Adolescent breakouts, too much time in the sun as a teenager and bouts of insomnia have rendered it an improvement project in progress. I’m now frantically trying to expedite a skin revival before my twenties fade out entirely.
This requires some assistance and I’m always willing to try new products that might work better than the last. So, when Emma Lewisham’s skincare products arrived at the end of last year, I had no reservations about making room for them in my routine.
If you’ve been using skincare products on the low-cost side (me), the first thing you’ll notice about Emma Lewisham’s is a marked difference in quality. The night cream is velvety and lightweight, yet incredibly hydrating, and I was equally impressed with the Skin Reset Serum and Triple Vitamin A+ Face Oil. The unblemished skin of my dreams hasn’t felt this close in years.
Emma Lewisham, the founder of her eponymous beauty brand, has also struggled with her complexion over the years, drifting into the beauty industry as a result of hyperpigmentation issues. When she started searching for a natural alternative with proven scientific results, she found there were few on the market so she decided to formulate her own.
Developing skincare products is a stark contrast to Lewisham’s previous vocation: for eight years, she worked at a multinational Japanese technology company improving the sustainability of global products and services. These insights helped conceptualise Emma Lewisham, a brand she hopes will create meaningful change in the beauty industry through high-performance products.
“We spent the first year of development really focused on producing natural skincare that showed results,” Lewisham says. “Our thinking was always around how we find advanced natural extracts that actually work and do the things we need them to do.”
Her first product, the Skin Reset Serum, took 52 iterations to perfect. Lewisham explains many of their products take between 40 and 50 trials “to crack in terms of working, being natural and still feeling luxurious”.
Emma Lewisham operates in a way that challenges common environmental issues within the beauty industry, particularly the take-make-dispose model.
One of their biggest commitments to sustainability is the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle, a program which allows for refilling and recycling. They’ve partnered with TerraCycle to recycle product parts that cannot be reused and recently launched the Refill Programme for customers with empty serum, face oil or cream bottles and jars. These vessels can be cleaned, sterilised, refilled and kept in circulation. They also created a “pod” made from 50 per cent recycled plastic to further reduce waste. Instead of buying new products, customers can insert the pod into their empty pots and refill from home.
Few could respond to a skin issue or product frustration with the same dexterity and dedication as Lewisham. In little more than four years, she’s developed a range of natural products that compete with some of New Zealand and Australia’s most reputable, high-end brands. And just when you think this brand can’t do any better, as of September 2021, Emma Lewisham has become the world’s first carbon-positive beauty brand with a 100 per cent circular designed business model.