How did you decide to be a genderless/unisex skincare brand?
We didn’t start off with the intention to be classified as gender-neutral/unisex. As a female-led, LGBTQ-founded company, we simply assumed that good skincare is something everyone should have access to. We tailored our brand around this belief.
Our products are formulated in South Korea, where young consumers have higher quality standards. They are more interested in the ingredient story than the gender appeal of the packaging, and actively check to see if a product works and/or has great reviews. We paid special attention to this behavior, working with one of Korea’s leading chemists to ensure our products were solution-oriented, using only clean, vegan ingredients with published scientific data that supports their effectiveness.
Throughout the product development cycle, we also sought feedback from a wide variety of men and women. This allowed us to better understand the unique needs and frustrations of our consumer. For example, we learned that young couples tend to share products in the bathroom, negating the need for separate alternatives. Similarly, many young men admitted to secretly using “women’s products” in lieu of the more aggressive “for men” brands.
At the end of the day, we figured everyone could benefit from using a few primary skincare essentials—a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser, an antioxidant-rich toner, and a lightweight moisturizer. There’s no reason for them to be presented in a gendered environment.
What makes EVENPRIME a genderless skincare brand?
EVENPRIME products are suitable for all skin types—including sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. Our hard-working, no-nonsense formulas contain only clean, vegan ingredients, and can be used by (or shared with) any age, race, gender or celestial being.
Throughout the development process, we sought feedback and perspectives from our diverse community (from products and formulas to packaging and copy).
We feature men and women of varying skin tones across all of our marketing content - website, social media, etc. We also deliberately chose a neutral color theme, with no inclusion of gender terms on the packaging.
At present, our customer base is divided equally between men and women.
Would you say men and women need different skincare ingredients?
Though male and female skin does develop some biological differences, the best way to approach skincare is not by gender, but rather by individual skin type and particular issue. In fact, there isn’t any conclusive evidence to support that men and women have significantly different skincare needs.
Whether you're male, female, gay, straight, transgender, non-binary, alien, or earthling—skin is skin. Anyone could have dry, oily, or combination skin, acne, hyperpigmentation, large pores, etc. For this reason, we encourage our customers to learn about different ingredients in order to find products that are best suited for their needs.
For example, Niacinamide and Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate help address large pores, while soothing ingredients like Centella Asiatica, Sea Buckthorn and Madecassoside help strengthen and restore the skin barrier.
Dubious marketing practices in the beauty industry have perpetuated the myth that a product can only be used by a certain gender, but Hyaluronic Acid works just as well on a man’s skin as it does a woman’s.
How much do you think packaging plays into whether a skincare product is appealing to a male or female?
Packaging aesthetics are an important part of the consumer buying process, especially for younger consumers. Though there is nothing wrong with having a personal preference for certain colors (pink/blue), the lack of neutral options and restrictive binary categorization are problematic for today’s consumer.
Ultimately, advertisers, store owners, and salespeople all bear some responsibility in how they present brands to an audience. Some guys like pink, some girls like blue—it’s not fair to segregate products by aesthetics.
Why do you think genderless skincare is on the rise right now?
As one of the largest consumer groups, Gen Z has really championed the movement to a more open-minded, visual culture. They are more respectful of diversity and inclusivity compared to previous generations, and they are moving away from traditional gender stereotypes and expectations. Gen Z is also spending more on beauty products than clothing right now.
Born and raised on the internet, young consumers have become more savvy and educated, learning how to read ingredient lists. They’ve shifted their focus to the science and chemistry of skincare—where there is no gendered messaging. Perhaps this is social osmosis from Korea/Japan, where Asian youths have long challenged traditional perceptions of masculinity. For example, in Korea, there are nearly 50k Youtube videos dedicated to “male idol make-up,” mostly created by teenage boys.
Social media platforms also provide a safe space for people to play with gender, beauty norms, and self-expression. Young people use their reach to create new communities and dialogue, exploring the fluidity of set boundaries. We’ve morphed into a world where people are more in touch with their true selves. Today, people are a lot less willing to change based on society’s expectations.
Anything else important to note about this?
In setting out to design EVENPRIME packaging, we wanted to position ourselves as the younger sibling to genderless prestige brands like Aesop and Le Labo. While they mix mid-century design with a vintage apothecary theme, we instead opted to pair modern-design with science-fiction. We asked ourselves, “What would a product look like in the world of Star Trek: The Next Generation?”
Aside from the incredible world-building (see: Beverly Crusher or Deanna Troi’s vanity set design), we remember one particular TNG episode that stood out to us, in which, a non-binary alien race attempts to understand human gender. It flipped the funnel of the conversation and made “gender” the minority. Great food-for-thought dialogue ensues. The show was amazingly progressive for its time and still resonates in 2019.
Though we’re also pulling from a few other references, it was this attention to outer space that gave rise to our notion of the “celestial being,” which is how we refer to someone who may present differently. We ultimately thought exploring the space theme would allow for more interesting content.