Fiona chan with orange starry background


Fiona Co Chan: Founder, Youthforia

by @totaltrashmamma
Apr 28, 2022


“I used to do dance as a kid, so my mom would do my makeup for me for the recital,” says Youthforia Founder Fiona Chan when describing her first memory using makeup. “I got so addicted to it. Every time she left for work, I would go and steal her eyeshadow and then take it off before she got off.” So began Fiona’s love for the beauty industry.

She started Youthforia in 2020, and has slowly grown the business into an eco-friendly makeup brand most known for its blush. The BYO Blush goes on clear then transforms to the wearer’s skin tone to give everyone their ideal shade. “This is the only thing that I will ever put on my cheeks,” says @beautywithsav. “I haven’t seen any other company do this.”

Fiona's Unlikely Origin Story

Despite always having an interest in makeup, Fiona started out in tech sales. She wanted to go to beauty school in college, but didn’t know what to do with it. So, when Fiona finished school she got a job selling software, another interest of hers. But her job in tech only led her right back to beauty. “That job got me to be based out of some of the most polluted cities in the world where I’d sleep in N95s because the pollution was so bad,” she says. “I think it was through that experience that I realized my normal skincare/makeup wasn't working for me.”

But things changed when the pandemic hit. She was quarantined in Hong Kong and attributes those first few weeks of shut down for all her best ideas about launching Youthforia. “I think it was the inability to go out and see people at all that – I realized that for me, makeup was really about getting ready,” says Fiona.

Going Back to School

During this time she also finally went to beauty school to train. “If Fiona's obsessed with something, she'll go and she'll train in it,” says Emily McDonagh, Youthforia’s PR Manager. “She was obsessed with makeup, she wanted to sell her makeup brand, she went to makeup school. She does this form of therapy called tapping. And so she became qualified in tapping so that she could understand it properly.” When Fiona wants something she makes sure it happens.

Beauty school in Hong Kong taught Fiona everything she knows about protecting skin while experimenting with makeup. “The biggest difference I would say is that in Asia, they're really big on preserving the health of your skin while doing makeup,” says Fiona. That’s why she designed Youthforia’s makeup in a way that you can sleep in it without damaging your skin. During testing for Youthforia’s products, Fiona and her husband slept in samples to make sure they were having positive results.

Image Courtesy of Youthforia

Image Courtesy of Youthforia

Changing Up the Makeup Industry

In creating makeup that is good for you, Fiona put an emphasis on ousting fossil fuels and bringing in plant based alternatives. Youthforia uses a synthetic vegan formula that, according to Fiona, “has additional skincare benefits like vitamins or fatty acids or lipids that are great for your skin.” Additionally Fiona created makeup that is water soluble, seeing that as a more eco-friendly alternative to other beauty products.

While she wanted to create a better beauty brand, the most important aspect to Fiona is texture. McDonagh described her boss as being “texture obsessed” and she’s not wrong. Fiona wants to create makeup that feels like it costs $300 without making you break the bank. “It's like quicksand,” says Fiona. “It just kind of sinks into your skin but it doesn't feel like a film.”

Leading Her Brand into the Future

Fiona is in the process of not just reinventing makeup, but reinventing the work space. “She's worked in a lot of environments where people are treated quite terribly,” says McDonagh, “so she always makes sure that fun underscores everything.” McDonagh says that Fiona will send her Tiktoks randomly and is concerned about the well being of the people she works with. Fiona also places an emphasis on diversity and making sure there is representation in the beauty industry.

“I think Fiona runs a mile faster than everybody else. She's like Usain Bolt. And we are the training staff,” says McDonagh. So it is a wonder where Fiona will be running next. Ideally she wants Youthforia to expand their collection and eventually be able to do a full face of makeup. But for now she wants to make sure that people are having a good time doing their makeup before a night out with friends. “The brand name refers to this feeling of when in your adult life – the happy moments that remind you of your favorite childhood memories,” says Fiona. “For me, it was the first time I got to buy makeup, or for some it’s Disneyland. I wanted to bring that emotion into our products.”

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