Skin deep: beauty industry icon Sue Y Nabi reveals the changing science of skincare
The Orveda founder tells Tempus why more men are embracing make up and how her clean skincare is based on revolutionary discoveries
Beauty industry icon and Orveda founder Sue Y Nabi writes for Tempus about the changing science of skincare
The best skincare products of the future are all about two things – prebiotics and glow. I have been obsessed with the science of skincare ever since I was young. My business background has always been informed by the idea of biotechnology and, even as a teenager, I had a vision of combining scientific research with a holistic business approach.
In 2005, at 37, I became L’Oréal’s youngest CEO and spent four years reinventing the brand, hiring ambassadors of different ages and ethnicities and changing the ethos of this huge, amazing brand from ‘I’m worth it’ to ‘We’re worth it’. In 2009, I moved to Lancôme and performed the same spirit of work there, making sure our ambassadors represented the modernity of the day while creating standout products such as the Génifique Youth Activating Serum.
During this time I travelled around the world and heard from customers – women and men – who were becoming defiant towards the traditional beauty and skincare industries and looking for alternatives that were more efficient, gentle and ethical. It was this that inspired me to create Orveda with my business partner Nicolas Vu in 2013. Based on new research, we discovered a new way of thinking about our skin.
Skincare shouldn’t be about adding chemicals that disturb our biology in the long term, but instead should be about helping our skin improve on how it does its natural job. This is what we call the ‘science of glow’.
I’m inspired by Ayurvedic medicine and the science of self- healing. Our skin needs to be healthy inside and out in order to repair surface problems such as aging, inflammation, dark spots or pigmentation. Rather than looking at anti-aging products that shock the skin to get short-term results, we want to go deeper and look at how you achieve a healthy glow.
While we already knew that factors such as hydration and nutrition affect our skin, scientists have discovered that our skin has a barrier of natural, healthy bacteria – just like our gut does – which is a huge factor in skin health. I think of it as an external immune system. These tiny molecules protect your skin from inflammation, pollution and pigmentation, and reflect the light, which creates a healthy glow. >>
It’s a huge discovery and one that will have an enormous impact on the beauty industry. The importance of moisturiser and hyaluronic acid is well known, but now it’s clear that if you don’t have prebiotics in your skincare, something crucial is missing. The number one thing that your skincare should do is strengthen your skin barriers.
At Orveda, we call our skincare ‘makeup from within’. We’re the first brand that has really taken it to this level – our formulation is highly concentrated and, I believe, the cleanest on the market. We don’t use preservatives like parabens, phenoxyethanol or alcohol that kills the healthy bacteria. We don’t use artificial colourings or mineral oils that can disturb the ecosystem of the skin. This type of skincare is less about glamour and more about efficacy and health of your skin.
We also take a genderless approach to skincare. Men and women are looking for the same thing. It’s not about the heavy, golden jars, it’s about what’s inside the bottle. All of our skin battles the same elements, such as pollution, stress, harsh lighting, UV and blue light from our phones and computers. Men and women both want to look healthy, well-rested and refreshed. It’s completely universal, and a very exciting topic of the moment.
An efficient formula will work on male or female skin and, in my experience, the only point of difference is that men will always look for lighter, water or jelly textures, while women traditionally opt for richer, creamier textures.
Ultimately, skincare is about much more than just the product you use. We’re inspired to create a holistic approach that fits the needs of modern life. And as part of this we’ve also removed any kind of animal extract – beeswax, caviar, milks – from the product, and only use glass packaging, because we want to ensure our environmental responsibility is making just as big an impact as the science behind our product.