A Fireside Chat With Fiona Co Chan

So here's the thing. You already know a little bit about Youthforia's founder and CEO Fiona Co Chan. Like the fact that she nerds out over green chem (look it up already!) and isn't a fan of formulating with fossil fuels. Oh and that she's famous for falling asleep in her makeup, of course. But let's be real: Nowadays, people want more than just the basics from brand founders. They want to feel a palpable connection with the person behind the products they're buying — they want the background story, and all the hows and whys. And so today, without further ado, we're getting you guys fully acquainted with Fiona. Scroll for our cute lil Q&A to learn more about Youthforia's fearless leader and what inspired her to leave her career in tech to start a beauty brand. 

As a kid, what were some of your favorite first memories with makeup?

I always loved going into my mom's makeup bag as a kid and I literally begged my mom to buy me makeup. I think the first product I ever bought was this shiny lip gloss from the mall, and I was just so happy I could finally buy makeup. I just loved collecting these lip glosses. I think every makeup-lover has a similar memory of the first time they got to buy makeup that feeling really inspires product development and those first lip glosses are what inspired the Dewy Gloss line.

How did you come up with the name Youthforia?   

Youthforia is what I named this universal feeling that I've always had, but could never quite put into words. It's that feeling you get when you're at a music festival and the sun comes down, when the lights come on and you're just reminded of the first time you went to Disneyland. The utter bliss of being young and carefree. Of being with your friends all the time and feeling alive. 

How would you describe the Youthforia Universe to a new friend?

The Youthforia Universe we're building is all centered around this idea that "Fun is fun." I think so many brands now seem to want you to hustle harder... to be this, or do that. It's so nice to just be fun for the sake of being fun. We're more in the vibe of being who we want to be and changing who that is tomorrow if we feel like it. Aesthetically speaking, it's very colorful, vibrant, and — here comes that word again — fun.

Why is formulating makeup without fossil fuels so important to you?

Believe it or not, most of what's in makeup is made out of fossil fuels; for instance, synthetic ingredients are made from them (not that it has to be this way, because synthetic ingredients are made from a lab, it just has been). So it was really important for me to formulate without fossil fuels because it's more sustainable to use renewable ingredients. We follow Green Chemistry principles and have our products certified by USDA BioPreferred, which directly tests how much of your formula comes from non-fossil fuel ingredients. 

"Clean" is a word that gets tossed around like wildfire in the beauty world. What does it mean to you? 

Clean beauty is definitely confusing for consumers and unregulated but I think it's because brands can't really use the world "non-toxic." We can't really say something is non-toxic when all the chemicals haven't been tested on humans since we don't test on animals, and dosing humans with chemicals to see if they get cancer is super unethical! We're just really mindful of what ingredients we use because I wanted makeup that could act as skincare and actually make your skin better over time. And also because I sleep in everything when testing! 

Who are your favorite makeup influencers to follow on Instagram? 

So many! Right now, I love Rowi Singh out of Australia because her makeup is amazing and her house is even more amazing. I love content creators who really live their look and have it show in their faces and in their spaces. I'm always looking at the background composition of selfies and how it fits with the entire makeup look. 

Which Youthforia product was the most fun to formulate and why?

BYO Blush! I wanted to make a universally flattering blush and was thinking of different ways it could work. And I thought a nourishing oil would be really interesting because it's never been done before. My biggest grip with powder, cream and liquid blushes I've used in the past was that it wouldn't last that long or that it'd make my pores look bigger or that it'd start drooping down as the day went on. I slept in BYO Blush for 2 months (and my husband too) and we woke up with better skin - making that product completely changed out how I thought makeup could be made.

What's your go-to daily makeup look? 

At the moment, I love an overly blushed soft focus look — like a 2021 update to draping with blush pretty much everywhere. I love high contrast on the lips; looking very wet and having it stand out. Fluffy brows. It's a very fast and easy way to make your daily makeup look instantly more chic. 

What's your skin type and how did that play into Youthforia's formulas? 

I have really sensitive and reactive skin. When I was younger, I went to the hospital multiple times with bad reactions to products (properly traumatizing), so just being really mindful of what's in our products was important to me. I was also living in Asia when we first started the company, which has undrinkable water and bad pollution on some days. My normal products that I use can create crazy reactions when there's pollution so I'm just extra careful with our ingredients. 

Ok, last one. What's your beauty philosophy? 

I follow what I call intuitive beauty. Basically, if I put something on my face, if I don't wake up with nicer looking skin, I'm taking that product out of my routine (this includes makeup and skincare). I think a lot of times we're pressured into believing we need to use these sets of products in a specific order, but it hasn't been my experience at all. And I believe makeup is an extension of skincare... figuring that piece out has had the biggest effect on my skin. I mean, I'm not one to follow rules  I literally sleep in makeup.

As told to Kaleigh Fasanella for Youthforia