Natural makeup and skincare products that are backed by science and research? Yes, please! Homegrown beauty brand Rock & Herb set out to give us just that. We’re talking mineral-based, natural makeup (think liquid lipsticks!) and non-comedogenic moisturisers that don’t block the pores. We chat with the company’s scientific director, DR CHEW SU CHUEN, to find out more.
How did the business start?
Rock & Herb is headed by a team of scientists and doctors. We started with the desire to create premium skincare products backed by scientific research, using top-quality minerals and natural bioactives from across the globe. When sourcing for ingredients, we often discover interesting traditions and beauty regimes that are potentially effective, but they’re not backed by modern science.
We believe that traditions can only progress when we bring modern science into the picture. We’ll identify minerals, bioactives or essences that are scientifically proven to be beneficial, then remove any unnecessary practices and dangerous impurities to create the final product. So, we’re a fusion of nature, science and tradition – and that’s what makes the brand special.
How do you choose ingredients?
We start by looking at different communities and their beauty regimes. Some communities are very distant from each other, yet they use the same ingredients for the same ailment. One example is the way that papaya and pineapple are used in Hawaii, South America and Southeast Asia; science has shown that these fruits contain enzymes that can help to condition the skin, and facilitate wound healing and scar-less repair. We therefore sourced for the purified bioactive in the ingredient, before processing it to increase the stability and safety of the enzymes for rejuvenation purposes in our Enzyme Rescue moisturiser.
There are communities in closer proximity that use medicinal herbs specific to their agriculture to address common skin ailments like hyperpigmentation. For example, to reduce spots, arbutin is used in European communities, while Angelica dahurica extract is used in the Orient. Studies have shown that these two natural ingredients reduce excessive melanin production using different mechanisms, so we combine them to increase their overall effectiveness in our Brightening Angelica moisturiser.
Can I use both products in my skincare regime?
Yes! One way is to use Brightening Angelica in the day for glow and to prevent hyperpigmentation from the sun, then apply Enzyme Rescue at night for overall skin rejuvenation. Alternatively, you can use Enzyme Rescue for two weeks on blemishes and open breakouts, followed by Brightening Angelica for the next two weeks to fade spots and even out the skin.
What were some difficulties you faced when creating the products?
Sourcing and creating the right bottle or applicator for the product can take several months. We’ve faced delays many times, but we won’t compromise our quality or bring in something our consumers wouldn’t want. We still face this challenge and sadly some product launches are being kept on hold because of it!
Are there any natural skincare products you can create at home?
Honestly, I wouldn’t “wildcraft” facial skincare at home. The skin on the face is delicate and you will never get the same access to ingredients of the same quality and safety as compared to a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) lab.
However, I do make a really good coffee body scrub because I generate too much coffee grounds back home! Also, I adore the smell of coffee and it feels so good as an exfoliator. The scrub contains caffeine, which enters your body via the tiny hair follicles on your skin to energise you.
I think it would be superb if there was a coffee company that could provide exceptional coffee grounds and collaborate with Rock & Herb at a professional level, but you can also try making your own by mixing together fresh coffee grounds, cosmetic or food-grade oil, solid and liquid soaps, and water.
What’s in the pipeline for the brand?
We have beautiful new mineral liquid lipsticks coming up that I’m very excited about. They’re made from eco-friendly Japanese beeswax, chia seed oil and high-quality mica pigments. They seal water in your lips, and they don’t come off your glass when you drink liquids. You can use these and keep drinking to stay hydrated all the time! I also remember one person telling me that lip gloss was disgusting to kiss. So, we made sure these liquid lipsticks don’t transfer much and are comfortable for the other party.
Rock & Herb’s products are specially formulated such that they won’t clog the pores. The Enzyme Rescue and Brightening Angelica moisturisers were also developed to avoid two agents known to be unsafe in pregnancy, retinol (Vitamin A) and hydroquinone.
Shop the full range at rockandherb.com.
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