Melissa at Tonic: Jené can you share with us a little about your LB journey? What has been the inspiration and vision for creating your skincare collection, Luxe Botanics?
Jené: I was born in South Africa, one of the most beautiful places on earth with some of the most distinct and diverse ecosystems, so I’ve always felt most at ease when surrounded by nature. To this day if I feel stressed or tense, a ten-minute walk reconnecting with the outdoors always puts me in a positive and productive frame of mind. This respect for nature and its healing abilities is at the heart of me and at the core of Luxe Botanics.
Having studied biotechnology and coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it seems inevitable now that I would combine all these passions into one.
My vision has always been to create a business that values the environment, changes the culture for the better and gives back to communities in a meaningful way. Not only does Luxe Botanics embrace true to nature ingredients and potent plant medicine, it is an authentic mindful skin care ritual that does a whole world of good in return.
Mel: You describe LB as “a marriage between science and nature”. How has this shaped the LB collection?
Jené: Having worked 10 years in laboratories and at pharmaceutical MNCs I’ve had insight into the remarkable life-altering achievements of modern medical science. However, what struck me most was that modern medicine does not heal in isolation - it has the most significant benefits when combined with a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. This lead me to the realisation that nature has the power to nurture if we allow it to. Scientific advances mean we have the tools to create high-tech natural beauty like never before; where delicate, botanical ingredients are not compromised but can be enhanced. It is this intersection between science and nature that fascinates me and still excites me to this day. It’s what all scientists thrive on - the pursuit of discovery, uncovering the truth and discarding myths.
At Luxe Botanics our core botanicals are chosen for their individual efficacy backed by science. They are wild-harvested and organically certified ensuring they are of the highest grade before being carefully formulated with pure botanical ingredients and high-tech compounds synthesised from natural and organic bases. Each and every element serves a beneficial purpose and is hand-crafted in the lab on our urban farm. This perfect synergy of ingredients, balanced in precisely the right proportions, is the harmony we discover between science and nature.
Mel: What makes LB unique amongst its clean/green beauty peers and what inspires you about the green beauty movement?
Jené: Each Luxe Botanics elixir reflects our passionate pursuit to respect nature’s most time-honoured ingredients. Conscientiously crafted with organic and wild harvested botanicals, the nurturing powers of nutrient-rich tinctures are beholden to the highest grade, scientifically proven, exotic botanical oils and extracts. Applying the precision of science, we skillfully synergise our active botanicals with natural base ingredients, each with a unique purpose, without any added undesirables, aligning our beauty ritual with health from within.
Not only is Luxe Botanics naturally effective, it ensures women can look beyond themselves and improve the lives of others. We believe women should be empowered by skin care, which doesn't mean a choice between effectiveness or having a positive social and environmental impact. Our active botanical skin care is infused with a socially conscious ethos to deliver a truly mindful skin care ritual.
What inspires us about the green beauty movement is that we are leading the way and defining the future of the industry. More than ever, beauty is becoming part of a holistic lifestyle choice, not just a function, and people are realising that the brands they align themselves with, reflect their own values. That makes me incredibly proud! There is a genuine sense of camaraderie in the industry because peers share the same reason d'être, to educate clients about the sustainable decisions they can make and to practice living with more conscious intent.
Mel: Tell us a little more about your BUY1GIVE1 partnership and why this is so important to LB?
Jené: Being part of the Buy1Give1 global giving community is truly a special honour. It enables us to add an extra layer of social responsibility to our brand over and above sourcing our botanicals from local communities in Africa and Brazil.
Through our partnership with Buy1Give1 we are able to select individual, vetted, and truly effective charitable projects in communities around the world to support. The progress of each project is carefully tracked by the Buy1Give1 team – they even have study trips to assess each project. As someone who has seen first-hand the effects (or lack thereof) of charitable projects in Africa it was very important to me to partner with a charitable giving initiative that validated its positive effect on the community.
Mel: You have based your collection around three key ingredients, Marula, Kigelia and Camu. What compelled you to include these, how & where are they sourced and harvested?
Jené: Our guiding philosophy at Luxe Botanics is to allow nature to nurture and so we have sought out nature’s most beautiful, vibrant, and wholesome ingredients to create natural tinctures inspired by the wellness conscious woman. Our core botanicals are some of nature’s most time-honoured, visibly proven ingredients possessing remarkable skin-transforming powers.
Our hydrating Marula oil is extracted from the kernel (nut) of the Marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) which is wild-harvested and processed by the local Maasai women in Kenya. This provides these women with an independent source of income, which has led to the upliftment of their families and resulted in wider community benefits.
Our brightening Camu Camu comes from deep within the Amazon basin and is extracted from the berry of the Camu camu tree (Myrciaria dubia) which is organically grown, hand-picked and processed by the local community in Brazil.
And our clarifying Kigelia africana is extracted from the sausage-shaped fruit of the Kigelia africana tree which is organically grown and handpicked by the local community in Malawi. Our Kigelia africana extract is Certified Organic by the Soil Association (UK). The organisation that manages this process uses the profits to plant new Kigelia trees on the land and for other community enhancement projects.
Mel: You have tailored the LB collection to address/benefit specific skin types and conditions/concerns? Can you outline what makes each line unique?
Jené: Luxe Botanics addresses an essential skincare regimen for all women. It is a careful curation of cleansers, serums and moisturisers which hydrate, brighten and clarify skin.
Marula oil is our Age-Defying Overachiever used by women in Africa for centuries. It has the ability to single-handedly address multiple causes of ageing, including loss of elasticity, firmness and natural moisture. It does this so effectively because of its high levels of omega 9 (oleic acid) which absorb deep into the layers of skin to help rebalance natural oils while ridding impurities. It's rich bouquet of antioxidants fight free radicals, the top cause of premature ageing so that Marula protects skin’s youthful integrity promoting uplifted and radiantly healthy-looking skin.
Our Camu Brightening Range imparts a luminous glow to skin with Camu Camu berry (containing more vitamin C than an acai berry) helping to brighten, lighten and even out skin tone – it’s our Brightening Powerhouse and it’s literally a super food for your skin. Camu also reduces signs of premature ageing and environmental stress, strengthening and protecting for skin that glows with vitality. It is perfect for anyone who suffers from sun damage, dark spots or hyperpigmentation and other undesirable outcomes triggered by environmental aggressors. Flavonoids and ellagic acid neutralise wrinkle-causing free radicals for firmer uplifted skin, while a vast array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids strengthen and protect. Sodium Hyaluronate in our formulations deliver essential hydration to skin to plump up fine lines while squalane and phospholipids reinforce the skin’s natural barrier to appear revitalised and youthfully resilient.
Kigelia africana fruit extract comes from a unique sausage shaped fruit that has been long used to cure every skin condition from cuts, burns, and grazes to acne, eczema and psoriasis. We call it our Clarifying Soother, able to transform blemished, irritated and damaged skin possessing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory powers which purify pores and smooth the complexion. Rich in flavonoids and phenolic compounds, Kigelia africana possesses potent antioxidant properties. It also has a fantastic ability to firm skin and is often used by African women on their necks and chests. It has such incredible DNA repairing qualities that it is also in clinical trials for skin cancer. Through these wonderful qualities Kigelia africana is able to calm skin and give it a lift too!
Mel: Can you give us an insight into the typical LB devotee? Who are they and why do they choose LB to be an integral part of their skincare rituals?
Jené: We like to call our devotees our tribe - a collective of wellness conscious women who believe in the benefits of nature and care about giving back through the daily choices they make. They approach life holistically, have a thirst for knowledge and a love for travel and culture.
They choose Luxe Botanics because while they are drawn towards natural ingredients, they don’t want to swap this for luxury, quality and style. Wealth to them is not possessions or brand logos, but experiences that better their mind and body while uplifting the world around them. Skin care is part of the experience - both as an effective skin care treatment and a statement of social ethos.
Mel: What is your advice to those who are looking to make the change from mainstream beauty to natural/organic/clean skin care?
Jené: Make one change at a time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information out there and labels can be confusing. Do your research on the undesirable ingredients often found in skin care and train yourself to read the back of bottles before you buy. Our blog is a great place to learn more as we share our knowledge with our tribe.
As you gradually start to integrate true to nature products into your routine, you will see the transformation, but remember, just as with a change in diet, any change in skin care will cause your skin to react – good or bad. Skin cells live 2-3 weeks, so give yourself time to see results. Note that the most dramatic results in clean beauty are also seen when you adopt a fully clean routine. When people use natural skin care along with mainstream brands, botanicals are unable to work to their fullest potential.
Most importantly learn to listen to your skin so you know what works for you individually and challenge yourself to try new ingredients to find what works. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your ritual instead of using the same formula every day. This is why our products are designed to be used in combination and interchangeably, according to your skin's needs, without forgoing the benefits.
Mel: Your skin looks amazing! Do you have a favourite LB and ‘ME-TIME’ ritual?
Jené: Thank you!
I don’t tend to wear a lot of makeup as I’ve had plenty of skin imperfections over the years, so it’s very important that I take the time to listen to my skin and take good care of it. Introducing a double cleanse system into my ritual has been the foundation for healthy skin. I start with the Luxe Botanics Marula pre-cleanse, which thoroughly removes dirt, makeup and pollution. Marula, jojoba and rosehip oils gently dissolve pore-clogging particulates and detoxify without disrupting skin’s delicate natural lipid barrier, a key to healthy skin. For a deeper cleanse I then follow with our Camu cream cleanser gently removing impurities to refresh, purify and give my skin a brightening boost.
My skin is highly sensitive, so no matter what, each morning and night I use Kigelia serum either mixed with Camu or Marula serum, depending on how much hydration my skin needs or whether my skin needs that extra luminous burst that Camu provides. In winter or dry climates, I finish with Camu moisturiser, which is the perfect balance of moisture with medium weight hydration, brightening and strengthening my skin. In summer, humid climates or if I’m having a bad skin day, I use the Kigelia moisturiser to calm and soothe my skin while still fighting those pesky wrinkles with a blend of peptides and firming Kigelia africana.
Me-time? It’s easy to make excuses and let work take over. There is no magic secret to me-time and so I consciously make time and make fewer excuses. My daily walk to and from work is a little bit of me-time each day - listening to the birds, walking through the parks, and enjoying the fresh air. Once a month I have a standing meeting with myself in my calendar, which is an hour just for me to reflect where I’ve been, where I’m heading, an opportunity to review wins and face hard questions and find solutions. It’s a double cleanse for the mind and soul!