Dr. Whitney Bowe revels in the opportunity to democratize skin-care advice. Having had to limit the number of patients she sees at her bustling Connecticut practice, due to demand, she wanted to find another way to educate people. While social media has been one medium she’s leveraged — she has 365,000 TikTok followers and 85,000 on Instagram — she’s now establishing another as founder and CEO of her new brand, Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty.
The brand is launching on June 8 with two products. Just one, the Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream ($95), is topical. The other, the Bowe Growe Pomegranate Microbiome Elixir ($49), is an ingestible, meant to help nourish the skin’s microbiome from the inside-out. Dr. Bowe has long been a proponent of the gut-skin connection: In 2018, she published a book on the topic, “The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out.”
Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty will launch direct-to-consumer, but Bowe said she’s open to retail relationships down the line. “I wanted to develop that relationship with my consumer in the same direct way that I do with my social media,” she said.
Dermatologist-founded brands are not new. Dr. Dennis Gross, Dr. Loretta, Macrene Actives, Epi.Logic and Rose Ingleton MD are a few of the names on the market. And it wouldn’t be surprising to see more social-savvy dermatologists create their own brands. Another example is Jori, which Dr. Joshua Zeichner launched in May.
Even so, Dr. Bowe said dermatologists today aren’t feeling pressured to create their own brands. “There are so many opportunities,” she said. “If you want to endorse another product line, there are brands that have very deep pockets, and they’d love to have dermatologists on board.”
She added, “It’s hard work to start a brand and create products and really dive all in. You have to be intrinsically motivated.”
Dr. Bowe prides herself and her brand on the science and the investment that she has put behind it. “Science is our North Star. We are genuinely backed by science and we are taking science to the next level,” she said, noting that every product she has and will put out is tested by a third-party lab.
“We’re developing exceptional products that we’re putting to the test using some of the most rigorous testing in the skin-care industry,” Dr. Bowe said. “This isn’t just like another skin-care line that’s coming out. It’s not, ‘Let’s take a base formula that’s already 80% made and add three new ingredients. Every single ingredient was very carefully selected. [The products] took me over two years to formulate. It took 17 iterations to nail Bowe Glowe, and it took me over a year to design the clinical testing protocols to actually put it to the test.”
Such a focus on science meant there were less funds for the brand to invest in, say, a celebrity spokesperson. But with Bowe’s own homegrown social platforms, she may not need one.