FRESH OFF THE HEELS OF LAUNCHING her new clean makeup primer drops and facial powders, we caught up with the Priscilla Tsai, founder of cult clean beauty brand Cocokind who talked quitting Wall Street, the link between acne and the gut, and which kitchen ingredients can work for your skin. Read on below…
What inspired you to launch Cocokind? Were you always interested in clean beauty? If not, what products did you grow up using and what was your breaking point?
I’ve dealt with hormonal acne since I was a teenager. When I was in college, my dermatologist put me on antibiotics and spironolactone, and I took those pills daily for years. When I graduated, however, I started having major digestion issues and I realized that there may have been a link between my acne medicine and my stomach problems.
After some convincing, I quit those pills and started looking into holistic solutions for my skin and body. I started learning how to eat clean and how my diet may have been impacting my skin issues. What started with cooking with coconut oil turned into trying the oil on my face! At first, I was terrified because I had been told all my life to only use oil-free moisturizers. However, within of week of trying coconut oil, my skin felt and looked completely different. It wasn’t that I became acne-free overnight, but I did immediately notice that my skin was more supple, soft, and when I did break out, my acne would recover much more quickly. After experiencing some success with coconut oil, I started searching for other food ingredients that I could use to heal my skin. My search process always started at the produce section of supermarkets!
At the time, however, I was working on Wall Street and working 12+ hour days. I didn’t always have time to make my own skincare “concoctions”, as I would call them! When I went to the grocery stores, I would get so frustrated because most skincare products either contained way too many unnecessary ingredients or they would be (what I believed) unfairly expensive. My skin is extremely sensitive; more ingredients means that there is a greater chance that I will have a negative reaction.
That’s where my business idea started! It was founded out of my own need – I realized that there was nothing out there to serve my needs as a consumer.
What would you say is your best-selling product and why do your customers love it so much?
Our best-selling product is our organic MYMATCHA All-Over Moisture Stick. Our customers love it because it is effective, simple, and multi-functional You can use it on any dry spots, under the eyes to help puffiness, dark circles, or fine lines, or on your lips. The product is certified organic and only contains coconut oil, matcha tea, and beeswax. It’s the easiest and yummiest way to stay moisturized throughout the day.
Does your approach to clean beauty translate into your own approach to nutrition?
Definitely. I have the same view on skincare as I do with food – I don’t strive for the “perfect” routine or diet, I just listen to what my body or skin is telling me daily. I like to eat organic, unprocessed, and whole foods, and that’s the case for both my skin and my body. But just as my skin still deals with hormonal breakouts and isn’t always perfect, I let myself indulge from time to time with my diet as well!
Take us through your morning and evening skincare routine.
I don’t have a strict “routine”. In fact, we encourage our consumers to avoid routines and learn to be flexible when it comes to their skin. Depending on what state your skin is in, it may require different steps. One week, you may be feeling extra dry if you haven’t been drinking as much water or have been stuck in airplanes traveling. Or, one week, your skin may be feeling extra dull and tired if you haven’t been sleeping as much. It’s totally normal for your skin to NOT stay the same consistently. As such, you and your skincare routine should be flexible.
While the products I use my vary from day to day, the general steps I take are:
- Cleansing (I use water, our Cleansing Oil, or Sea Moss Exfoliator)
- Toning (Either our Rosewater Toner when I’m feeling dry/sensitive or our Raspberry Vinegar Toner if I’m breaking out)
- Treating (I usually just do this at night. It includes our Turmeric Stick on blemishes or our Chlorophyll Mask)
- Moisturizing (I use our Facial Repair Serum, Chia Oil, or Raspberry Jasmine Oil during the day, and our Matcha Face Moisturizer at night)
- Spot Moisturizing (I use our MYMATCHA under the eyes and our Brow Balm on my brows)
What is the one step that people constantly skip in their skincare regimen?
Toner. I think it’s the most underrated part of skincare. Toning helps double cleanse and pH-balance our skin, and it allows our skin to really absorb moisturizer. Not only should you use toners after cleansing and before moisturizing, but our toners (Organic Rosewater Facial Toner and Raspberry Vinegar Toner) are also multipurpose. You can use either of our toners to set your makeup or deliver a nice mid-day refresh for your skin.
What is in your clean beauty makeup bag?
My whole makeup bag is just cocokind! I always bring our MYMATCHA and MACABEET sticks everywhere I go, and I’m usually carrying a travel size of our Rosewater and our Chia Oil. In terms of eye and face makeup, we just launched our primer drops and facial powders and I only use my own recipes with the exception of my W3ll People mascara. That’s truly the only non-cocokind product I use.
Do you have any homemade skincare recipes that you go to using ingredients in the kitchen?
My current favorite kitchen ingredients are organic matcha tea and organic raw cacao. I use cacao as an eye shadow or bronzer and matcha tea for rejuvenation. I also love cleansing and bathing in coconut milk and coconut oil.
What are the best ingredients to heal 1. dry skin / 2. breakouts?
Dry Skin: coconut oil, chia oil, coconut milk, rosehip oil
Breakouts: turmeric, ginger, tea tree, chlorella or spirulina, clean vinegars
What is your opinion when it comes to the sun? Are you pro or anti? What’s the best way to provide clean coverage?
I’m anti. Sun is extremely damaging to skin. The average person gets enough Vitamin D with their daily activities – I don’t believe that you need to purposefully spend time in the sun soaking up rays. We are launching sunscreen in 2018, but until then, I use a combination of non-nano zinc, raspberry seed oil (naturally protectant oil), and our moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil, or chia oil.