In an exclusive interview with People Chica, the co-founder of the indie brand behind the Anti-Beauty Beauty Club shares how she’s looking to revolutionize beauty routines with a one-step product.
Whitney McElwain, Daybird, skin care
Daybird's Tinted Skincare
| Credit: Courtesy of Daybird

While makeup can be an exciting artistic endeavor on special occasions, there are days when it feels like a mask, forcing us to conform to a beauty standard we seldom recognize. Thankfully, the tide seems to be shifting thanks in part to emerging brands focusing on skin care, self-care, and streamlined routines rather than an outdated desire to cover up.

Whitney McElwain found herself frustrated with the societal expectations of beauty placed upon women and along with co-founder Veena Krishnan created Daybird, a new approach to makeup and skin care that calls itself the "Anti-Beauty Beauty Club."

"I have a one-year-old daughter and [...] I don't want her to grow up with certain beauty standards. I refuse to let her grow up and be a teenager told to go put on makeup," McElwain shared with People Chica. "I really want to be a part of helping people have ownership of their own relationship [with beauty]."

Their first product, the cult-favorite Tinted Skincare had a waitlist of over 4,000, fuses the benefits of a serum, moisturizer, foundation, and SPF 50 sunscreen into one, and is designed to improve your skin as you wear it. 

In an exclusive interview with People Chica, the Latina founder shares the brand's story, a peek behind the scenes, and gives advice for other Latinas looking to build their own businesses.

Whitney McElwain, Daybird, skin care
Whitney McElwain, co-founder of Daybird
| Credit: Courtesy of Daybird

Where did the idea for Daybird come from?

I was cleaning out my bathroom cabinet in the middle of the pandemic and I came across this vitamin C serum that I'd spent way too much money on, probably the most expensive thing I have ever purchased.

I accidentally bought it while getting a facial and I realized that it was expired even though it was still three-quarters of the way full. I thought to myself, "This vitamin C serum can't do its job if I don't put it on my skin." 

That was the impetus to hear more from people who identify as female about their relationship with their products and beauty, and we found that so many had products on their shelves they weren't using that they think they were told or felt that they had to use. 

That got us started on wanting to build hybrid products, one-step routines so you can do whatever you want with your time. 

How did you create your hero product, your signature Tinted Skincare?

My co-founder and I were thinking, what can we put out there that is generally good for lots of different skin types and tones? Our current product is great for sensitive skin, especially as a daytime product.

Niacinamide is just a powerhouse ingredient and the bisabolol helps to calm, soothe, and even out the skin tone. Then, of course, SPF was a hands-down, must-have. Only 11% of the population wears SPF every day, even though any dermatologist will tell you it is the number one thing you should be doing.

We also really wanted it to be mineral, but could not have [a] white cast. We want it to be something that people don't even have to think about. It's all in one product that's in their cupboard. 

Whitney McElwain, Daybird, skin care
Daybird's Tinted Skincare
| Credit: Courtesy of Daybird

Daybird, Tinted Skincare, $40,

How has your Latinidad affected your relationship with beauty?

I think about when I was a kid, watching my mom pick out drugstore products and the shade matched 'enough.' But we can improve that now. As Hispanic people, we're also more prone to dark spots and hyperpigmentation as we age.

But all they talk about in [conventional beauty] for aging is fine lines and wrinkles. Skin that is more pigmented ages with sunspots and hyperpigmentation. All these things felt unknown because that's not what beauty showed us. 

Even to this day, people with skin of color sometimes buy a lighter shade because they want to look lighter. It's always in the back of my mind as we think about continuing to build Daybird that we shouldn't have to settle for a product just because of the tone of our skin.

Do you have any advice for young Latinas looking to work in startups or start their own business?

The question I was asked myself is, "What if? What if I go and try it and I fail? What's the worst that could happen?" Then I start to realize, [if I fail,] I will have learned all these things, and then I'll be able to interview better. Whatever you want to do, ask yourself what if, and let it take you there.

I would also recommend going on LinkedIn or sending a DM to someone. If any female founders or students messaged me, I would get back to them because I'm really passionate about our future. I want to see more female founders and especially more Hispanic female founders. Don't be afraid to reach out and just absorb as much as you can.