Kimberley Ho, Founder of Evereden, Talks Children’s Skincare & Why Her Company Has Banned More Than 1,500 Ingredients
Evereden, founded by investment banker turned entrepreneur Kimberley Ho, is the first skincare brand to use ingredients typically found in luxury women’s skincare for infant and maternity products. Backed by a team of female Ivy League Pediatric Dermatologists, all of Evereden’s ingredients are supported by clinical studies and the brand has a ‘Never Ever’ list of 1,500+ banned ingredients: toxic chemicals and common allergens, adhering to higher standards than those set forth by U.S. legislature. The Blood + Milk team asked Kimberley about her career shift, the ingredients Evereden sources and uses, and how to make your postpartum skin feel fabulous.
You started Evereden two years ago after working as an investment professional. What contributed to the shift from working in finance to a desire to work in skincare?
During my time in finance, I invested in consumer companies that sold skincare and personal care products. I learned a lot about how brands grow—their manufacturing processes, formulas, and more. I also quickly learned that, by and large, while women’s skincare has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, family personal skincare has remained largely the same, with brands working with the same contract manufacturers that would hardly deviate from the standard formula.
My background in finance taught me to carefully analyze the market, poke holes, and ask those manufacturers hard questions when formulating my own line. So, we set out on a mission to rebuild children’s skincare from the ground up by launching Evereden—examining what’s truly safe in ingredients and what’s not—and incorporating innovation that we’ve seen in the luxury space into children’s skincare.
Why did you want to focus on skincare specifically for children?
Quite simply, because children’s skin is much more delicate than adults and therefore requires far more care and protection. A baby’s skin is 30 percent thinner than the delicate under-eye area of adults, and is their largest protective organ in their formative years, so the use of safe and clean products is not just a nice-to-have, but rather a necessity.
Unlike the innovations happening elsewhere in women’s skincare, children’s skincare has largely remained stagnant, with little to no innovation in formulations, ingredients or manufacturing processes within the past 20 years. The same safety and quality issues persist. This is because the market growth and business opportunity has traditionally been in women’s skincare, and not family personal care. For many brands, family or children’s skincare products are a side project, but for us – it is our entire focus, obsession, and purpose.
For many brands, family or children’s skincare products are a side project, but for us – it is our entire focus, obsession, and purpose.
At Evereden, we are the first children’s and family-focused skincare brand that is applying innovation in luxury women’s skincare to children’s skincare products. For example, we use cold-pressed sunflower seed oils, grapeseed, rosehip, and jojoba oil, which we know to contain more nutrients than regularly heat-processed oils, and ingredients scientifically proven to be effective and safe for skin.
What is the biggest challenge you face in working with natural skincare?
The biggest challenge can be in formulating natural products that feel and look as good as synthetic products. For example, in today’s moisturizers or lotions, consumers expect a smooth application and a formula that absorbs instantly into your skin—but this is challenging to achieve without certain silicone or petroleum-based ingredients that we have banned from our products for safety concerns (we have banned over 1,500+ harsh chemicals and common allergens from use).
What this means is that we have to be that much more creative and painstaking in our formulation process to find innovative botanical or natural ingredients that are not only safe but also effective and provide a luxurious application. Another example is our Mineral Sunscreen, which we spent over two years working on, in order to mimic the easy absorbency and liquid texture of a chemical sunscreen, but made with mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide which we know to be far safer than their harmful chemical counterparts.
What is the most common concern mothers have about their postpartum skin and what does Evereden do to help that?
All women have some loose skin after birth, which is just a natural part of postpartum life. Age, genetics, pre-pregnancy weight, and number of pregnancies all play a role in the skin’s likeliness to firm back up again after giving birth. However, our Lifting and Firming Lotion uses proven, natural, nutrient-dense ingredients like coffee bean extract, collagen, and seaweed to visibly improve skin elasticity; they act in place of retinol, a commonly-used ingredient in many lifting and firming creams that is unsafe during pregnancy.
Additionally, many women find that they lose their pregnancy glow due to hormone changes and sleep deprivation, so they end up with dull or dry skin during their postpartum months. Some may experience dry skin, which causes the face to appear red, flaky, or irritated, particularly along the nose, cheeks, and mouth. Evereden’s Multi-Purpose Healing Balm is an all-natural and luxurious salve perfect for irritated or dry spots on the skin that is formulated without the usual petrolatum and silicon-based ingredients, replacing them with just five organic superfoods including grapeseed, rosehip, and sunflower seed oils.
Finally, stretch marks are to be expected during those postpartum months. While it isn’t possible to completely erase or remove stretch marks that have already formed, consistent moisturization and use of hydrating stretch mark prevention creams can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks later. Our Nourishing Stretch Mark Cream contains rich, nutrient-dense botanicals, such as jojoba oil, mango butter, and centella extract, that have been proven to help deeply hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
You’re coming out with a Multi-Purpose Healing Balm. Why did you feel inclined to create a product that was versatile for both women and children?
This is actually one of my all-time favorite Evereden products! It is made of six simple ingredients including organic grapeseed, rosehip, sunflower, and castor seed oils, and together they work as a protective balm to heal chafed nipples, lips or skin, as well as any redness or irritated skin. We lead such busy lives today and I love products that are multi-functional; I wanted to create something that can be thrown into your purse or diaper bag and act as a catchall balm for both adults and children.
How does the mission of Everdeen translate into the way the ingredients are chosen for each product?
Evereden’s mission is to create the safest standard in skincare for families. A core tenant of our philosophy is to directly source the best ingredients from world-class growers and suppliers, all around the world. We have great partners in the United States, one in Australia (because of their incredibly high standards for sunscreen), and others globally. We want to make the best products, and we’ll go to the ends of the earth in order to do so.
We are also as thoughtful about the ingredients we include as the ones we exclude. We have the longest ingredients exclusion list of any brand, banning over 1,500 harsh chemicals and common allergens from use in our products. We are equally stringent about the botanical ingredients we select for our formulations. We love sunflower seed oil, for example, as it is one of the most research-backed ingredients on strengthening the skin’s barrier protection, as well as grapeseed and rosehip oils, which are nutrient-dense botanicals packed with antioxidants.
Finally, we care not only about which ingredients are used, but also how they are processed. We favor cold-pressed botanical oils over heat-processed ones even though they are often multiple times the cost. The cold-pressed oils preserve more of the ingredients’ nutrients and deliver more of its intended benefits.
You have over 1400 banned substances from your products. What did the selection process look like for that list?
We ban the 1,400 ingredients that are prohibited by the European Union from use in cosmetics and skincare products, but we don’t stop there. Our Never-Ever List of over 1,500 ingredients excludes allergens and irritants commonly found in other “natural” brands, such as Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, which are known skin sensitizers.
We work with our team of Ivy League dermatologists that help us stay on the cutting-edge of dermatological research and screen ingredients that go into our products, but also with third-party certifications such as EWG and MadeSafe to ensure that we are looking at our products’ ingredients safety from all angles.