The Outset Founders Scarlett Johansson and Kate Foster

Introducing The Outset

In the world of skincare, sensitivity is an increasingly common problem. And, ironically, the primary cause for this rise in cases of skin sensitivity may in fact be because we are using more skincare products than ever. That was the inspiration behind The Outset, the line launched in 2022 by actress Scarlett Johansson and beauty industry veteran Kate Foster. For years, both women had struggled with acne and skin sensitivities and were seeking solutions for the increasingly common issue of sensitized, problem skin.

“I started having acne as a teenager,” says Johansson. “At the time, so much of the messaging was, if you have acne or 'problem skin', you can make it disappear by stripping it away, and so I was in a cycle of drying out my skin and then having these breakouts and drying out my skin and getting irritation.” And so, after years of using retinol, drying creams, scrubs, and toners that only led to more irritation, Johansson says, "I just got rid of everything I thought could be irritating it and started using a very simple, non-comedogenic moisturizer. My skin started healing itself and then I stopped picking at my face and staring into my pores, and just let my skin really reset itself.” 

It was this personal journey, the development of her own simplified beauty routine, and the success she had managing the breakouts, the dryness, and the general skincare issues that led to the creation of The Outset. “When we looked at the broader market, we saw that overcomplicated self-care routines and trendy, active ingredients were the norm, and skin sensitivity was also on the rise,” says Foster, who previously oversaw beauty at Victoria’s Secret and Juicy Couture as well as creating a beauty website based around word-of-mouth recommendations. “What was missing was a reliable line of essentials that was clean, effective, and designed to elevate the everyday, for everyone….the effortless white tee of skincare."

The result is a tightly edited range of essentials that puts skin first and can be easily paired with products already in your routine, thanks to its gentle ingredients. With a focus on strengthening the skin barrier–the foundation of healthy skin–every product features their signature Hyaluroset™ Complex, a botanical alternative to Hyaluronic Acid derived from the seeds of the Cassia flower, alongside nourishing ingredients such Vegan Collagen, a clean, sustainable alternative to traditional collagen created via fermentation; Squalane, a biomimetic emollient; Ascorbyl Glucoside, a water-soluble form of Vitamin C; Niacinamide which brightens the skin without irritation; and Bakuchiol, a gentle botanical alternative to Retinol. The consciously clean formulas are also free of fragrance, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and gluten nut allergens and are allergy dermatologist tested, making them suitable for even the most sensitive skin. “We eliminated around 2,700 ingredients of concern–a very high standard– and added efficacious innovation for a radical approach to gentle skincare,” says Foster. “The Outset literally means ‘from the beginning.’ It’s an optimistic point of view that every day is a chance for a fresh start. No matter where you are in your skincare journey, there’s a place for you here.”

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