Twins Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight have been on social media since they were 14 years old, “when cat videos were the only thing on YouTube,” says Bailey, now 22. Baylor grads with entrepreneurship degrees, the TikTok sensations broke into the beauty industry in 2018 with the launch of their Lash Next Door Mascara, which is still on the market, and they also have a clothing line. “We’ve grown up on the internet,” adds Brooklyn. “We’ve developed this big-sister type relationship with our audience, giving advice on everything from braces and contacts to skin care.”
The sisters’ new 15-piece skin-care line, ITK (it stands for “in the know,” if you weren’t in the know), launches today and has been in the works for about two years. Here, the twins and business partners give us the scoop on everything from the unique packaging to their favorite products for fighting acne and dull skin.
What inspired you to go down the skin-care path rather than building out your makeup line?
“We both share a really big passion for skin care,” says Brooklyn. “We’ve both been on a skin-care journey for a long time, and it started when we were 12. We were both struggling with acne, went to the dermatologist and started taking prescription medication. It worked for a while, but we wanted to find an easier and more accessible solution, especially for our Gen-Z audience.”
“And, because we do have an audience, we were actually able to poll them for what they were looking for,” adds Bailey. “At the time we weren’t telling them that we were developing a skin-care line, but we asked them questions like which skin-care products they used, what their favorites were, what bottle textures they preferred, what colors they preferred, etc., without them knowing they were inadvertently helping us create our brand. It was really fun to create almost like a user-generated product line where our community was able to have an opinion and we could do some crowd-sourcing.”
What makes it stand out from everything else on the market?
“We feel like it fills a hole in the skin-care realm where most clean products are a little bit more on the expensive side, and we really wanted our formulations to be extremely clean, but also accessible for everyone,” Brooklyn says, noting that the line is all $15 or less, and contains everything from cleansers and pimple patches to vitamin supplements for inside-out skin health, too. “We also wanted the packaging to be really pretty and something you could put on your shelf and not be ashamed. All of the key ingredients are also listed on each bottle because we wanted there to be full transparency with ingredients and formulations. We have a list of all the things we’re free of, including parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrance. We’re also vegan, cruelty-free and dermatologist-tested, and our bottles and boxes are recyclable—and that’s just scraping the surface. We have a beautiful, huge clean list of ingredients we don’t use. We match the clean standards for Ulta and Sephora, as well as Walmart, which is the retailer we’re in.
We also created a small group called the ITK Crew so we could test the products on diverse skin tones and types, which was important to us. We posted an application on our social media and said, ‘Apply if you want to be part of a secret project,’ and we had around 10,000 submissions. We narrowed it down to 20 people, who then helped us test our formulas so we could tweak things as we went. They’re also going to be part of some of the marketing campaign when we launch.”
I heard there’s also a cool tech component to your packaging, too. Tell me more.
“Yes, another fun element of ITK is that we’re implementing a technologically advanced side to it: We have QR codes on all of our bottles and boxes,” says Bailey. “If you scan the box, it takes you to an in-store experience, where a 3-D AR [augmented reality] version of the bottle pops up and you can kind of play with it, and it also gives you recommendations for other products within the line that you might be interested in purchasing based on that product. If you scan the code on the bottle, it takes you to an at-home experience with more information on key ingredients and benefits, and it’s really fun and interactive. We’re going to be doing a lot of education to help people learn how to build their skin-care routines using our products.”
Which skin concerns are you both battling right now?
“My biggest skin concern is periodical breakouts, either hormonal or environmental, if I’m traveling a bunch,” says Brooklyn. “One of my favorite products to use is the Blemish Patches, which are little micro-dart patches that penetrate the blemish with some ingredients that really help a ton to make it go away. I also really like the Tri-Acid Toner. For me, it’s a good chemical combination that’s gentle enough to use a couple times of week, but efficient enough to help with breakouts and congestion.”
“I definitely have a mixture of dry and oily skin, and it’s always hard for me to balance which products I should be using to accomplish fixing both of those things,” Bailey says. “A go-to for me is our Milk-to-Foam Cleanser because it doesn’t dry out my skin but it gets rid of the oiliness. I use it every single day and I swear by it. It’s also fun to use because it starts out milky and then gets frothy—I love things that foam up. But, if I’m feeling like my skin is bogged down or I have buildup, I use our Clay Color Changing Mask. It helps get rid of that buildup, but it’s also really fun because it starts out white but turns pink as you apply it—a really cute bubblegum pink. It’s experiential and a really great formula. The night before I got married, I used the Tri-Acid Toner and the Clay Mask to get that wedding glow, and they are truly two of my favorites.”
Brooklyn, you also recently got your aesthetician’s license. Did you get that education to help with your own product development?
“I always wanted to follow up school with a secondary program, and the aesthetician’s program was something I was interested in,” she says. “And then when the opportunity presented itself for us to start a skin-care line, they kind of went hand in hand. So I don’t want to say one came before the other, but they definitely complement each other perfectly. I have some more in-depth background on ingredients and formulas, and it was really fun to apply my knowledge to the process as we were developing everything. But, I think that because we’re entrepreneurs and we have a couple businesses, I don’t know if I’d have time to start a whole aesthetics practice. The ability to apply it to product development is something I want to focus on right now. And as a side hobby, I do wax some of our office employees and give facials every once in a while.”
Are you planning on launching anymore makeup?
“Skin care is definitely the focus for the next couple of years at least,” Bailey says. “But, skin care can correlate with makeup, so I wouldn’t say never, but that would be much in the future. We are starting with the basics right now and working our way up.”