Tina Craig (AKA Bag Snob) Is Absolutely Over Tiny Designer Bags

First, can we talk about U Beauty, your company, which makes legitimately next-level products. I love the fact that you have replaced so many steps in one skincare routine. I feel like everyone was doing 47 things and you streamlined it. So for anyone who might not be familiar, can you tell me a little bit about why you started the line and how U Beauty really stands out from the competitive set?

Tina Craig: I was really inspired by my desire to simplify my really overly complicated routine. I think [Rachel] Strugatz was the one who unearthed the blog article from 2007, 14 years ago. She was like, “You started this whole craze!” I was boasting about my 13-step routine with at least 20 products. This was 14 years ago before Instagram, before K-beauty, J-beauty, whatever beauty it is that is trendy, and before social media, essentially.

And then as I went along, I realized, “Oh my God, there’s so much cosmetic confusion. I started it, I’m going to end this shit. It’s too complicated.” This confusion [was] exacerbated by people like us, editors, influencers, everyone. And everyone was feeling the same. Even when I was working with some of the best skincare brands and some of the best chemists in the industry, or doctors, I would say, “Isn’t there a way to just simplify? I’m not saying replace all the products in the world. Isn’t there a way to just effectively treat your skin only where it needs it?” Everyone was like, “It’s impossible what you’re saying. It’s impossible,” until I had dinner with [U Beauty’s co-founder Katie Borghese]. I knew she had been developing skincare lines for over 20 years. She told me about her lab partner which is a clinical-grade lab in Italy known for super-innovative technology. It’s not only smart but [it also] treats the skin where it needs it; only treats the damage.

This incredible medical-grade lab [developed] the first product. I took it to Paris the last leg of Fashion Month. As you know, we all look like something the cat dragged in, right? I’ll never forget, I was at Balmain or Chanel, and I think it might have been Aimee Song, she was like, “Mama, your skin’s always been good, but it’s like next level. What’s happening?” And that’s how it started. I said to Katie (at the time we were not partners, we had no brand, I was just testing this one product that’s supposed to be the best product that I couldn’t find), I said, “Can my friends try this?” So we call the lab and they made us more samples and I started handing it out in Tokyo and Paris wherever I went.

All of that was driven by my desire for something groundbreaking to do the work of multiple formulas in a single step. That’s how the resurfacing compound was born. Throughout that test phase, I was collecting more and more friends who were privy to the best skincare in the world. It was people aged 20 to 73, it was people of different skin color, skin types, and 40% were men. Those are the type of people testing the products. Then that’s when I realized, “Wow, this multitasking formula really is possible.”

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