Meet the Maker – Lucy from Sans [ceuticals]
Where did the inspiration to start Sans [ceuticals] come from and how has the company evolved since?
I started developing Sans [ceuticals] in 2007 out of frustration of not being able to find pure, natural, results-driven products that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable. I wanted products that would have a noticeable effect on skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, so I started working closely with a couple of dermatologists and got to understand skin at a fundamental level. Because of my background as a hairstylist, I also wanted to create high-performance hair care that had the ability to repair damaged hair. Doing this naturally has been something of a challenge with hair care, but I believe we have achieved it.
The company has evolved but the fundamentals are still the same! We are still very results-focused, using high-dose actives, suspended in clean and natural bases. This allows our products to be used top-to-toe, avoiding the wastage of multiple products expiring in the bathroom cupboard.
Tell us more about your background in the beauty industry before starting Sans [ceuticals]
I was an apprentice hairdresser. At the age of 24, I moved to Auckland and opened a hairdressing salon with my partner. Within three years we had opened our second salon and the year after that, we added two specialist skin clinics to the mix.
When I was studying to become a hairdresser, I fell in love with trichology — a medical and cosmetic study of the hair and scalp. I have always loved science and am a voracious researcher. I also spent a lot of time with a dear friend who is a biotech scientist carrying out exciting research in the field of cancer. She is a massive beauty junkie and would spend hours talking me through ingredients and how cells work.
We love how all Sans products are multi-use. Why was this important to you?
Ten-step regimens. Single-ingredient serums. Product layering. I found most modern skincare incredibly complicated, wasteful, and unnecessary. Because we use facial grade ingredients, this allowed us to take a top-to-toe approach, streamlining the morning ritual while also minimizing clutter and waste without compromising on results.
Sans is the French word for without. What doesn’t go into your products is obviously incredibly important to you. What is Sans created without?
We avoid all the usual suspects, however, I think the notion of avoiding nasties is now commonplace. For us, what is put in is as important as what is left out. There are some exciting technologies becoming available that make baseline ingredients like binding agents and emulsifiers highly skin beneficial on top of the primary function they perform to keep the formulation stable. So our intent in regard to formulation is to leave out anything harmful, but also to ensure that everything that does go in serves a beneficial as well as practical purpose.
Sans is without animal testing, artificial colors or bleaches, artificial fragrances, aluminum/alumina, mineral oils, sulfates, silicones, steroids, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates, vinyl, PEGs, PPG, DEAS, TEA.
What is the best piece of beauty advice you have been given?
Smile, it does so much more than any skincare for your face!
What is your daily skincare regime for AM & PM?
I have a minimalist routine. This is by necessity, not design. I’d rather spend my time doing other things than wiping stuff all over my face and body. A brilliant dermatologist who I’m close to thinks that we do far too much to our skin, and I agree. A simple, singular approach can be far more powerful. Again, minimal. It’s like a fire drill in my home every morning with my boys, so the focus is on school lunches and getting out the door. Having said that, I use Sans [ceuticals] Goji Cleansing Oil everywhere. I wash my hair once a week with Sans Nourishing Hair Wash & Ultra+. I mix Activator 7 Oil with Synergie Super Serum C and I apply my mascara in the car. I do sometimes wear RMS Un-Coverup, which is made primarily of pigment and coconut oil.What daily habits do you have to stay healthy?
Beyond minimal. I do love self-care, a bath, glass of wine, but when it comes to the day-to-day, the morning faff is the first thing I ditch. And this is a mindset I take into development, trying to come up with the very best products that will deliver the best results, ‘sans’ the faff.
What is your current go-to skincare product?
I’m a massive fan of baking soda in the bath. I also really, really love Mineral Dew by MARYSE. I wear this everyday as a highlighter. It will truly transform your skin from lacklustre to luminous in five seconds.
What differentiates Sans [ceuticals] products from other products on the market?
A significant way we are still different is that almost all brands still perpetuate the false separation of skin of the body and face (and also the hair on your head/body!). We focus on results from clean, natural formulations but ensure our products can be used top-to-toe, meaning you use less products more frequently, ensuring potency and freshness.
What is in store for the future of Sans [ceuticals]?
For us, it’s always about a better way of living. Creating something that brings joy, ease of use and results, as well as adding meaning and value outside of the product collection through our interviews with inspiring women, recipes for nourishment and rituals. The beauty industry has been built on marketing and cosmetic chemistry principles and over time not a lot has changed – just the same old dressed slightly differently. So for us, it’s about repeatedly returning to the core values of our business – purity, minimalism, sustainability, connection – and considering new ways of delivering those.