TB: Before your family founded the brand, did you know you’d follow your parents into this industry? If so, when and why?
AP: I started working in my father’s dermatology practice when I was 10 years old – so I really grew up in the family business. It always seemed natural to me, and yes, as far as I can remember, I always wanted to join the family business. Or I should say, “one of” the family businesses. The first business my parents opened together was an art gallery. As an art history major in college, I always thought that would be my path. It wasn’t. Then I thought about opening a Forever Laser Institut in the US, expanding our spa business. That was not my path, either (at least not yet…). Then I thought about bringing the best that my father created to the US through these little jars…and decided that Alchimie Forever was indeed my path to making a difference in the family business!
TB: Alchimie began by developing products that meet the needs of post-procedural skin. What has this research taught you about skin care in general?
AP: The fact that the first Alchimie Forever products were created in our medical spa, Forever Laser Institut, to help heal the skin after the treatments my father would perform on his clients (initially mostly laser treatments) led to a formulation philosophy that is very much based on reducing inflammation, which is a scientific way of saying healing the skin. Indeed, post-procedure, the skin cannot tolerate anything too aggressive. Instead, it needs ingredients that will quell redness, cool heat, calm, and soothe. I have learned throughout the years how much of a pro-ager inflammation is – too much inflammation will lead to more rapid aging – which after all is what we are working against. I think there is confusion in the mind of the consumer, with the idea that if a product doesn’t tingle, make you peel, or induce redness, it is not doing anything. Such products certainly have a place in the market, but they must be balanced by products that reduce inflammation. That is what is at the core of our formulation strategy.
TB: What differences do you see between attitudes towards skin care and regimens in The US vs. those in Switzerland? Is there anything one can learn from the other?
AP: There are definite differences! In Switzerland (and France, and perhaps a few other European countries), skin care is considered as essential as dental care. My grandmother took me for my first facial when I was 15, now that “I was becoming a woman” and told me that bi-annual facials were a must, just like getting your teeth cleaned by a professional twice a year. Really, it is not because you brush your teeth at home (just like you wash your face) that you don’t go to the dentist for a cleaning (the equivalent of a facial). Also, you don’t wait for your teeth to rot (the equivalent of wrinkles) to go see your dentist (i.e., Don’t wait for your skin to look old to go to the aesthetician or dermatologist). I wish American women would spend more time and money on their skin – in particular as opposed to their hair! Look into the vanity of an American woman and it is mostly hair and makeup products. A European woman will have mostly face and body products in her bathroom, with just a bit of hair and makeup.
In contrast, American women seem less patient with their skin care expectations. They want that brown spot fixed yesterday. Even though it took years in the making. They want a miracle in a jar.
TB: In the midst of your busy life, which includes a lot of travel, what are your “must do everyday” beauty essentials?
AP: I love this question. A big part of Alchimie Forever is the true belief in “self care through skin care” – that is, the idea that taking care of one’s skin is as essential is a way of taking care of one’s self. I do travel about 75% of my time, which takes a toll on my skin. Here are my top 6 must dos (travel or not…):
- I start my day with a big glass of water and a Super Orange EmergenC. I stopped drinking orange juice many years ago when I started counting my calories, so this is my replacement. Plus I never drink enough water during the day so I feel that at least my day is starting off with water. And the vitamins are essential, especially if I am not able to eat as healthily on the road as I would wish to.
- Alchimie Forever Daily Defense SPF 23 every day on face and neck, every morning. No matter the time of year, no matter the weather. I feel like that way I am protected from anything that will come my way.
- Alchimie Forever tightening eye contour gel, every morning. This is technically one of our men’s products (although I think I might change that when we redo our packaging) yet I love it – it is like a shot of espresso for my eye contour. As I tell anyone who will listen, if you are old enough to drink, you are old enough for a great eye contour cream!
- Trish McEvoy mascara. I won’t leave the house without mascara, let alone meet with anyone without it!
- Aveda Stress Fix body lotion. I love the lavender scent, it does melt away my stress. And I have this in travel size too!
- Twice a week, I use our Antioxidant refining scrub and Kantic brightening moisture mask. At home or on the road, I feel like these two products remove the “plane” from my skin – my skin is once again bright, hydrated, and glowing.