How LightWater Skin Nutrition Is Reinventing Skincare Packaging
Here’s a fact: The face cream at the bottom of a jar doesn’t work as well as the product at the top, right after you peel back the seal on a shiny new cream. And this is especially true if you hold onto your products past their shelf life or expiration date. Now, that’s not to say your old face cream will hurt you; it will probably moisturize just fine, but the active ingredients won’t be so active anymore. That’s why biochemist Soo-Young Kang, PhD, created LightWater Skin Nutrition — a preservative-free skincare system that comes in single doses for maximum efficacy.
Between the formulations, innovative packaging, and rockstar dermatologist partners, LightWater is a brand to watch. Check out our interview with Kang — and be inspired to do a major medicine cabinet purge.
What inspired you to launch the brand?
One day, as I was going through my cosmetic bag, I was stunned to realize that some of the products were so old – 3 years, even up to 5 years! Being a scientist, I understand what happens to product actives over time and when continuously exposed to light, air and touch. They break down and become useless. It seemed like the products I was using were junk.
I rethought my skincare routine then. From a manufacturing standpoint, it makes sense why these products are old and stale. There is a lot of lag time between manufacturing, shipping, sitting on a shelf, purchasing and finally consumer use. I started thinking about reinventing these industry practices. What if we make small batches of skincare products, that are used quickly, and in addition, leave out preservatives, fragrances and many more unnecessary ingredients? Preservatives are irritants and damage the skin microbiome. The current practices add chemical and physical stress to the skin, hindering its ability to age healthfully and gracefully. So, an idea was formed, centered around truly fresh, potent and pure products with fresh active ingredients at their peak efficacy.
You assembled such an amazing team of experts; how do they each contribute?
I had previously worked with Dr. Rox Anderson and Dr. Fernanda Sakamoto on skincare technology development for over 10 years. They are some of my idols. They are world-renowned skin experts and dermatologists, as well as wonderful human beings who genuinely care about others and dedicate themselves to improving others’ lives. I shared my idea with them, and they were super excited to work together to develop and deliver truly fresh and clean products for consumers. I learned about the frustrations they experience as practicing dermatologists because they could not make skincare product recommendations that meet their standards and would help their most vulnerable patients.
What are some of the hero ingredients, and what skin types are these moisturizers designed for?
Our products are designed for all skin types. Some people are more susceptible to concerning ingredients than others. For example, think of babies or those with sensitive skin. Susceptibility may also vary as we age, experience hormonal changes or undergo skin treatments like facials. That's why we ensure our clean and pure formulations are hypoallergenic, gentle, pH- and microbiome-friendly, safe and dermatologist-approved for even the most susceptible skin.
We designed the products together to not only avoid commonly used cosmetic ingredients that are known to cause problems, but also to add vitamins, antioxidants and actives that are scientifically proven to benefit skin. Everything we do is based on solid science.
The packaging is so innovative. How does it help preserve the product?
Our daily dose packaging is inspired by the food industry. We designed and engineered the packaging to deliver our fresh and clean formulas in the safest, cleanest and most effective way. It prevents accelerated degradation of products and cross-contamination from repeated exposure to air, light and touch.
A lot of people are moving away from single-use items. Why is this packaging actually more sustainable than other options?
We took a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to our packaging by following the 3 R’s rule (reducing, reusing and recycling). Our daily doses reduce resources and are fully recyclable. Flexible packaging requires 35% to 75% less material than rigid packaging does. It also utilizes fewer resources — such as water and energy — during production and transportation, reducing its carbon footprint. Plus, while bottles and tubes utilize a mixture of materials (i.e., lid, dispenser, pump), which can impair recyclability, our daily doses are fully recyclable. We provide complimentary shipping to ensure they're recycled through our recycling partner. Additionally, our resealable pouches are 60% compostable, breaking down naturally within 12 weeks. The remainder oxo-degrades over 5-10 years vs. the estimated 1,000 years for regular plastic. We are constantly in search of even more eco-friendly options.
What's next for the brand?
Our plan is to expand the LightWater portfolio in the coming years, including products for different skin needs and concerns. We see incredible potential throughout the entire beauty category to bring freshly made, highly efficacious and pure products to consumers. Ultimately, we seek to create a new category of fresh beauty and inspire the industry to evolve to healthier and more effective products.