Inn Beauty Project’s Alisa Metzger Says ‘Clean’ Skin Care Struggles To Keep Up With Inclusive Culture

inn beau

New beauty brands hit the market every day, and it’s a part of our job to sift through the noise to find the good ones. One we’re especially excited about? The less-than-a-week-old Inn Beauty Project. The brand was founded to go against the grain of many of the skincare world’s most common tropes and target the underserved group of diverse consumers. It’s loud and colorful (read: not millennial pink), meets the most stringent standards of ‘clean’ beauty without breaking the bank, is unapologetic in its mission, and truly inclusive.

In fact, the brand’s signature ingredient, the proprietary Even-Out Complex, was designed to address the varied concerns of all ethnicities (from redness to hyperpigmentation and more) that prevent us all from having totally even skin. We sat down with Alisa Metzger, one of Inn Beauty Project’s badass co-founders who has fifteen years of beauty industry experience across marketing and product development, to talk about how she plans to shake up the industry, what self-care means to her, and more.

Metzger on set with a model for Inn Beauty Project
Metzger on set with a model for Inn Beauty Project

Tell us about yourself…

I’ve been in the beauty industry for 15 years. My co-founder and I have 30 years combined experience working at companies large and small, from L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble to startups. Having worked on some phenomenal brands and launched some of the best-selling products, we definitely got the itch to create something of our own — butmost importantly, we saw a gap in the industry and a customer who wasn’t being addressed.

Tell us what Inn Beauty Project IS…

iNNBeauty Project is a non-toxic skin care brand that’s affordable, effective, and inclusive. All of our products are proudly cruelty-free and vegan. We go beyond your basic skin care brand in that we aim to be an iNNclusive community where people can freely express themselves and share their creativity. We want to iNNspire & iNNovate and bring people together. We never retouch our images because it is important to us to work to set a new standard for beauty. We want our communityto be able to connect and relate to our imagery.

What does the name mean? What’s with the “iNN”?

iNN stands for iNNclusivity, iNNdividuality, & iNNovation for the next generation of iNNdividuals

Was there a specific moment when you had the idea for IBP? If so, what happened?

iNN was born out of necessity. You may ask, why in an industry with thousands of brands does another needs to exist — and I get that! iNN is the first truly clean brand on the market that is also affordable and effective for all ethnicities. 

What does IBP exist to provide that other brands are not providing?

We want to provide top-quality formulations that are proven effective and offered at affordable price points. Some really great clean brands exist, but they’re expensive! The average US household income is $43,000/year, and that makes it very hard to justify a $120 serum. Maybe for a special holiday or birthday gift, or something that you save up for, but it isn’t a feasible, monthly repurchase. We absorb 60 percent of what we put on our skin and everyone deserves clean skin care that is actually affordable and effective. It shouldn’t have to break the bank.

There were three key elements we wanted to address:

Clean skin care is expensive: There are a lot of great brands that have pioneered clean but they still come with a hefty price tag. We really want to democratize clean, effective skincare. 

Everything looks the same: Everything is still stuck in 2014 millennial pink and super-feminine, or it’s wellness-driven and smoothie-inspired. That’s not an aesthetic that appeals to everyone. We’re here to offer skin care that’s bold, loud, vibrant, and really fun to use. We’re here for creative, inspired individuals who are looking for something different.

Anti-aging isn’t the only skin care concern: Most skin care today is still targeted to white women in their 30s and 40s. Anti-aging is still a top marketed category. Most beauty companies aren’t addressing hyperpigmentation and the quest for even skin tone which is a top concern among consumers of all age today. In a world where Instagram filters are the new normal, people want their skin to be as filtered as possible IRL — and so much of that is about an even tone, regardless of type or color. That’s where our technology comes in. Our proprietary even-out complex works with various skin tones to help correct the appearance of an uneven skin tone. Whether you’re suffering from hyperpigmentation, redness, blotchiness, dullness or sallow skin, we have you covered. It’s truly inclusive skin care as it addresses concerns faced by all skin tones, from the very fair to deeper melanin-rich complexions. 

What does ‘clean’ mean to you?

This is a tricky one because there isn’t a regulated definition. Since clean is a relatively subjective term, our goal is to make IBP products as non-toxic as we can, without making them in our kitchen. We look to the safety of ingredients, rather than the source, and try to use botanicals and plant-based ingredients that are also effective. We stay away from synthetic fragrance and colorants as these often cause irritation and sensitize the skin. We are super-strict on vegan and cruelty-free as this is, ethically, an important factor to us. It’s an exciting time to be in skin care as so much innovation is hitting the market that is plant or nature-based.

Tell us about the proprietary complex! What’s in it? How does it work?

Our Even-out complex is a cocktail of botanical ingredients and skin foods which help even the look of your complexion. It helps with six main tone concerns: hyperpigmentation, redness, blotchiness, dark spots, dullness, and sallow skin. The ingredients which make up the complex are turmeric, pinebark, and an ayurvedic herb called boerhavia diffusa. But what makes the complex truly special is that they’re all encapsulated in a delivery system consisting of Omega-3, which helps improve stability, penetration, and bioavailability of the ingredients. It’s clinically proven to help with redness both immediately (literally, in 5 minutes) and long term (28 days).

Our complex also helps not only to treat hyperpigmentation, but to prevent it, too. Most hyperpigmentation ingredients like kojic acid & hydroquinone lighten the entire area of the skin so that dark spots appear lighter, but then, in turn, so does the rest of the skin. Therefore, an even tone is not achieved, especially if you have a darker skin tone. In comparison with vitamin C, which fades existing surface hyperpigmentation, our Even-Out Complex goes above and beyond by working to also prevent spots which lay deeper and are not yet visible from coming to the surface. Essentially, it helps prevent new spots from forming.

What should people know about IBP?

IBP strives to be more than just a trusted skin care brand. We are building a community that celebrates individuality, inclusivity, and creativity. Everyone is welcome and everyone is iNN.

Inn Beauty Project
c/o Inn Beauty Project

We know you JUST launched, but do you predict a bestseller?

Our Glaze #1 Lip Oil is the favorite right now. It is naturally colored with red root oil and naturally flavored to taste like candy apple — no synthetics here! But it’s neck and neck with our Face Time Magic-Melting Mask. The Face Time mask is a true innovation in the world of masks and peels. It’s only made in one factory in the world. It has skin-loving ingredients like lactic acid, niacinamide, PHA, and hyaluronic acid in addition to our Even-Out Complex.

Inn Beauty Project
c/o Inn Beauty Project

Do you have any fun hacks for using Inn Beauty Project products?

Yes! The ELECTRIFY Lightning Bolt Eye Masks are especially awesome if you pop them in the fridge and then apply. They’re made super thick and come in a tray so I actually reuse them. I just apply on clean skin and when I’m done, I place them back in the tray. When I want to re-use them, I just add a drop or two of any hydrating serum that’s safe for the eye area pop ‘em back on. Electrify is a lifesaver when you wake up with really puffy eyes, have dark circles or just look tired. 

Inn Beauty Project
c/o Inn Beauty Project

Let’s talk about you; what do you do to unwind after a busy day of startup life?

Startup life is by nature a 24-7 type of thing. We don’t get a lot of downtime. The best way to unwind is to get a good night’s sleep. 

What’s your work mantra?

Work hard and love what you do! There’s no magic trick even if others make it look easy. Passion, drive, and hard work are always the answer. 

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care is whatever makes you feel good and look good at the same time. I am a sucker for face rollers. I have a rose quartz face roller, a metal one with fun geometric balls on it and a microneedle roller. Rolling before bed makes me feel like I’ve given my skin a proper workout. 

Inn Beauty Project
shelfie c/o Alisa Metzger

What five beauty products can you not live without?

Glaze #1 Lip Oil ($14;
I am obsessed with the GLAZE #1 Lip Oil because it hydrates and plumps my lips without being sticky. It tastes like candy apple and has a hint of sweetness from Stevia which makes it totally addictive. I use it alone or over a lipstick to add a little shine.

Electrify Lightning Bolt Eye Mask ($5;
These are my secret weapon. I have two kids and a business…needless to say looking tired is hard to avoid. Your eyes show fatigue first — hello dark circles! I use Electrify every morning before I put on concealer, and honestly, I look super fresh and my makeup goes on super smooth.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics ($7;
It’s super hydrating and doesn’t irritate my redness-prone skin.

Lume Juniper Berry Deodorant Stick ($14;
My deo of choice.

Supergoop 100% Mineral Smooth & Poreless Matte Screen SPF 40 ($38;

SPF is a must and this one is my favorite.

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