Skincare can be awfully confusing, from too many products to unpronounceable ingredients and huge price differences. Founder of skincare brand Eight Brook, Edyta Stelmach, wants to make it easier for clients with her highly effective, no-fuss cosmeceuticals. We chatted to the certified chemist about all things skincare, ingredients, and what to look out for.
You’re a cosmetic chemist, can you explain what that entails and how you approach developing new products?
About 15 years ago, I completed my degree in Formulation Science and began my career with a pharmaceutical company that specialised in dermatological products. I was fortunate to be involved in complex projects and clinical trials that required a significant amount of discipline and scientific knowledge. I learnt a lot and it provided me with a understanding of formulation techniques and the way our skin works. For example, different products may have the same active ingredients, possibly even the same percentages, but these ingredients will not be effective unless the formulation has been optimised to deliver the ingredients into your skin. As a chemist specialising in cosmeceuticals, I am able to create stable, bioavailable formulas that combine multiple active ingredients at high percentages. In addition, any new formulations that I create need to be safe, hypoallergenic, environmentally conscious, aesthetically pleasing, and compatible with packaging. To be honest, developing new products is sometimes as much art as it is science and it takes years to perfect!
In an industry that’s pretty saturated with skincare brands, what motivated you to create your own?
Skincare should be simple and effective, but a lot of brands don’t really offer this. Being a Cosmetic chemist that is passionate about skincare, I get disappointed when I see products that don’t contain any real active ingredients or are completely unstable. I also feel that a lot of brands offer too many overlapping products or they involve complex multi-step routines that are completely unnecessary. People are time-poor and they want products that work! So, I decided to create a small range of highly effective, multifunctional products that are simple to use. Our customers will only need to use a few of our products to see a real improvement in their skin. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback so far, and it makes me happy to know that the extra effort we put into our products was worth it.
Your products are toxin free. Is that a big challenge?
Yes – this is a large challenge for any skincare brand and it’s a challenge that most skincare brands don’t undertake. Simply being organic or natural does not mean it is free from skin allergens. I spent a considerable amount of time researching our ingredients to ensure our formulas excluded known skin allergens and irritants (e.g. specific essential oils, parabens, grapefruit seed extract, etc). We also exclude any potential fragrance allergens that have been identified and listed by the European Union (EU). In some countries, these substances must appear on the label of your cosmetic product when they exceed safety thresholds. However, in Australia this regulation has not been adopted. Whilst our formulas are softly scented, we limit or completely avoid these known fragrance allergens which are naturally found in essential oils.
What does your own skincare routine look like?
I start my mornings with a good cleanse using our Tasman Pepper Soothing Cleanser, followed by our Snowflower Fortifying Serum. Our serums double as hydrators, so I don’t need a separate moisturiser. Lastly, I apply O Cosmedics Mineral Pro SPF 30+ Tinted which serves both as my foundation and SPF.
At night I use our Tasman Pepper Soothing Cleanser, followed by our Cloudberry Revitalising Serum, which contains a non-irritating retinoid for sensitive skin. Twice a week, I’ll use our Charcoal Detoxifying Mask as a 2-in-1 mask and cleanser.
During the summer months, sun exposure can leave my skin dry and in need of some extra exfoliation, so I’ll use our Caviar Lime Brightening Serum a couple times a week (instead of the Cloudberry Revitalising Serum) and this leaves my skin glowing the next morning.
What are some of the treatments spas can offer using your products?
In 2016 we launched our retail range comprising of 6 products, and this year we will release a professional back bar selection which will include peels, exfoliants and luxurious masks including our Oxygenated Charcoal Detoxifying Mask.
What kind of support do you offer spas and clinics stocking your products?
The Eight Brook brand is internet protected and offered exclusively to clinics by our appointed Medical-Aesthetics distributor, Inskin Cosmedics.
Our stockists are provided with high-quality marketing material, training support, loyalty benefits and regular promotions. We actively engage with influencers across social and traditional media to drive customers to our partnering stockists. This year we will also expand the range to offer professional back bar support…watch this space!