Developed by Perth doctors Clara Hurst and Deb Cohen-Jones, The Secret Skincare is Australia’s first prescription skincare company and is quickly developing a cult following all over the world.
In less than two years after its launch in late 2019, one of the world’s first prescription skincare companies is eyeing an ambitious global rollout of its wildly successful made-to-order range featuring medical-strength ingredients. From its humble beginnings as a start-up with a small but devoted following in its home city of Perth, The Secret Skincare’s growth can be attributed to the efficacy of its formulations, which are made to tackle some of the toughest recurring skin issues.
“When we first started working on The Secret, we knew we wanted to do things right from the very beginning,” says co-founder Dr. Clara Hurst. “We worked hard to build very strong foundations for this business and invested heavily in getting our formulas perfect.”
Hurst was an anti-wrinkle and facial sculpting expert who spent 15 years in the field operating a cosmetic clinic in WA before starting The Secret Skincare with Dr. Deb Cohen-Jones, a GP of 20 years. The two hit it off when they realised they had both been prescribing similar products to their patients. “We are offering patients access to customised, bespoke skincare that directly targets their exact skin requirements and issues,” says Cohen-Jones. “Particularly in the case of medical skincare the ability to access prescription products without having to have specialist referrals and waste time and money on appointments.”
After reviewing the detailed medical questionnaire patients fill in online via The Secret’s website, Hurst and Cohen-Jones make up each item with the required dosage of ingredients to order. With a combination of word of mouth drawing in new customers and opening an e-commerce store, the doctors saw an impressive increase in their monthly sales in just 3 months.
“Moving to online accessibility was a game-changer. Prior to this, patients had to see myself or Clara to access our products. Moving to an online platform was ambitious and challenging particularly due to the medical legal requirements of the online consultation and prescriptive process. It was, however, the point at which our little side business became a serious player in the skincare and medical industry,” says Cohen-Jones.
The market for skincare has shifted to an increasingly younger base looking for preventative and anti-ageing products. Market trends point to a growing preference for technically advanced skincare products, as growing awareness around the potential harmful presence of chemicals in products leads to demand for clean formulations.
The Secret Skincare’s range, is vegan, sulphate-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, not tested on animals, and developed in partnership with an eminent compounding pharmacy. Product development is subject to scientific standards more aligned with the medical industry than cosmetic. The Secret’s easy to follow regimen includes a day and night cream and can be utilised by everyone including pregnant women, mature-age clients, and male clients for whom there is a recently launched men’s range.
The doctors stress that their point of difference is based around the philosophy of “skin minimalism” which eschews overly complicated skincare routines. “Skin minimalism is a philosophy that is more sustainable and better for the environment and your skin,” says Hurst, “By stripping back the unnecessary products to instead focus on what’s really working, we send less waste to landfill and support the skin in a healthier way by not overwhelming your barrier with too many ingredients.”
“Customers care about sustainability, they are more savvy than ever and you need to demonstrate that you share these values. The market is so saturated – you must have a unique point of difference or risk getting lost in the sea of identical beauty brands. In this way we are building a business model and product offering that is future proof, with the ability to adapt and grow exponentially.”
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