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After pioneering uncontrived ‘cool girl’ hair over two decades ago as a hairstylist in her home of New Zealand—and, throughout her career, finding frustration in “not being able to find pure, natural, results-driven products, that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable”—Lucy Vincent set on a path to apply her passions for authenticity and trichology to something more tangible. In 2007, this resulted in the beginnings of a multifunctional skin and hair care brand, now known as sans [ceuticals]. The brand, available online at MECCA as of this month, delivers on a tightly edited collection of everyday multitaskers, formulated with naturally derived vitamins and actives to renew the texture and health of your skin and hair.
A true connoisseur of considered living—doing so while balancing several businesses and two young boys with a passion for cooking, a penchant for ceramics, and self-care through meditation, beauty and nature—we caught up with Vincent in the off chance her pioneering instinct and unwavering curiosity could rub off on us. Here’s what we learnt.
Whether it’s with your inner-self, physical self, or someone else entirely, being open to connection—as we learn from Vincent—can change the path of your day, and even your life.
Professionally, interpersonal connection helped the founder to delve further into her love of trichology, the medical and cosmetic study of the hair and scalp. A science lover and “voracious researcher”, Vincent would “spend hours talking through ingredients and cells” with a close friend who, as a biotech scientist, carried out research in the field of cancer (the friend just so happened to be a “beauty junkie” too, noted Vincent). This solidified Vincent’s technical understanding of hair and skin, which she later applied to the development of her formulations.
In a more personal sense, the founder lauds the notion of generosity and kindness, especially right now, “whether it be to ourselves or a loved one.” For Vincent, self-love can be as simple as connecting with oneself in those everyday moments of solitude—taking care in the way you lather your shampoo into your hair in the shower, or pressing an oil into clean skin before you start your day. For herself, and her customers, she looks to these sensorial moments to provide a “sense of intimacy and joy, and a positive change.”
“When I looked into active ingredients,” starts Vincent, whose formulas list ingredients you’ve likely already heard of, “I discovered that the most beneficial and transformational ingredients for skin and hair were naturally derived. They were key vitamins; particularly A, E, B3 and, B5.”
It was crucial to the founder that in developing her range, she used the very best in existence—sans made-up ‘complexes’ and suave marketing jargon—and vitamin A was her shining star, “in particular for its ability to transform cellular health, reverse UV damage, speed up cell renewal, and in general, help to heal the skin.”
She likens it to her cooking, with which she prefers to have a pantry stocked with fewer ingredients, using them more frequently so her meals are fresher and more nutritious. “This principle applies to how we make our products. It’s better to have one or two products that you use for a myriad of different things and replenish more frequently. This means better quality, better results and less landfill.”
It’s about living smarter, not harder: “it is better to have fewer items in your bathroom that are used more frequently, says Vincent. “Aside from ensuring fresher formulations of higher quality it also reduces clutter and softens our environmental footprint.”
READ MORE: The top 5 products to try from sans [ceuticals], New Zealand’s natural and multifunctional skincare brand
With the increasing expectation for beauty brands to become entirely transparent in their formulations, sans [ceuticals] found themselves ahead of the curve—Vincent’s impeccably clean formulas and minimalist approach since day dot meant the brand never had anything to hide.
“Transparency for us is not consumer-led,” explained the founder. “It comes from a place where we have worked really hard to ensure the very best quality. When you work this hard, you become very proud of what you have achieved and with that you simply want to share.” In her eyes, transparency isn’t a campaign or a goal—it just… is.
As for the challenges in achieving that—formulating without harmful preservatives, additives, and ingredients you can’t pronounce—Vincent not once found it restrictive. In fact, her experience was to the contrary; “I believe it only opens up more possibilities, better innovations and smarter conversations,” she says of formulating ‘without’.
“When we embark on a journey to truly make a difference, it’s a gesture I don’t take lightly,” speaks Vincent on growing her range and her business, with the ideals of sustainability and wastefulness in mind. “For me it is not enough put a twist on current packaging, or a spin on marketing comms. It really has to deliver. To add value and to truly make a difference to the world we live in.” It’s why, as she explains, it’s taken the brand time to develop an exciting, relevant, and viable solution for everyday beauty.
Vincent describes approaching the initial development of her formulations from the perspective of a customer, asking questions along the lines of; “why should the skin on my body be treated differently to the skin on my face? Why are body products expected to be cheaper than a 30ml face cream yet come in larger bottles and are used on 70 percent of your body? And why do I have to apply so many products to my skin daily? Can’t all the actives be blended into one product?” sans [ceuticals] exists to answer these questions, not create more.
Looking to the future, the founder reveals that the brand is working with “an incredible woman,” who has a PhD in Circularity (an economic system which aims to eliminate waste and maximise the reuse of resources) and a background in industrial design, with whom they’re currently in the process of finalising a zero-waste concept for hair care that “combines game-changing packaging with state-of-the-art product innovation.” They’re aiming for an early 2021 launch. (“Watch this space!” laughs Vincent.)
When asked which sans [ceuticals] product does the most (and which is most popular and best for newcomers to the brand), Vincent gushes about her personal favourite, the brand’s Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil. “It does everything!”
Simply put, the founder describes it as “a super serum that packs a punch with high concentrations of Vitamin A.” You’ll find omegas 3, 6, and 9, vitamin E and squalane in there too. “I put a few drops on my face at night for an added boost, use it on the ends of my hair as a smoothing and hydrating serum, I shave my legs with it, remove my eye makeup and also use it post-shower as an amazing body oil.”
According to Vincent customers have lapped it up, especially when applied in the shower while skin is wet, or, used as a shave oil for men, who find they don’t have to moisturise afterwards. “It’s designed to take the effort and faff out of a daily regimen yet deliver maximum results.”
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