By Ashleigh Austen
When New Zealand native Emma Lewisham made the call to overhaul her lifestyle and venture down a greener path, she searched high and low for natural, scientifically proven skincare–only to find it didn’t exist.
“I was used to using luxurious, high-tech products and wanted the natural equivalent. I was struck that there seemed to be a need to compromise between having natural formulations and having something that worked.”
After seeing this gap in the market, Emma began a three-year journey which eventually led to her launching her namesake brand in 2019.
Since its launch, it has catapulted to cult status, receiving accolades from industry experts, beauty editors and celebrities alike. We sat down with her to discuss why buying less is not only better for the planet, but for your skin too...
What was the catalyst behind launching a skincare brand?
“Prior to founding Emma Lewisham, I was the sole female senior executive in a global technology company. I thrived in the environment of innovation and found purpose in helping develop and uplift the women in our team and lead a circular technology movement.
My fast-paced life stood suddenly still in 2016, upon losing my mother to cancer. It was a ‘period of pause’ and deep introspection for me, bringing me down to Earth, from where I realised that no one is invincible. Having prioritised work over wellness for 10 years, I began to look closely at my health.
Until this point, I hadn't considered what I used on my skin as something that needed changing. It wasn’t until visiting my doctor to discuss pregnancy and disclosing my new lifestyle, that I was questioned on my skincare routine. I was using a product to combat hyperpigmentation with the active ingredient hydroquinone. My doctor informed me that firstly, our skin is our largest organ and secondly, that this ingredient is controversial for people’s health.
I decided to go down a natural path with my skincare and began searching high and low for 100% natural, scientifically proven skincare–only to find what I wanted, didn’t exist.
Seeing this gap in the market, believing in and desiring this product for myself, and genuinely wanting to create something better for people, led me to begin the three year lead up to launching Emma Lewisham.
Today, we have developed a reputation in the market for delivering scientifically validated results that are independently verified to rival the most iconic luxury cosmetic brands in the world. Our skincare is also planet positive–we’re leading a movement towards a circular, carbon positive and transparent industry.”
How would you describe your skincare philosophy?
“I have a ‘buy less, buy better’ approach to skincare. I focus on hard-working products with multiple benefits that contain high levels of proven, concentrated ingredients. Putting more on your skin doesn’t necessarily equate to results. Overcomplicated, excessive skincare routines can interfere with the natural oils in our skin and can cause irritation and more breakouts.”
What does your morning beauty routine look like?
“I always cleanse first with our Illuminating Oil Cleanser, which draws out toxins and pollutants, preventing these from lingering on the skin and degrading collagen and elastin. I then use a couple of drops of the Supernatural Triple Vitamin A+ Face Oil, and layer my Skin Reset Serum. Both of these products are great for hydrating and brightening, as well as anti-ageing. Finally, I use our Skin Shield Take On The Day Crème with SPF 30. The sun’s UV rays are responsible for 80% of skin ageing, so I make sure I apply this every day.”
Do you have any nutrition practices that you incorporate to complement your outer beauty routine?
“I’m a vegetarian and eat very little dairy. Eating this way has so many benefits for not only the planet, but it has also given me an energy boost and brighter skin. I like to fill my diet with fruit and vegetables (which have so many nutrients and vitamins for your skin), as opposed to the main aspect of the meal being meat (which only delivers you iron and fat to your diet). I use The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost daily, too.”
What do you anticipate to be the next big paradigm shift in the world of beauty?
“I believe we will start to see a shift towards the ‘buy less, buy better’ approach to skincare. People will be consolidating their beauty routines down to fewer, harder-working products with high levels of proven concentrated ingredients. This is the approach we take with our formulas. Each product is multi-purpose and packs a lot of potent ingredients and actives into each bottle or jar.
This movement is very much driven by consumers who are moving away from 10-step routines, finding them confusing, expensive and generally overwhelming.
This trend towards simpler routines is also a direct response to the state of the planet and climate change. According to Zero Waste Week, the linear beauty industry produces 120 billion units of packaging a year, 95% of which can't be recycled in our local kerbside recycling systems. Product packaging is the largest contributor to carbon emissions in the industry. I think we will see more brands move to a circular-designed model, switching to refillable products and taking ownership for recycling products at their end of life.”
Are there any new skincare ingredients we should be on the lookout for in the next 12 months?
“The investment into green-tech ingredients is phenomenal. Laboratories are investing a significant portion of their research and development here. This investment is seeing some incredible green-tech ingredients hit the market, and there will be a lot more to come.
An extract I’m really impressed with is Saccharide Isomerate, which is a 100% naturally derived extract that can hold over 1000 times its weight in water and is proven to lock moisture into the skin for 72 hours. It’s a next-generation hyaluronic acid and works in as little as three hours to plump skin from the inside out.”