very pin-pointed. I think for years we’ve had a brand try to be everyone’s everything. I think growing up everyone had a Clinique 3-step. Hyper Skin is like we treat Hyperpigmentation. Social media allows you to speak to your people and the landscape is broad enough that there’s an opportunity to be really pin-pointed and I’m excited about that because I think it allows for people to really be spoken to, to be celebrated, to find ingredients that solve their issues and so that is sort of the path that I am excited about and looking to see how it blossoms and continue to speak to people who look like me and deal with the issues that I have.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
Finances for sure. We launched self-funded and not only self-funded but with a small amount of funds and so telling the world who you are, especially when you have big goals and you’re trying to tackle a big issue but you’re doing it with a small budget, is definitely a challenge. Fortunately, we have a product that works really well and has helped us to tell the story in a really strong and impactful way. I think that’s the challenge of a lot of small indie founders and small business owners and start up founders in general. It’s definitely been the biggest challenge.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
Our biggest win and I say this all the time, is the amazing press and that we are rolling out into these amazing retailers. When I’m not motivated I’ll look at our reviews page on our website. We have hundreds of 5-star reviews of people speaking to how their skin is changing using our Hyper Skin Serum. That’s our first product and the product we have on the market now. That is my biggest win. The fact that we have created something that has resonated with people and has measurable results for folks and that our customers continuously come back for and that they speak to their friends and family and posts on social media about.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
What I would like to see more of in the beauty industry as it relates to diversity and inclusivity, is authenticity. I think Fenty Beauty and the success of the natural hair care industry and some of the launches in the cosmetics arena, I think have been incredibly successful from a business perspective and from a revenue perspective and so you’re definitely seeing players enter that space. So products are being launched, companies are being launched, but I don’t know that I’m seeing the authenticity in that. The marketing team they use, the influencers they reach out to, the PR company that they use to make sure the story goes through certain communities, if all of those things aren’t diverse then it’s not real. It’s not truly inclusive and it’s not authentic. Some of the more visible multicultural beauty launches that I’m seeing just aren’t really clicking for me and unfortunately, where I do see that authenticity is on the indie side. Like myself, a lot of the businesses are really strong in their stance but don’t have the funds to tell the stories in such a broad way. So I’m looking for more authenticity and more support of indie brands with the goal of inclusivity that might not have the resources to catapult their stories and product lines.