Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022
Model Charli Howard's Squish Beauty Aims to Celebrate Your Flaws
Written by: Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
Charli Howard can now add another title to her resume: brand founder. The model, author and founder of The All Womxn Project launched her first brand, Squish Beauty, in August with a bold campaign featuring a diverse cast of models, including Howard.
Squish Beauty is all about celebrating flaws and embracing the skin you’re in — not covering it up. The vegan line’s first product assortment includes a lip gloss, a hydrating cheek and eye mask, and hydrocolloid acne patches. We caught up to hear more about her pivot to the beauty world and what sets the Squish products apart from all the rest.
You’ve spent quite a few years in the modeling industry, what made you want to get in the skincare/beauty game?
I love make-up and everything about it — the packaging, the formulas, the way you apply it. I love to test products out and feel like I have a good sense of what works and doesn't work. I used to say to people that when I was older, I would set up a beauty brand. But I don't like to go on timelines, so decided to start my own line now!
How did you come up with the initial idea for Squish?
I love Korean beauty products and felt like there was a gap missing for products like that in the West. Korean products work, but they also look cute. I didn't want acne products to feel clinical or boring, for example, and I felt like the eye masks could depuff a lot more than just your under-eyes. So I began sketching and the Cherry Mask was born!
The initial product assortment is fun, quirky and most of all, effective. What made you land on these for launch?
We knew, after making the Cherry's, that a hydrating kit would be a lovely starter set for someone. The patches and eye masks are things you'd leave by your bed or in your bathroom cabinet, while you can carry the gloss around with you day-to-day. It's about staying hydrated as much as you can!
What was most important to you when creating these products?
We knew from the get go that the products had to be suitable for sensitive skin, and couldn't contain anything 'bad' in them like palm oil, parabens or sulphates. We turned down a ton of manufacturers who insisted on putting palm oil into things, and I just couldn't — it's so bad for both you and the planet. The more research we did, we realised how badly parabens can affect women's hormones as well, and as someone who has hormonal problems, I just didn't feel comfortable producing cheap products that could harm someone in the long run. We have [also] tried to be as sustainable as we can in regards to packaging, but the beauty industry still has a long way to go before it's considered 'eco-friendly.'
What void do you think Squish fills in the current beauty market?
Well, it's not millennial pink for one! We've gone down the hot pink, 90s route which I think is cute in its own stand-out way. We felt there were way too many brands doing the millennial/minimalist pink thing and it's getting a bit tiresome.
What do you think makes Squish stand out from other brands?
Our stuff celebrates flaws that other beauty brands would retouch out. We're all about embracing the skin you're in, while having fun with it. No one likes acne, but covering a cyst with a flower diamante patch can help cheer you up slightly!
I love that the Cherry Eye & Cheek Masks are reusable — was this intentional when you were developing them or something you discovered along the way?
We were trialling and testing under eye masks from all around the world and I hated how you wore them once then had to throw them away. I hate single-use things, so experimented by storing them in the fridge, and found most of them shrivelled up quickly because of the water content. So that was important to us when we finalized our design with our manufacturer.
The Squish imagery is bright, bold and inclusive — what from your modeling experience informed the visuals you created for the brand?
The older and more informed I get, the more I realise how important diversity is for young girls. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented, whether that's via skin colour, body shape, etc. Our imagery is about being loud and proud with the 'flaws' society has taught women to hate.
How would you define the Squish beauty philosophy?
Hydrating, sustainable and cute AF!!!
And how about your personal beauty philosophy?
Be kind and you will always be beautiful!
If someone can only get one Squish product, what should it be?
I personally love the lip gloss. It's more of a balm to be honest, and doesn't stick to hair or dry your lips out, like most lipgloss ingredients do. Makeup artists have been raving about it!