Brains & Beauty: The Founders of Veriphy Skincare
Backed by science with a commitment to support women in STEM, Veriphy Skincare is bringing beauty and brains to your skincare routine.
Based in Guelph, Ontario and founded by four women in the science and tech fields, the Veriphy team noticed a gap in the beauty market with more people wanting natural ingredients and store shelves stocked with products claiming to have natural ingredients, but without the data to prove it.
“People are more concerned with what they’re putting on their skin and we found that the products on the market didn’t have the clinical science backing or the clinical studies to show that they really did what they were claiming to do— our phytoglycogen seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle,” said Veriphy President Alison Crumblehulme.
Veriphy’s star ingredient is phytoglycogen, specifically, the glycogen called PhytoSpherix which is 100% plant based and natural. They retrieve the glycogen through a water extraction process leaving the molecule completely intact and unmodified.
Lead Formulator Jessica Kizovski has a background in cosmetic science and cosmetic chemistry, during her undergrad studies she also worked at Sephora giving her a good idea of the beauty market.
“What was exciting for me was not just the results you got from this, but that glycogen is just so new to the market,” Kizovski said.
“What’s amazing is that glycogen is a storage of energy, it’s every single cell in your body and what we found through these clinical studies is that it literally gives your skin the energy to do what it needs to do.”
The company launched last November with three products; their Self Absorbed Moisturizer, Power Trip Facial Serum and 20/20 Eye Cream – and in case you were wondering, yes, the team had fun coming up with those names.
“Being founded in science we wanted to show our playful side as well that we’re not just serious laboratory people those were the three that came out and best represented us,” Kizovski said.
“We felt like these were the good building blocks of a good skincare routine.”
Their name Veriphy is also filled with purpose.
“Ver comes from vert, green in French, the Icoming from phyto which means from nature and Veriphy itself comes from our commitment to scientific verification,” Crumblehulme explains.
But there’s more to this beauty brand than just their products. They are using their platform to support other women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with their The Veriphy Skincare Award for Women in STEM. This scholarship was established through the University of Guelph, where PhytoSpherix was first discovered.
“The main reason we started the program is because Veriphy was founded by four women in science or STEM and it was very important to us because we feel that women are still very underrepresented in these fields and also have some challenges through studying these courses,” said Crumblehulme.
“Even though things have come a long way, we feel that we’re not as far along as we’d like to be … We hope to expand (the scholarship) overtime as our business grows, we definitely want to make it something bigger.”
With a major in mathematics, Kizovski experienced first-hand the gender gap that still exists in the field.
“I’m a blonde woman in math, I remember going into a tutorial and being asked if I was sure I was in the right class and this type of discrimination is very non-encouraging to women,” Kizovski said.
“It’s not welcoming to women and we didn’t want that to be a problem for younger women in the field.”
Both Crumblehulme and Kizovski encourage young women in STEM to not be intimidated and to not let themselves be categorized or limited by others. It is their own experience and hard work and backgrounds in STEM that brought Veriphy to life, something they hope other young female entrepreneurs will take as inspiration.
“We love that we have the opportunity to bring a new technology to the market,” Kizovski said.
“As scientists, it’s our duty to bring this new technology forward as they become available, so we’re really excited we get to be a part of it.”
Alison – “Glycogen is a storage of energy it’s every single cell in your body and what we found through these clinical studies is that it literally gives your skin the energy to do what it needs to do,” said
Alison - Our star ingredient phytoglycogen the trade name is phytospherix Marexus Biotechnology*** is the company that commercialized that ingredient out of the University of Guelp so Jessica and I met while we were working there. I was hired there in 2015 as VP of Business Development to help commercialize the ingredient itself and take it to the market in the personal care space as an ingredient while I was doing that, we were conducting clinical trials and research to really explore what potential benefits of the ingredient were we conducted some clinical trials and started to see some fantastic results in terms of reducing hyperpigmentation by 85% 130% increase in skin hydration and everyone in the studies reported back that their skin is smoother, softer and healthier by the end of the study. TO me it seemed like it could be very interesting to take that on myself and try to take a line to the market but I wasn’t quite sure how to do that all by myself so last year we brought on Jessica as a co-op student to help us with the formulating we were doing and once she saw the results herself she was very enthusiastic
Jessica – while in school I have a cosmetic science and cosmetic chemistry. During my undergrad and postgrad I worked at Sephora as a makeup artist so I was very familiar with what’s on the market, what are the claims, what I’ve seen before and what was exciting for me was not just the results you got from this but that glycogen is just so new to the market. So traditionally, it’s extracted from animal sources like shellfish and whatnot but of course it’s not readily available but what’s amazing is that glycogen is a storage of energy it’s every single cell in your body and what we found through these clinical studies is that it literally gives your skin the energy to do what it needs to do.
Allison – with Jessica’s enthusiasm and her obvious skills as that point we started putting our heads together and thought if we’re going to do it now’s the time the market seems to be ina good position for that. We saw that there was a disconnect between clean and natural products which are becoming more and more of a trend, people are more concerned with what they’re putting on their skin. And we didn’t find that the products on the market didn’t have the clinical science backing or the clinical studies to show that they really did what they were claiming to do our phytoglycogen seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle. So we put together a business plan we created the company of November of last year and we launched at the end of July at CosmoCon? Las Vegas
Jessica – We came out with our Self Absorbed facial moisturizer our power trip facial serum and our 20/20 eye cream because we felt like these were the good building blocks of a good skincare routine they’re really treatment products and we wanted them to be easily integrated into any skincare routine currently and of course we recommend you use all 3 for the best benefits but really they’re just so jam-packed we just wanted them to be treatment focus.
Alison- of course we have plans for world domination but we wanted to bring forward some good building blocks
Jessica – I think currently on the market people are aware of these 3 products, women and men are using a mositurizer and eye cream so they’re not new categories on the market so it wasn’t difficult to educate people on the use of it the heardest part was the education on the glycogen because it’s something not a lot of people have seen before. TO balance that we also put commonly seen in clinical ingredients in our formulation. So even If someone isn’t familiar with glycogen they’ll still see things like hydcraulic acid …
Alison – we love the name we worked really hard on it so vert comes from vert green in French I coming from phyto which means from nature and veriphy itself comes from our commitment to scientific verification.
Jessica – being found in science we wanted to show our playful side as well that we’re not just serious laboratory people those were the 3 that came out and best represented us.
Alison - The main reason we started the program is because Veriphy was founded by four women in science or STEM and it was very important to us because we feel that women are still very underrepresented in these fields and also had some challenged through study courses
Jessica - so one of my undergrad majors was in math and I’m a blonde woman in math I remember going into a tutorial and being asked if I was sure I was in the right spot and this type of of discrimination is very non encouraging to women it’s not welcoming to women and we didn’t want that to be a problem for other women
Alison – even though things have come a long way, we feel that we’re not as far along as we’d like to be so for us we decided to create the Veriphy Skincare award for women in STEM back at the University of Guelph and that’s where the technology originally discovered for women enterting STEM programs and we hope to expand that overtime as our business grows we definitely want to make it something bigger.
Jessica – something cool we’re really proud of is we actually reach out to a couple women with that field who contribute in different ways and we got them to do a photoshoot with us and tha’ts going to be launching on our Instagram. We’ll be posting their stories and their work in STEM in hopes to inspire women and show that STEM is cool.
Jessica – in all our packaging and our website we do education on it explain what the key ingredints do
Alison – we’re really excited this is our baby it’s a project we’ve put our hearts and souls into so it’s been really fantastic getting it out there and exposing it to the world and seeing the general feedback that they think it’s just as special as we do
Jessica – and we relaly love that we have the opportunity to brin a new technology to the market. As scientists it’s our duty to bring this new technology forward as they become available so we’re really excited we et to be a part of it.
Alison – don’t be afraid and don’t be intimidated