About Protocol

Screenshot of blog article where fashionista interviwed the founders of protocol

We had to write an "About Us" page, but we think the Editor in Chief of Fashionista, Dhani Mau, really captured what we're about when she interviewed our founders Tyler Gaul and Molly Crana. In the article:


It even cracked the code on formulating vitamin C that can't oxidize and a retinoid that won't irritate.

 - Published JAN 28, 2020

    In this viral article, she explained:

    Tyler is a "self-professed 'closeted science nerd'" who was "baffled by the realization that beauty brands, sometimes knowingly, put out products that don't really work." As he explained, "'[I thought], it's gotta be their ingredients. It's gotta be the chemistry behind it...This is crazy, not only is this company using deactivated derivatives — they're chemically inert forms of good ingredients — but everyone's using these.'"

    Tyler saw an opportunity, telling Molly: "'What do you think of this situation? Isn't this insane?'" Molly recalled her reaction: "'I was like, 'Yeah obviously, we all know that nothing works...it's just the skin care industry, who cares?' Tyler was like, 'No, it doesn't have to be that way.'"

    So Tyler "set out to use science to formulate vitamin C and retinol products using the best versions of these ingredients." For retinol, he "identified oxidated retinol" because it's "20 times more effective" yet "doesn't cause irritation." The challenge? It's "so fragile and unstable that it's rendered useless once exposed to light and air; thus, it's impossible to bottle."

    "the hard part is getting it from the big vat into a bottle without exposing it to oxygen and air."

    For vitamin C, Tyler "opted for ascorbic acid, the same form used by...SkinCeuticals and Drunk Elephant." But as he noted, "When you're in the bulk manufacturing stage, it's easy to remove exposure to oxygen...the hard part is getting it from the big vat into a bottle without exposing it to oxygen and air. That was the big engineering hurdle."

    Tyler "spent nearly two years engineering a bottling process and a bottle itself that could permanently keep oxygen and light out," working with "a firm in Washington state that typically only serves the nuclear industry." The result is a "proprietary FDA-approved bottle" that is "UV-proof and airless."

    When Mau tried the vitamin C serum, she found it "pretty much colorless and doesn't smell bad." Unlike other products, she had "confidence that I'm putting on an effective version of an effective ingredient."

    While science was crucial, Molly's perspective was equally vital: "Yes, the science is important, but let's be real, so is cute packaging." As Molly said, "I had become fatigued by looking at all this packaging that just felt the same...I wanted it to appeal to all genders and feel 'utilitarian.'"

    protocol product lineup


    She added: "Protocol's Vitamin C Superserum and Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum are rounded out by an AHA cleanser and a moisturizer that contains occlusives, emollients and humectants including niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. For people looking to simplify their routines, it's a strong lineup. 

    As Mau summed it up, "In a time when consumers are...easily swayed by an influencer...[Protocol's] educational aspect is especially important. And a little eye-catching packaging never hurts, either."

    We're an independent brand truly dedicated to effective, science-backed skincare presented in a fresh, aesthetically-minded way. Join our journey!