Plain Tiger Spotlight: IRÉN Skin

At the intersection of ancient tradition and cutting-edge science

By Renee Fortune


That’s how many ingredients have been banned from use in all IRÉN Skin products. This list includes parabens, drying alcohols, formaldehydes and triclosan.

The ingredients that do make it into the formulas of these skin-enhancing products however, include the likes of mangosteen extract, pumpkin seed extract, glycolic acid and avocado extract. These 100% “scientifically clean” ingredients, also number in the thousands, and each vegan ingredient proves that the earth’s natural resources are bountiful, and that living sustainability is far from an impossible feat.

When co-founder Kristin Chen set out to create a pioneering skincare brand, she wanted to make a difference. 

Having worked in the beauty industry for more than a decade, Chen refers to herself as a “skincare addict” who has been through the rigmarole of buying generic products with ingredients that were too harsh or unsuitable for her skin type. In repairing the damage that was created by these one-size-fits-all products, Chen began to do extensive research on the ingredients that mainstream, mass-produced skincare brands simply never talk about. Today, IRÉN Skin is based on transparency and honesty. 

The team is led by an all-female research and development group that is “serious about science.” IRÉN Skin is the first Japanese, clean beauty brand that combines tradition, nature and technology. 

As Chen explains: “We want to promote responsible buying by educating customers on ingredients so they can choose the right products. We focus a lot on ingredients, science and innovation and we modernize traditional rituals like the Japanese layering method which can be seen in our ‘Mix, Match and Play’ concept. As consumers become more and more self-aware and well-informed, the demand for transparency and efficacy will increase, which is what IRÉN Skin stands for.”

For Chen, sustainability has never been just a buzzword. To the contrary, it is the very cornerstone of environmental preservation, the upliftment of humanity and the maintenance of social and economic order. 

This stance on all things sustainable is at the centre of every product that IRÉN Skin produces. Its formulations are 100% vegan, meaning that no animal-derived ingredients are used and no ingredients are tested on animals. All ingredients are also ethically sourced. 

When it comes to packaging, the environment comes first. The use of plastics is extremely limited, in favour of recyclable or reusable packaging. Serum bottles are made of glass and the caps are made of ABS plastic, which is 99% recyclable. These plastics can be reused in 3D printing and can be reheated and recycled to then be used for other purposes. Where possible, unnecessary packaging is replaced with reusable pouches. 

When asked what makes the brand unique, Chen points to the customizability of the ranges. “It’s about finding your perfect beauty equation with the 35 combinations that we offer, by mixing and matching the serums. We are powered by patented technology - ACTiF-X Encapsulation™- that allows active ingredients to be absorbed into the skin for visible results.”

Browse the range of IRÉN Skin products and you’ll be struck by the simplicity of their aesthetic. This is skincare, without the frills and definitely without the fuss. QR codes on each product provide detailed information on the ingredients that each product contains and how to use it. You will never be duped by the “isms” of the industry - this is a brand for everyone, everywhere, and it goes the extra mile to make good on that promise. 

A warm welcome to IRÉN Skin. It’s where “playful beauty meets serious science” and it’s inviting everyone to experiment, indulge and discover.