VERUM Beauty Labs is an honest, ethical beauty brand balancing nature and science for remarkable results.
I am Eira Shoichet, a Founder of VERUM Beauty Labs, I am a mother, a wife, a scientist and an entrepreneur. I was born in Ukraine and grew up in Israel where I enjoyed a long and successful career in human resources. 12 years ago, we made the decision to immigrate to Winnipeg, Canada. A new beginning, in a new country with 2 small kids has definitely brought many challenges but also has given our family new opportunity to start fresh and to grow. After the dust settled, I decided that it is time for me to chase my dreams.
I’ve always loved sciences but never had the opportunity to pursue it academically. It was time for a change! In 2012 I registered for Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. During school, in addition to academic workload, I took every opportunity to work in a laboratory. I learned how to follow GMP (good manufacturing practice) and operating and maintaining laboratory equipment. As an extra curriculum activity, I volunteered to work with a group of chemistry / environmental scientists working on persistent environmental pollutants in the environment. As I gained in-depth knowledge in this field, it solidified my own beliefs about the importance of ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY practices.
In 2016, I graduated from University of Winnipeg with a BSc in Chemistry. After school, I began my professional career in Environmental and Pharmaceutical industries in different roles. This experience has taught me the important of SAFETY of products we consume and how to meet all quality and regulatory requirements.
Important to note that, the immigration process, the following rapid changes in my personal life and my professional career have often created very stressful situations. Stress can manifest itself in many physical ways and one of them is problematic skin. And my skin was no exception. Additionally to improper skincare routine my skin appeared as dry, dehydrated and acne-prone. All the products I’ve tried, from either big pharma companies to small natural brands, just didn’t preform. And the worse part was that I was bombarded with conflicting information on what my skin really needs to be healthy. So, I decided to learn skincare product formulation to heal my skin. I’ve attained diploma in Natural Skin Care Formulations and began mixing plant-based and active ingredients. My goal was to create a powerhouse of revitalizing and healing formulas that will make EFFICIENT products. While testing products on my own skin and I was amazed at my transformation! The skin I saw in the mirror was finally the skin I had wanted my entire life.
I finally understood what my skin needs to be healthy and that is what I need to boost my self confidence. That was that moment when I decided to help other people. That is how my entrepreneurial journey in the beauty world has begun. After 4 years of researching, developing, testing, manufacturing and recent rebranding, VERUM Beauty Labs was born. VERUM offers 11 products for facial and body care, uniquely formulated by me. In my formulation I always follow the same principals that I previously learned: SAFE, EFFICIENT AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.
VERUM means ‘truth’ in Latin. It’s the essence of my company and runs through everything I do. As a chemist I am committed to true scientific evidence, true innovations and a truly safe, effective, environmentally friendly processes. I share my knowledge and expertise of skin science, skincare and ingredients in skincare with my customers. I want them to make informative decisions with regards to their skincare and help them bring their skin to its healthiest state and boost their self confidence.
As one of my customers told me: “I feel good in my skin” – I was very touched. That is my goal – to make people feel good in their skin.
I believe that beautiful skin means healthy skin and the key to healthy skin is a healthy skin barrier. My product development is based on an in-depth understanding of the skin’s unique needs and supporting these needs for a healthy skin barrier with a selection of scientifically proven ingredients.
I believe that skincare routine should be minimalistic, meaning having fewer steps in a skincare routine. Instead of incorporating a wide variety of products across a number of different steps, a minimalist skincare routine focuses on the key steps and ingredients needed to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Skincare should support skin with quality and not quantity. Using too many products, layering incorrectly, or combining too many actives overwhelms, overstimulates, and confuses the skin. By layering too many products, you end up with a compromised skin barrier, irritation, redness and even long-term damage. My products and my suggested skincare routine reflects my minimalistic skincare appraoch. My recommended routine consists of cleanser, serum, moisturizer and eye cream. Additional products, such as toners and masks, should be used occasionally or to address a specific skin concern.
On the broader scale, minimalism in skincare is more sustainable for the environment, i.e.: fewer products to produce, fewer resources to invest in, less waste to generate, all resulting in a smaller footprint.
After 4 years in this industry, I have gained many insights on beauty industry and especially on the niche market of natural skincare. From having long conversations with my customers, and following the market trends, I understood that I wasn’t the only one confused about my skincare needs. As consumers, we are bombarded with enormous amount of information. If you don’t have science background, you cannot tell the difference between marketing stunts and true scientific facts. Therefore, it is very easy to fall into trap of fearmongering of “clean” versus “dirty” skincare. Often consumers’ understanding of skin needs, skincare, and ingredients in skincare may be inaccurate because of false marketing. When I came to this realization, I started using my social media platforms to share my science-based knowledge and expertise about skin science and skincare.
Brands are using “greenwashing” to market their products. “Natural”, “eco-friendly”, “sustainable” are commonly used to promote products. What do they really mean by that? These terms are not regulated and there is no standardized definition to these terms. As a result, the use of the terms is solely based on brands’ interpretation and used for marketing purposes, focusing on only what’s convenient and ‘sexy’ to market.
I believe that the misinformation prevalent today on the beauty market, and especially in the natural skincare niche, combined with limited regulation are major challenges in this industry.
Another challenge that consumers are facing today is a pseudoscience, commonly used by brands to support their claims. Pseudoscience is defined as a claim, practice or belief that is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to the scientific method. Often, a specific statement, taken from a scientific paper, is used for marketing purposes to promote specific agenda. Very common example of such claim is: “60% of any cosmetic product applied on the skin is absorbed to the bloodstream”. Marketing spinoff of this claim to scare the consumer that toxic ingredients in their cosmetic products will penetrate the skin and have a negative effect on their health. This statement was taken from unrelated research published in 1970s (*), that examined skin reaction to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). VOCs are responsible for the odor of scents and perfumes as well as pollutants, some of them are dangerous to health and many are regulated by law. The study has shown that in certain laboratory conditions, VOCs will be absorbed by the skin. To be clear, materials tested in this study are not used by cosmetic industry. Marketing gurus have taken this conclusion out of context and made a generic claim that all cosmetic products are absorbed by the skin.
As a cosmetic chemist, I develop products to function on the top layer of the skin. The degree of penetration depends on the molecular size of individual ingredients and the overall formulation. Generalizing the degree of absorption of cosmetic products is misleading and wrong.
Today, consumers demand transparency. Transparency is not only about disclosing the ingredient list, it goes beyond that. Transparency is about claims we make, results the consumer can expect and educational content that we provide to help consumers to become more knowledgeable in their skincare choices.
Consumers are slowly turning away from ‘believing’ that “all natural is good and all synthetic is bad”, as it is just not true. There are safe synthetic ingredients, as there are toxic natural ingredients. Consumers are getting more aware of the “greenwashing”. Consumers demand from companies to be accountable for their claims and statements. Consumers want to see evidence on product safety and efficiency.
This is a great opportunity for us, as skincare industry, to do better. We must create products based on scientific evidence of safety and efficiency, not take shortcuts, and get products properly tested and stop making unrealistic claims. The major opportunity for us, as an industry is to improve the way we market our products. We must earn consumers’ trust by providing them with true information.
The truth is the key in creating an honest, long-term relationships with consumers.
Written by Eira Shoichet
VERUM Beauty Labs