How Cocokind Founder Priscilla Tsai Went From Wall Street to Creating a Sustainable Skin Care Line

Looking for a new beauty brand to obsess over? For our latest Q&A series, Glamour editors introduce you to some of our favorite skin care and makeup products that deserve a permanent spot in your rotation. Ahead, Priscilla Tsai, founder and CEO of sustainable skin care brand Cocokind, shares how she went from working on Wall Street to creating sensitive-skin-friendly products, the ways she’s celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the one product from her line that she recommends for everyone.

Glamour: How did you become interested in beauty?

Priscilla Tsai: I had really bad skin and a really bad relationship with my beauty and skin care products. I had really severe hormonal acne all over my skin, my chest, my back. Growing up in high school through college, I was on all the prescriptions, all the topical medications too. I would throw money at it and I would try anything. I honestly would feel pretty bad about my skin and thinking about all the images I saw out there, that the beauty industry was putting out back then, and I felt really alone. I wouldn’t say it started with an obsession of products. It started because I had a need and I never really found a good solution.

What is the one product from your brand you recommend for everyone?

Our Ceramide Barrier Serum is for everybody, but the one product I’m obsessed with right now is our Chlorophyll Discoloration Serum. So many people deal with dark spots, redness, and hyperpigmentation in so many different forms. And this product is very Cocokind philosophy, which is a gentle way to tackle a big problem. We have alpha arbutin in it at 1% to help with the dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and then chlorophyll for offsetting redness. Whether people are using it for redness or dark spots, it’s a really effective product. It’s also got a really bouncy texture, too, so it’s a little bit more unique.

Cocokind Chlorophyll Discoloration Serum

$20.00, Amazon

What inspired you to start your own brand?

I knew so much about ingredients and how are people formulating. I had learned so much about even the cost of packaging, just out of curiosity. I never thought I would start a skin care brand ever in my life. I worked in finance in New York, but separately, my mom is a small business owner. She has been for 30 years. I grew up going to her small business in her office and packing boxes and doing flyers and cleaning the kitchen, things like that. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. Before I started Cocokind, I played around with the idea with a friend of starting a banana ice cream company.

As an AANHPI beauty founder, how are you celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month?

I was going to say I celebrate with a lot of food, but Asian food is probably 90% of the meals I have on a regular basis. I can’t go a day without some sort of Asian food. For the brand, we are working with Asian American Girl Club to spread awareness about a recent study from Girls Leadership in collaboration with the Evaluation Studio and the Girls Leadership’s Youth Research Council (YRC), which was the first ever study done on AANHPI demographic in the US, about Asian women and the barriers [we experience] to success.

We just published that yesterday and brought some creators to the Gold House Gala. Throughout the month we’re just really focusing on the AANHPI community and hosting dinners both here in LA. So it’s just connecting with our community as much as possible and spreading awareness on this study.

Who are some AANHPI-owned brands and founders you love?

I have a daily text chain with Amy Liu from Tower28, of course, and Deepica Mutyala from Live Tinted. So definitely want to shout them out. Sarah Lee from Glow Recipe is definitely someone I admire a lot too.

What is one beauty rule you swear by?

Hydration. I want my skin at all times to be hydrated. It’s never, ever dry—ever. And that’s something from my acne years—my skin was always dry, and now that’s been such a key to my overall skin health. Just constant hydration and locking it in.

What is one beauty rule you think is BS.?

That you have to go hard with the percent of retinol or vitamin C or whatever it might be. A lot of times, people are so focused on the percentage and they think really strong percentages work more. And really, it’s about the sustainability of being able to use a product without disrupting your skin barrier. We’re definitely believers of a little bit often is more effective than going hard at a high percentage.

Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her @arianayap.

Originally Appeared on Glamour