Seattleite Spotlight: Skincare Brand Founder Rachel Ho

Founder Rachel Ho. Photo credit: Rho Cosmetics

Formulation chemist Rachel Ho founded Rho Cosmetics out of Bellevue, Washington in June 2019. Prior to launching, Rachel had been developing the brand for at least a year, creating and testing products for her line. She creates clean, safe, results-driven skincare products with the mission to inspire and empower consumers to make better beauty choices.

Before moving up to Seattle last year, she worked in the Bay Area as a cosmetic chemist helping to develop skincare, hair care, and body care products for brands including Sephora, Ulta, and Whole Foods. This experience helped to provide a foundation for her own company.

Rachel has a science background, with a degree in biochemistry, and was originally on the medical track, but always had an interest in skincare and cosmetics. She started out working in a biomedical lab, creating wound-healing gels and household cleaning items, eventually narrowing her focus and working as a formulation chemist in the clean beauty industry.

Photo credit: Rho Cosmetics

For her personal skincare regimen, she uses a cleanser, occasionally toner, and moisturizer with SPF (important for anti-aging). At night, she adds in a serum. For Rho Cosmetics, she wanted to create a basic line that people buy and actually use daily. In her own line, she currently offers two products: a serum and a cream. Both include “hydra-boost repair,” which she describes as “the combination of skin-compatible hydrating ingredients in our products that help moisturize and maintain balanced hydration in the skin. Some of these ingredients include sodium hyaluronate, betaine (from beets), glycerin, and panthenol (vitamin B5). The latter ties into our use of peptides which are a series of anti-aging ingredients that help combat signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Examples of peptides include Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 and Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate.”

Her philosophy is not just to toss around trendy skincare buzzwords like “clean” and “natural”, but actually works to break them down (with photos!) on each product’s page. Sometimes a “chemical” sounding name can be a safe and effective ingredient for skin. For example, dihydrogen monoxide is H20, which is water and cetearyl olivate is an oily wax derived from olive oil. We had the chance to test out her products and we love how restorative and hydrating her products feel. Shop her line here.

On a more personal note, we asked Rachel about what she likes to do in her free time and some of her favorite places in the Seattle area. Normally, Rachel enjoys spending time with friends at a park—Kubota Garden or the Seattle Japanese Garden, but with Covid, she (like the rest of us) have been staying home for the most part. She has a new hobby creating graphic designs for stickers and a bit of cooking here and there. She describes herself as a “fun-sized foodie”; favorite places are centered around Pike Place Market, including Pike Place Chowder, Bacco Cafe, and Mee Sum Pastry. Salty’s on Alki Beach always “has a special place in my heart”, according to her as it was one of the first restaurants she ate at when she moved here and also where her and her fiancé had their first dinner as an engaged couple.