What Is Genderless And Hormone-Inclusive Skincare? Alder New York Founders Explain

Gender neutral has become a more mainstream concept for everything from clothing to children’s names in recent years, but what about skincare? While the concept of genderless skincare feels pretty accessible in this day and age, the beauty industry continues to be dominated by brands marketing separately to women and men with few skincare lines targeted at all humans (despite the commonalities between all people when it comes to skin needs). Alder New York spotted this disparity years ago and has developed a truly genderless and hormone-inclusive skincare brand designed to benefit everyone. Here’s what Alder New York’s co-founders Nina Zilka and David Krause had to share about what it means to create genderless and hormone-inclusive beauty products.

Olivia O’Bryon: First, can you give a little history of Alder New York? How did you get started and what’s Alder New York’s mission?

Nina Zilka, Co-Founder Alder New York: We come from a fashion design background—David and I had a clothing line together for many years before we launched Alder New York. It was our gender-inclusive approach to fashion that led us into gender-inclusive skincare.

When we began to develop the concept for Alder New York, we understood that genderless skincare was going to be very different than genderless fashion in how it was executed, so we really dove into the science behind the skincare formulas. We approached it as a design problem with a solution to figure out.

Upon diving into our research we couldn’t find a real reason why there is a differentiation between skincare products for different genders. There is a whole roster of ingredients that are beneficial to all people and the concept of gendered skincare made no sense once we understood the science behind these actives.

OO: Can you explain more about genderless skincare—what is genderless skincare? How is Alder New York a pioneer of genderless skincare?

David Krause, Co-Founder Alder New York: When we launched Alder New York as a genderless skincare line in 2016, it still felt pretty radical. It confused so many people, and there were a lot of questions along the lines of: “well who or what is a non-gendered person?”, when we were really saying: these products are for everybody.

It’s wild to see how far we as a society have come in a short period of time—the idea of skin care for all genders and skin types has become much more mainstream, but in 2016, and the years leading up to that when we were developing our formulas, it felt like a real challenge to communicate what to us felt like a very simple idea.

Genderless skin care is skincare designed with universally beneficial ingredients, no matter the person’s gender identity. Our skin type has nothing to do with our gender identity. It is defined by our hormone levels, genetics, and lifestyle, so it makes no sense to create products that “work” based on a person’s gender.

So much of gendered skincare comes down to marketing. It’s about the product packaging and the language used to describe the product’s desired effects—so often women-targeted products talk about “glowy, luminous skin” and men’s skincare products focus on looking attractive specifically to the opposite sex (always the opposite sex), almost as if there’s shame in taking care of yourself if you are a man.

At Alder New York, our focus is that you are using our products to make you feel and look good. We focus on using clear and accurate language to describe the effects of the products, how to use our products together, and your experience of using them. We don’t focus on social ideas of beauty and gender in addition to that, so someone of any gender identity can understand how these products will work for them and how they can use them.

OO: What does it mean to be hormone-inclusive and why does this also matter to Alder New York?

DK: To us, the idea of “hormone-inclusive” is the same idea as saying “gender inclusive.” We all have hormones at different levels in our bodies, doing different things at different times, and Alder New York formulates products that work for people with all different hormone levels.

We use ingredients like Vitamin C to brighten and firm, Niacinamide to balance oil and control redness, low-dose glycolic acid to gently exfoliate, and hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate skin. These ingredients are fantastic across a wide range of skin types. They work for people at all different stages of their lives no matter their unique range of hormones.

OO: In addition to being genderless and hormone-inclusive, Alder New York is committed to creating clean beauty products. Can you share more about the importance of clean ingredients and how Alder New York sets itself apart from the competition?

NZ: A huge reason why we got into skincare in the first place is from learning about the lax regulations around ingredient restrictions and monitoring by the FDA in the US.

When we learned about this, we were so alarmed by the many common ingredients in personal care products harming people’s bodies and the planet. When we set out to create a genderless skincare line, being clean and holding ourselves to the highest standard was of the utmost importance.

That is why we focus on third-party verification. All of our products are Vegan Action certified and EWG verified or in the process of becoming. This gives our clean formulas credibility that a lot of other greenwashed product lines out there do not have.

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