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The emergence and ubiquity of Eighth Day on the highly oversaturated skin-care scene is thanks to a fortuitous combination of factors, though I’m sure founder Dr. Antony Nakhla would chalk it up primarily to the brand’s science.
I see a few key factors at play — and don’t get me wrong, science is an important one. There has been a slow but steady move away from “clean” beauty and a marked reclamation of science-backed skin care. And, who better to sell science-backed skin care than a doctor? There’s also been a shift in the aesthetics and even the meaning of luxury, and a move from the 12-step skin-care routine to “skinimalism.” Finally, Eighth Day’s biggest catalyst to skin-care product stardom: a strategic retail partnership with celebrity-aligned retailer Violet Grey, which launched in September 2021. It’s available on violetgrey.com and at the brand’s sole retail location on Melrose Place in Los Angeles.
“All the legacy [skin-care] brands in luxury were [based on] some fantastical story about magic or a pearl from the bottom of the sea, or an Amazonian berry that’s only found in this one region. Or, ‘You’ve got to go far to find this thing, and we found it,’” Nakhla said. “But in reality, our human skin already possesses what it needs to repair itself. And it’s by tapping into those mechanisms that we can tap into the most powerful healing and regenerative processes.”
Nakhla is one of a number of doctors behind high-end skin-care brands. Like one of its key competitors, Augustinus Bader, Eighth Day is also based on research around skin healing and regeneration. Other notable brands in the category include Dr. Barbara Sturm, and Dr. Yannis Alexandrides’s 111 Skin.
Eighth Day’s secret sauce is Peptide-Rich Plasma, a proprietary blend that combines 24 bioidentical peptides, growth factors and amino acids, all of which are easily recognizable to the skin. According to Nakhla, rather than deliver botanical ingredients to the skin, his formulas “look to the things that are already part of the human biome and innate to the human body.” For example, “when you get a gash or a cut, your body’s repairing itself with the same things that it would [use] to repair UV-damaged skin or aging skin… It’s rebuilding collagen and elastin, it’s creating your body’s natural hyaluronic acid,” Nakhla said.
Eighth Day’s differentiator from other luxury brands is that it combines the functions of what other brands might offer in many more products. It currently offers just three products. “These products are a very nutrient-dense meal of not one or two ingredients, but 10-20 active ingredients — all at clinical-strength levels, all at the very top of the ingredient list,” he said. “We don’t sell a hyaluronic acid serum. We don’t sell a vitamin C serum or a peptide. I’m not going to give you three serums that you need to use and have a 45-minute routine. I’m going to give you a serum that has peptide-rich plasma with 24 bio-identical ingredients. That blend is all the way at the top of my inci list, meaning it’s not at magic pixie dust levels. It’s really powerful. Plus, it has manuka honey, plus it’s a hyaluronic acid base, with GABA and niacinamide and glycolic acid, and a host of other active ingredients.”
Dr. Sturm for example, sells around nine separate serums, including a vitamin C serum, a vitamin B serum and a hyaluronic acid. And since its launch, Augustinus Bader has expanded to categories like supplements, hair care and body care.
Eighth Day’s packaging is simple. Its initial launch, the Regenerative Serum ($325 for 1 ounce), comes in a plain black bottle with gold type. “There’s this look luxury has — I call it Grandma’s luxury. It’s very dainty packaging,” Nakhla said. “I wanted the packaging to reflect my philosophy that it doesn’t have to be overdone to be beautiful.”
Sarah Brown, executive director of the Violet Lab (the retailer’s testing phase) at Violet Grey and former beauty director at Vogue, is tasked with bringing new, lesser-known brands to Violet Grey. “With Eighth Day, we knew we had something good that checked all of our boxes. I believed in the integrity of the doctor, the science, the formulas, the brand values and the general thoughtfulness. We felt the product was straightforward and really superior to a lot of other things crowding the landscape. And then there was the fact that we all noticed how good our skin started looking, truly,” Brown told Glossy. Violet Grey is currently Eighth Day’s exclusive retailer.
“All you have to do to get our attention at Violet Grey is to produce a best-in-class product that delivers real results,” said Cassandra Grey, Violet Grey’s founder and chair. “We then make it hot by introducing it to our community of customers that have proven [they can] make or break a launch.” The retailer has become known for making an impact with its stamp of approval — beneficiary brands have included Canopy (the humidifier), Ziip (the microcurrent device), and even Augustinus Bader.
Celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno has been on Violet Grey’s Violet Code product testing panel for years and was introduced to Eighth Day through the program. She is known for using “clean” beauty products. “Eighth Day’s founder’s story is what drew me in,” she said noting Nakhla’s background and specialty in Mohs surgery. “He was inspired to formulate this line by his work in wound healing. Reading about his peptide-rich plasma made my eyes widen because, for the last decade, I’ve devoted myself to the world of clean botanical beauty and have been wanting someone in the know to marry it with things like synthetic peptides, amino acids and a growth factor — the things that traditional clean beauty brands haven’t included,” Denno said. Eighth Day calls itself “clean and clinical.”
Nakhla launched a previous iteration of Eighth Day in 2019, which was sold at high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus. But at the start of the pandemic, he decided to reevaluate the way he brought his brand to market and decided it should be more “meaningful,” he said. He re-launched the brand, first with just its hero product, the serum, though since then it has added its Reparative Moisturizer and Eye Renewal Cream. The latter is currently only available on Eighth Day’s site but will be added to Violet Grey’s assortment soon.
Eventually, the Violet Grey effect kicked in, and influencers and celebrities brought their testimonials to Instagram. Shanina Shaik used the serum in her Harper’s Bazaar “Go to Bed With Me” video.
Though “Real Housewives” star Carole Radziwill, makeup artist Gucci Westman and actor January Jones have been gifted Eighth Day’s products, they have not been paid to post about the brand, Nakhla said. As pictured in the collage above, many have posted testimonials, regardless. Both Violet Grey and Eighth Day have seeded the product to celebrities, influencers and beauty industry insiders. And, though it wasn’t an overnight sellout at Violet Grey, the groundswell of buzz surrounding Eighth Day has led to the serum selling out five times at the retailer. Nakhla credits Grey’s and Brown’s influence in the industry for helping the brand take off. That nondescript black bottle has become an indicator of, as TikToker Charles Gross would say, “quiet luxury.”
Nakhla said the brand’s success to date is also the result of people “experiencing science.”
“[Most legacy brands] are just not the same as what doctors use in their office,” he said. “Obviously, [my] products are not prescription products. But when people experience scientific skin care, the results speak for themselves.”
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Summer Fridays x Deux
Influencer-founded brand Summer Fridays (founded by Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland) just celebrated its fourth birthday with a big, consumer-facing event: the Café Summer Fridays pop-up in Los Angeles. According to WWD, it drew in over 7,000 guests. The most delicious part is still available for sale: a collab with buzzy “healthy” cookie dough brand, Deux. The edible Vanilla Cloud Birthday Cake Beauty Cookie Dough with Collagen Support is available on eatdeux.com for $15.
Abercrombie launches YPB, an athleisure offshoot
An acronym for “Your Personal Best,” the new line is made for millennials on the go. “We’re laser-focused on listening to our customers, and they were clear: They’re looking for fashion-forward activewear that actually performs, looks good and combines quality with value,” said Kristin Scott, global brand president at Abercrombie & Fitch, in a press release. The brand runs from XXS-XXL, and prices range from $29-$100.
Six new beauty launches to know
Byredo launched a new 18-shade eyeshadow palette called Flora Kalahari ($96), due to its desert-inspired hues. Shop it here.
Chriselle Lim’s relaunched Phlur released its second two fragrances — the fruity, but not too sweet Lost Cause and white-floral Phloria — selling for $96 each. Its first, Missing Person, is still sold out, thanks to TikTok virality (and a shout-out from Mikayla Nogueira). Shop Lost Cause / Shop Phloria.
Iskra Lawrence’s Saltair launched body lotions in three scents — Santal Bloom, its bestselling body wash scent, will probably sell out quickly on the lotion front, too. It’s a steal at $14 for 14 ounces. Shop it here.
In tandem with its fourth birthday, Summer Fridays launched the Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum ($44), a creamy serum fortified with so much more than just hyaluronic acid. It’s also got squalane, glycerin, and calming ingredients like chamomile and colloidal oatmeal. Shop it here.