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Beauty brands are a booming business, particularly when backed by names with real culture cachet. In Lori Harvey’s case, an “It” girl known for having great personal style and even better skin, the decision to launch a skincare line seems as natural as the ingredients in her family of new products. Though, famously, she is Steve Harvey’s daughter and Michael B. Jordan’s girlfriend, the model is stepping out in her own right as an entrepreneur with the recent launch of SKN by LH, a five-step system of companion products including a goji berry cleanser, white tea toner, and vitamin C serum.
Harvey spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her focus on sensitive skin concerns, how she built her brand, and her favorite place to score vintage goods in L.A.
What motivated you to start SKN by LH? How did skincare go from being something that you were personally interested in to a full-on business pursuit?
Skincare is something that I’ve been in love with since I was like a little girl. I would be in the mirror smearing Vaseline on my face trying to get glowing skin. As I got older, as someone who struggles with sensitive skin and had acne problems as a teenager, I was using so many different products to try to get my skin right. I had really bad scarring from acne so I needed products to help with dark marks, hyperpigmentation, and I have dark circles [under my eyes] that run in my family. I felt like there had to be a simpler way for me to achieve the radiant, glowing skin that I wanted without having to use so many different products. That’s what gave me the push to come out with my own line. I really wanted to create a simple, step-by-step routine that people could use, who were having the same struggles as me.
Your line is a five-step skincare system. Are there any noteworthy ingredients in your products? Do the products work best together or can they also be used a la carte?
Everything is clean and vegan. There are no parabens or sulfates, or synthetic fragrances, coloring or dyes. The three key ingredients that I included, which are in the majority of the products, are niacinamide, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. I feel like if you have those in your skincare routine, then you are basically setting your skin up for greatness. And I wanted to make sure that this line was suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Everything has a really nice, natural fragrance to it; you can expect to smell citrusy and fresh. The products can be à la carte. When you go to the SKN by LH website, you can buy them all individually or you can buy them all together — they do go hand in hand.
Have you been surprised by any part of the process, or have you had any challenges in terms of pursuing this venture as an entrepreneur? What role have you played in the creation and ideation process of the skincare line?
It’s definitely been a growing experience. Just for me as a whole, I’m really feeling like I’m stepping into this new chapter of my life. This is my first business that I’ve ever built from the ground up, and that I’m running by myself, coming up with all the ideas myself — every little detail from what I wanted in the formulas to the packaging. Learning how to structure a business and the legalities that go into it has definitely been a challenging experience. But I’ve learned so much, I’m learning every day.
Do you have a favorite book you’ve enjoyed recently?
I’ve been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear which is a great read.
What’s your brand’s target audience? Who are you looking to reach with this venture?
I think the sweet spot for my audience that I have right now is somewhere in between that Gen Z and millennial age group. That’s pretty much who we’re going to go after. But everybody can use it. I mean, my mom has been using it for a while now and she’s in love with it. That’s a completely different demographic, so everybody will enjoy it.
What’s your ideal color palette in an outfit or makeup look?
I typically go for neutral tones in outfits and with makeup. All black is definitely my everyday go-to when I’m getting dressed and nudes and bronze tones are what I like for my makeup looks.
How would you describe your personal style? Has it changed over the years, or does it shift depending where you are in the world, or in your life?
I think my style is like a good mix of tomboy meets girly, but also chic. I love to get dressed up and I love neutral tones. That’s always my go-to. I love simple pieces that I can keep forever and mix and match with different things and dress up and down. Simple, staple pieces are definitely what I gravitate toward when I’m shopping. I also love a statement piece like a bag or a pop of color in a shoe. That can always spruce up an outfit.
You also love vintage pieces. A lot of people get overwhelmed by thrifting and going to consignment stores, so do you have any tips on scoring good vintage, especially things that can last a while or that are unique?
I think definitely just finding a credible vintage reseller. That’s like the biggest thing. But I also feel like Instagram has made it so easy to shop and just find different things. One of my favorite actual storefronts that I like to go to for vintage pieces is What Goes Around Comes Around. They have awesome stuff, great inventory. I’ve gotten countless pieces that I absolutely love there and will probably be in my closet for forever.
Do you have any favorite contemporary artists or designers?
I’ve been paying more attention to Peter Do lately. There are a few pieces from their collection that I have had my eyes on.
You’re originally from Atlanta, but live in Los Angeles now. How do you like it? What are your favorite things to do around the city?
I love L.A., I can’t even really picture myself living anywhere else full-time. I just love that the weather for the most part is always amazing. The sun’s always shining. I love the fact that you can literally go to the beach and the desert and the mountains — they’re all so close. I go on hikes sometimes, I think that’s super fun. It’s a great stress reliever for me. And one of my top three restaurants of all time has to be the Nobu in Malibu, definitely one of my favorites here. A perfect day consists of going there, preferably before the sun goes down, and just getting a great meal.
Do you feel any pressure as somebody with visibility and a large platform to be super on point with regard to fashion and beauty? As someone who is often photographed, has that shifted your relationship to skincare?
I’ve honestly always had a love for all things beauty and fashion. And I’m very specific and particular about what I like. If I see something and I like it, I like it, and it doesn’t really matter to me who likes it if I feel good in it. I think that’s something that the newer generation is pushing very hard: being confident and comfortable in yourself. But being in the spotlight, of course, does add an extra layer of eyes and opinion and the scrutiny that comes with it; I’m human, and I definitely would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me sometimes, but standing firm in myself and maintaining my confidence [is how I] move forward.
What’s something you’re really into that might surprise people? Any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
I love chess. Horseback riding is also one of my hobbies now that I don’t compete competitively anymore.
A secret beauty hack you swear by?
I drink celery juice and a Vitamin C shot every morning on an empty stomach. And I always keep my eye masks and sheet masks in the refrigerator.
Interview edited for length and clarify.
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