Colette Haydon is an aesthetic pharmacist and the brains behind some of our favorite skin-care brands — and now, she's putting her experience and expertise front and center with her own brand, Lixir Skin. The line, which currently consists of seven products, was recently added to the offerings at Net-a-Porter, which means US shoppers can now get their hands on one of the UK's buzziest new brands.
While the blush-pink packaging and sans-serif font may look as pretty on your bathroom shelf as in your Instagram feed, you'd be mistaken to dismiss this as yet another millennial-bait, marketing-driven brand. As Haydon, who cut her teeth creating products for REN, Aromatherapy Associates, and Jo Malone (pre-Estée Lauder ownership), says, "I was very aware that because of my background, I’d be watched. There was no point in launching a new range doing what everybody else had done."
Lixir Skin is founded on three leading principles. The first: "It all started with the idea that, fundamentally, a good product is based on good ingredients," Haydon tells Refinery29. "So many brands right now differentiate themselves by either their natural or synthetic ingredients, but I think that's dated.” This take comes at a time when poll after poll is finding that women increasingly want their beauty products to be all-natural. So what is Haydon proposing? “There are good, safe, effective ingredients, and there are bad, harmful, and unsafe ingredients,” she explains.
“There is a misconception that if you’re removing something you don’t want in your product, you’re replacing it with an effective natural ingredient," Haydon says. "Do you want natural in that you don’t want nasties? Yes. Do you want natural in that you don’t want nasties, but what you do have are not-terribly-effective plant extracts? No!” She uses the example of the tea she's drinking to break the concept down. “In here, we have ginger, lemon and honey — all natural ingredients, but I don’t know the amount of active molecules in there. In my Night Switch Trio, I use phytic acid and lactic acid, which are naturally derived; the difference is I know how much I’ve put in there. I’m more interested in the active of a plant than the plant itself.”
This approach makes sense: It’s clear that Haydon has launched Lixir Skin with the aim of cutting through the noise and demystifying beauty. The brand has launched at a good time, and the industry veteran knows her audience; we as consumers are far more savvy than we once were. Only a few years ago, beauty devotees may not have been able to tell the difference between hyaluronic and glycolic acids, but now even the most fair-weather skin-care fan is clued in to the key ingredients in their hero products.
Hayden's second brand proposition is to reduce the number of these products we actually use. “Having done this for years, people would ask me, ‘Do you have a separate cupboard of ingredients for the eyes, the neck, the lips?’ and so on," she says. "The answer is no. Yes, the skin around the eye is a little thinner than the rest, but a wrinkle is a wrinkle. The idea that an ingredient works on this wrinkle, but not that one? Hello?” And unlike some other brands, which continually roll out trendy products for things we sometimes didn’t even know were an issue, Lixir Skin's seven products are honest, upfront, and above all, multitasking. “The joke I often make is, 'Can you tell me the difference between a night cream and an overnight mask?' If I can’t, then trust me, you can’t.”
Enter the brand’s multipurpose collection, from the Vitamin C Paste, a treatment and express morning mask in one, to the Electrogel Cleanser, a dual deep cleanser and evening mask. While transparency was key in Hayden's conception of these products, so was "her woman’s" lifestyle. “I have to be honest, I was never interested in the trend of multilayering,” she explains. “If women have time for that, that’s great, but I wanted something for all skin types: for the old, for the young, for the busy.”
Lixir Skin is for the modern beauty lover who lives in a city, who travels and doesn’t want to pay for extra luggage, who wants to throw her daily moisturizer in her work bag and go. “If I want someone to use the vitamin C in the morning, it’s got to work as a cleanser and a quick mask. I’m not a big fan of routines," Haydon insists. "I’ll sometimes have it on while on the phone to my girlfriend and leave it on for 15 minutes, and sometimes I just have my three minutes in the shower. Women are often bullied into thinking they need to do something — there’s a difference between advising and bullying.”
So do the goods actually deliver? Blessedly, they do — the products’ impact is as clear as their maker’s message, from the Universal Emulsion (which is actually universal) to the Night Switch trio of BHA/AHA 10%, PHA/AHA 10% and Retinol 1%. If Haydon's products sound smart, it’s because they are: Lixir Skin is exciting not just for its born-from-the-lab ingredients and cut-the-crap approach, but for the way it works around our busy but beauty-focused lives. What more could you want from your skin care?