French beautytech 4.5.6 Skin, dedicated to melanin-rich complexions, raises €700K and unveils first skincare line

Today 4.5.6 Skin, the French beautytech startup catering to skin phototypes IV, V and VI otherwise known as melanin-rich skin, has landed €700K in seed funding from Be Angels and French entrepreneurs, as well as launching the retail debut of its first skincare line.

Skin ‘phototypes’ are used to describe varying levels of pigmentation; those with phototype ‘l’ typically have the fairest complexion, while type ‘Vl’ refers to the darkest level of skin pigmentation. 4.5.6 Skin’s skincare routine is tailored specifically for the skincare needs of types IV, V, and VI, as well as offering a personalised consultation process for each customer. Its new 6-step range offers a customised treatment of factors such as dryness, excess sebum production, acne, hyperpigmentation, and dullness, as well as strengthening the skin barrier, thus making it more resilient. 

Overall, 4.5.6’s formulation philosophy is based on five essential pillars: never leave the skin screaming for moisture; effective and safe hyperpigmentation treatment; smart oil regulation; skin revitalisation; skin microbiome normalisation.

4.5.6 Skin’s co-founder and CEO Noelly Michoux said: “We wanted to create a skincare brand that was tailored to the characteristics of those with skin phototype IV, V, VI focusing on their specific skin issues. We felt there was a huge disconnect between the financial and cultural participation of this segment to the industry and the genuine attention the industry has for them. We are a brand that puts melanin skin at the front, bottom and centre of all we do, always ensuring we put the customer’s individual skincare needs first.”

So how does the personalisation aspect work? Each customer is attended to individually and invited to take a three-minute online consultation via the website. The proprietary algorithm will then match the consultation results by considering multiple factors based on the individual’s health, lifestyle habits and current skincare needs to ensure a tailored routine is customised at an ingredient level for the full bespoke experience for maximum efficacy.

4.5.6 addresses the needs of around 46 million women with higher phototype levels, aged between 18 and 35, in a global market estimated close to €23.8 billion. Until now the industry has struggled to meet the skincare needs of melanin-rich skin, with phototype lV, V and Vl skin types spending as much as nine times more than their caucasian counterparts on hair and beauty products, with an average annual investment of €600 for skin care alone. 

Created alongside CEO and co-founder Noelly Michoux, 4.5.6 has a diverse team of business experts, derm-pharmacists and dermatologists on board: R&D Director Imen Jerbi Azaiez, is a Doctor in pharmacy, skin researcher and biomimetic formulations expert; Carlos A. Charles, MD, is a Board Certified Dermatologist and melanin expert; and COO Nicolas Vincent, holds an MBA from the London Business School and has held commercial and dusiness development roles at Google and Paypal.  

As a French woman of Cameroonian descent, living in cosmopolitan cities such Paris, London and New York, Noelly identified a massive gap in the market for R&D led skincare and beauty products aimed specifically at her skin phototype. She realised the best way to advocate for more inclusivity is by competing on the market with superior, calibrated products and by having an empowering voice. She set out to create products, which combine the best natural and biodynamic ingredients beyond just claims, with the best lab-made elements to ensure maximum vectorization, or absorption of the active ingredients to yield the desired results.

“When taking a closer look at what’s available, I realized that most products out there either use natural products that don’t penetrate and sit on the skin, or otherwise, claim to use natural ingredients, but usually don’t deliver on that claim beyond minor extracts. With 4.5.6 Skin, we see a huge opportunity to raise the bar for the industry as a whole, well beyond just melanin skin care specifically”, said CEO and co-founder Noelly Michoux.

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