Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know our melanin-rich community through your social media comments, product reviews, and skincare queries. But how well do you know us? As a member of this community, we thought it’d be only right to properly introduce ourselves to get better acquainted! We’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with our entrepreneurial co-founders, while discovering how their stories have shaped the 4.5.6 Skin beauty narrative—both now, and in the future.
As our R&D (research and development) team lead, Imen Jerbi Azaiez acts as an integral cog within the 456 Skin family, ensuring that our scientific and product developments are safe, effective, and innovative. From the very beginning, Imen has guided 456 Skin along with co-founders Noelly Michoux and Dr. Carlos A. Charles to create skincare designed specifically for darker skin tones. We couldn’t have done it without her!
Tunisian-born and French-based, Imen began her skincare journey as a pharmacist in 2006, before adding the titles of trainer, chemist, CEO, and melanin-rich skin expert to her wealth of experience. Before 456 Skin, she gained business management and commercial development of dermo-cosmetic skills from founding her first trading company, Pharmatunis, and then her nutraceutical company, Naturasciens. Over those eight years, Imen gained an incredibly strong background in natural remedies, formulation, and entrepreneurship. We’re so happy to have her.
Tell us about your journey within the world of skincare.
As a child, I was fascinated by my grandmother as she prepared her own natural perfumes and cosmetics. Even now, I can still remember the marvellous smell of rose and jasmine flowers, the dreamy spring days spent in the orange blossom groves, and how happy my skin would be after a clay massage. Through my pharmaceutical studies, I became even more fascinated by the benefits of natural minerals and plants for human health and wellbeing. I believe that beauty is essential for humans, and it centres around the vital meaning of ‘caring.’ That’s why I decided to dedicate my life to creating natural, innovative skincare products that allow people to safely pursue their beauty journey.
How did you get started with 456 Skin?
I was working on innovative scientific patents with big cosmetic companies like LVMH, when I first met Noelly Michoux. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and it was a real turning point for the both of us. I immediately felt very close to her, as if somehow we’d always known each other! We shared the same struggles, the same dreams, frustrations… And we knew that our company, 456 Skin, would be a great contribution to our industry. But the biggest goal, for us, was to make the world a better place for our team, customers, their loved ones, and our global communities. And so, for almost four years, Noelly and I went on to build a solid foundation for our company! We care for every customer, and commit to offer them the best and safest products that really work to help them resolve their skin problems.
Were there any difficulties or challenges creating 456 Skin?
While developing our clean skincare products, we faced so many issues that nobody else had tackled before, as well as regimentation issues, technical issues, financial issues… It’s difficult to be committed to innovation and excellence when you’re only a small team with a small budget, and you have to be extremely smart and efficient on how you go about it. We had highs and lows, and we’re still yet to face even bigger challenges with the increase in raw material prices and transportation costs, but it’s allowed us to be all the more resilient and flexible.
What obstacles did you overcome?
When we started 456 Skin back in 2019, we were shocked with how many skincare products were exclusively developed and tested for Caucasian skin. Not a single one of our testing companies worked with cells from melanin-rich skin for their cellular tests—nor did they have volunteers with darker skin tones! We talked quite a lot about that, and since then all of our partner laboratories source melanin-rich skin cells and melanin-rich skin volunteers for clinical tests.
Share one of your highlights!
Perhaps the most significant scientific contribution of this century, was the discovery of the new properties of water. 456 Skin is the FIRST brand who uses Vitalised Water to formulate skincare products! We definitely believe that the future of skincare can be found in this type of customisation.
So, what’s next for you and 456 Skin?
Since our company became the honoree of the prestigious French cosmetic innovation competition, Cosmet’up, we’ve treated a great number of returning customers who’ve seen their skin concerns finally resolved—and it’s such a tremendous source of satisfaction and pride! Going forward, we want to become the leading melanin-rich skincare company by building the best platform to unify all melanin-rich communities and empower them with recognition, consideration, and effective, safe skincare.