Interview with the botanical scientist behind the A'kin skin and hair care range | BigGreenSmile.com

Spotlight on A’kin

Here at BigGreenSmile we’re big fans of Australian brand A’kin. To find out more about the brand, what’s good for sensitive skin or scalps, which product suits women’s skin at different ages, and much more, we interviewed Annabelle Personeni, botanical chemist for A’kin. Here’s what we discovered:

1. Can you tell us a little about your background and why you love doing what you do?

Annabelle started as a botanical chemist, specialising in the purification of plant actives at the “Department of the Vegetal” at Yves Rocher in France. She realised early on the importance of quality plants and extraction processes in preparing products with the highest purity and potency for the skin and hair (we definitely subscribe to that).

Annabelle took a detour into a multi-national skin and hair care company (Johnson & Johnson), where she headed up the Asia Pacific R&D product development for Johnson’s Baby. This gave her valuable insights into mainstream cosmetics and a strong understanding of the importance of clinical research to prove the efficacy of the products!

Today, Annabelle is passionate about bringing the best of both worlds together to support A’kin. Based in Australia, she develops natural formulations that are kind to hair and bodies while making them radiate with a healthy glow.   

Fun fact: Annabelle develops her own skincare formulas for her teenage daughters (lucky them). Enjoys art and painting – and never drinks tap water!

2. Speaking as a scientist, why do you think it's so important for women (and indeed men) to use natural products on their skin and bodies?

Firstly, natural ingredients are more compatible with the skin than manufactured ingredients. This is because plant life mimics functions in the skin to naturally thrive. Not only that, we subject our bodies to so many toxins on a daily basis, using natural products is a great way of controlling and limiting the number we are exposed to overall.  

3. We have a lot of customers with sensitive scalps and skin, which of your products and beauty regimes do you recommend and why?

Sensitive scalps 

The scalp is an extension of our face, yet we pay much less attention to it. An irritated scalp can cause lots of discomfort and drive you to distraction. Annabelle recommends A’kin Unscented Very Gentle Shampoo for dry, flaky, red, itchy, and burning scalps. It’s great for men women, and gentle enough for children (even around their delicate eye area). Plus, it’s even effective on eczema-prone skin.

A’kin Unscented Very Gentle Conditioner is is a great scalp treatment and conditioner in one. It's the only conditioner Annabelle would recommend leaving on your scalp (try it for ten minutes as and when you need it). Akin has been researching this treatment in its labs and the results are incredible.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is often the result of a drop in omegas fatty acids. Moisture actually protects your skin from allergens in the air, so restoring hydration to the skin is key. A’kin’s Very Gentle Unscented Body Wash gently soothes and cleanses your skin while hydrating you from head to toe. It can also be used as shampoo for children! 

And now for some science …

Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine – which is derived from coconut oil - is used in A’Kin’s hair and body cleansers as a superior replacement for the commonly used cocamodopropyl betaine, which is present in most shampoo formulations. Although more expensive, A’kin believe the sultaine outperforms the betaine in mildness and effectiveness. 

Annabelle also recommends the A’kin Unscented Body Moisturiser as an after shower or bath treatment as a great way to prevent moisture loss. It is also effective in treating many types of psoriasis and skin itches and can be used during pregnancy to keep your skin supple whilst it expands!

A’kin’s Unscented Body Moisturiser contains Jojoba oil, which is Australian-grown and cold-pressed to ensure it retains all of the powerful natural antioxidants. Jojoba oil has been shown to effectively reduce fine dry lines and smooth skin throughout the day (sounds good to us).

A’kin’s Chamomile & Shea 24-Hour Unscented Facial Moisturiser is one of the cleverest products A’kin has. It delivers intensive moisture and hydrates the skin by 140% (now that’s huge) within just one hour, plus it stays in your skin for 24 hours!

The oils in this moisturizer are so concentrated in Omega Fatty Acids that penetrate through the layers of the skin quickly. A’kin also uses Echium oil (an effective anti-inflammatory remedy for sensitive skin ).  These ingredients help the cream to feel weightless so you can use as much or as little as you need.

4. What makes A’kin Pure Radiance Oil stand out from other beauty oils on the market?

  • the colour and intensity of the concentration (the dark colour shows just how concentrated it is!)  
  • how long its lasts (three years unopened)
  • the Co2 extraction method ensures no nourishment from the seeds is destroyed by heat
  • it contains over 80% Omega Fatty Acids
  • A’kin add rosemary leaf to increase the antioxidant levels which give you a longer shelf life
  • it's one of the best-kept beauty secrets there is, as the oil can be slotted into any existing skincare regime for improving the skin's radiance as well as healing, nourishing and protective properties.

5. What do you think makes [A'kin] different from other natural beauty brands? 

  • We use the highest grade materials in a concentrated form
  • We use Co2 extraction to process ingredients – this type of process is 4 x more expensive than cold processing, however, we do this to increase efficacy. For instance, when creams are put onto the skin this means they’ll absorb more quickly into and deliver instant results. Little is required and the effects can be seen for up to 24 hours from just one application.
  • Accessible price point

5. Skin needs different things at different ages - what would you recommend for women who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50+? 

In your twenties 

In this decade your skin simply needs to be lightly moisturised and kept clean so establishing your skin type and maintaining it are great places to start. Choose the correct cleanser for your skin type and moisturise daily  - use a few drops of Rosehip Oil at Night.

In your thirties

This is when the first signs of ageing tend to appear (boo). Use a good day and night cream and invest in a serum as prevention – again, A’kin Rosehip Oil is perfect for this.

In your forties

In this decade your skin needs plenty of TLC. Try Pure Alchemy Cellular Radiance Serum and revitalise your skin with A’kin’s Revitalising Anti Aging Range which can be effective at targeting pigmentation, skin tone, slacking in the skin as well as lines and wrinkles!

In your fifties (and onwards)

Try A’kin Purely Revitalising Brightening Day Crème to restore moisture to your skin daily.

6. What's your favourite A'kin product and why?

My favourite is the Cellular Radiance Serum – it’s the most effective treatment I have ever used on my skin (and my mothers) and it delivers instant results. A multi-purpose product, it fight the signs of ageing, can smooth the neck area and revitalise the tone of your skin (sounds good to us!).  

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