This Chicago Startup Wants to Personalize Men’s Skincare
By Claire Young / December 18, 2018 9:00 am

Skincare can be daunting.

Any guy who has tried to find reliable grooming advice online knows this; the jargon alone can be overwhelming, let alone extra considerations for people who, like us, live on a tundra.

But you shouldn’t give up. That beautiful mug deserves personalized advice that accounts for your specific goals, lifestyle and location.

Enter Bottlecode, a local startup for the man who wants to take care of his face, but doesn’t know where to start. In less than five minutes, you’ll answer 10 simple questions about your skin type, objectives, habits and more, resulting in your own personal “Bottlecode” of products, with ingredients matched to your answers.

“Bottlecode breaks everything down into practical and proven steps to follow so men don’t have to deal with all the BS,” says co-founder Rob McIntosh. In practice, that means the company aims to take the guesswork out of knowing which products to use when and for what. They offer tips and explanations about which ingredients are helping with each identified issue.

“When you have all of the right information things obviously become a lot easier.” Says co-founder Drishay Menon. “A little bit of guidance changes a hesitation into a habit.”

Rounding out the Chicago startup is co-founder Jeff Meyers, who developed the custom algorithm the site runs on. The three met at that other Chicago startup, Trunk Club. There, they built careers studying how to help men make smarter consumer choices. And their new venture applies those same basic principles to straightforward skincare.

Here’s what Bottlecode does differently, and why you should consider trying it:

It’s all about saving face. Once you hit 30, you start to lose about 1% of the collagen in your skin every year. A little bit of effort now will pay dividends later in life. Just like with your 401(k), which you should also not be ignoring.

Personalized skincare, just for you. Bottlecode uses their technology to match skin needs with products, then explains why your products were selected. Information on the active ingredient builds an understanding of what it’s doing for you.

Quality products. The goods come from top brands like Baxter of California, Triumph and Disaster, Port Products and Blind Barber. (And if you haven’t checked out Blind Barber in Fulton Market, the barber-cum-speakeasy is worth a trip.)

Short, easy regimens. To keep it idiotproof, morning and evening regimens outline how to use the products. The founders conducted time trials, and the average application clocks in at one minute and 25 seconds. One-hundred-and-seventy seconds a day for touchable, kissable skin? Worth it.

Simple payment model. In a nod to their Trunk Club roots, Bottlecode uses the replenishment model. After you complete the quiz and create an account, your results live there in perpetuity. Whenever you’re ready, re-up the whole package, pick specific items or do nothing. They’ll check in occasionally to see if you want to change or adapt anything.

Approachable price point. The site makes it easy to see how much each product costs and there isn’t an upcharge for the service. Bottlecodes are broken down by “base” level (the three products you need to build your regime) and “expert” level (if you want to target something more specific like dry skin, acne, razor burn, etc.). Totals for a three-month supply range from $80 to $150 at the higher end. That’s $25-$50 a month.

That’s the cost of three beers and a tip. And if your face isn’t worth that much to you, well, you’re a less vain person than us.

All images courtesy of Bottlecode