The Future Of Beauty: “Machine Learning To Help Solve For Healthy Skin” With Bianca Maxwell of Skinary
…Honestly, I want to see more people of color — but specifically women — breaking into the tech space and seeing big ideas gain traction and funding.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years I had the pleasure of interviewing Bianca Maxwell.
Having grown up with acne for most of her life, Bianca Maxwell leaned on her experience in global brand management and digital platforms to develop Skinary, a digital health company that uses machine learning to understand skin issues.
Bianca was looking for a way to track the progress of her skin, which led her to building the skin diary app skin, Skinary. Launching in Spring 2020, Skinary as a free mobile application that offers recommendations on habits changes based on your daily journaling of your food, product usage and lifestyle habits.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Of course! I grew up in a household that loves beauty, health and tech and I always knew that I would be an entrepreneur. I studied Business, Marketing and Entrepreneurship to build up my skillset so I could end up in Silicon Valley out of college, working with a tech startup.
I actually “fell” into the fashion and my first few roles after college were in New York City, working with startup brands. Those roles taught me alot about brand heat, press and marketing, creative problem solving and appealing to your target market. After a few years in New York, I decided I wanted corporate experience, so I switched gears and worked for a global corporation where managed product marketing, platform development and global negotiations.
All of those career experiences put me in a great position to build my own company.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
So this is an interesting story, because this experience actually gave me the nerve to start Skinary!
In a previous role, I was hired for one thing and the day I started they pivoted my role to a focus on leading a project that was deemed impossible and couldn’t get off the ground for 3 years! It was a real sink or swim moment being so new to such a large global organization. With a mix of grit and creative problem solving, I was not only able to roll-out the project, saving the company over $1.5M annually, but I rolled it out across the world.
After I accomplishing that, I realized that if I could do that for someone else, why not do it for my own business!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The tipping point was when I decided to embrace being a solo founder, after having a few bumps on the road of finding the right CoFounder to partner with.
After speaking with some successful founders and tons of advice, I decided to solve for what we needed, and not who we needed.
Within 2 months of making the decision to embrace being a solo founder we had a number of wins. I signed a Machine Learning development partnership, finalized a licensing agreement for an unbiased AI and launched our BETA to Apple.
Trusting your own set of unique skills will always give you an unique advantage to hitting your goals.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My community, not one person, has really supported me at every single step I have taken to date. That support comes in forms of intros, lunches, resource sharing or listening ears. Many of my friendships have grown stronger since I started Skinary, some have turned into Advisors. Having a startup gave folks in my life an opportunity to support in a way that is pretty rare!
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
We are using machine learning to help solve for healthy skin from your home. We want to help people have healthy skin, and understanding of how to work toward that with healthier habits.
People personalized recommendations on habit to change over time
We aren’t pushing products, and we aren’t teledermatology because we leverage deep learning with integrative dermatology and functional medicine.
It’s not the technology that is a drawback, it is how it is leveraged by individuals — which is why you see Black Mirror episodes go so tragical wrong.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
The potential to find ways to have healthy skin without relying or being dependent on products, new skin research that can push progress on melanated skin concerns, and faster diagnosis of skin concerns so everyday people are left to Google Images and guesses!
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
Some of my concerns about the beauty industry is that product ingredients and formulations aren’t as less regulated in the US than the EU, integrative dermatology isn’t widely practiced and skin health resources have a high barrier to entry for the average person.
I would love to be part of initiatives to change regulation around product formulations to ensure toxic ingredients are left out, assist in making integrative dermatology more mainstream and help the average person have access to healthy skin without reliance on products or appointments!
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
Beauty is really about how you feel about yourself. Positive feelings exude outwardly and radiate confidence. Some rules I live by are sweat for 20 mins a day, resting when I need it, exfoliating often, staying hydrated (internally and externally), mitigating my stress and remembering to smile often.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Honestly, I want to see more people of color — but specifically women — breaking into the tech space and seeing big ideas gain traction and funding.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Please: Do everything you possibly can in one lifetime” — @KanyeWest via Twitte
I got this as an embroidered piece of art a few years ago. Aside from Kanye being a fellow Gemini from Chicago, I loved this quote because it reminds me that you don’t have to just accomplish one thing in your lif. You can go after as much as possible.
How can our readers follow you online?
@BiancaMaxwell or @SkinaryApp on FB, Twitter and Instagram
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
The Future Of Beauty: “Machine Learning To Help Solve For Healthy Skin” With Bianca Maxwell of… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.