Let’s face it, we may be in for a while. As we all face being stowed away within our humble abodes for an indeterminate period, so many of us are seeking out that extra note of positivity and inspiration. Some take comfort in writing out famous quotes, some in catching up with their new year’s resolution to exercise more (that would be me!) and others in watching a deluge of must-see films. And no doubt, we’re all starting to delve into our beauty cabinets to try out those products we’ve never really had time to give over 20 minutes to. And that means our skin is reacting in all sorts of ways…

When a little, cheery yellow box showed up in our mailboxes, it couldn’t have been better timing. We were intrigued by the little yellow stars on cellophane, reminding us of those bright moments as kids when we’d come home with a star on our test from our teacher and beam with pride. What better way to be reminded of optimism than that little star. And yet these celestial stickers are meant for our faces, to zap our zits no less! Intrigued, I wanted to learn more. 

Starface is a LA-NY based skincare company run by Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick. With their entrepreneurial tenacity and refreshing beauty ethos, together they’re attempting to change the landscape of skincare, starting with their debut product Hydro-Star – a line of hydro-colloid pimple patches designed to speed up the recovery process of pimples. 

As tempting (and satisfying) as it is to pick and prod those little spots, it’s not the best for healing and that’s where the patches double as a deterrent for any pimple-pickers. The patches [were] just borne out of a general wanting to rethink the approach to acne and meet it with optimism, acceptance and visibility,” says Julie, former beauty director of ELLE US. And indeed, Starface is bursting with an aura of optimism as the patches encourage people to own their acne in all its glory, to champion rather than conceal spots. 

The uninhibited are owning it - many are donning the yellow stars out and about, and taking to their Instagram and TikTok accounts to show off their pimple constellations both in private and public spaces. When asked how Starface has garnered such a tight-knit online community, Julie explains that “there’s millions of pages where you can go and see flawless cool girl skin and I was really bored of that…[we’re] leading with animation, voice and humour but also kindness and cuteness.”

Although the brand’s message is now being met with open arms by the online community, Julie’s idea – back in 2015 – took some time to gain traction. From cold-calling manufacturers only to be rejected, it wasn’t until Julie partnered up with co-founder Brian that they found one person willing to manufacture Starface (and to that person we say thank you!) Julie and Brian’s partnership formed serendipitously as the two were introduced through one of Julie’s best friends, and with a somewhat fairytale-like ending, Brian shares, “My now wife went from introducing me to Julie and then Julie went to marrying the two of us.” 

Starface’s launch is a great lesson in having conviction in an original idea. For those at home revisiting concepts sprawled and stored away in notebooks, let this serve as inspiration! The duo set out with clear goals in mind, wanting to do away with the old adage: “You, young person, there's something wrong with you and our product will fix you,” as Brian puts it. Starface is meant to be about celebration and confidence, so when asked what advice they would give to those dealing with acne, Julie answers, “Just keep going, you don’t need to hide.” Brian echoed a similar sentiment, “obviously everyone wants great skin and [to] feel great about that but get on with your day!” Be wary of confusing google searches telling you that achieving clear skin is as simple as drinking more water and exercising. As Julie warns, “sometimes there’s a lot more going on and it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at taking care of yourself or you’re negligent.” 

Starface and its positive outlook is deeply imbued in the brand’s image, from the starry-eyed emoji character dubbed “Big Yellow” to their colourful 90s style website with a built-in game (that I admittedly spent way too long playing). We may not be able to show off our stars to the outside world just yet but all things considered, I can say we’ve never been more excited to get a pimple.

Written by Nasreen Osman

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