Stacked Skincare

Stacked Skincare Products

Suffering from chronic eczema her whole life, Kerry Benjamin decided to leave her career in tech, become an esthetician, and develop a groundbreaking skincare line called StackedSkincare to help other women with their skin issues and concerns. I had the pleasure of receiving a deeply cleansing facial from Kerry Benjamin herself in her gorgeous spa in Los Angeles.

Stacked Skincare Kerry Benjamin Spa

MR: How did you get into the skincare industry? How did you start your practice and skincare line?

KB: I felt like skincare was always a part of my life because of my eczema. I tried everything to fix it. When I was working in tech in Silicon Valley, I started experimenting with my own formulations—mostly just homemade oil blends—to see if I could create something to soothe my skin. That was around the time that I started to realize I didn’t really know anything about skin, and decided that I needed to learn how to help myself and others. I moved to Los Angeles and threw myself into esthetic studies. After I got my license, I opened my spa in 2011. The first thing I did was buy a Silk peel micro-derm abrasion machine, which simultaneously exfoliates and infuses corrective serums while treating skin at the cellular level. I started combining the use of that machine with other procedures and soon my clients were seeing unbelievable results—a more effective reduction in hyper pigmentation, dryness and fine lines thanks to the layered treatments. After seeing these results, I knew I wanted to create a line that could give people the same improvements at home.  I launched my product line, StackedSkincare, in 2015.

Pool Spa Benjamin Los Angeles

MR: How was Stacked Skincare born?

KB: Stacked is all about combining different techniques and products or “stacking” them. When formulating the products, I experimented with different ways of exfoliating and using tools to drive active ingredients deeper into the skin. A good example of my process is our Derma planing Tool. In the office, estheticians use a scalpel to gently remove dead skin, peach fuzz and debris. Obviously, that’s not exactly safe for a person to do themselves, so I worked with a product designer to create a tool that gives you the same results without the safety concerns. It’s a much better way to exfoliate than using a scrub because scrubs can cause tiny micro-tears in the skin that increase inflammation.

MR: What types of formulas, serums, and techniques did you develop first?

KB: I developed three different serums all for unique purposes. For acne, aging, and skin healing, I created our EGF Activating Serum. It contains epidermal growth factors that stimulate collagen and speed up healing and cell turnover. When you speed up that turnover, you also lift hyperpigmentation. People with acne can safely layer it with salicylic acid without totally drying out and sensitizing the skin like a lot of acne treatments.  For aging and loss of firmness, I developed the PSC Peptide Serum, which has plant stem cells that help plump and firm up your skin. Finally, I needed something for really dehydrated skin, which people of all skin types can have. Our HA Hydrating Serum is packed with hyaluronic acid, which pulls moisture into the epidermis. We have two versions—one with Balinese champaca oil and one with eucalyptus oil. I like to use eucalyptus in the morning and champaca in the evening.

Our Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller is another holy grail product that has gotten us a lot of really amazing attention in the press. It has tiny stainless-steel needles that help stimulate collagen production, lift hyperpigmentation, and drive serums deeper into your skin. Despite the intimidation factor, it’s totally painless and easy to use. It’s a great way to make your regimen more effective.

MR: Besides your staple serums and tools, what other treatments does Stacked Skincare offer?

KB: We have three great peels that I think are really the cornerstone in any healthy skin regimen. Peels are so important to me as a person with eczema because I really can’t use scrubs. First, there’s our TCA Multi-Acid Peel which is a gentle, self-neutralizing peel with a five-acid complex that dissolves that dry surface layer of skin without leaving you red and irritated. We also have an organic Deep Sea Mineral Peel which has salicylic acid and seaweed in it. Perfect for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding who can be dealing with acne and dryness. Finally, we have a body peel, which comes with a larger fan brush. It’s great for back acne, bumpy arms from keratosis pilaris, and hyperpigmentation.  It’s simple to use; you just get out of the shower, dry off and put it on. It makes you super soft from head to toe.

MR: Do you see Stacked Skincare expanding into different countries?

KB: Our website is global and we ship all over the world.  We are also on Amazon UK and Amazon CA and we have have distribution in Kuwait and Lebanon. The Dermaplaning Tool has been really popular with our Middle Eastern customers because women over there are more familiar with the in-office treatment.  I expect us to expand further internationally in 2018.

MR: Besides creating effect treatments that genuinely help people with their skin conditions, what makes Stacked Skincare so successful and what do you expect for the future?

KB: Ultimately, I am proud of the business we've built. We have a really valuable direct and personal relationship with our customers. We get amazing feedback; it’s a committed community and they always tell us what they want. Most importantly, I’m not reliant on any retailer. My business isn’t fluctuating because of a third party. I am glad we built it this way from the ground up.  I see us continuing to expand in 2018 into boutique spas and high-end hotel spas and med spas. Possibly going into larger stores like Sephora and then greater international expansion.

A Black and White Story

I spoke with co-founder Anoopreet Rehncy about her streetwear line, A Black and White Story. I have been rocking my Black and White Story "Posh raised on champagne" sweatshirt.

MR: Would you call Black and White Story a street wear brand?

We like to use the phrase “sophisticated streetwear”. Our bespoke fabrics, design and shapes are so versatile that you can dress up the pieces for dinner or bar; and at the same time dress them down for brunch or the gym.

MR: How are truth and the clothes we wear related?

Clothes should be an expression of one’s own truth. We encourage questioning who you are and to not be afraid of expressing it through what you wear. Too often, people copy what’s reported to be “on trend” and if you look at yourself, there’s plenty of inspiration in your character alone… embrace it!

MR: What is Black and White Story's message? 

Bip and I are both ex-investment bankers. We quit our careers, driven by the desire to live in a more straightforward and uncomplicated world, away from man-made hurdles and inescapable office politics. We questioned “why can’t the world be black and white?” and what better way to express this concept through fashion. No matter what race, religion, belief, age or sexuality, we champion living in a black and white world, where diversity and truth reign, hence why our clothes are all black and white.

MR: What kind of response are you getting from your customers?

I love that our customers send us feedback and emails on their own accord. From comments about the quality and softness of our bespoke fabrics to the personal touches that we put in our parcels, it’s so rewarding to receive in all languages of the world. Of course, we do have to Google Translate often! There was so much worldwide hype just a few months after we launched when Beyonce wore our Queen Bee sweatshirt. Since then we have only been strengthening our following. Everyone’s always interested when a new design pops up. There’s a lot of demand for just our logo now.

MR: Which one do you wear?

I wear a different design every day, depending on my mood! Today I’m wearing my “Heroine: highly addictive female” sweatshirt with black leather pants and a dark berry lip shade… feeling a bit sassy!

Check out A Black and White Story Instagram!