Become skin care brings its unique brand of Down Under beauty to the U.S.
By Joanna Cosgrove
Rooted in the belief that “where there is balance and harmony, there is beauty – inside and out,” Become skin care takes a holistic approach to countering the effects of aging by combining ingredients such as “rare herbal extracts, aromatherapy, color therapy and gemstone extracts” to deliver beautifully balanced skin. A professional-grade skin care range, Become was developed by award-winning chemists and tested in Australia, home to one of the world’s harshest environments, to ensure that they’ll perform in any condition.
Launched in March 2007, Become is comprised of 18 SKUs (soon to be 20 when two new body launches debut for the coming holiday season).
“From a formulation perspective, we absolutely come from the platform of this being a professional grade cosmeceutical line that works at a cellular level,” commented company founder, Stephanie White, who conceived of the Become line six years ago after spending nearly 20 years developing and managing brands for big name beauty houses like Clarins Paris and Estee Lauder.
Prior to launching, the products spent the past two and a half years undergoing development and in-home consumer testing. The products were developed under the careful scrutiny of Ms. White’s hand-picked Australia-based research institute that’s staffed with an internationally-sourced team of bio-scientists and chemists.
Ms. White said the idea for Become was based on the simple premise of developing “transparently honest” products that deliver the benefits they promise. “That whole idea of a magic formula in bottle has become a huge ridiculous fantasy … that was fine when we were less savvy, but in the last 30 years the top skin care houses and the internet have helped us educate the consumer a lot more about the ingredients in these products,” she said. “I’ve found that we’ve all become very savvy about what we want and we’re getting a little fatigued by the top houses that say, ‘Madam you need to spend $100 if you want to affect your skin,’ and the women will spend $100 but then find it’s a little like buying a new shampoo – you’ve got lovely bouncy hair for a week then the next week it’s like every other shampoo, except this time you’ve invested $100.”
Each of the Become products is formulated with globally sourced ingredients. “Australians realize that we’re a tiny country far away from everywhere else so by nature we are great travelers with a broad world view,” said Ms. White. “We see the world market very clearly and consequently source ideas and materials from it. We will go where the best ingredient are. For instance, the best aloe is out of Texas.”
The products were also heavily tested in Australia – a country renowned for its tough climate...and consumers. “
Australians are a very demanding first world consumer group. It’s like putting New York and Los Angeles consumers together in one country,” explained Ms. White. “The products, because the climate is so tough and the consumers are so demanding, have to be more robust.”
Backed by Science
The clever use of unusual ingredients is what makes this line most distinctive, something Ms. White attributes to her formulators efforts to “achieve a balance between the comfort of natural ingredients and the reassurance of science.”
Among the line’s globally sourced ingredients is Australian Daisy. “It’s a great hydrator and healer, with fantastic antibacterial attributes,” said Ms. White. “Aging skin is constantly under attack so having a healing element to the line is critical.”
The Night Cream is formulated with Resurrection Plant, a skin nourisher that grows in the Baltic States in a harsh, dry environment. “It’s got a prolonged clinical death state and when it gets a little bit of water it resurrects back to life and develops into a flowering plant,” said Ms. White. “The plant is capable of drastically changing its characteristics and it’s exactly what this ingredient does for the skin.”
“We could add ingredients like straight iron and copper but they don’t impart the same benefits as the gemstones,” she said. “Hematite is incredibly rich in iron and has been clinically proven to be a strong rejuvenating agent in support of collagen building. Quartz extract is a great pick-me-up for the skin, energizing tired and stressed skin while strengthening elasticity.”
Some of the gemstones used in the formulations are sourced in Australia, but the become team also worked with California-based Dr. Michael Katz authority on the therapeutic uses of gemstones. “I’m not into hippie stuff, I’m into stuff that has hard core scientific results behind it,” explained Ms. White. “I don’t include pearl extract because it looks good on the label. We ran tests on our eye cream with and without the pearl extract and the uplift was substantially different with the pearl extract.”
The cornerstone of each of the Become products is nano-, bio- and peptide technologies, which essentially means that the ingredients are rendered into superfine particles to speed absorption and benefits to the dermal layers. “Rendering ingredients into small, fine particles is expensive, but it works as sort of a fuel injection system,” said Ms. White. “For instance our spray toner isn’t wiped off like most toners, rather it’s seeped into the skin within 20 seconds. And our serum, which is formulated with sodium hyaluronate and quartz extract, acts like a funnel, helping the day creams and night creams more effective by drawing them deeper into the dermal layers.”
The line also eschews fillers like tap water and silica in favor of ingredients that offer a specific benefit. “Instead of tap water in our toner, we use aloe to deliver a shot of soothing moisturization. It’s also a great ingredient to suspend DMAE in, an FDA-approved brain ingredient taken internally but used topically for firming the skin,” commented Ms. White.
Become products range in price from $19 to $59 for individual products. They can be purchased through the company’s website (www.becomebeauty.com), but are primarily directly sold through “Home Clinics” that are geared toward demystifying aspects of a product’s formulation and use. “There’s an arrogance in the industry where it’s assumed all women know what a free radical is, or an anti-oxidant or a peptide. Home Clinics not only educate women but they also help women to understand how to use the products correctly,” she said. “We put out products in measured doses because most women have a tendency to overuse their skin care products. Metered dosing adds value to a product because it helps the consumer get more out of it.
“Some people look down their noses at direct selling (in contrast to selling at retail), but it’s a channel that’s growing,” concluded Ms. White. “Home Clinics give women the chance to increase their income plus access to great products in the company of friends.”