Meet the data scientist, blogger, and boss babe behind VELVET
Kate Lee is an informatics researcher by day and beauty aficionada by night on a mission to redefine skin care as self-care. Lee's blog, the regimen, showcases everyday beauty routines from real women and men, the science behind skincare trends, and the companies that are innovating the beauty industry by making skincare sustainable and accessible. Most notably, Kate has recently launched VELVET– her own plant-based skincare line which currently features a brightening serum, detox mask, and hydrating melt.
Follow her on Instagram and be sure to check out her decadent treats which you can purchase individually, and as a travel or full-sized collection! A big shout out to Kate for answering all of our Q's!
What are the 3 things that most defined your decision to start a plant-based beauty company?
Well, first, I wanted to move my beauty routine towards less harmful chemicals and fragrances because I'm allergic to so much. I found that plant-derived ingredients, whether all-natural or not, tended to be a little more gentle on my face. The second thing was that with people becoming more mindful of what they consume, I wanted to create products that have simple ingredients and are easy to use. You should feel good about the products as well as what the brand stands for. The third reason is really that starting something new is both fun and terrifying, but it's been such an incredible ride to meet inspirational people along the way and push myself creatively.
Who is your beauty icon/eternal inspo and why?
I have way too many beauty icons! From my mother who has lived life being unapologetically herself in her beauty regimen to women like Salma Hayek, Gabrielle Union, and Cindy Crawford who age so gracefully. It's impossible for me to choose just one. I think I always seek women and men who prioritize self-care when they talk about their beauty routine. That can be anything from drinking a ton of water and wearing sunblock every day to eating well, meditating, and pampering yourself with facials and massages.
What's a product that you recommend for busy ladies with little time, lots of stress, and who rule the world?
Find something multi-functional and easy to use, like a face oil that's lightweight and can act as a moisturizer, hydrating serum, or primer. I have a few favorite face oils that have saved my life when I didn't want to layer on 15 different things: I love the Drunk Elephant Marula Oil, VELVET No. 11 Brightening Serum, and Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Oil as day and night moisturizers, or as a base for my makeup. All three also work wonderfully when combined with face masks, too!
What do you order at brunch?
As much as I love french toast and waffles, I always cave with anything salty. My go-to is some insane plate of eggs and way too many potatoes because I'm most likely trying someone else's french toast or waffles anyway. Also, brunch means I have an endless flow of bloody marys.
What makes you feel the most beautiful (workout, food, beauty or closet staples)?
Honestly, whenever I've completed a really challenging workout I feel the most beautiful, probably because that's when I feel the strongest. There's so much beauty in overcoming something that you didn't think you could do. And from someone who would rather nap than work out, finishing a 45-minute fitness class is basically like winning the Olympics. I could look like a sweaty pile of clothes, but I feel so beautiful after a workout I'd probably be foolishly brave enough to flirt with all of the members of One Direction.