After building an audience for over 12 years and launching multiple makeup collabs, veteran makeup artist and beauty vlogger Desi Perkins finally has a beauty line of her own. 

On Thursday, Perkins launched her new brand Dezi Skin starting with one product, a vitamin C serum available via the brand’s DTC site. Titled Claro Que C, the serum is made with an active form of oil-soluble vitamin C called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). It also includes a mix of natural ingredients she calls “Dezi youth juice,” made up of Mexican plum fruit, acai berry, tamarind, mango, soursop, guava and avocado extracts. Two years in the making, the skin-care line is Perkins’ second independent brand following the launch of her sunglasses brand Dezi in July 2020.

“When I first started my career, it was always through art. I used to paint, and then that’s what led me into the beauty space doing makeup,” said Perkins, who has over 7.6 million followers combined across Instagram and YouTube. She has also done makeup tutorial videos with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham. “But at the end of the day, I knew how important it was to take care of my skin.” She said that, although she “always tried to hide” skin problems in the past, she is now open about sharing her struggles with acne.

Her own skin issues have given her a “personal connection” to the power of vitamin C. “With the breakouts, I always would have an issue after with dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and with melanated skin tones, that’s a concern,” she said.

Perkins’ strategy with the $65 product was to create something that “had some of the best ingredients in it — the highest quality, the most stable — but at a lower price point. It’s still a pricey product because vitamin C serum is the most expensive to develop.” The brand is also meant to combine form and function. “What I found in testing so many different skin-care brands over the years is that there are the doctor brands that really focus on great formulas, but maybe they’re not super comfortable or the packaging isn’t beautiful. And then there are brands that focus more on marketing, but the formula is not the best.”  

While she has launched makeup collabs over the years with brands including Dose of Colors and Benefit, launching her own makeup line is a “night and day” difference, due to the business and funding responsibilities, she said.

As the brand’s CEO, Perkins is in charge of Dezi Skin’s creatives and design, while her husband, Steven Perkins, handles the business side. With the couple’s first baby born in October 2020, running two brands with a newborn has “been an adventure,” she said. “I’ve learned how to juggle everything. Once motherhood hits, you are just the ultimate multitasker.” For example, she and her husband oversaw the restock of her eyewear brand from Perkins’ hospital bed the day after she gave birth. 

The pandemic also made the launch “tricky,” said Perkins. She coordinated with multiple labs globally to choose the best possible formula. “It was a little time consuming, but we definitely persevered and we made it through.”

The main marketing focus for Dezi Skin will be Instagram, with a TikTok influencer component as well — the product is being sent to top  influencers across platforms, including Charli D’Amelio, Charly Jourdan and Kara Del Toro. The brand will also use Instagram Checkout after utilizing it for the sunglasses line, which saw “extremely high” sales volume, said her husband Steven Perkins.

“We were kind of a stress test for their system,” he said of the feature. “We found that customer service was a little bit tough, because you’re shopping on Instagram, but it gets pushed over to Shopify, so the customer data isn’t always there.” He noted that Instagram waived extra fees for brands to use Checkout last year, which has continued into this year.

For the rest of this year, the brand is planning to launch “multiple” additional products in the summer and “something really cute for holiday,” said Perkins. And while it is focusing on DTC sales, for now, she said she’s has received multiple inquiries from retailers and is open to future retail expansion.