Emma Lewisham Wants the Beauty Industry to Drop the Facade of Perfection

Instead, the skincare brand is selling customers something that feels revolutionary: their own skin.

Article by Tessa Ogle

EMMA LEWISHAM_1Photography courtesy of Emma Lewisham.

Emma Lewisham is not in the business of selling photoshop-perfect skin — nor does she want to be. Instead, the CEO and founder of the New Zealand skincare brand of the same name prioritises effective natural skincare, sustainability, and markets through human connection, rather than smoke and mirrors. It’s safe to say that approach has proven to be a fruitful one.

Since launching in October 2019, the brand’s signature purple bottles have found their way onto Mecca’s expertly curated shelves. This wasn’t an accident; Lewisham — rightfully ambitious — has had that placement in mind from day dot. In fact, she specifically developed the brand’s aesthetic based on the fact the colour purple was missing on the display walls in the store. But it’s much more than a packaging decision that got her there.

“We’re giving people the most intelligent formulations and aim to make a meaningful difference to the beauty industry through sustainability,” explains Lewisham. “We’re tapping into science and unlocking the power of nature. Our research and development investment has really gone into that area — some of the most powerful ingredients come out of it.”

The brand was born out of Lewisham’s pregnancy journey, when she learnt she was no longer able to use some of the luxury skincare products she had been opting for due to the ingredients contained in their formulas. Then, in terms of natural skincare, she felt she often had to compromise on results for a sustainable and healthy product.

“There were nice formulas that lacked evidence and science and technology,” she said as to why she decided to fill that gap. “Also, coming from a background in sustainability and understanding the importance of circularity, I was able to bring that fresh pair of eyes [to the market].”

The Emma Lewisham brand is independently certified Carbon Positive under Toitū Envirocare’s Climate Positive Product Certification. The founder explains that packaging is one of the world’s largest contributors of carbon, and this means that if we want to solve the carbon problem we need to solve the waste problem: “We produce 120 billion units of packaging annually — the majority ending up in landfill.”

Photography courtesy of Emma Lewisham.

And as with all her products, the newest formula to market, The Supernatural Blemish Serum  with Q24 Live Skin Probiotic is refillable and recyclable through the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle. Refill vessels are available online and at Emma Lewisham retailers globally. A world-first patented serum targeted for acne-prone skin, Q24 has over 20 years of robust, independent clinical research and is the only skincare product on the market globally formulated with this patented pioneering probiotic strain.

“We get a lot of customers looking for blemish treatment options and we have worked to offer a solution for them in that space — one that doesn’t come at the compromise of having to use medication or something really aggressive,” Lewisham tells T Australia. “It’s not just going to reduce and repair acne, it’s going to work at elevating your overall skin health.”

With longevity in mind, Lewisham specifically clarifies that the brand is working from the central point of the skin as opposed to what’s simply trending. Emma Lewisham has no intention of contributing to micro-trends, which often result in fickle purchasing patterns and waste, A nature of beauty trends which hold a firm place in the industry thanks to the increasing influence of short lived social media trends.

This lack of allegiance to social trends stands true when it comes to Emma Lewisham the ‘person’ too. The business owner and mother has no interest in generating a personal brand on Instagram beyond her skincare online.

“I’m not an influencer, so I don’t work in that way. I have a very private approach and no [personal] Instagram that I post on,” she says. “When I’m at home, I’m with my family and spending time with them.”

And when it comes to the creative direction of the brand on social media and beyond, it is about “showing real skin without Photoshop — removing that barrier between someone looking at the photo, and the person in the photo — and instead, having a human connection. We feel this can be lacking, especially the luxury into the market.”

Photography courtesy of Emma Lewisham.

“On our Instagram, we use older models, and we show that they do have pigmentation and lines on their skin, but they look confident and they’re really happy and comfortable in it. I think the more we can expose people [to real skin], the more a realistic standard [will be established].”

And, in the light of humanness, don’t expect to see anti-aging propaganda stamped across Emma Lewisham packaging.

“We don’t use that term. There is a place to help people have a very good version of their skin and there are products that can help prevent collagen breakdown,” she says “But there’s also a place to champion a realistic image of beauty.”

So while the Supernatural Blemish Serum has achieved strong clinical results on acne in terms of prevention and repair, it’s worth recalling Lewisham’s thoughts concerning when she feels most beautiful, when using the serum yourself:

“[Beauty is] feeling I’m in my very best version of my skin and feeling confident in it. I don’t feel that it’s perfection. That’s the message that we champion and I feel really passionate about.”