Daybird, an emerging brand in the world of skincare, is boldly challenging conventional notions of beauty and perfection. Its inception arose from a shared frustration with the complexity of traditional beauty routines, where countless products are used to mask imperfections. Daybird offers an alternative approach, prioritizing simplicity without sacrificing effectiveness. The brand acknowledges the evolving landscape of beauty and engages with individuals from diverse backgrounds and skin types who are redefining their approach to self-care. The Anti-Beauty Beauty Club, born from these heartfelt conversations, has become a community that aims to reclaim the definition of beauty from society's unrealistic standards. Daybird is a champion of authenticity, rejecting the idea that conforming to external expectations is necessary for self-confidence. In a world where self-care should be a source of comfort, not stress, They encourage individuals to use fewer products and exert less effort, allowing both their skin and overall well-being to thrive. We spoke with founders Whitney McElwain and Veena Krishnan about the brand's roots and philosophy.
Were you both always interested in the beauty industry? Can you elaborate on your background?
Whitney: I have always been interested and worked in consumer brands and how they connect with their community emotionally. I worked in marketing at Red Bull, built a few consumer startups in the eyewear space, and spent some time at Curology, working with the team and derms to launch a new market and new product. I’ve never been really interested in beauty, largely because I didn’t partake heavily in a beauty routine on a personal level. Realizing that so many other people were like me is the reason we started building an anti-beauty brand, to go against an industry that pushes so many standards and promises.
Veena: I honestly never thought I’d be building an anti-beauty brand! Growing up South Asian, I struggled to find products on the shelf that matched my skin tone and rarely saw someone in movies or on TV that looked like me. As a result, I never related much to traditional beauty standards and started redefining what beauty looks and feels like in my life. I started my career as a chemical engineer in oil & gas manufacturing and then pivoted to consumer products startups like Quince and GrowSquares. I’ve developed a passion for delivering the best possible customer experience - I really love seeing how consumer products improve customers’ lives!
What inspired the creation of Daybird and the concept of the Anti-Beauty Beauty Club? Veena: Whitney and I initially connected over our shared emotional disconnect with beauty standards. Both of us had worked in historically male-dominated industries, where we were often the only women in the room, and grew frustrated by the expectation to show up to work looking a certain way. We chatted with over a thousand people to get a better idea of what realistic morning routines looked like. Most shared that they have products sitting on their shelf that they haven’t touched in years and that these days, they’re most interested in products that help them minimize steps and streamline their routine. This inspired us to build Daybird and Tinted Skincare, our one-step morning routine.
Whitney: Daybird is for people who are unlearning and frankly breaking up with societal beauty standards. We envision a world where the beauty standard is there is none, and instead, we’re celebrated by our diverse individuality, and the Anti-Beauty Beauty Club community stemmed from this. It’s a space for our community members to chat openly about how they navigate their own relationship with beauty and gather around whole self-wellness at large.
Could you elaborate on the innovative ingredients or technologies used in Daybird's skincare line?
Veena: At Daybird, we create functional makeup with active skincare ingredients to really create multitasking powerhouse formulas. Our first product, Tinted Skincare, combines two active serums, moisturizer, mineral sunscreen, and a sheer tint into one step. It contains niacinamide at 2% and bisabolol (aka chamomile extract) at 0.5%; both of these are levels that are clinically proven to deliver the benefits of each ingredient. Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 antioxidant and a super multitasker, best known for increasing dermal collagen leading to smoother skin. Bisabolol helps to reduce inflammation and even your skin tone.
Whitney: An easy way to think about it is that our functional makeup is like a BB cream or tinted moisturizer 2.0. We’re taking formulas to the next level to truly deliver on skincare and makeup hybrid. As well, as female founders of color with sensitive skin, it was important for us to use technology that delivered a mineral sunscreen with zero white cast.
What sets Daybird apart from other beauty brands that promote extensive skincare regimens?
Whitney: Looking around, current beauty brands tell customers to buy more products and add more steps – and really spend more money– in order to chase some idea of “perfect” or “flawless” skin. And similar to how we felt ourselves, our community told us that they were frustrated by this messaging and didn’t relate to it anymore. They were looking for an everyday product that’s easy to apply during a busy morning, freeing up their time and wallet while still taking care of their skin. These conversations have been really impactful to us as we’ve built Daybird, because we want to create functional products that truly benefit rather than promoting tired beauty standards.
How does the Anti-Beauty Beauty Club challenge unrelatable societal standards and promote a more inclusive idea of beauty?
Veena: We see the Anti-Beauty Beauty Club community as challenging unrelatable and unattainable societal standards just by giving individuals the space to take back ownership of what beauty means and looks like in their lives. In other words, anti-beauty is truly whatever you make it! We’re starting by creating a space to facilitate healthy relationships with skin on and off the shelf. This might involve setting daily intentions one day and then going on a healthy girl walk the next. The Anti-Beauty Beauty Club exists to help you show up for your day just as you are…understanding that we’re all dynamic individuals and how you show up might look different each day or even each hour.
Can you share some stories of people with different skin goals and experiences who have benefited from your products? Whitney: We’re huge fans of real skin and love to hear how our community is liking and using Daybird. It feels so amazing when we learn that Daybird was able to give them back time or mental space to spend their mornings doing what matters to them most. One thing we hear time and time again from customers is how they now wear sunscreen daily thanks to Daybird, which is incredible considering only 11% of Americans wear sunscreen daily and POC are seven times less likely to wear sunscreen.
Our favorite way to hear these testimonials is directly from our customers through their reviews. We love that Daybird has been a good fit for Natalie’s sensitive skin and Desirae’s busy mornings:
Natalie: “I’ve been using daybird daily now for about 3 months, and my skin looks AMAZING! I am always skeptical to try new products due to my fair skin being extremely prone to breakouts and redness. HOWEVER.. Since swapping to Daybird, my breakouts are essentially nonexistent and I have noticed an improvement in my skin’s texture (pore size) as well as the redness. I have gotten so many compliments in the last month and the only thing that has changed in my skincare routine is adding this product! I seek simplicity in my day to day beauty routine, and I love how efficient this product is. It’s the right amount of coverage for my late 20s skin and I love the extras it includes along with the SPF. BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!!!”
Desirae: “I have two small kids and not a lot of time. So the fact that I can hop out of the shower, apply this on my face, and be done with my skincare routine in the morning is absolutely phenomenal. Not only does it save me time, but it looks great and leaves my skin feeling amazing. And the best part is, it improves and protects my skin. Thank you, Daybird!”
How does Daybird plan to expand its mission and influence within the beauty industry in the future?
Veena: Our mission is to dismantle beauty standards for future generations, and we’re starting by helping people show up for their day just as they are, wherever they are. In the future, we’re hoping to connect with more of our Anti-Beauty Beauty Club community IRL, hosting events and conversations around wellness as a whole to help our community take back ownership of loaded words like “beauty” and “perfection” (we’d love to do an Anti-Beauty road trip someday!). As a part of this, we’d love for Daybird to be accessible wherever our customers already shop. We launched online at Urban Outfitters and Poosh in May and hope to expand our availability in national retail stores in the future. We want to take up space in the industry and on the shelf so that people have a brand to turn to that isn’t trying to sell them on idealistic beauty and instead truly sees and celebrates them.