Victor Casale, chief chemist and co-founder of Cover FX, jokes that he would personally get angry with himself if someone couldn't find their foundation shade out of the brand's 40 color offerings. "We're about complexions and that's why we started," he noted when we caught up with him to learn everything we ever wanted to know about this go-to makeup brand.
We were pleasantly surprised by Cover FX's unique coming about and the philanthropic origins that still shape the brand's mission to deliver high-quality, safe, effective products. Keep scrolling to discover all the things you never knew about Cover FX.
It Started to Help Patients With Skin Conditions
"We never really intended to start Cover FX," Casale admits when recounting the beauty company's beginnings. A founding partner of MAC, he had been helping Lee Graff (his eventual Cover FX co-founder) formulate makeup for patients with skin conditions at the CosMedic Clinic at Toronto's Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center. Casale had set up a lab, and his formulations helped cover up rosacea, psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and even burns, and were carefully matched to the skin tone of each patient.
"I did it as a service and really appreciated what it did for the patient as a person," he explains, describing how it could have the potential to transform a life. Patients would date again, go out, go back to work. "That's the kind of profound change you can have."
Cover FX's roots were in giving back to the community, and it blossomed into a successful beauty brand because people wanted more of it. "Cover FX didn't start because we were a brand from a multinational marketing company," Casale emphasizes. "At MAC, I formulated product to make mostly good-looking people look even better. At the lab, I was formulating product just for people to feel good about themselves."
It Was Developed With Dermatologists
Because Cover FX's first consumers were patients with skin conditions, Casale was especially careful with his formulations to make sure they were safe and good for the skin. "When I was formulating it, I was very careful about what to put in it," he recounts. "I had 20-plus dermatologists around me vetting everything I was doing."
Casale managed to balance product safety with performance. "As a science guy, as a chemist in the industry, I had a lot of insight as to what I wanted to do as far as performance and color, but working with dermatologists I learned how to manage safety, toxicity, what to put in, and what not to put in."
Casale notes how he was probably one of the first to use anti-inflammatories to reduce redness. To this day, Cover FX prides itself on steering clear of the "inflammatory five": parabens, fragrance, gluten, mineral oil, and talc. Instead, the line of products boasts redness reducers, emollients, and vitamins. "We're known as a healthy brand that's good for you," says Casale.
Its 40 Unique Shades Are Consistent Across Products
The Cover FX line offers 40 unique shades that are consistent across all formulations.
Drawing on his years of color matching, Casale created a collection that spans the lightest to the darkest shades he's ever matched. Every shade in between is a step down by three percent. A few years ago, Casale reformulated everything, changing the shading system to neutral, gold, and pink. "You can buy liquid foundation, pressed mineral foundation, and cream foundation in the same shade," Casale says. "So if you're N30, you're N30 across the board. You can buy every product we have in N30, and it's for you."
Its Name Plays on a Formula
"Cover FX was the fourth name we came up with," Casale recalls. "When you're trademarking a name, you come up with ideas, you can't just have one, you have to have many." In terms of the meaning, the brand's name references the company's formulaic beginnings in more ways than one. "The idea was coverage, and F stands for foundation, and X stands for unknown," Casale explains. "Like in mathematics, X can be anything."
The Products Are Multifunctional
Thanks to the brand's safe formulations and natural palette, many of its products are multipurpose. One of Cover FX's best sellers, the Custom Enhancer Drops, can be used to transform a number of other beauty products. "You can put them on straight, you can put them in your foundation, you can put them in your moisturizer, and in your sunscreen," explains Casale. He even recommends putting a bit in the middle of your lip for added dimension to your lipstick or lip gloss.
The Hero Product Is the Full-Coverage Foundation
"Our hero product was the Total Cream Coverage Foundation. It's still one of our bestsellers," Casale says. "But what we did was we took the shades—we have 40 shades, which is a lot—we morphed [the Total Cream Coverage Foundation] into Pressed Mineral Foundation and Natural Finish Foundation and went into primers and concealers," Casale says of the beauty brand's expansion into a line of hardworking products.
While Cover FX has experienced much growth and success since its early days in a clinic, Casale emphasizes that they still stay true to their original core values of serving the community and providing products that will make users feel good about themselves. "What you see in Sephora is a result of 16 years of efforts," says Casale.