The mission is clear.
Close the skincare research equity gap.
Our story is rooted in compassion and commitment, and our journey is guided by a fundamental belief in skin research equity.
We believe that, Science-backed skincare is a right that should be shared by all, free of prejudice.
To that end, we are the world’s first skincare lab fully dedicated to studying the needs of darker skin — Scientifically known as Skin Phototypes IV, V, VI.
‘me’ in melanin
It’s personal to our founders. 4.5.6 Skin Science was born out of CEO Noelly Michoux’s lifetime struggle finding care for her melanin-rich skin.
"The reality is the one-size-fits-all approach of international brands prioritises research and testing based on white skin standards, ignoring the needs of darker skin even as calls for racial equity grow louder and the face of the public becomes ever-more diverse. "
Understanding the depth of the skincare equity issue, our CEO brought together experts in dermatology, skin research science and skincare formulations to flip the script on a skincare industry that ignores the needs of over 40% of the world.
see our founders
The skincare industry lags behind research equity for many reasons. Those that are most telling point to an infrastructure that essentially discourages research and investment in all but lighter skin:
- FDA regulations for basic SPF only require testing on limited "fair-skin" (Skin Phototypes I, II and III²).
- Black and Hispanics combined only represent 7% of dermatologists in the US³ despite those racial groups making up 31% of the population in 2020⁴.
- 47% of dermatologists report insufficient exposure to patients with darker skin during their medical training⁵.
- Lack of darker skin in textbooks and journals harms care for people with melanin-rich skin6.
Also telling are the skincare marketing schemes that cynically claim equity by retrofitting formulations based on white skin:
- Skincare labeled “for all shades and types” isn’t just about semantics, it’s deception when the products aren’t formulated for darker skin at the outset.
- Irritation-free products that claim to be suitable for Brown and Black skin are often skewed natural and mild. Yet, with those same products, the efficacy is greater for lighter skin.
science of equity
The research we have been doing at our laboratory in France over the past five years reveals the way melanin lives in darker skin.
From the role of sunlight and humidity on the skin barrier and functions, to skin acidity and density to hyperpigmentation risks — our findings have revolutionised melanin science.
It’s the science that’s so vital to understanding the beauty of melanin-rich skin.
It’s the research at the heart of skincare equity, to the benefit of the world’s 40% whose agency is at stake.
person in personalisation
Because skin issues are so personal, our approach had to be personal too. That’s why our independant laboratory in France has taken the science of melanin skin an innovative leap forward to customise formulations to fit you.
Up to 20 facets of you are blended into your unique treatments, thanks to smart data, personalized insight and groundbreaking machine learning that allows us to give your skin what it needs when it needs it, now and in the years to come.
4.5.6 is the only melanin driven skincare line that evolves with you through all of life’s major milestones and changes.
These times can be stressful, overwhelming, or simply take up all of your time! We make sure your melanin skincare keeps up, so you can focus on YOU!
Brilliant Marriage of Melanin
forward skin research and AI technology
How is Skin Phototype IV, V, VI range different?
Skin in this Phototype range, which we call 4.5.6 Skin, a shortened version of our brand name — is truly unique. Our research shows darker skin is denser, affecting hydration, and sheds dead skin faster, causing dullness. It produces more oil and sebum, which makes it prone to acne. Its PH is more acidic so skin is more imbalanced.
It has larger and hyperactive cells calles melanocytes that produce more melanin, increasing skin’s vulnerability to hyperpigmentation and dark spots, even hyperkeratosis (skin toughening), keloid scars and dyschromia (abnormal pigmentation).
Colder climates have an especially drying effect on darker skin, while insufficient sunlight is detrimental to its metabolic wellbeing.
The differences even extend to hair: Rough hair follicles, a common feature of dark skin, can stimulate inflammation and scarring.
These differences should be factored into skincare products used by people in the phototype IV, V, VI range.
How our scientific process meets your skin differences?
To create products that address the special needs of 4.5.6 Skin, we combine our team’s 20+ years of practical experience treating this skin range with our understanding of the physiological and biochemical pathways of darker skin phototypes.
We then select the best innovative, cleaan biodynamic ingredients, at the right dosage, test them on individuals with darker skin phototypes, and design high performance formulas with a high tolerance.
These dermatologically approved formulas are then customized into freshly mixed products for maximum efficacy.
Putting the person in personalisation — how our customisation process works?
With a simple quiz, we learn about your Skin Phototype, your unique skin characteristics, skin concerns, lifestyle and fragrance preferences.
Based on your responses, and your selfie, our A.I. technology will first determine which of our Core Blends are best to help with your current concerns.
Then it determines which customisation active ingredients are to be added to create a personalised product for you.
Once the order is placed, our lab technicians will mix in only the freshest actives just for you. Yes, your skincare has never been so personal.