Looking for skin products that are teen-friendly and eco-conscious? We caught up with Elise Kandrac, founder of teen skincare brand SKWAD, to find out about her range of fuss-free, sustainable solutions for younger skin.
As a mother of three teenagers, Elise Kandrac saw the overwhelming impact that a bad skin day had on her children’s confidence. When she noticed that they would prioritise how they looked over their actual achievements on those days, she was spurred to take action!
Elise started looking for skincare products that worked for her daughters and son but wouldn’t damage either their young skin or the environment. The search proved very difficult so she decided to create her own!
The SKWAD range has four simple-to-use products: SKWEEZ Cleansing Paste, SKWIRT Toning Sap, SKWISH Moisturising Soufflé and SKRAPE Shaving Mask. To create them Elise teamed up with award-winning formulator, Nausheen Qureshi, a scientific expert in creating results-driven, environmentally responsible and marine safe formulas.
Nausheen and her team found that high concentrations of well-known active ingredients that teens often use actually weaken the skin. This is why SKWAD aims to balance the treatment of sensitive teen skin with long-term skin health too.
“Young skin is much more sensitive than adult skin,” says Elise. “Teen skin reacts much more to hormonal influences and is more sensitive to inflammation. Teen skin also has a ‘memory’ so how you treat it today will show up in the future. For example, using high levels of acid at a young age will increase the level of pigmentation you may have in the future. “
The range is deliberately simple to use. “My children, in particular my son, won’t do something if it’s even the tiniest bit more work than he thinks it needs to be,” explains Elise.
“I asked my son, ‘What would a product have to be like for you to use it?’ He gave very simple answers. ‘I don’t want to have to rub something in for a long time and I don’t want something to take too long to rinse off.’
“With those mandates, we worked on creating products like SKWISH that is incredibly moisturising without being greasy and you don’t have to rub it in for long,” says Elise.
“Another example is SKWIRT. It is super hydrating whilst also acting as a toner and can be used throughout the day. We suggest putting it in a school bag to spray on after sport – we know how sweaty you can get and if you can’t get to a shower before your next class, this is a great temporary fix.”
All SKWAD’s formulations are marine-safe and made with Mother Earth in mind. Nausheen’s lab researched what happens to skincare ingredients that are washed down household drains into large bodies of water. Some ingredients “stick together” in water and some affect marine plants and animals.
Elise’s passion for the ocean stems from her Hawaiian upbringing, which has shaped the brand’s values of friendliness, love, conscious living, sustainability and confidence.
“To me, Hawaii is absolute paradise. Every time my family and I are back there, we just settle into the way of life there. I still have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother there.“
One of the biggest lessons my children and I have grown up with is respect and kindness but lessons are taught by setting the right example, not just by being told. You are taught how to be respectful by watching your elders respect themselves, their family, their community and Mother Earth.
“In Hawaii, family doesn’t only mean your biological relatives. Lilo and Stitch made the phrase ‘Ohana means family’ famous but it’s true and a huge part of Hawaiian culture. The phrase ‘We’ve got your back and chest’ is something that SKWAD feels so strongly about.”
SKWAD uses ground-breaking technology such as upcycled raw ingredients to ensure sustainability. By identifying ingredient suppliers who use by-products of the food industry to create nutrient-rich skincare ingredients, they managed to get full antioxidant powers from waste products. They also work with suppliers that have ethical supply chains.
“Hawaii has been focused on things like recycling, reusing and sustainability way before it was as hot an issue here in the UK,” Elsie explains. “They are a small group of islands with finite space. Iif it can’t be grown or raised there, it has to be brought in, which is expensive. If you can grow it or raise it there, be thankful for what the earth has given you.”
To shop the SKWAD range, go to skwadshop.com.