Since cousins Greg Gonzalez and Joe Cloyes  launched their hugely successful brand, Youth to the People, in 2015, they have found their place in the beauty industry. Thanks to their grandmother, Eva Friederichs, who created a skincare line specifically for spas and beauty institutes in the late 1970s, Gonzalez and Cloyes spent their childhood helping her—and Gonzalez’s mother, who also worked for the company—putting labels on products, preparing packages and even standing in as models. “If they were doing an advanced skincare class on facials and didn’t have enough models to work on, Joe and I would sit in,” says Gonzalez. “We were 10 years old, and there would be a full facial happening.”

After working with the family company for a few years, Gonzalez and Cloyes wanted to set up a new consumer brand that would reflect their own values. “It was [prompted by] a combination of the innovation that was happening [in skincare] and the connection to wellness and new ingredients that were being used,” says Gonzalez. “We got really excited about the idea of building something from the ground up and being conscious and responsible about everything.”

They chose the name Youth to the People to reflect the idea that youth goes far beyond the appearance of the skin—it’s a state of mind that embraces curiosity and the desire to always be learning new things. “The goal of Youth to the People is to inspire people to get a little bit better every day,” says Cloyes. “We approach that in product development, we approach that in how we work with our community, we approach that in how we approach sustainability—all aspects.”

The two entrepreneurs want to be agents of change in the beauty industry and are preaching a way of doing things in which transparency and education reign. “We’re still a consumer brand by nature, and consumption is not good for the planet, so how do we make those little decisions each and every day that make a difference, that can reduce our impact while we grow?” asks Cloyes. “Whether it’s sourcing locally as much as possible, simplifying packaging, reducing inserts, trying to eliminate plastic or using recycled plastic, it’s just a full 360-degree approach. To me, the word ‘sustainable’ is slowly becoming the word ‘clean.’”

Youth to the People’s formulas brilliantly combine fresh ingredients—like kale, yerba maté and adaptogenic mushrooms—with active ingredients developed in a laboratory, such as niacinamides, hyaluronic acid and retinaldehyde (a stabilized form of vitamin A that gently converts into retinoic acid once in the skin’s epidermal layer). “I think the next ingredients that are going to make a splash in the market are biomimetic peptides, whose technology has evolved tremendously in recent years,” says Gonzalez. Cloyes keeps an eye on active ingredients that are made using fermentation, an incredibly sustainable way to create them.

Most of Gonzalez and Cloyes’ inspiration comes from their community, scientific advancements and their own values but also from the Arts District, in the heart of Los Angeles, where the company has its office. “It’s a one-of-a-kind neighbourhood that has its own energy and cool shops, cafés, boutiques and art galleries,” says Cloyes. “We always encourage people to come by this area to see what it feels like.” And that pretty much sums up Youth to the People: a brand that is for the people and inspired by the people.


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