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Diana Stenbolt and Gemma Estrela met in a changing room at a pilates class. Both working at mega online retailer Farfetch at the time and mutually frustrated over skincare industry beauty ideals, questionable practices, and an oversaturated market, the pair joined forces to create Skindays. As they describe it, "Skindays is [the] solution for all those people feeling the same frustration: an innovative marketplace where everyone can find the right skincare products for their needs, concerns and lifestyle, through bespoke recommendations, expert advice and impartial vetting." Merging common sense and customisation, Skindays offers a 3-minute skin test, which analyses your skin type, goals, and ethics, and zeros in on the specific products that will be best for each individual customer. We caught up with Gemma (not at pilates, FYI) to learn a bit more about how the brand got started, and how it's going.

Emilie Louizides: Please tell us a bit about Skindays; what it is and how and why you got started with it?

Gemma Estrela: Skindays is a pro-ageing discovery platform. As I approached my 30s and developed a growing concern for the effects of ageing, I embarked on a journey of research and exploration, seeking holistic and natural methods to slow down this process. While I've never opposed invasive treatments, I've always felt there is something truly magical about the process of growing older naturally. Along this path, I discovered that by using the right skincare and wellness products. Transformative results can be achieved without the need for altering or intervening in this natural progression.

During this pivotal time, I met my co-founder, Diana Stenbolt. We happened to cross paths in the changing room of a Pilates studio while we were both working at Farfetch. I was carrying an array of skincare products, I sensed Diana's overwhelming feeling of being lost in my routine choices. During that conversation, the seeds of Skindays were planted. We realised that many other customers shared the same struggle and sought guidance in navigating the

world of skincare. Our platform is here to empower and assist customers in making informed choices, providing

guidance and curated recommendations tailored to their skin and unique needs. With Skindays, we aim to foster a community where the celebration of ageing is embraced, and the transformative power of the right skincare and wellness choices is realised.

EL: Your mission is to uncover high-efficacy, result-driven formulations and match them to each of your customers' needs. If you had to point to three main markers that actually make products work, what would they be?

GE: When understanding the efficacy of a product, we always look for formulations that have:

1. Effective Active Ingredients: Skincare products must contain active ingredients that have proven benefits for the skin such as antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins, and other compounds that target specific skin concerns.

2. Expert-backed brands: We are always on the lookout for dermatologist-backed brands as they invest in clinical trials, scientific research and development to ensure products are formulated in a way that ensures stability, proper absorption, and optimal delivery to the skin.

3. Proper Packaging: The packaging is a key element as it protects the skincare formulations from light, air, moisture, and contaminants as well as dosage control, ensuring their stability and effectiveness.

EL: Based on the skin test you offer, can you please describe an example customer? Their skin type, skin concerns, ethics they aren't willing to compromise on, etc?

GE: By analysing the customer data obtained from our comprehensive skin test, we have identified a specific customer profile. Our findings reveal that our target customer falls within the age range of 29 to 32 years old, possesses combination skin, and experiences concerns related to sensitive skin, including reactive redness and rosacea. In terms of their skincare needs, they prioritise products that not only provide a radiant glow but also soothe and calm their skin. Additionally, our discerning customer shows a preference for brands that are cruelty-free, microplastic-free, and devoid of parabens.

EL: In an industry full of green-washing, please tell us about how Skindays stays true to sustainable practices.

GE: At Skindays, sustainability holds a central place in our business philosophy and influences every aspect of our daily operations. We prioritise sustainability throughout our supply chain, working conditions, packaging choices, and the brands we partner with. Our mission is to empower our customers with ingredient transparency, enabling them to make informed decisions about their beauty choices. To facilitate this, we have implemented an ingredient list software within each product description page, ensuring that our customers have easy access to comprehensive information about the ingredients in our products. By providing ingredient transparency, we aim to promote a deeper understanding of beauty choices and support our customers in making conscious and sustainable decisions.

EL: Coming from ecommerce backgrounds, what have you learned about skincare since launching Skindays?

GE: The most thrilling part of launching and fostering our brand, Skindays, has been the remarkable growth of our community. I find inspiration in two significant aspects: first, the invaluable connections we've made with our esteemed brand partners, where we explore their distinctive missions and personal journeys. This continuous interaction serves as a wellspring of motivation. Second, witnessing the expansion of the Skindays community, from

our enlightening skincare round tables to the launch and growth of our Skindays Club membership. These fill me with immense satisfaction and joy.

On a skincare note, I have recently learned about the benefits of CBD on skin thanks to Mantle, a Scandi brand we have launched in exclusivity in the UK. I was so impressed by the results that we organised a workshop for our Skindays Club members in partnership with Mantle at Salon C. Stellar clinic.

EL: For frustrated customers who are ready to give up their search for effective skincare, why can they trust that Skindays will deliver?

GE: We are here to guide your skin days and connect you with the right expert-backed clean brands that work for you. We do so via our platform Skin Test or the Skindays Club membership programme where you get access to a 1 to 1 consultation with a dermatologist and ongoing support from our partner clinics.

EL: While Skindays takes an individualised approach, is there one product you stock that you believe has the power to benefit anyone and everyone?

GE: My skincare choices depend on my skin needs and this varies throughout the year. Instead of relying on a single product, I carefully select from a range of options. For instance, the Goldfaden Doctor's Scrub is a staple in my routine all year long. During warmer months, I opt for the refreshing Evolve Detox Face Wash, while the Verso Cleansing Balm provides nourishment during colder days. When my skin requires a revitalizing boost, I turn to the Irene Forte Pistachio Mask and Venn Compound K. To create a smooth canvas for makeup, I apply the Peace & Pure Oil. By customising my skincare products, I ensure that my skin gets the specific care it needs during different seasons and situations.

EL: What has been the most rewarding aspect of launching Skindays?

GE: Seeing our community of users and brand partners grow organically while staying true to our mission: support our users to look and feel their natural best by guiding them through their skin days.

EL: What's next for Skindays?

GE: Mark your calendars for an exciting event! From now through the 25th of June, we will be hosting a vibrant pop-up studio in the heart of Notting Hill. Join us for a limited time to discover our unique selection of brands and experience a unique blend of workshops and wellness experiences.


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