Hudgens speaks with PEOPLE about her second KNOW Beauty launch, The Arctic Gold Vitamin C Mask, struggling with adult acne and empowering others to feel good in their skin
“The idea bloomed one morning after I put on a random vitamin C sheet mask. A few minutes later, my makeup artist was like, ‘Your skin loves vitamin C because the makeup is sitting on your skin so beautifully,'" the actress, singer and entrepreneur, 34, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I was like, 'well, maybe that's where we should look into things when it comes to our next mask.'"
A year later, that mask is now a reality.
The multi-hyphenate star tells PEOPLE that KNOW Beauty is built around the mantra "creating little moments of luxury for yourself." And for her latest product she knew she wanted to introduce something that was "easy to slide into any routine” and was the “perfect” way to finish off any nighttime ritual.
“I worked together with the team for about a year trying to perfect this,” Hudgens shares. “I love the idea of it being an overnight mask so that you have time for the ingredients to really penetrate into your skin. You wake up feeling glowing and plumped and hydrated.”
In addition to those buzzy benefits, the potent formula targets hyperpigmentation, dark spots, dullness and uneven skin tone.
Hudgens, who partnered with the female-owned Cosmos Labs, arrived at a vitamin C-rich concoction including "superhero ingredients" like arctic cloudberry (which is packed with omegas for brightening the skin), Indian gooseberry extract — containing rejuvenating antioxidants — and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, an oil-based soluble that absorbs deep into the skin in order to reach underlying concerns. The cherry blossom flower extract also has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that make for a calming masking experience.
After cleansing, steaming her face, exfoliating and applying serum, Hudgens likes to cap off her routine with the vitamin C mask as a moisturizer alternative. She also uses it during the day as needed.
"Sometimes if I feel like my skin is dull and not glowy, no matter what time of day, I'll just pop it on for 10 minutes and wipe it off — my skin feels invigorated.”
She also likes to pair her newest launch with the original Glacial Bay Clay Mask. She says the power duo helps prevent breakouts and brightens the complexion without leaving the skin feeling parched and dry.
One of the reasons why Hudgens believes KNOW Beauty resonates with others is because its products — and ethos — offer something “that is extremely personal," because even she's been through her own skin-related ups and downs.
The Dead Hot star tells PEOPLE that, in her 20s, she was “breaking out terribly” and “felt like absolute sh—." She adds that she wasn’t comfortable in her skin either and that felt like she needed to mask her breakouts “in order to face the world strong and confident.”
"I feel those years were for trial and error, seeing what actually worked for my skin."
She still struggles with adult acne and scarring a 10 years laters, but being in her 30s has taught her the beauty of embracing — rather than concealing — that part of her journey.
"I feel so confident in my own skin. Natural beauty is so much more empowering and pure and honest. The beauty standards are so high these days and everyone thinks that they need to look a certain way. So I went in the opposite direction and was like, I'm going to fully embrace who I am and celebrate that," she says. "I feel really empowered and I know that my worth goes beyond my looks."
She's even taken some of her learned lessons into product development. “I know my skin well enough to know what it actually loves, so I'm just going to make these products] for myself and know that there's probably people out there who are struggling with the same issues."
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Rebuilding a brand from the bottom up was a big — and overwhelming — undertaking. “I understood that when we decided to relaunch that it was going to take a minute for people to reassociate what it was to what it is. We were very much starting from scratch, which I was overwhelmed by in the beginning,” Hudgens admits.
But along the way, she’s discovered the most rewarding parts of the process: creating something that is both close to her heart (Hudgens says she loves getting involved in the creative process, from conceptualizing the packaging and formulas to the marketing) and empowers others to take charge of their skin.
“It just gives me so much joy seeing the product actually help others,” she says. “The most rewarding part is seeing the customer’s experience and their reviews and seeing it actually helped them clear up their acne and gave them a boost of confidence so that they can go and be their best versions of themselves. That's the goal.”
As she continues to grow KNOW Beauty’s roster (Hudgens teases that she’s expanding the brand outside of the mask space), she keeps one thing at the forefront of her business model: accessibility.
“My main thing is creating quality products at an affordable price," she says. "I'm not trying to suss out the competition, I'm just trying to create my own lane and stay in it.”
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Read the original article on People.