Beauty

Meet Starface, the cult US brand that's changing the conversation around acne

Posted by
Hanna Ibraheem
Published
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After sell-out success in the United States, Starface has arrived on British soil to deliver a joyful approach to skincare.

How do you treat your spots? It might be with a concoction of various ointments, thick cream that you dot all over your face before bed, or even toothpaste (I did the latter as a teenager and ended up with burnt skin and I do NOT recommend it), treating blemishes is something that always seems to be done when we’re in the privacy of our home.

But Starface, a refreshing new skincare brand that has gained traction in the US, has finally launched in the UK and it’s here to change our approach. The brand has developed what they call ‘Hydro-Stars’; hydrocolloid pimple patches that absorb fluid from spots, keep out bacteria and work to speed up recovery. Plus, once applied, they make for a pretty great selfie.

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“The idea was always to make decorative patches,” explains Julie Schott, co-founder of Starface. “They’re designed so there’s a treatment on one side [which contains  hydrocolloid] and self expression on the other.”

After initial difficulty finding a manufacturer that could help bring the star-shaped patches to life (“Most manufacturers just flat-out said no; either they didn’t quite see the need or understand the concept or they didn’t have the capability”), the team could finally get to work. The line-up includes its signature yellow stars, simply known as Hydro-Stars, £19, alongside two limited-edition collections; Party Pack (a multi-coloured assortment of stars, which is no longer available) and Cyber (iridescent stars), £16. It’s the latter that you may have seen all over social media.

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Just 72 hours after launching, Cyber completely sold out. “It happened really quickly,” says Schott. “We had a waitlist going and then luckily we were able to restock.” But what’s interesting about the love for Cyber is that it’s the brand’s loudest iteration of patches. “I think our audience keep responding to the stars that are most attention-grabbing. The yellow, depending on your complexion, can be quite subtle but with cyber, you can’t miss it,” she adds.

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So where did the idea for Starface actually come from? “As a beauty editor, I still really struggle with acne,” explains Schott. “Despite having access to really incredible doctors and treatments, acne hit me in my early 20s and really carried through. I was self-conscious. I felt like I didn’t look professional. I felt like I had to wear make-up to look presentable at work.

“All of that just creates so much unnecessary stress. We want to change the conversation around acne and the mindset around treating spots because it can be kind of depressing,” Schott adds. “It definitely was for me when I was younger. I was just on this treadmill of trying so many different things and getting disappointing and mixed results. Plus, so many of the treatments and products that were available back then were blame-based.”

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Schott, who describes herself as a “skin-picker”, says Hydro-Stars help her to resist the urge. “[Once] it’s on, I can’t see it anymore and that lets it heal. Otherwise I will totally go in and do my own at-home surgery that ends in destruction.”

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Stylist's Shannon tries the signature Hydro-Stars

Stylist’s own beauty director Shannon Peter (pictured above) was given early access to Starface and has been trialling the signature Hydro-Stars for four weeks. “Every now and then — notably most often around my period — I get a smattering of juicy spots pop up over my face. It takes every ounce of my willpower not to pick them (and to be honest, I usually do it anyway) but I’ve found Starface’s stickers to really help.

“Firstly, they cover up the spot and stop me picking, and secondly, they take down redness and practically suck the life out of a spot overnight. I use them whenever I see the first signs of a spot, and tend to pop them on before bed, although I love them so much, I’d gladly wear them to work too.”

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Introducing: Big Yellow

Alongside the star-shaped patches in different colourways, the packaging itself is fun, too. Namely, Big Yellow: the brand’s mascot. The look of Big Yellow was inspired by cartoons that Schott grew up with, such as The Simpsons and South Park; “there’s such a strong, emotional connection to these characters.”

Despite everything the brand has achieved, there’s impressively only four people working behind the scenes - and that includes Schott. There’s Brian, her co-founder based in New York; Luana on customer relations and marketing (“she’s amazing,” says Schott, “She just graduated from business school”) and Diana, head of product development (“she came from Honest Beauty and she’s a total beast and a genius and she’s amazing.”). Now that we can finally get our hands on them, we can’t wait to see what they create next.

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All images: Starface