German skin-care brands are changing the way we view clean beauty.
K-Beauty got us hooked on Korean BB Creams and jelly cleansers. J-Beauty convinced us of the benefits of Japanese essences and sake ingredients. Probably we were bound to grab our beauty passports and move on to another country. And so we did: Now there’s G-Beauty.
In the last few years, German beauty brands have begun to inhabit nearly every beauty aisle, including Whole Foods and high-end beauty retailers like Bluemercury.
Cassandra Grey, the founder of Violet Grey, a luxury beauty retailer in Los Angeles, is even more emphatic. “Customers now look for the Made in Germany stamp on skin-care products the same way we look for the organic sticker on our tomatoes,” she said. The three top-selling skin-care lines at her shop are from Germany.
For the most demanding clientele, though, the exciting brands are the ones that offer not only clean formulations, but also new science. That includes such German skin-care darlings as Augustinus Bader, Dr. Barbara Sturm and Royal Fern.
Then there is the professor and scientist Augustinus Bader, who founded his namesake skin-care line two years ago. According to the company, it closed out last year with $6 million in revenue with just (moisturizers called The Cream and The Rich Cream). In February the company appointed a new chief executive, Maureen Case, a veteran of Estée Lauder, and has plans to introduce a new product this summer.
Dr. Bader, who has serious science credentials in stem cell research, took years to develop the two products. He approached his formulas from an epigenetics point of view — that is, using ingredients to stimulate repair signals inside the body.
“The stem cells, they work, but they work too slowly,” Dr. Bader said. “I thought, ‘How can we use the body’s own repair mechanisms?’ We have some inner clock as our skin ages that shuts down the repair mechanisms. My idea here is you can jump-start skin healing with the right triggers.”
“It’s a different form of treatment,” he said.
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