The extreme purity required by the ever-growing Clean Beauty movement is not without its challenges. However, certain brands seem to have it mastered. How? By embracing the knowledge that fresh, small-batch skincare can take their formulas to the next level.
Small-batch production methods yield quality products. Formulating in smaller quantities and more frequently means products are fresher and more natural, using fewer preservatives. Add to the equation skin- and environmentally-friendly ingredients, and you have a method that guarantees maximum integrity and potency of each formula. Furthermore, products produced this way are often the safest option for reactive, sensitive and delicate skin.
For this reason alone, small-batch skincare formulas that capture the raw essence of nature are a must for Dr Pedro Catalá, founder of Twelve Beauty. Fusing the ancient wisdom of plants with clean, skin-safe science in handcrafted formulas is at the centre of the brand’s success. Not only does Pedro use carefully selected pure-grade botanicals and natural vegetable oils to help skin be at its healthiest, but each ingredient is purchased in small orders also. Take the organic rose and oat extracts used in Dara’s Water. Each extract is distilled on demand and exclusively for Twelve Beauty in Italy. These extracts are then mixed in small batches with the other ingredients that go into their non-micellar cleansing water in their studio in Spain.
The London Mask, a London tribute with a waiting list
The London Mask is probably the product Twelve Beauty is most famous for. It truly embodies the work of the apothecaries of yesteryears, who made their elixirs with the blow of a mortar. This mask effectively rids your complexion of toxins and counteracts urban pollution-induced skin damage. (Hence the name ‘London Mask’.) And it’s all thanks to its key ingredient, kaolin clay.
“I have always been a fan of the benefits of clays on skin, but I wanted to avoid the feeling of tightness and dryness that you often experienced afterwards”, clarifies Pedro Catalá. “To do this, I studied the way they absorb substances. From then I designed a manual, hand-blended method to create an emulsion with a clay core. Where the formula’s soothing and hydrating ingredients remain on its surface, allowing them to come into direct contact with the skin.”
“This is how The London Mask has all the benefits of clay, yet none of its side-effects. If I was to make it mechanically, the clay would end up absorbing the oils in the formula, leaving skin dry and even slightly irritated in some cases”, he concludes.
This hand-blended production method takes three days to complete and means that only approximately 50 units are made each time. Hence why this coveted product often has a waiting list.
Hyaluroil Lip Treatment, award-winning small-batch skincare at its very best
It could be said that Hyaluroil Lip Treatment is the ultimate Clean Beauty product. Not only because of the numerous awards it has under its belt, but because it’s a clean beauty formulation feat in its own right. The challenge? Mixing oils and water-soluble natural ingredients together. A combination known to be incompatible without the help of an emulsifier.
On the one hand, we have a mix of conditioning and regenerating oils together with cupuaçú butter, the jewel of the Amazon rainforest. All rich in polyphenols known to provide instant comfort to dry, chapped lips. And on the other, hyaluronic acid and konjac root, both of which are water-soluble. Pedro explains how he did the undoable in a clean, skin-safe way, “To achieve this, I encapsulated hyaluronic acid and konjac powder in liposomes in an artisanal way. It’s a slow process that takes about 24 hours. Then, they are mixed very slowly with the oils, again emphasis on slow. This is the big advantage of formulating in micro-batches. Fewer units means it is easier to control production and ensure the stability of the end product”, says Pedro Catalá.