Covid-19 has changed the business of beauty. This combination of retail and service shutdowns due to the pandemic has caused sales to plummet by about 25% to 30%. S Similarly, significant beauty manufacturers’ stock prices have taken a nose dive during the pandemic.

A study done in 2019 assessed several make-up products like beauty blenders. It was discovered that 79% to 90% showed bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. According to this Journal of Applied Microbiology study, beauty blenders had the highest bacterial load.

This was before we knew of the coronavirus. The concern about the germs in our make-up or the tools we used to apply it wasn’t top of mind. Covid-19 changed all of that.

Now, more than ever, consumers are interested in anti-viral options. At a time when hand sanitizers, cleaning agents, and washing your hands are paramount, people want to know that the beauty products can also help minimize their exposure to germs and bacteria.

UVé Beauty, a company that launched in November 2020, aims to accomplish precisely this. Its mission is to bring a new standard of sanitization to the beauty industry. They have introduced a new science into the beauty business with its UV-C sterilization systems, which clean the tools we use in our everyday make-up and beauty routines.

From Corporate to Cosmetics

John Nguyen, UVé’s Co-Founder and COO, started working for Xerox out of college in 2000. “I worked my way up from account executive to Vice President and managed the top Sales team in the nation for my segment 6 years in a row,” Mr. Nguyen said. “Through smart investments, I decided to leave the industry after 18 years to golf, relax and pursue other opportunities.”

Sean Wigand, the CEO and Co-Founder of UVé, has been a serial problem solver, designer, and business owner since the age of sixteen. He has been starting and building various businesses in the eCommerce to services industry for over 15 years.

Mr. Wigand was on a date with his wife years ago, and she was complaining about breaking out due to her dirty brushes. He told her to get something off Amazon. There wasn’t a daily GAP solution to killing bacteria for brushes other than deep cleaning them with liquids, which wasn’t practical daily. This was when he began to explore using 254nm Germicidal UV-C light to solve this issue.

“Sean and I have known each other for almost ten years,” Mr. Nguyen explained. “He had a company that was a client of Xerox while I was with them. Sean asked me towards the end of my years with the company to develop the Make-up Brush Sterilizers.”

When they began working through the design and development, they realized the cosmetics space’s bacteria problems were more significant than they imagined. “This took us back to the drawing board to see what other potential solutions we could bring to the beauty business to mitigate breakouts, acne, infections, and in some cases, paralysis,” Mr. Nguyen shared. “We wanted to merge science with beauty, so we attended medical conventions to see what the medical space was doing to mitigate bacteria, specifically in labs and surgeries. This ultimately led us to attack the bigger issues: make-up brushes themselves and application tools like Beauty Blenders.”

Mr. Nguyen and Mr. Wigand found that while cosmetic companies were booming, the focus wasn’t on being sanitary as much as it was creating new products to sell. “Forbes did an article in 2019 referencing the dangerous bacteria inside your make-up, but it seemed there wasn’t a motivation to fix a problem when people were already buying your products. If anything, companies started to cut more corners by trying to increase margins and using lesser quality materials.”

Then came Covid-19.

Redefining Beauty, Business, and Benefactions

“Like most businesses, we experienced a stall in March 2020 when the Covid shutdown happened. This delayed our initial launch,” Mr. Nguyen recounted. “One positive though is it put hygiene at the forefront of our minds. While we’ve been working on this for years, there has been a tremendous amount of appreciation for our brand due to the pandemic.”

Disrupting any business space can be difficult. However, when it comes to the cosmetic and beauty industry, UVé feels that merely putting the health and hygienic needs of end-users over profits sets them apart.

“The brand is based around health and hygiene for affordable prices,” Mr. Nguyen said. “We cut no corners and use the best materials for all our products. We also did everything we could to make them affordable.”

UVé’s brushes are made with copper four ring ferrules for durability and copper’s natural antibacterial properties. The majority of their competitors use aluminum ferrules. Also, UVé’s brushes are manufactured with a medical-grade antimicrobial agent to help them repel up to 99% of bacteria from duplicating on their surfaces.

“We brought the Lamborghini of brushes to the market at a price that everyone can afford because that’s the way it should be,” Mr. Nguyen proudly stated. “Our beauty sponges took over a year to develop. We wanted to be the best in every category, from blending better, wasting less products, being affordable, and being antimicrobial to repel up to 99% bacteria growth. After a year of development, we’ve accomplished just that.”

A percentage of UVé’s proceeds are donated to THORN, a non-profit organization aimed at ending human trafficking. “Both Sean and I are parents, and like all parents, we adore and love our children,” Mr. Nguyen said. “Child trafficking is a global problem that doesn’t get enough attention, and as parents, we wanted to do our part by making an impact in any way we can. Eventually, we would like to start our own foundation for this cause but for now, what Ashton Kutcher has done with Thorn is an inspiration.”

Overall, it would seem that in addition to UVé’s mission to bring a new level of wellness and hygiene to the cosmetics industry, they hope to make the world safer and even more beautiful both inside and out.