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Q & A With Dr. Michelle Wong | Lab Muffin

Shiri Feldman

March 23, 2023

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We’re firm believers that your skin shouldn’t be a mystery. Understanding skincare from a scientific lens is our mission at Revea. And cosmetic chemist and science educator, Dr. Michelle Wong feels the same way.

Meet Dr. Michelle Wong of Lab Muffin

After feeling frustrated by a lack of easy-to-understand explanations pertaining to the science behind beauty products, Dr. Michelle Wong started the blog Lab Muffin and her YouTube channel. A decade later, yet transparent as ever, Dr. Wong continues to give us the low-down on what today’s consumers are looking for when it comes to evidence-based skincare.

Q & A with Dr. Michelle Wong

We recently interviewed Dr. Wong to learn more about her background and thoughts on our AI skin technology. Here, in her own words, is how science-backed solutions are the future of skincare.

Q: As a chemistry Ph.D. and science educator, what made you want to become a cosmetic chemist and start blogging about skincare?

A: I got interested in the science behind skincare and other beauty products around 2007. I was studying chemistry and pharmacology in uni, and started wondering how these products actually worked, and whether or not they lived up to their claims.

At the time, there was barely any information about this online, so I had to do a lot of digging in textbooks and peer-reviewed literature. I realized very few people would have access to the same information and be able to understand it, so I decided to document my findings in a way that could be easily understood by other interested consumers.

Q: It seems like there are more and more skincare products and brands popping up each year. What are your thoughts on the current skincare market? What do you like? What’s still missing?

A: I think there are a lot of products that are being produced just to hop on trends, and it’s quite frustrating to me as both a consumer and content creator. It annoys me that people might try products and enjoy them, only to discover that they aren’t around anymore when they run out. And as a content creator who tests products really thoroughly before posting reviews, it’s annoying to find out my tried-and-true recommendations don’t exist anymore.

I do like that there’s a lot of rapid innovation happening when it comes to textures and new product forms. A skincare product will never work if it isn’t used, and I think there’s a lot of ground to be made with making products easier to incorporate into people’s daily routines.

Q: We all know there are a lot of exaggerated and dubious claims about skin science and technology out there. How can consumers do their due diligence and ensure a brand is actually based on real science?

A: I recommend looking for products that have actually been tested on people’s skin. A lot of products incorporate trendy ingredients, but not necessarily in an effective form – for example, the base might not be optimized to deliver the ingredient effectively or keep the ingredient stable, or the concentration may simply be too low. I also recommend looking for brands that invest in research and development.

Q: You do a lot to help educate skincare consumers. How do you think advances in science and technology, like AI and diagnostics, can help consumers in their skincare journey?

A: I think there’s a lot of potential, but very few brands seem to be approaching it in a way that’s actually helpful. For example, there are a lot of companies using AI to analyze ingredient lists and predict whether products will work, but they don’t seem to be aware that ingredient lists don’t have enough information to make these sorts of predictions accurately.

Where I think AI and diagnostics would be very useful is for supplementing the current skincare trial-and-error process. Humans are susceptible to cognitive biases like recall errors. Trawling through product and ingredient information is also really time-consuming and tedious. AI and diagnostics could provide more objective measurements of the results you’re getting from skincare products, and help you choose the products to try next.

Q: Where, or how, do you see Revea’s technology fitting into your vision for the future of skincare?

A: I think Revea’s technology is fantastic for streamlining the trial-and-error process. It’s cleverly designed to respond to your individual skin’s reactions to products, and tap into the wider user database. It’s a really useful system both for skincare enthusiasts who want to find out everything about their skin, and those who just want a system that works without too much effort.

Check out Dr. Wong’s Lab Muffin Blog and YouTube Channel!

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