Jelena Skendžić - The founder of Skintegra

Skintegra is a Croatian dermocosmetic brand that was born with the aim of representing the fusion between the most advanced cosmetic science and the performance of a luxury cosmetic. Its founder, Jelena Skendžić, after many years working in the beauty industry, decided to create her own cosmetics brand when she felt the effects of a less healthy lifestyle on her skin.

It was a pleasure to interview Jelena and learn more about the history of Skintegra, an exclusive brand in Portugal at Inouie.

  • When did you feel the need to start your own cosmetic brand?

In the moment when the idea of Skintegra was born, I was already working in the beauty industry for years, learning about it inside and out. I was (and still am) mesmerized by the idea of skincare because it is a continuous search for beauty and health. Both are interconnecting in a ritual of self-care and reflecting each other. When our skin is not functioning well, it shows. I personally experienced this. Turning point for my skin was when I developed rosacea after a period of intense personal and professional stress. I wanted to change my life as a whole and provide people affected by intolerant and highly reactive skin - like myself - with skincare that reduces the burden of stressed, damaged and inflamed skin.

  • What’s the meaning behind the name Skintegra?

Skintegra is synonym for integral, holistic approach to skin. Simple as that. I don’t believe there is any one recipe for perfect skin. There is no magic cream, no magic ingredient even. There is only scientifically backed approach, ever-improving and high-quality formulations with minimum irritants. The secret is in the finesse of a formulation - it has to be robust enough to withstand chemical, microbiological and mechanical challenges and simultaneously delicate enough to support sensitive, impaired skin.

  • What sets Skintegra apart from other cosmetic brands?

For me, everything sets it apart. Personally, I don’t like exaggerated marketing claims, only life-long learning and transparency. I want our customers to enjoy products; to see their skin improve. I want them to understand our formulations and use them correctly. Educating and counseling our customers is what we at Skintegra do meticulously and daily. In our flagship store, you can book free consultation with our skincare advisors. There is no doubt our formulations are excellent, but our way of thinking about the process of living in one’s skin and the community of skincare enthusiasts we inspire is something that I am most proud of.

  • Every Skintegra product has a unique name. Can you tell us more about the stories behind those names?

Paying great attention to every detail means choosing quirky names as well. Product names are linked to specific events in my personal life and reflect our philosophy. We never launch products without careful consideration. Who will benefit from this formulation, why are these ingredients selected, how to approach our customers so that they understand the product? There is always a perfect customer I dream of when creating the storyline of a product. This immense thinking process when everything comes together is something very emotional for me and so I give products names I can secretly reminisce about in years to come. In the end, creating something new is a story about birth, love and connection.

  • These days we’re seeing an increasing demand for eco-friendly cosmetic products, what’s Skintegra’s approach towards being more sustainable?

Skintegra is a vegan brand sold strictly in countries where animal testing is banned. I am a vegetarian with four rescue cats myself and most of my employees are devout animal lovers. Every year in December we donate up a full day of profit to support local non-profit animal rescue organizations, but this year we also financially supported non-profit human rights organizations. Bettering the world is our daily mission. On a topic of sustainability - yes, we improve daily and will continue to do so. For example, we use completely biodegradable filling for our packages and most of our packaging is fully recyclable. But above and beyond these tiny eco-friendly movements (however admirable), I personally believe that acting green on a bigger scale is even more important. Holding companies accountable and expecting them to get involved in what is socially and ecologically progressive is imperative.

  • Why everyone should use Skintegra products?

I don’t think there is one brand for everyone. Diversity in the beauty market and playful exploration of skincare is great. I know we are a solid, trust-worthy company and there is not much selling to be done. Everything you need to know is in the product description and in its ingredient list. Learn how to read the list and you will never be “sold to” again. It is the most liberating feeling in the world.

  • What is Jelena's favorite product?

For me personally Infrared was the most game-changing product of our line because my skin feels complete when I use it. We worked on that formula for over a year. When I tried the last version, I went back to our formulator and literally cried tears of joy. I can’t explain it better. My skin is much more hydrated, calm and plump than before and that effect lingers. But I do have to say, this is only my personal experience and I don’t claim this products is magical for everyone. Every skin has its own unique story.

  • If Jelena had to live on one product, what would it be?

Apart from Infrared? Solar I is a must because of its UV-protecting properties. I recommend a non-greasy high SPF product daily to everyone, and especially if your skin is prone to inflammation and redness. You can’t heal inflammation without UV protection.


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