You know the one thing that tells on you if you’re not taking care of yourself, besides your jeans not fitting…your skin! I don’t know about any of you but that’s an ever evolving routine, like you have to learn about your skin, is it oily, does this fruit I’m eating cause my acne to flair up? The list goes on and on. And in the age of social media apps, whether it’s a bomb selfie you’re sharing or snippets of your daily life in videos, you want your skin to be glowing! What if I told you there was an app that would help you with that, just by taking a selfie (well to start anyway).
Meet the Skinary App
The Skinary app is an app that will allow you to track your skincare through selfies..yes I know I said that. The way it does this is by incorporating habit tracking. So tracking your skincare routine, your diet, and your lifestyle habits, so you can fully understand what is affecting your face.
Ok but what can I do in the app? How can it help my skin sis?
You can log over 20+ skin concern types and issues that impacts a variety of skin conditions including acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, aging as well as other conditions. Use the timelapse feature to show the progression with your selfies and your skin. You easily will be able to compare with the before and after showing selfies side-by-side
Skinary is the first app to take an integrative approach to your skin health, all so you can get the most feedback on your trends. So it’s going into so much more than your water intake and dietary habits. There’s over 100+ options to incorporate into your habit tracking, including washing your pillowcase. *Pretty important considering our face spends a lot of time there*
It also has over 20 different skin care products, treatments you can incorporate into your tracking. Annnd if you’re like me and need or want more things to use your Apple Watch for, this also Integrates with HealthKit to make tracking and logging easier. I’m all here for convenience!
Another amazing feature of the Skinary app is that it provides trending reports, so you can analyze your habits over a 30 day period. It also uses Glycemic Index vs Inflammation to see trends in concerns.
But while all of this innovation is dope all by itself (because I know I’m not the only one struggling with developing a real skincare routine, especially during this quarantine) the best part about this is that it was founded and created BY A BLACK WOMAN! I had the privilege to interview Skinary App creator, Bianca Maxwell to talk about her app!
CDG: What Inspired Skinary?
BM: I had really bad acne growing up, I used to be called “pizza face”, most people don’t realize that looking at me today.
CDG: Your skin looks amazing!
BM: So actually what inspired it, was I was having a really bad breakout, and I didn’t know what was causing it. So in the vein of trying to solve my issues, I went to see a dermatologist for the first time, that dermatologist met with me for all of 5 minutes, and prescribed me a cream that gave me a chemical burn. So I then took the next few months healing from that and looking for apps that could A) help me track what I was doing that was causing my skin issues, I had clear skin for like 5 years prior to that crazy breakout. And then also to track my healing for my chemical breakout.
In looking for an app to track my skin, and to do the things I needed I realized there wasn’t anything out there. There were apps that focused on lifestyle and wellness, apps focused on diet, lots of apps that provided product recommendations but nothing that pulled all of those things together. So that’s kind of where the idea for Skin Diary, (That’s how the name is Skinary came about..skin+diary) came from.
So the intention of Skinary, had always been pitched over the last few years, the idea had been that it would use facial recognition to give recommendations on changes and what your triggers were. Now after we did some market research and also taken a pulse test..People are not f****ng with facial recognition, you can quote that lol.
So Skinary is not using facial recognition of any kind it’s been pulled out of our beta. As we looked further we found that people don’t really care about that part of it, they care about the habit tracking. The plan following the beta, is to build this into a much more robust platform/ecosystem, that I hope everyone will be really excited about. A true beauty hub, you can have a profile, you’ll be able to track everything you’re doing, share your “shelfie” of your favorite products, you’ll be able to shop brands. Leaning out of hard tech and leaning into my experience in having a managed an e-commerce brand.
CDG: Soo it’ll alll come together
CDG: How do you think Skinary will change skin care?
BM: I’m a really big supporter of integrative health, so you make full body changes to see how it effects your skin. I was actually really stringent about this about a year ago, but I wasn’t doing dairy, meat or drinking alcohol. I’m kind of eating some of that since quarantine and I’m seeing it on my skin. But I’m definitely of the mindset, that whatever you do in your life will show up on your face. If you’re really stressed out, if you’re not wearing SPF, if you’re not eating right, not staying hydrated, all of that is gonna reflect on your face.
I’m hoping that the way Skinary changes the industry is that there is more of a focus on integrative health when it comes to skincare. And that people are able to find new communities within the beauty space but maybe one that’s more informative.
CDG: How did you get start in the tech industry, were you always into tech? Did you pivot into it?
BM: So I kind of fell into the tech, I started off working in fashion, and when I started my career in fashion, that’s right when brands started launching their own e-commerce websites, when social media was being used by brands to reach their consumers. So me being kind of like the person fresh out of college, all the digital stuff was put on me since I was the one closest to it. They were like you’re young, you’ll figure it out *laughs*
BM: My first introduction into coding was through customizing MySpace pages in high school
CDG: I know right? That was mine too! We didn’t even know what we had!
BM: Yeah we were kind of just copy, pasting code, kind of like self teaching. So that was kind of like where I had gotten taking my MySpace experience and creating e-commerce stores for startup brands in New York and doing that for almost 5 years. Then I decided I wanted corporate experience. This is where I was kind of forced into true tech.
My last gig was at Reebok, when I first came on my role was to really focused on our the digital platform and marketing, and content management. Three weeks into the job, they decided that my role would actually be re-platforming our entire digital ecosystem into our parent company’s ecosystem. I’m not a solutions architect, I’m not an engineer, I don’t have a BA in Computer Science but I was able to do that in 18 months and saved the brand over a million dollars in operational expenses, year over year.
I was able to do that because I truly fell into tech. I was given a problem to solve and I pulled it apart and started approaching it methodically. Part of that methodic approach was I started taking night classes around computer science and engineering. In this role my counterparts lived in Germany and Amsterdam, so I would spend a full day working, in Amsterdam or Germany then I’d spend about 5 hours at night doing Harvard Extension Business school computer science courses, and then I’d sleep for 2 hours then do the entire work day again.
CDG: You just slid Harvard Extension Business school in there
BM: The thing is, anyone can get into Harvard Extension Business School, I think their actually giving out free courses now. It was just like one of the only programs that really easy and that my company would actually pay for.
*Note Harvard does actually have free online courses available here
CDG: But still you already had the mindset of a techie, the thought process, all technology is looking at a problem, pulling it apart and fixing it. That’s all it is at the root of it. It doesn’t matter how you got your start, if you did bootcamps, got your Masters Degree, non of it matters. We’re all there to do the same job.
BM: That’s how I say I fell into tech, it was never my intention. I went to undergrad for business and marketing, and I thought I’d end up in Silicon Valley working with startups, because at that time I thought all startups were tech enabled companies. Very much like I fell into fashion I fell back into tech, just over here tripping lol. However Skinary was my actual, intentional step.
So in me starting Skinary, I’ve had alot of experience brand marketing, product management, product rollout, different platforms, I can do this. So kind of having that goal to start it, and having had 2 and half years of experience of figuring out the impossible with no resources.
CDG: So all of your trips were actually steps
CDG: So what do you do when you’re not running/launching a tech startup?
BM: So I’m not technically running it yet, we’re still in a beta/pre-launch phase. We’ll be in stealth mode as I fundraise.*They launched the beta at the end of June 2020, this interview was done mid-June keep your eyes out for it in the App Store)
BM: But as my partner would say I always have something going on. I accidentally just founded another company lol and I just had a call with a person who could potentially be a co-founder.
So I like to read, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so I’m a supper millennial. I’m a Ravenclaw, always thought I was a Gryffindor, until I took my quiz, my patronus is a stag, I’m lit!
*(ME TOOOOO!! no seriously it was the coolest sounding house and history to me in the books #Ravenclaw)
BM: But my partner has also been setting me up with all kinds of kitchen appliances, so I’ve been baking my butt off, my grandmother loves to bake, so my grandma has been sending all these recipes. I made a double chocolate cake with strawberry filling. I’ve gained like 11 pounds but I don’t care, sweatpants fit me.
CDG: Do what works for you during this time, that’s what I keep saying to people. Like if all you did was make sure your kids ate today or you made it through another day, that’s ok.
BM: The gyms just opened back up so he’s making sure we work out everyday, I’ve worked out 4 days this week. I’m really happy about it.
CDG: Last question, What are your words of advice for women in tech, looking to break into tech?
BM: My advice for anyone in tech, trying to get into tech or is tech adjacent, is to reframe whatever negative thing you’re talking about to yourself into a positive, you will manifest what you put your head into. Don’t get down on yourself there are plenty of people out there who will do for that you.
I truly enjoyed talking with Bianca about this amazing app she is developing, and I need all the help I can get with formulating a skincare routine. Bianca is currently fundraising for the next round of development, you can support her and this amazing app here The beta for Skinary launched on June 30th, and is still in development, so make sure you sign up on the site for updates when it’s relaunched in the App Store.
Also follow Skinary’s journey on social!