Here at MINTDBOX, we love digging deeper behind the brands we collaborate with, and give you the inside scoop on what inspired these founders to build their brand, what their brand means to them and what their daily routines are.
This month, we interviewed the founder of Albiva - Ivana Lesini
What inspired you to create your brand?
It was my lengthy recovery from spinal tumour surgery that sparked the idea. I was looking to reduce the level of toxins and harsh chemicals I put in and on my body and turned to natural remedies to aid my body’s self-healing ability. I was looking for healthier, natural and organic products that would give me cosmeceutical results but couldn’t find any at the time.
I always had a very keen interest in science. I studied biomedical sciences to understand the biochemical processes of our bodies and briefly worked in microbiology laboratory‚ before ending up analysing and trading essential oils. Perhaps this keen interest stems from my childhood when my herbalist grandmother Albina (clue for the brand’s name) was teaching me to recognise the medicinal properties of plants as she introduced me to the regenerative‚ healing and adaptive power of nature.
All my experiences and education collided into wanting to formulate products that were beyond any trends, that blended the latest, cutting edge biotech ingredients with centuries known healing plants and herbs which would kickstart and support our skin’s own repair. I believe when the body is enabled and supported to self-heal and self-repair, this gives the best visible results.
In short, I developed the brand for those who want natural products and seek to avoid unwanted, questionable ingredients but who expect cosmeceutical results and won’t compromise on efficacy or luxury.
What makes Albiva different from other skincare brands?
At Albiva we believe skincare routines do not have to be complicated to achieve healthy and glowing skin. We believe in creating fewer, multi-functional skincare products with more intense active ingredients. We are not about trends and latest fads, instead we focus on quality, craftmanship and innovation whilst always operating with integrity. We are certified by Positive Luxury for our sustainability efforts and we are a members of 1% For The Planet, pledging at least 1% of our profits to environmental regeneration efforts.
What was the concept behind your newest launch?
Many women unhappy about their skin state dryness as their most common complaint, followed closely by dullness and redness. However, there is still a lot of mis-conception about dryness, hydration and moisture.
Dry skin has a lack of oil, or lipids, whilst dehydrated skin lacks water. You don’t need to have dry skin to have dehydrated skin. Oily and combination skin can be dehydrated as well. The hallmark of healthy skin is always hydration. Hydrating the skin increases its water content. Water is one of the basic building blocks of heathy skin cells and indeed water is important to nearly every bodily function. Hydration is what makes the skin appear supple and taught, bouncy and radiant. Lack of hydration will typically be the first indicator of distress – the common signs are: skin that feels tight, flaky, or may even look red and irritated, breakouts or excessive oil production.
Our new launch focuses on delivering hydration, renewal and healing. As with all of our products, it is multi-functional and designed to fit in any existing skincare routines. Topical products, such as our Hydration Booster, that attract and bind water within the skin layers are the fastest, safest and most effective way to
hydrated, supple skin.
The intensive Hydration Booster combines anti-inflammatory Immortelle with Red Algae Extract known for outstanding moisture retaining properties, replenishing the skin’s natural hydration. Small molecules of
hyaluronic acid produced by fermentation penetrate deep into the dermis preventing formation of wrinkles, whilst larger molecules act on the skin's surface for plump, dewy look. Aloe vera and allantoin further reinforce
hydration, whilst vitamin E support your skin's barrier to retain moisture.
What’s your morning & evening routine?
I am a busy mum, therefore my routine has to be effective, but fast and easy to maintain. Consistency is key when it comes to skincare. I have developed Albiva’s products with maximalist formulas (often with well over 30 active ingredients in one product) for minimalist skincare routines. In the morning I always wash my face with very cold water, followed by Albiva’s Hydration Booster. Then I apply our Eye Lift cream, Revitalise Serum and Lift & Firm Moisturiser. In the evening I always cleanse with our Nourishing Cleanser, followed by our Balancing Toner, Hydration Booster, Brightening serum and Nourish and Heal Moisturiser. In the evening I never skip cleanse, tone and moisturise steps and I have followed this routine since I was 14 years old.
Tell us which skincare product you can’t live without & why?
For me it’s cleanser as I believe cleansers are the cornerstone of every great skin care regime. Cleansing is the first step of all skincare routines and is beneficial in a number of ways. If not cleansed properly, dirt and pollution accumulate at the surface of your skin and could potentially contribute to breakouts, dehydration and ageing. Not to mention if not cleansed properly, your serums and creams may not be as effective. However, be aware harsh cleansers can strip the lipids and compromise your skin barrier which can cause trans-epidermal water loss
leading to dehydration. Our Nourishing Cleanser contains orange blossom oil (neroli) as well as squalane (from sugar cane), allantoin and glycerine to protect your skin’s natural hydration balance. Our clever gel-in-oil formula soothes and nourished whilst thoroughly removing makeup and impurities.
Who are your products aimed and why?
Rather than focusing on any skin type, age group or gender, Albiva’s products are designed to activate the skin’s natural ability to repair itself and empower our customer to use and combine our products as they need them. As we see increased crossover between beauty, health, wellness, nutrition and fitness, what we put on our bodies becomes just as important as what we put in. Consumers are starting to recognise the wellness benefits of their beauty products and are seeking a much more holistic approach to beauty and treatments. This is why
what we leave out of our products is just as important as what we put in – pure and sustainable ingredients with no harmful additives.
I developed the brand for those who want natural products and seek to avoid unwanted, questionable ingredients but who expect cosmeceutical results and won’t compromise on efficacy or luxury. A customer who refuses to risk their health for beauty. At ALBIVA we push the boundaries of science, nature and technology, creating products that make a real difference – not only to make skin beautiful but also keep our customers healthy and improve their quality of life.
What are your key components to a good skincare routine?
Commitment and Consistency are key to good skin.
Establishing a simple and stable skincare regimen will make all the difference. I recommend at least 3 basic products to use: a good quality cleanser, moisturiser and broad-spectrum SPF.
Layering on too many products can be a stressful challenge for your skin and potentially do more harm than good. Products, and therefore active ingredients, overload have the potential to counteract each other, irritate the skin or cause inflammation. Switching between too many products leads to inconsistent routines, product waste and a potential difficulty in evaluating the product’s efficacy.
What is your favourite product in the range?
It is really hard to choose as I have developed every product to make a real difference to the end user, but I wouldn’t be without our Nourishing Cleanser. Thoughts like “Investing in cleansers is just like washing money down the drain.” or “Put the cash you save on cleansers to better use by spending it on products that can make a real difference in your skin, like moisturizers, sunscreens, and serums.” are a common misconception.
A good quality cleanser will remove makeup, dirt, pollution and grime without compromising your skin’s protective barrier. Thoroughly cleansed skin will allow your moisturisers and serums to reach their full potential. An evening cleanse will support the skin in its overnight regeneration and renewal processes.
What would be your one key piece of advice to female founders?
Persevere and never give up.