Finally! A brand that caters to the skincare concerns of melanin-rich skin, says deputy digital editor Jazmin Kopotsha. Here, she explains how trialling products customised to her specific skin concerns has changed her attitude to beauty routines.
I’ll be honest. Patience and consistency are two things that I’ve struggled to maintain in my personal life. I’ve muddled my way through telling myself it’s just one of those super fun and quirky things that make my messy life more of an adventure (yeah, I rolled my eyes at that too) but in the world of skincare, my reluctance to stick to a routine really isn’t very helpful.
Combination skin, hyperpigmentation, sporadic sensitivity, hormonal acne flare-ups every now and again, and a tendency to look pretty dull in the winter months. This, friends, is my skincare baseline.
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Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of dipping my toes into various brands and products; ones promising to even out my skin tone, brighten dark spots and hydrate it like nothing’s ever hydrated before. They’ve been fine. And granted, the effectiveness was probably stifled by that cute consistency problem we were just talking about. But I’ve never felt that any of the products I’ve come across have really understood my skin.
Let’s face facts for a second. Black women have historically been left out of the mainstream beauty conversation. And though there’s visible energy directed at correcting those wrongs on the make-up side of things, I’ve not felt the same push in the world of skincare. That is, of course until I was introduced to 4.5.6 Skin.
Born in the heart of the French Cosmetic Valley (that’s where you’ll find the world’s biggest beauty conglomerates) with a mission to close the skincare-race gap, 4.5.6 Skin was created to specifically cater to the needs of melanin-rich skin.
“The need for a deepened understanding of melanin-rich skin and beauty is urgent. We believe that beauty needs to be defined by each person on their own terms,” reads their mission statement.
Speaking over video call, founder Noelly Michoux tells me that the concept is surprisingly straightforward. They offer six products with a base active ingredient. When you go to order the products on the 4.5.6 website, you’ll be asked to share your skin prototype – mine is Phototype V which brown skin, dark brown to black hair, dark brown eyes and tans darkly easily. You then chose your skin type (combination for me) and up to three skin concerns (I went for hyperpigmentation, uneven skin and dull skin). The final step of the customisation process invites you to share whether you like your products to be fragranced or not (very much appreciated this) and from there, 4.5.6 uses your information to create a custom concentration of ingredients in your products.
If you thought I was impressed at the ordering stage, let me tell you, when I received my products and saw my name typed across each one, I was suitably excited. Appearances aside, the products themselves didn’t disappoint either.
For one month so far, I’ve been following the All-Star Set routine. It includes GREEN BAE Cleansing Gel, £25, COME CLEAN Cleansing Oil, £28, TO BE CLEAR Exfoliant Mask, £52, TONIC OH! Treatment Lotion, £48, SEVENLY DELIGHT Brightening Concentrated Serum, £65, and DAY HACK Matte Moisturiser, £55.
What I love the most is that the texture of each product sits on or seeps into my skin like it’s been thirsty for it my whole life. You don’t need to use much of each product as they spread well. I had to really discipline myself to follow the steps every day, and although I’ve not been able to magic away my hyperpigmentation just yet, I’ve really noticed that the texture of my skin feels much more even and though winter is perhaps the most challenging time to trial new products (particularly serums with active ingredients and acids if your skin tends to dry or flake) I’ve not been disappointed.
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Of the set, my hero products have to be the exfoliating mask which I’ve taken to using just two times a week, the treatment lotion (don’t be alarmed when it goes a tiny sticky on your face, the accompanying direction booklet will remind you that’s meant to happen), and the brightening serum that I’m using in the evenings before bed. The only extras I’ve brought into the fold are my trusty factor 50 sun cream and Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Lotion for those particularly dry spots in the corners of my lips and at the top of my cheeks on, particularly cold days.
I suppose the frustration and the beauty of this long overdue skincare range for melanin-rich skin is that my experience with it will be completely different to someone else’s as soon as they answer their formula customisation questions. But, if my reluctance to keep at things is anything to go by, let me tell you this: three weeks into trialling the 4.5.6 routine I threw out two shelves of opened and sporadically used skincare products so I could focus on this one. And I don’t think I’ll be looking back any time soon.
4.5.6 skin: the All-Star Set
Shop 4.5.6 Skin, The All-Star Set, £189.00