For this edition of In Her Shoes we speak with Lucy Vincent, the founder of Sans [ceuticals] and mother of two. We learn of Vincent's continued devotion to sustainable practices and an appreciation of science. Sans [ceuticals] approach to product formulation echoes the brands core values of purity, minimalism, sustainability and connection. From the selection of ingredients, to the multi functional use each product offers one's owner, down to an intentional no fuss approach to packaging. Vincent speaks to making time for nurturing rituals among being a mother, trusting intuition and creating value in her brand that extends beyond product offerings, likened to our own approach at St. Agni.
In your own words can you tell us what you do?
I own Sans [ceuticals], a specialist skin and hair care company. We utilise facial-grade ingredients for both body and hair products, dialling up active technologies with clean, sustainable ingredients.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt through your career?
Never take short cuts! And trust your intuition…
Your considered approach to product formulation began long before the trends within the industry we see today, what sparked this passion for you?
I started developing Sans [ceuticals] in 2007 out of frustration of not being able to find pure, natural, results-driven products, that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable. I wanted products that would have a noticeable effect on skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, so I started working closely with a couple of dermatologists and got to understand skin at a fundamental level. Because of my background as a hair stylist, I also wanted to create high performance hair care that had the ability to repair damaged hair. Doing this naturally has been something of a challenge with hair care but I believe we have achieved it.
When I was studying to become a hairdresser, I fell in love with trichology — the medical and cosmetic study of the hair and scalp. I have always loved science and am a voracious researcher. I also spent a lot of time with a dear friend who is a biotech scientist carrying out exciting research in the field of cancer. She is a massive beauty junkie and would spend hours talking me through ingredients and how cells work.
Can you speak to the process behind creating Sans [ceuticals] products?
First and foremost, we hang our hat on science, the data has to be solid and deliver results.
We avoid all the usual suspects, however I think the notion of avoiding nasties is now commonplace. For us, what is put in is as important as what is left out. We are very results-focused, utilising high dose actives, suspended in clean and natural bases.
There are some exciting, natural technologies becoming available — for instance, baseline ingredients like binding agents and emulsifiers that are used to thicken or make a formulation stable, are now developed to provide bio-nutritive properties making all the elements of a formulation perform.
Sans [ceuticals] places an emphasis on sustainability, can you speak to the evolution of these practices since the inception of the brand?
Sustainability is core to our brand and it informs what we do at every level, from the size of the range we create, to the ingredients we put in each product, to the packaging design to the space they take up in your bathroom. Our products to be used top-to-toe, avoiding the wastage of multiple products expiring in the bathroom cupboard. We don’t create a new product unless it delivers a genuine benefit, don’t put in ingredients that aren’t required outside of performance, don’t package the product in anything other than the materials required to keep the product stable and hygienic, and don’t dress the packaging up with pretty but meaningless flourishes.
We have been working on a new generation formulation and packaging concept that is zero waste and refillable at home. We are so thrilled and excited to be launching 2021. Unfortunately that’s all I'm allowed to give away at the moment.
There is something quite ritualistic about the Sans [ceuticals] offerings, what daily rituals do you have in your own life?
The idea of personal rituals are at the heart of Sans. We like the idea of taking a seemingly insignificant task and making it personal, habitual and transformational.
For me, apart from the obvious — my morning coffee, which I REALLY look forward to, I love cooking and taking time to do this with a glass of wine. This is a great wind down for me.
I also have rituals to de-stress. Spending time perusing book store shelves (cook book section specifically) is my happy place. Walking is another great way for me to clear my head and feel calm.
My favourite treat of all is taking my Sans products to a local bathhouse, applying a hair treatment, our new anti-inflammatory face infusion (coming soon) and going between the infra-red sauna and ice bath. So good!
Can we see any correlations between your approach to Sans [ceuticals] and your personal style?
I’m not big on clutter and like the idea of simplifying the everyday so the items I do have are essential, well considered and last. I don't have time to put too much thought into what I throw on in the morning as there is too much mayhem going on with the kids!
Lastly, what are currently working on?
For us, it’s always about a better way of living. Creating something that brings joy, ease of use and results, as well as adding meaning and value outside of the product collection through our interviews with inspiring women, recipes for nourishment and rituals. The beauty industry has been built on marketing and cosmetic chemistry principles and over time not a lot has changed – just the same old dressed slightly differently. So for us, it’s about repeatedly returning to the core values of our business – purity, minimalism, sustainability, connection – and considering new ways of delivering those.
Visit Sans Ceuticals
Words by Natasha Bruce
Photography by Greta van der Star