Empowering skincareEthical Health & Beauty News & Features
This article first appeared in our Health Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 24 July 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Mainstream brands are racing to create beauty products that are more ethical; they want to appeal to increasingly savvy shoppers who are beginning to think as much about what goes on their body as what goes in it.
For Joanna Silva, founder of Elan Skincare, conscious beauty isn’t just about the ingredients and how they’re sourced: it is also be about female empowerment.
‘All multi-billion beauty conglomerates, with nearly 200 brands under their umbrella, are run by men – with no exception’, she tells us. ‘75% of their top management is male.’
Putting women first
Joanna set out to do things differently and bring a feminine perspective to beauty that would elevate, empower and nourish women. Her philosophy is underpinned by an understanding that beauty and wellbeing are intimately linked.
‘Your skin mirrors your lifestyle’, Joanna explains. ‘Even the most expensive creams won’t help if you smoke. You might have a healthy diet and a great skincare regime, yet if you are under stress then your skin will suffer. It is all interconnected.’
Looking after your skin is about looking after yourself, whether you’re applying body butters and lotions to treat or prevent dry skin or SPF to protect against sun damage.
‘In addition to diet, sleep, lifestyle and fitness, wellness is also about feeling good in your own skin and accepting who you are and how you look’, Joanna tells us.
Skincare can also be one of the rare moments women have only for themselves. ‘My aim is to build a women-led, independent skincare brand that is all about making women feel good about themselves’, Joanna continues. ‘It is about creating a skincare range that will be so pleasurable to use that you will want to introduce it to your daily self-care. It will give you joy. It will solve your skin problems. It will make you more confident to go for your dreams.’
Elan Skincare celebrates womanhood and femininity in all its forms, and takes an individual and personal approach. One-to-one, 30-minute online video consultations are available, for expert advice on how to get healthy, radiant skin in the comfort of your home. You can get guidance on anything from which ingredients to look out for to how to enhance your natural good looks.
‘We get to know our customers well – their skin concerns and their preferences’, Joanna tells us. ‘We make every single customer feel special and always strive to delight them. We take time to answer their questions, resolve their problems and advise on skincare. Our range reflects the love and care we have for women and their wellbeing. We truly care.’
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The science of skin
Before launching Elan Skincare in 2017, Joanna had a career in product development for the medical industry. She started in wound care before moving on to infection prevention and then skincare.
‘I spent a decade learning about skin – visiting hospitals and seeing different skin conditions’, Joanna tells us. ‘I also sought treatment for both of my kids, who suffered from eczema. Their skin problems made me more interested in natural skincare.’
Innovation is constant in the science of natural skincare; Joanna follows the developments in cosmetology very closely, regularly attending key cosmetics summits and symposia.
As a result, Joanna is constantly working on new products and experimenting with different actives. ‘We are now busy developing two body products and a facial cleanser’, she reveals, ‘and testing new, 100% natural ingredients that could replace synthetic silicones like dimethicone. It is exciting to see how much innovation is happening in natural skincare.’
Ethics are central to this natural and organic vegan skincare range. ‘When creating Elan Skincare, I paid a lot of attention to who we chose as our suppliers’, Joanna tells us. ‘I wanted to know where the ingredients were coming from, whether they were sourced sustainably and ethically and whether they had all the required technical documentation.’
When it comes to ethical beauty, Joanna feels transparency must come hand in hand with education. ‘I sometimes feel, when I confront the marketing claims on the label with the list of ingredients on the back, that the two have little in common’, she tells us. ‘The claims are often far-fetched. My background in the medical area makes me very sensitive to claims; I always want to look at the clinical evidence.’
To avoid greenwash, Joanna suggests we should all start shopping more locally and supporting small brands and businesses that have sustainability and ‘customers’ delight’ at heart.
‘Why are there more American and Australian cosmetics brands on shop shelves than British?’, she asks. ‘There are plenty of amazing independent beauty brands in Britain. There are so many fantastic products and companies led by passionate people who care and want to make a positive difference. Don’t listen to those who shout the loudest. Look around, ask questions, be curious – and you will discover a world of independent, mission-led businesses.’