If you’re bored of the same run-of-the-mill skin-care products, Alisa Metzger has a solution for you. The seasoned beauty girl boss is the mastermind behind INNBEAUTY Project — a Gen-Z skin-care brand that puts color and fun into your daily cleansing, toning and hydration routine. Ahead, we chatted with Metzger about all things inclusivity in beauty, her current holy-grail products and what the next generation of skin-care looks like.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in the beauty industry?
I’ve worked in the beauty industry my entire career, about 15 years. I started out at L’Oréal and then worked at brands like P&G, Biersdorf, Coty, Fekkai and Tula. What first attracted me to the industry was the intersection of emotion (the consumer), creativity (the product) and business (the transaction).
What was the idea behind INNBEAUTY Project?
My co-founder and I saw a gap in the market, especially when it came to skin care. The clean movement was taking over beauty and amazing companies like Drunk Elephant and Beautycounter were on the rise. At the same time, Gen Z was the next generation coming up, with unique values and demands from brands. We saw that most clean skin-care brands were not addressing the needs of Gen Z. They were too expensive and were largely targeting women in their 30s and 40s with anti-aging claims and wrinkle-targeted products. We also saw an influx of Millennial pink and perfect skin on Instagram and knew that Gen Z wanted something different. We set out to create INNBEAUTY Project to bring affordable, non-toxic, effective and inclusive skincare to Gen Z. They’re the next big demographic in terms of spending power, and there are few brands that truly live and breathe this demo. We are data-driven in everything we do and understand that if we want to do right by them and actually create a brand and products they will love, we need to collect tons of data and get to the heart of who they are. Lots of brands think of their consumers as: acne, sensitive, wrinkles, dry … that’s not getting to the core of a consumer.
We have a group of Gen Z-ers who are spread throughout the country who we constantly interact with to gain insights into what they’re going through in terms of skin, what they like and don’t like, what inspires them and worries them. This helps us understand what’s at the heart of this consumer.
Which product was the most difficult to perfect?
We are extremely critical of our products and have extremely high standards. Formulating clean may have become easier but the effective piece has to be there, too. We never want to sacrifice any product attribute just to be clean, whether it’s a smooth texture or effectiveness. Our Next Level No BS Daily Moisturizer went through a lot of rounds of revisions so that we could get a texture that feels amazing on the skin without the addition of silicones. We also have a proprietary Even-Out Complex in our products that we worked on for a long time, which helps with even tone. In a survey of 500, we saw that one of the biggest concerns amongst Gen Z was even tone. Our complex helps with six key tone concerns: redness, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, shallowness and dullness.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My two kids wake me up pretty early, around 6am, then I get them ready for the day and head into the office. Every day at a startup is a new challenge. The goal is to take risks, do things differently because we can and we should. We have the luxury of trying new things and doing things our way, yet it can be very intimidating at the same time because we must own our decisions. It’s exhilarating trying something new like TikTok and seeing it perform so well. After sending a bunch of creators our products to try, the brand went viral with over 3 million views and growing. Lots of brands don’t understand the platform and tend to stay away. That’s where our customers are, so we have to be there, too.
What does your skin-care routine look like, and what is your skin like?
After having kids I developed redness and rosacea on my cheeks. My routine is not too involved, but I do like trying new formulas, especially if it’s something we’re working on for the future. I cleanse, tone, exfoliate (2-3x per week) and moisturize. I am a sucker for eye masks and rollers. I am currently really into the ice roller!
I am currently using our Foam Around Cleanser AM and PM. The Down to Tone toner is a miracle worker on the skin. I use it 3x per week and it’s completely transformed the texture of my skin. I alternate between our Next Level moisturizer and a new formula we’re working on for a spring launch that is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Stay tuned!
What INNBEAUTY product do you find yourself using the most/which one is your favorite? (Ours is Glaze #1 Lip Oil!)
I am obsessed with Glaze!! Who isn’t? We’re currently working on a new flavor that I’m sure you’ll enjoy as well. I am committed to the Foam Around and Down to Tone for life. I am picky when it comes to cleansers. Most are either too gentle and don’t wash off dirt and oil, or too harsh and leave your skin tight and super dry. Foam Around is the exception. It’s super lightweight, using microfoam technology, but deep cleans. It leaves your skin super glowy and fresh but never tight or dry. The toner is pure magic. It’s probably the product that will change the way your skin looks most within our current lineup. It’s a combination of six skin-friendly acids that help with tone, texture, pores and even scars left behind from past breakouts. It exfoliates and brings that glow back.
How has working on the INNBEAUTY Project impacted your life, and what moment in your career are you most proud of so far?
My biggest passion in life is beauty and I’ve always been all-in on every brand I’ve worked on. But starting your own is 1 million times more gratifying. I’m definitely much busier than I’ve ever been because there are no weekends or vacations. You have to always be on and constantly think about what’s next and how to continuously innovate. The most gratifying moment so far was when we launched our Instagram and had people DMing and commenting on how much they relate to the brand and appreciate what we stand for. We’ve had high schoolers who identify as non-binary tell us how great it is to see inclusivity and how supported they feel. We’ve also had high school males tell us that most beauty brands don’t repost their images because they are not the representation of beauty they look for. We all have the desire to belong yet a lot of us feel lonely. If we can help someone feel like they’re appreciated, supported and belong, that’s what we’re here to do.
If you weren’t in beauty, what would you be doing?
I have no clue! It’s beauty or bust!
What does the future of INNBEAUTY look like to you?
It’s a question we think about a lot. We want to be honest about our mission and why we started this company. It’s to address a need and a generation of consumers who are ignored. The thing with beauty is it’s never just about the way you look, it’s so much deeper. It’s about emotion, confidence, self-love, acceptance. We will continue to develop amazing products, continue to push inclusivity and make sure that we’re something that our consumers want to be a part of and partner with organizations that help change the world. We’re looking at a few charities to partner with at the moment so stay tuned for that.
What’s your advice for an aspiring beauty entrepreneur?
Just go for it! If you have a burning desire to create something, you owe it to yourself to try. You will fail, you will win, and it’s all worth it. Learn from all your experiences and the smart people around you and try to make the best decisions you can.
And lastly, what does beauty and taking care of your skin mean to you?
This notion has definitely evolved with time. Beauty was about fun makeup and self-expression. Now it’s evolved to looking as natural as I can through taking great care of my skin. Don’t get me wrong, there are makeup staples I will never let go of. But now I focus on getting my skin in the best condition it can be and adding a lot of glow here and there. PSTT — stays tuned for a glow product that is equally addictive as our Glaze #1 Lip Oil but for the skin.