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While she may be best known for her acting and singing, Vanessa Hudgens is not new to entrepreneurship. The 34-year-old star, with 49 million Instagram followers, is behind Caliwater, a cactus water she said she drinks every morning. She also has a margarita line, which she co-created with Ashley Benson and Rosario Dawson for Thomas Ashbourne.
She first launched Know Beauty in 2021 with singer, Madison Beer. It was a somewhat complicated concept in which users purchased a DNA kit, which was used to pair them with personalized products matched to their skin type and concerns. Hudgens admits it didn’t land and decided to go back to the drawing board entirely. Yesterday, she re-launched Know Beauty as a completely different brand. This time, it is sold on Amazon and has just one product, the $35 Glacial Bay Clay Mask.
Hudgens partnered on the formulation with Cosmos Labs founder and CEO Mary Berry. And she noted in the conversation that the brand will continue to be “mask-forward.”
Below are excerpts from the first Pop Edition of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, in which Hudgens discusses what motivated Know’s reinvention, what makes its starting SKU different and why Amazon made sense as a launch retail partner.
On an entirely new Know Beauty
“I think, nowadays, the main thing consumers want is easy. So, you want to make sure it’s easy to get, easy to handle, easy to understand, easy to operate. Life is so complicated, as it is. We all have such crazy, hectic lifestyles that, when we’re trying something new, we want it to be easy, not complicated and challenging. And I think [our former] DNA testing kits were a really smart, interesting way to approach skin care that was science-backed, but it just didn’t find its home; it didn’t hit with consumers like we thought it would. And so we decided to completely pivot. And at that time, Madison Beer and I did launch the company together. And she has so much going on — she does her music and she has her memoir coming out, so she was swamped. And I was like, ‘I think we need to really rethink the company and start from scratch.’ And she was like, ‘You go ahead. All the best!’ And so I had the task of creating something brand new, which was kind of daunting but really exciting. I am such a crafty girl, and all of the components of a product really excite me, down to the look, the feel, the product itself. I love creating. So I was like, ‘What is something that can slap seamlessly into a skin-care line, rather than trying to take over an entire skin-care line?’ Because let’s face it, we’ve all spent years trying to figure out what works for our skin and what products we love.”
On differentiating Know’s debut face mask
“I wanted to use active ingredients, things that are actually going to work on your skin, for your skin. I’m a very big nature girl. I love a holistic approach to life. So I was like, let’s look to nature. What does nature have to offer us that we can use? And the Canadian colloidal clay is really unique because it comes from an active glacier. So there’s a ton of minerals and vitamins packed in there. It removes impurities and oil, and exfoliates dead skin cells. … There’s also kaolin clay, which is another big component for clay masks … and bentonite clay, which we’d heard of. But the thing that I was really excited about was lactic acid. I’ve been using lactic acid on my skin for a while and, man, I think it’s the most powerful ingredient I’ve used on my skin thus far — just in terms of removing dead cells and really clearing my complexion up. I’ve struggled with acne my entire life. I thought that as an adult it would go away — it hasn’t! … We also put in giant sea kelp, which is great for evening your skin tone and helping to prevent wrinkles and fine lines…I’m getting older, so that’s also really important to me. It really just checks all the boxes for me, personally — having sensitive, oily, acne-prone and, sometimes, dull, tired and polluted skin.”
On launching with Amazon
“It’s all about making things easy. And I know that, for myself, as a consumer, whenever I have something pop into my head that I need, the first thing I do is open up my Amazon app and order it, and it’s at my doorstep the next day. And I just love that. … Luckily, I’m not the first launch with Amazon; they’ve been able to launch a couple of products, see what works, see what doesn’t work. We have a team there who is very ready to push things out. They make sure that we have enough steam going and enough product to provide, and have really figured out the steps, in order to get the most eyes on the product. And so I’m really excited about their support. And I’m really excited to launch with them.”