While the name, which means 'painting in open air', sounds more at home in a French pharmacy, Plenaire was actually born here in the UK. Although the brand is still relatively under-the-radar, it is starting to pique the interest of beauty editors, bloggers and skincare-obsessives alike – and for good reason.
The Instagrammable aesthetic, cruelty free and vegan status, and eco-friendly approach to packaging suggests that Plenaire is set to rival the innovative brands we all know and love, such as Glossier, Lixir Skin and The Ordinary. Shelfie-worthy and sustainable, products are housed in fully recyclable bottles, jars and biodegradable cartons, which are PEFC and FSC accredited. Plenaire is also in talks with TerraCycle, a recycling company developing zero-waste solutions, to explore a closed loop recycling partnership.
For founder Namrata Kamdar, a 'cleaner' approach to skincare was always going to be at the heart of the brand. In the majority of individual cases, dermatologists argue that ingredients like mineral oil, parabens and silicone won't harm or irritate your skin, but Plenaire has chosen to formulate its products without these and lots of other components that many of us are looking to cut out of our skincare routines. Instead, the focus is on proven ingredients such as salicylic acid to unclog pores, kaolin clay for absorbing excess oil, azelaic acid for exfoliation and calming redness, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration.
"Everything you’ll see from Plenaire today is a direct result of us talking to young people about their daily lives, anxieties and most importantly their relationship with skincare and beauty," Namrata told R29. "Firstly, our ethos is different because it’s all about sustainability and simplicity. Another big thing we found was that people didn’t want to buy a lot of different products. Instead, they wanted multitasking hero products."
With moisturisers that double up as masks and an exfoliator with deep cleansing properties, products can be mixed, matched and subbed in or out depending on your skin’s needs. The names roll off the tongue, too: Skin Frosting (a hydrating mask), Droplet (a lightweight gel moisturiser) and Rose Jelly (an Instagrammable pink makeup remover) are just a handful of products in the collection, not to mention a spot treatment, Violet Paste, which is reminiscent of Mario Badescu's famous Drying Lotion.
It isn’t all about aesthetics though. Head to Plenaire’s Instagram page and you’ll see that the brand transcends boundaries of gender, ethnicity and more. "Our brand is more of an attitude," said Namrata. "We take inspiration from Gen Z in particular, so there is a focus on mindfulness and open-mindedness, not to mention transparency."
Of course, efficacy matters, too, so what’s really worth your money? The beauty editor-approved Rose Jelly makeup remover is similar in texture to Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, and although lightweight, emulsifies fast and removes heavy makeup (including multiple layers of mascara and liquid lipstick) in one rinse.
Perfect for those with acne-prone skin, Droplet is a featherweight gel moisturiser with added salicylic acid to exfoliate deep inside pores, and contains both glycerin and hyaluronic acid to moisturise, hydrate and plump skin from the inside out. It also makes for a brilliant primer under makeup and prevents excessive oiliness throughout the day.
Namrata’s hero is Tripler. "This is a 3-in-1 product and the one I’d take with me to a desert island," she told R29. "It can be used as a mask but on contact with water the texture changes and emulsifies into a face wash. It absorbs oil, decongests pores and gives skin a real deep cleanse. It’s also a great, light exfoliant."
What makes Plenaire a little more accessible than other brands is that you don’t feel any pressure to splurge on absolutely everything. Products like the spot treatment and exfoliator will work well alongside things you already rely on in your daily routine, such as foam cleansers and night creams.
Starting from £24, the 8-strong collection is already available online with the exception of the Daily Airy Foaming Cleanser, Brightening Elixir Exfoliating Skin Tonic and Vapour Hydrating Fragrance Mist, which are coming soon. In the meantime, a handful of products including Violet Paste, Droplet and Skin Frosting are ready to buy – and we expect a sellout.