Your skin-care routine is about to get a little bit longer.
Acne and hyperpigmentation skin-care brand Urban Skin Rx launched a pre-cleanse treatment on August 9 called HyperCorrect, formulated to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, including discoloration caused by melasma. Made with 5% cysteamine, a skin-lightening agent, HyperCorrect is designed to be applied to dry skin before cleansing, and can be applied over dirt, sweat and makeup. Within its marketing and product information pages, Urban Skin Rx refers to HyperCorrect as “Step 0” in one’s skin-care routine. And the tagline for the launch campaign is “Zero in on hyperpigmentation.” Few other brands offer 5% cysteamine products, save for little-known APC and teledermatology brand Musely.
“Any time you are one of the first mass brands to bring an ingredient to the market, there is a lot of education. But then there’s another hurdle with the fact that the way you use this product is not how you use any other product. That’s why a big part of the campaign is called ‘Step 0,'” said Rachel Roff, founder and CEO of Urban Skin Rx.
HyperCorrect is a pre-cleanse treatment because using HyperCorrect on freshly cleansed or wet skin can cause skin sensitivity. Founded in 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., Urban Skin Rx has doubled its revenue since the brand went TikTok viral in Jan. 2020. At the time, a single user, Ashley Boggs (@niceoneashley), posted a before-and-after testimonial about the brand’s hero product, the Even Tone Cleansing Bar. Urban Skin Rx earned about $30 million in gross revenue in 2021. Approximately 50% of its sales are via DTC e-commerce, with the remaining sales coming through retail partners like Target, Ulta Beauty and Walmart. The HyperCorrect treatment sells for $48.
Instagram and TikTok remain the brand’s key channels for social media and product launches. Urban Skin Rx has over 500,000 Instagram followers; on the channel, it focuses on educational content around hyperpigmentation and acne and posts user-generated content. In the last two months, the brand experienced a 50% increase in engagement around UGC, specifically on IG Reels. HyperCorrect will tap into the same evergreen strategy on the platform.
In addition, Urban Skin Rx has partnered with dermfluencer Dr. Suchismita “Tia” Paul on TikTok to share the launch news. Dr. Paul has over 200,000 TikTok followers, while Urban Skin Rx has approximately 31,000. Dr. Paul led a masterclass with Roff on August 10 on Instagram. Urban Skin Rx will also partner with makeup brand Live Tinted to cross-promote each brand and offer a social media giveaway to expand both brands’ audiences.
Though Urban Skin Rx is not focused on any particular skin tone, it has become a favorite among Black women experiencing hyperpigmentation. The brand recently launched a men’s range in March. Roff said that, aside from sending mailers to influencers and beauty editors, she wants to tap into cosmetic chemists, aestheticians and dermatologists to underscore the efficacy of this unfamiliar ingredient and application approach.
“It’s going to take their support to get consumers more familiar with this application technique and this ingredient. We are playing into Dermtok and Cosmetic-chemistsTok and trying to get that community to talk about [Hypercorrect],” said Roff.
“This launch was the perfect chance to return to and reinforce our roots around innovation and efficacy,” added Haydee Searcy, CMO of Urban Skin Rx. “We’re not a brand everybody knows. We have to use these moments to help tell the story of who we are.”
The pre-cleanse concept is generally new to the skin-care world, and there are indications that HyperCorrect won’t be the last pre-cleanse product to launch. In April, Dove launched pre-cleanse body moisturizers meant to be applied a few minutes before hopping in the shower and to be washed off. And brands like Dermalogica and Make Beauty already offer pre-cleanse oil cleansers to remove makeup as part of a double-cleanse routine. Various pre-wash hair treatments have existed for years, from brands like Love Beauty & Planet, JVN Hair, and L’Oréal Paris.
Roff said Urban Skin Rx is not trying to sell everyone on a pre-cleanse treatment and that this is merely necessary due to the cysteamine ingredient. And despite the brand’s TikTok cult status and investments across social media for the product launch, Roff said she does not expect HyperCorrect to become an overnight sensation.
“This is a staple product that is needed in our product collection, especially if we’re going to be leaders in addressing hyperpigmentation. But, I think this product will take a while to catch on in the industry,” she said.