As we move into our new year, we’re committing to two things: wicked skin and being and appreciating all the #girlboss energy we can. And if we can merge the two, like Flawless by Friday founder Brittny Skylar does, even better. We caught up with the 28-year-old entrepreneur and Aurora, Ontario nativeto find out how she started the skincare company (that has rapidly become this mask-lover’s go-to) and how she likes to unwind.
29Secrets: How did you start Flawless by Friday?
From a young age, I became obsessed with the industry—when I was 13 I did a speech on Estee Lauder. I’m the second-oldest of five girls and am the in-house expert. Whenever I would do my sisters’ makeup, I saw this huge transformation with them and I became obsessed with outer beauty shaping inner calm. Everything I did from when I worked at a big cosmetic company, it was all with that idea in mind. For a long time. I thought how can I dedicate my entire career to an industry that people made me feel shallow about. The way I felt about myself and treated the outside world was always more positive when I felt confident—any interaction was much more positive when I felt good. Then, as I got older and started getting ready for bigger events like friends’ weddings, I wanted a quick fix for my skin. So I sat down one night, opened up my computer and started a power point and the for an event-centric product came out. That was my motivation for the first product, which launched officially about a year ago in stores.
What was the process of getting the company off the ground?
Not to be dramatic, but it was as hard as you can imagine. The reality is that there were a million things that I didn’t know. I didn’t go to business school—I studied psychology and marketing—and I didn’t know how to start a business. Any time that somebody had a question for me, I would just start researching. I didn’t have a chemist, I didn’t have a shipping broker, but I would just go and ask friends, family and even strangers for advice. People come up to me and say that you’ve done so much in such a short amount of time, but there was a year there where I would come home at night from my full-time job and email people in Korea and then wake up early the next morning and respond to those emails. People would ask me questions that I didn’t know the answers to and I just had to research to move that next step forward. There was a lot of support from friends and family, but there was also a lot of not being afraid to ask a question that might sound stupid.
Why did you choose hydrogel masks as opposed to more traditional mud or clay-type products?
I was looking at the ingredients that I wanted to use and I had ordered a few different types of masks and a few different kinds of facial treatments, such as serums, and there were a few elements to the hydrogel masks that I just couldn’t deny. At the time, they had just hit the market in a very quiet way, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark because, when I was looking at samples two years ago, they hadn’t seen the success that they see now. I got a very lucky. I just thought it was kind of funny, from a social media perspective, the way that they looked. In the research I had done, it showed that when you’re stopping the oxygen flow to your skin, you can take a higher concentration of product. Hydrogels, as opposed to paper sheet masks, don’t tear as easily and conform to your face, so the results are actually better because of those factors. It sounds a little hokey, but when you put something cold on your face at the end of the day, or even at the beginning, it completely relaxes you, but it also really signifies that “me time,” which I especially wanted to get across leading up to an event that might be stressful for you. The cooling gel is something that people now use when they have headaches to wind down at the end of the day. For me, I really like using the eye gels in the morning because they really perk me up because of the cooling effect lasts through the whole treatment. Those are some of the reasons that I chose to go with that.
What do you think sets the brand apart?
There’s an art in [our] system. The fact that you know that you’re using a different active each day and that there’s a synergy between them is beneficial. I also think the event-centricity of it is also beneficial—you’re able to picture yourself at those events. We have two sublines under Flawless By Friday—Flawless in 15, which you genuinely see the results after 15 minutes. So whether you’re just at home and need a pick-me-up or whether you’re running out the door—especially a mom getting ready to run out. It’s a 15-minute mask that you can walk around when you have it on—it adheres right to your face—it decreases redness and puffiness and has an increase in radiance. If you’re able to see those results so quickly, using ingredients that help boost collagen production in your skin, plus honey, which takes down redness right on contact, I really wanted people to see the results right away in a product that they could afford.
For sure! It’s the beauty industry — it’s supposed to be fun! What is some advice you would give to someone who wants to start a business?
My main advice is to look at fear differently. Fear is very real and it’s the main thing that stops people from attempting things that they want. Instead of picturing an end result where you fail, picture an end result where it works. In a weird way, I just convinced myself that it’s just going to work. Any time someone came to me and said that it isn’t going to work or something was wrong, I looked at it, instead of being a scary competition, as something that just reinforced that my idea makes sense. It’s a hard thing to do. I’m not going to lie; I’m terrified. I think that every single time I sit there and say, “I can’t do this,” the side of “I can do this,” just needs to come into play. I think that you just need to sit down and work 10 or 15 minutes a day about something that you’re passionate about—it’ll make you feel better about every element in your life. You just need to explore your passion in your spare time—you never know what will come from it.
What does work-life balance look like to you?
It’s pretty difficult. I always say that I used to be so much fun [laughs]. I love going for a foot massage alone or I’ll just order a dessert from UberEats if I’ve had a long day. I’m alsoreally into masking. Anything where there’s nobody involved but me and I’m not looking at my email—it’s so so important. I’m so in love with what I’m doing that I’m addicted to it. If I’m not working, I don’t feel good. With that being said, I know when I’ve hit my limit. I definitely do make time for people, but I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to. I think it’s all part of growing up too. You can always recognize how different you are now, even versus two years ago. We don’t feel this social pressure to feel like we’re missing out anymore. It’s funny when you’re doing well with your career and happy with what’s going on, people say that your life is so glamorous, especially when you travel. Everyone is like, “it’s so glamorous—you’re always away!” and it’s just like I’ve spent the last five nights in Holiday Inn in New Jersey by myself ordering Dominos to my bed—you can change places with me anytime. It’s also a perception thing, too. I think downtime is so important, but I think that also looks different to everybody—but I think people know intuitively what that looks like to them.
What are your secrets for amazing skin?
Exfoliation for sure. Hydration is insanely important—we live in Canada. That’s why in a lot of my systems I have hyaluronic acid, which is a small molecule that holds 1000 times its weight in water, so it goes deeper into the skin. That’s why we start our week with it so we can take a higher concentration of good ingredients—if your skin isn’t properly hydrated, you just can’t take in the same amount of product. Sun protection—I know it’s something that we hear a ton, but in the last few years I’ve become completely obsessed and I’ve found that my skin has gotten so much better from when I was younger and spent time baking in the sun. Now that thought haunts me. My skin has gotten so much better and brighter. People don’t realize even in the winter they need to be protecting their skin. Sun, hydration and exfoliation—definitely.
The Flawless by Friday Five Day Detox Facial System ($45), as well as other Flawless by Friday products are now available at The Bay.