You know the feeling. Once in a blue moon, you come across a beauty product that you grow to be obsessed with, and you start recommending it to every single person you know. Well, that’s how the Frenshe team felt when we got our hands on the shiny, cult-favorite lipgloss that was always on our Instagram feeds. Yes, we’re talking about Tower28’s ShineOn Lip Jelly. The weightless formula provides a gorgeous sheen of natural-looking color with a variety of shades, but never that sticky feeling that we often get with a lot of lipglosses. Oh, and did we mention that the formula is clean too? That’s right. You’re not only getting a plump, glossy pout, you’re also getting nourishing ingredients on top of that. We spoke with Tower28‘s founder, Amy Liu, to learn more about what it takes to make a fan-favorite product in the buzzing beauty world.
“As the daughter of a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur, I always wanted to start my own business. It’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” exclaims Liu. Upon completing her business degree, Liu ended up as an employee at some big beauty brands, including Smashbox Cosmetics, Kate Somerville, and Josie Maran. But, Liu’s struggle with eczema essentially inspired the launch of her own business, Tower28, keeping those with sensitive skin in mind.
“I was essentially selling this aspiration of beauty while hiding behind my unreliable skin,” she says. “The more I would pile on my face to cover it, the worse it would get, and I couldn’t find a clean makeup brand that catered to my sensitivities,” she adds. Tower 28 is the first-ever makeup brand to adhere to the guidelines of the National Eczema Association—designed for sensitive skin, while being fun, accessible, and formulas that work.
Makeup for Sensitive Skin
Tower28 was the first of many things, but targeting those with sensitive skin was the start. “There were a lot of clean brands on the market, but not a single makeup brand that followed the National Eczema Associations ingredient guidelines, which eliminates all irritants and allergens including essential oils and synthetic fragrances,” says Liu. FYI, Frenshes, just because a brand is labeled as “clean”, doesn’t mean that it’s free of all irritants and allergens—specifically essential oils. With that being said, the brand is built for everyone. It’s actually named after a lifeguard tower between the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, symbolizing everything at the heart of Tower 28 – inclusive community, healthy fun, and clean living for all.
Clean and Conscious
“We work super closely with the best chemists in the business to not only follow the Nation Eczema Association’s guidelines but also the Credo Clean Standard, EU Cosmetics Regulation and the California Proposition 65 list – our blacklist is pretty extensive,” exclaims Liu. Once she learned that her own children also have eczema she wanted them to be able to explore different beauty products, just like everyone else. “I want them to experience the joy of putting on your favorite lip gloss without having to worry about it being a trigger,” she says. Many people don’t understand that skin conditions can affect our lips too, not just the rest of our faces. “I started with lip products specifically because I read a statistic about how if you wear lip product, you eat about seven pounds of it a year! It better be non-toxic,” she explains.
Creating our favorite lipgloss was no simple feat. “My team and I went through numerous reformulations until we got to this one – shiny and moisturizing, but not sticky,” says Liu. The Tower28 team blended 5 nourishing oils including apricot kernel, raspberry seed, and rosehip to soothe and protect lips while providing a juicy pop of color. Liu has preferred shiny lips over the popular matte lip combos of today, so she set to create one that stood out from the noise. The ShinOne Lip Jellies have the comfort of a lip balm, the shiny look of a gloss, and zero toxic ingredients.
“We were seeing so much love for the original shades, and have since expanded the range to 10 colors, including the newest collection of Milky Lip Jellies,” she says. The newest shades are inspired by everyone’s favorite alternative kinds of milk (hello, oat and almond!), and are universally flattering. But how’d they get so popular? Well, it’s simple. The brand listens to its community and what they want! “We regularly ask our community for feedback and this was a direct answer to their call,” Liu explains.