Lucy Vincent Marr is a renowned beauty icon in New Zealand who has truly mastered the art of luxury natural beauty with her brainchild, sans[ceuticals]. As you’d expect, the products are made ‘without’ all of the nonsensical things such as animal testing, synthetic colours and fragrances, sulfates, silicones and the A to Z of petroleum-based chemicals. However, not only does it slot neatly into the clean beauty column, sans[ceuticals] provides performance-driven formulas housed in sustainable packaging with flawless minimal design and the result is something incredibly desirable. It belongs to a very small niche sector in the world of beauty that thrives off cheap petrochemical fillers.
Lucy’s journey started at the mere age of fourteen when she was offered an apprenticeship at Vanity Fair Hair Design and became responsible for the weekly blowouts of the local Nelson women – “it was all hairspray, perms and shoulder pads in those days, with many a cigarette puffed under the dryer,” she says. In this issue of M2woman, we talk to Lucy Vincent Marr about the cult-brand that every picky beauty aficionado is positively shocked by.
What sparked your interest in natural products and what was the pivotal point that made you veer your career into the green beauty industry?
When I was thirteen, I was given a book called ‘The Herb Book’ by Arabella Boxer. It soon became my bible. It was a 70’s-style book on how to grow your own herbs, their nutritional value and medicinal benefits, how to cook and heal with them, and how to make skincare. It is a book that has influenced me profoundly as it is a blend of everything I do today.
In 1995, I became ill and started to research ways to heal and transform the body through natural and alternative methods – methods that also support the body and immune system long term, rather than singularly treat disease. This opened up a whole new path for me; looking into what we eat, how we consume, what influence we can have through voting with our wallets. It’s been a long and interesting journey.
In 2007 I started to develop sans [ceuticals]. This was born out of a frustration of not being able to find pure, natural, results driven products, that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable. During development, I also spent a lot of time with a dear friend who is a biotech scientist carrying out exciting research in the field of cancer. The more I learned how ingredients and cells work, the more I desired to create a product that was good for both our bodies and the environment, whilst actually delivering results.
I was working closely with a couple of dermatologists so I really got to understand the skin at a fundamental level. I wanted products that could have a noticeable effect on skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Because of my background as a hairstylist, I also wanted to create high performance hair care that had the ability to repair damaged hair. Doing this naturally has been something of a challenge with haircare but I believe we have finally achieved it.
What are your opinions about the current beauty industry and standards, and how do you think it should change?
Today, more than ever, people are editing and curating their lives and physical appearance in a way that is totally idealised through the lens of social media. Life can be tough, let alone without constantly being bombarded with unrealistic messages of perfection.
With sans, I have always tried to generate imagery and content that is honest and warm and fosters a sense of connection; inspiring confidence, rather than self-judgement or feelings of alienation.
Thankfully, there are some great brands championing this towards a healthier and more positive representation of women.
Scientifically, how does sans[ceuticals] work and what is its point of difference compared to other natural products?
Science is the springboard from which we create. Working with experts and using ingredients that have solid studies behind them is key. We take clean, naturally derived ingredients and then dial up active ingredients such as vitamin A and niacinamide to really deliver results.
Sustainable practices are more important than ever for our future generations. What kind of measures do you ensure as the founder of a leading natural luxury brand?
Protecting the planet is one of our highest priorities. Our manufacturing processes were developed in consultation with a Professor of Environmental Science to ensure environmental soundness of our ingredients and packaging from creation to post-use. Throughout our design process, packaging is consciously kept to a minimum and this philosophy is taken right through to the design of our products – each formulated to be multifunctional, requiring less consumption and waste. We’re not perfect but we are continually learning and reviewing our systems to see how we can do better.