The extent to which our skincare routine should be determined by our gender remains a matter of debate within the industry.
For some, there are differences in male and female skin that make separate product lines necessary. But others argue we all need the same cleansing, hydration, and protection regardless of our sex — and the rest is just marketing. Alder New York co-founders Nina Zilka and David Krause fall into the latter camp, and are devoted to making simple, clean, inclusive skincare products that work for everyone.
“When we started working on the line, we immediately realized there was nothing other than marketing that was defining whether skincare products are made for one gender or another,” says David. “We decided that our formula should be designed to have ingredients that work for all skin types. There are stereotypes that men have oilier or tougher skin. That’s not the case. It all comes down to your genetics, but it’s not necessarily to do with your gender.”
Once you also consider the rise in transgender people and gender fluidity in modern society, it certainly seems that Alder New York — who have been called “the millennial Aesop” — are on the right path. Nina and David call it a “hormone-inclusive” approach.
“It is the future,” says Nina. “We didn’t have to think very hard about making it genderless, for us it was just obvious. The issue is that stores have not quite figured out how to do it yet. So we’ve had conversations where they’re like, ‘We love you, but what aisle do we put you in?’ So that is a switch that will have to happen before it’s truly accessible for everyone.”
Nina and David — who met studying fashion at college in New York, and launched a clothing line together before pivoting to skincare in 2015 — are also dedicated to clean beauty. It’s a phrase we hear a lot from brands wanting to push their conscientious credentials, but what does it literally mean?
“Well, it literally means nothing!” says Nina. “Clean beauty is a bullshit term, there’s no regulation around using it. But to us it means using the Environmental Working Group, a great nonprofit for compiling this data, and their rating system.
“I got into clean personal care after I read about the lack of FDA regulation in a brilliant book called ‘No More Dirty Looks‘ in 2010. In the US, to this day, the lack of regulation remains a big issue. So we wanted to focus on our product being truly clean, and we used the Environmental Working Group as our guide.”
Nina’s straightforward and honest approach is mirrored in the Alder New York line. And here the co-founders rundown three of their most popular products.
“Our Everyday Cleanser is our number one product,” says Nina. “And it’s really special. We wanted to make a product David and I could both use every day, and that the customer could pick up and use without having to do a ton of research. It’s an innovative formula featuring 1% glycolic acid for gentle exfoliation and sea kelp, which is an incredible ingredient for collagen boosting.”
Cleansing Body Bar
“People loved our everyday cleanser, and were telling us they wanted the same cleanser for their body,” David says. “A lot of products on the market are very harsh, drying, and stripping. We’ve really focused on using gentle, safe levels that everyone can use regardless of your skin type or knowledge levels.”
Nina says, “Our Hydrating Oil is a big editor favorite. It’s six different plant oils, with a really enjoyable, fresh fragrance. I’d previously thought of oils as more of a winter product, but our customers enjoy this for Spring and Summer. It’s so lightweight and just melts into your skin. Body and face oils have typically been given a really feminine spin, but ours is all about ease of use, and great for all genders.”