In today's world of skincare, the sheer number of products available on the market and the complexity of recommended routines can be overwhelming. However, the trend towards simplicity and transparency is growing in popularity as more consumers seek effective and straightforward solutions. Stripped Beauty is a brand that embodies this philosophy, placing a strong emphasis on the basics of skincare through its product formulation, routines, and commitment to transparency. Stripped Beauty is dedicated to providing its customers with high-quality and straightforward skincare options. This commitment to quality is reflected in every step of the production process, from the small-batch crafting of each product at the brand's in-house laboratory to the direct delivery of these items to customers' doorsteps. As a result, Stripped Beauty ensures the utmost quality and transparency at every stage of the skincare journey, from research and development to shipping. We spoke to the Founder, Melissa Arpino, about beginnings, simplicity, and ethical beauty.
What got you into the skincare realm?
My journey in skincare started at a very young age; my first job was filling and labeling retinoic acid at my family's cosmetics lab. My parents are in the industry– they met on a blind date from a friend who also worked in skincare. My dad is a compounding pharmacist and has always been a big SPF advocate, so it's been ingrained in me forever to take care of my skin. My mother is a cosmetic chemist who has traveled the world formulating products. She is my biggest inspiration and why I got into skincare. When I was younger, I wanted to open a spa, but I found love in the lab where I am today.
At what point did you know it was time to start your own line, and what were the beginnings of Stripped Beauty like?
I started Stripped Beauty in 2018 after being ¾ into a major I did not want to pursue. I have a degree in advertising because I couldn't get into the actual program I tried to get into. I opened the pamphlet of majors, closed my eyes, and ran my finger until I stopped, which happened to be on Advertising.
The idea for Stripped came from modeling. I noticed many models on set weren't using the greatest products or spending way too much money on products that had no real benefits to back them up. On the weekends, I would come upstate to my parent's house and play around with formulas with my mom. Once we got a few products we liked, I started handing them out to models on set with me and the students at my college. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to sell at several flea markets. Stripped was just a part-time thing and nothing like it is today, but I loved every second of it and knew that skincare was my calling.
What were some challenges you've encountered as a Founder in the beauty industry?
Some of the challenges I've encountered as a beauty founder is definitely figuring out how to operate on a little-to-no budget. Everything at Stripped has basically been self-funded, or I use packaging that is leftover from previous projects at our lab to save money when I can—Stripped might have started as a "cleaning out the lab" project. I'm very grateful for all of my founder friends who have helped point me in the right direction and navigate this continuously changing industry.
Talk about the importance of simplicity in skincare products and routines.
The Stripped Back Skincare approach is something I came up with back when 10-step routines were trending. I am extremely acne-prone, and using more products than my skin needs makes it freak out. The importance of simplicity has so many layers to it– from the environmental side of consumerism and plastic to your skin not needing more than a cleanser, treatment, moisturizer, and SPF to the ingredients inside of the bottle.
We use simple, plant-powered ingredients in higher percentages because we believe in an innovative way to formulate skincare without using fossil fuel-derived and other potentially harmful ingredients on our bodies.
If someone could only purchase one product from your line, which one would you recommend?
This is such a hard question to answer! I'm going to say Glow-to Oil. This oil is made up of over 90% Squalane and contains antioxidant-rich Vitamin E. This oil is the perfect addition to the end of your skincare routine to deeply moisturize, protect, and add some glow to the skin. This oil is perfect for facial massages or skin tools, as it has great slip thanks to the Squalane. It can also be used on hair, nails, and anywhere that skin meets hair.
What does ethical beauty mean to you and Stripped Beauty?
To us, ethical beauty means slow, freshly made batches where the founder is responsible for manufacturing. As beauty brands, what we create should be from the ground up and pose as little carbon footprint as possible. At Stripped Beauty, we formulate, manufacture, and ship all our products straight from our lab. This helps our sustainable efforts by cutting out the middleman and having a true direct-to-consumer model. Ethical beauty and being a founder are all about taking responsibility for our words and not throwing around false marketing words with little to no regulation. I want to be something other than a mass-produced brand that is made in an outside facility, then sent to sit on hot warehouse shelves waiting to expire. Ethical beauty is providing freshly made skincare to people with the same values as us, ensuring the highest quality product every step of the way.
How do you want your customers to feel when they apply your products?
I want our customers to feel like they are putting something good on their skin that was made by real people, not machines. I want them to feel confident, glowy, and hydrated without spending over $30. Our products are vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated to work harmoniously with someone's routine. Whether they are purchasing one product or multiple, our products are formulated to fit in perfectly with others, which is why we use such simple ingredients.
Follow Stripped Beauty on Instagram @strippedbeauty.