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Jené Roestorf of Luxe Botanics

The South African scientist and natural beauty enthusiast on creating skincare that’s comparative to cosmeceutical products and learning how to assess your skin.

Without frills or fuss, bells and whistles, Luxe Botanics is natural beauty personified. What you see is what you get — and the name of the brand is as straightforward as it comes. Founded by biotechnologist-turned-beauty entrepreneur Jené Roestorf, Luxe Botanics is an all-natural luxury skincare line based on exotic botanical oils that celebrate nature and allow the unique core botanicals of the range — camu camu, kigelia and marula — to work as they do naturally.

Designed for “the wellness conscious woman,” the collection of cleansers, serums and moisturisers are designed both in form and function to make you feel good about taking care of yourself in a healthy, wholesome way. Personally, we’ve come to know them as little treats we look forward to using at the start and end of each day.

In one of our most inspiring and insightful interviews to date, we speak to Jené about how her brand was conceived from her early years exploring the wild African savanna, to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories in Singapore and Australia, and on to her life now at the helm of a flourishing green beauty company.


The Kigelia Clarifying series is designed to boost skin’s strength

“Do your research on the undesirable ingredients often found in skincare, train yourself to read the back of every bottle before you buy and learn to listen to your skin so you know what works for you.”

 

How did your love and faith in botanic skincare come about?

I’ve always had a deep love of all things natural. I constantly long to be in the African bush surrounded by nature where I grew up. It’s the only way I can feel truly refreshed. It is also what guided me to study nano and biotechnology, so I could ultimately understand the world around me through a scientific lens.

Through this combination of a love for nature and scientific training, I was able to formulate Luxe Botanics.

What are three tips you’d recommend for someone keen on switching to clean, organic skincare?

Do your research on the undesirable ingredients often found in skincare, train yourself to read the back of every bottle before you buy, and most importantly, learn to listen to your skin so you know what works for you — not what the latest marketing campaign tells you.

How can one assess their skin type and know what kind of products are best suited for them?

If you have never been for a facial, go now! Aestheticians are uniquely trained to assess your skin and give you the knowledge to better understand it. From there, you should create a daily habit of assessing your skin in the morning and at night. Ask yourself what does it feel like today? What are the areas of concern and are they changing? Learn to always ask why and seek solutions until you figure out what works best for you. As you learn, the most powerful tool will become your own knowledge and experience.

“If you have never been for a facial, go now! Aestheticians are uniquely trained to assess your skin and give you the knowledge to better understand it.”

When introducing new products to the skin and body, what should one be conscious of?

Just as with a change in diet, any change in skincare will cause your skin to react — good or bad. Your skin cells live for two to three weeks so you have to wait to see the biggest results. When moving from mainstream skincare to organic, we often see the most dramatic change. Initially your skin may purge the backlog of undesirable ingredients, which can result in anything from blemishes to flaking or red skin. But stick with it and give your skin time to renew and slowly get accustomed to a more natural ritual.

Perhaps the thing that saddens me most about organic skincare is how many people will try to use it along with other mainstream skincare brands. In these instances, organic skincare is simply unable to work to its fullest potential.

camu and marula cleansers

The Camu cleanser and Marula pre-cleanser

Camu and kigelia moisturisers luxe botanics

The Kigelia and Camu moisturisers

Tell us about one ingredient you love.

I love the natural peptides we have been able to synthesise from sustainable palm and coconut oil. Our unique combination of three different types of peptides is currently being used in our Kigelia Clarifying Moisturiser and we hope to add them to new products. Collagen is a long-chain molecule that doesn’t penetrate your skin, but these peptides mimic the broken-down products of collagen, which in turn signal your cells to begin the cellular repair process and make more collagen.

Conscious in allowing nature to nurture, Luxe Botanics’ products are a combination of natural and chemical ingredients. Did you always know you wanted to formulate with a mix of these ingredients?

It is very important to know the origins of the ingredients in your skincare. Some skincare brands are beginning to realise that ingredient transparency is key to consumer loyalty. Unfortunately, if this information isn’t provided, it can be very hard to verify the source.

At Luxe Botanics, we use pure botanical ingredients in combination with compounds synthesised from natural and organic bases. For example, our peptides are synthesised from a base of organic and sustainable palm and coconut oil. These compounds work together in formulation to actively accentuate the most potent properties of our core botanicals for the best results.

We are currently busy building a comprehensive ingredient glossary, with links to relevant scientific research and origins of synthesis. We hope to roll this out by June this year.

Compared to a product formulated only with natural ingredients, what is your opinion in terms of efficacy?

Efficacy is dependent on the scientific merit of both the individual ingredient on its own and its performance in harmony with other ingredients in the formulation. Our core botanicals are chosen for their individual scientific merit which are then enhanced by combining them with a carefully curated formulation.

“The thing that saddens me most about organic skincare is how many people will try to use it along with other mainstream skincare brands.”

 

camu range by luxe botanics

Tell us more about your brand’s three ranges.

Luxe Botanics believes in the power of allowing nature to nurture by creating a line which addresses the essential skincare regimen for all women from cleansing to hydrating, and brightening and clarifying skin.

Brightening Camu range: Our camu camu comes from deep within the Amazon basin and was chosen because it naturally has one of the highest levels of vitamin C in nature. It’s literally a superfood for your skin. It contains a vast array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, flavonoids and ellagic acid, which make it more than just a brightening botanical that can even out skin tone and lighten sun spots we’re prone to getting in Singapore. It also reduces signs of premature ageing and environmental stress, making it suitable for all skin types.

Clarifying Kigelia range: Kigelia africana is a unique sausage-shaped fruit that has long been used to cure every skin condition from cuts to burns, grazes, acne, eczema and psoriasis. It also has a fantastic ability to firm skin and is often used by women on their necks and chests to give a little lift. It has incredible DNA repairing qualities such that it’s also in clinical trials for skin cancer. Through these wonderful qualities, Kigelia africana is able to calm irritated skin, reduce blemishes and give your skin a little lift!

Hydrating Marula range: Marula oil has been used by women in Africa for centuries to treat dry skin, signs of ageing and even sunburn. It does this so effectively because of its high levels of omega 9 (oleic acid) which absorb deep into the layers of your skin to help rebalance your skin’s natural oils while ridding it of impurities. Our marula oil is wild harvested for us by the Maasai women in Kenya, which is helping to enrich the lives of their families and their communities.

We admire your philosophy to give back by supporting the Buy1Give1 community. Tell us more about this.

Being part of the Buy1Give1 global giving community is a special honour. It enables us to add an extra layer of social responsibility to our brand over and above sourcing our botanicals organically and supporting the local communities that produce our core botanicals.

Through our partnership with Buy1Give1, we are able to select individual, vetted and truly effective charitable projects in communities around the world to support. The progress of each project is carefully tracked by the Buy1Give1 team — they even have study trips to assess each project. As someone who has seen first-hand the effects (or lack thereof) of charitable projects in Africa, it was very important to me to partner with a charitable giving initiative that validated its positive effect on the community.

Finally, what does conscious living mean to you?

It means living with conscious intent and mindful awareness. Being aware of your actions on yourself, those around you and your community as a whole, and always trying to have a positive impact.

Shop the Luxe Botanics range here.

Images courtesy of Luxe Botanics