Robyn Skincare: Interview
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Robyn Skincare: Interview

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In a skincare landscape, where the term ‘natural’ has lost all meaning, new to the market, Robyn Skincare, interested me with its unique DNA: a formula driven luxury skincare brand that combines the very finest natural ingredients with cutting edge, clinically proven plant-based science that give powerful results. And, yes, the products really are free from all artificial fragrance, colours, preservatives, parabens and synthetics.

Founder, Eleanor Robyn Olsen, has the skin knowledge of a lab formulator and cosmetic doctor in one: her trajectory to skincare start-up, began when around 10 years ago, a working mother of two, she started to experience pelvic pain. It was so debilitating she had to give up her job, ‘I started to research myself as I had been pumped full of drugs by my doctor that were causing me depression. I began to suspect it was endometriosis but back then it wasn’t recognised as an auto immune disease,’ she reflects,’ I ended up having to do a complete overhaul of my life to both get myself happier and to find the root of the problem, I literally went through everything from nutrition to skincare and toothpaste!’

Through her research, Olsen made many discoveries about ingredients in skincare; ‘I realised that when labs test any products with synthetic ingredients for safety, they test for here and now, but not the accumulative effect of using the product over years. I also came to realise how difficult it is to establish what’s causing what because, for instance, if someone is allergic to a fragrance, technically on an ingredient list that can include up to 200 (undisclosed) chemicals, including synthetic preservatives.’

Olsen began to realise having helped herself she could help others and started to retrain in biochemistry with a view to becoming a nutritional therapist. Whilst living in the US, in 2018, disaster struck again, when a dermatologist diagnosed a mole as melanoma, and after surgery caused a ‘hole in my face,’ and after reconstructive surgery to her skin, Olsen decided to focus on skincare again. Taking her biochemistry, nutritional background, she began training as a formulator at the prestigious Formula Botanica: ‘from start to finish you are grounded in natural products, they only do organic cosmetic formulations – so you aren’t trained as a normal pharmaceutical chemist, but only to create 100% natural and naturally derived skincare.’

After 1 ½ years training as a formulator, Olsen was ready to create her own line, accumulating her 360 mind/body/skin training along the way, and with two goals in mind: 1) to create only natural but results driven blends 2) to solve the problems often associated with retinol use. (redness, scaling, irritation etc)

I comment on my own journey with retinol and how it can strip skin: Olsen enthuses, ‘Retinol is an amazing product, I am not ‘anti-retinol’, but it’s not for everyone, for instance, those with sensitive skin or pregnant can’t use it. And most retinol products are traditionally formulated alongside synthetic ingredients – so not suitable if you don’t want to use a synthetic anti-aging active – and are photosensitive so during daylight hours cause skin sensitivity and damage.’ ‘So I really wanted to create an alternative that was natural and could be worn in summer.’

Enter the hero ingredient of Robyn Skincare: Sytenol A Bakuchiol. ‘In short it is a plant-based retinol that offers the same results(20% decrease in lines and wrinkles) but without the side effects or downtime. Sytenol is the purest form of Bakuchiol available(over 99% pure) – with Robyn batches ensuring 99.8% purity. Only one molecule is extracted, so it gets rid of all the residual solvents,  and it doesn’t just act as a restorative active ingredient like retinol does, but is also anti-ageing, anti-bacterial(60% stronger than resveratrol & a-tocopherol) and anti-inflammatory(reduces acne by 58% in 6 wks).’

Choose from 5 products all based around Bio Retinol Bakuchiol: Limitless Cleansing Oil, Limitless Facial Balm, Limitless Facial Oil, Limitless Facial Cream, Limitless Facial Serum.

So as a trained formulator, what’s Olsen’s process? ‘I describe it as two layers: you always have the key ingredient, which is the bio bakuchiol, combined with the second layer, made up from a plethora of  botanical extracts, oils, hydrasols, butters – these optimise skin health, reinforce the anti-aging power of the active and support the skin barrier. In the facial oils, I use dunaliella Salina extract; a resilient microalgae filled with beta-carotene. I also use organic prickly pear seed oil (the richest source of Vit E on the planet), as well as elsewhere butters specifically picked for intense hydration and  restructuring benefits to the skin. The second, supporting layer is loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vits and minerals. There are many multi-functional botanicals with both therapeutic and wellbeing benefits, but we always go one step further by ensuring there’s a clinically proven active in each formula so you know exactly what results you will get from the product.’

I am fascinated to hear with such a unique DNA and all round skin, mind, body experience what the future holds? ‘I can’t say too much, but as a problem solver type, I am working on a product that aims to counter something we are all prone to – Stress – I am creating something that effects the way cortisol infiltrates skin cells.’