Simplicity in Skin Care

When you chat with Neada Deters, the founder of LESSE, she often emphasises the idea that less is more. From the uncompromising formulations that fill its essentials to the sustainable packaging and practices the company stands behind, the LESSE philosophy is guided by a minimalist approach that values simplicity, purity and efficacy in skin care. 

While Neada was leading an editorial team in New York City that covered the beauty industry, she struggled to find the all-natural solutions she was looking for to address her own chronically sensitive skin. It was clear, the industry was ripe for a new way of thinking about organic skin care. Fast forward a few short years later, and after extensive research and formula development, Neada decided to create her own line of essentials that supports, clears and elevates skin of all tones. LESSE was born and ever since has continued to slowly build out its line of products, staying true to the founding principle of the company—after all, LESSE is pronounced ‘less’. 

We caught up with Neada to celebrate the launch of LESSE at Incu, talk AM and PM skincare rituals and unpick the LESSE philosophy.

How did LESSE come to exist?

I was born and raised in Sydney but moved to New York in my early twenties, to pursue a career in media. Eventually, I was leading an editorial team and writing beauty features; which encompassed testing every product on the market and interviewing leading experts from around the globe.

Personally, I was struggling with chronically sensitive skin, cystic acne, and hyperpigmentation — but I couldn’t find the simplified, effective and all-natural solutions I was looking for. I decided to take my years of product and ingredient research as an editor, to create these essentials myself. 

Our first product, the Ritual Serum, was developed for those with inflammatory conditions: eczema, dermatitis, acne, and more. It had such a profound impact on my skin, and continues to be a favourite for those with sensitive and reactive skin. Once we saw the response to this formula from industry experts and customers, it was clear others felt that a simplified, organic, effective ritual like LESSE was missing too — and I have continued to slowly build out the line, guided by the philosophy less is more.

When did you start to get interested in organic skin care and beauty rituals?

Since a young age. I have vivid memories of my grandmother applying her creams and perfumes, and have always loved these simple daily rituals that bring you back to yourself. My affinity for skin care really started with sunscreen, which of course is such a central element of any Australian childhood. I was always conscious of applying sunscreen and that slowly lead to adding a cleanser, and then I became fascinated with herbal products from health stores as a teenager. It’s a thread that has been consistent throughout my life, and which I’m incredibly passionate about.

How is LESSE shifting the way the beauty industry thinks about skin care?

Our guiding philosophy is less is more. Our focus is consistently on creating what is essential to support, clear, and elevate skin — nothing more. We are focused on shifting mindsets about how much we need to create a meaningful ritual, and also on changing the way natural skin care serves all skin tones. As someone with brown skin, I struggled to find formulas that addressed my concerns such as hyperpigmentation — so all of our formulas do, naturally.

In a nutshell, what is your design philosophy?

Our design is centered on the experience, so we focus on calming hues of soft white and a pale, almost-grey blue. It is also informed by making more sustainable choices, such as using our recyclable glass (with no labels to make recycling these seamless) and our recycled paper boxes. 

When in your day do you feel the most still?

I love to take my time in the morning. I’ll go for a walk or to Pilates, spend an extended time eating breakfast while reading through the paper or a book, and then completing my skin care ritual.

What’s your AM skin care/self care ritual?

I drink a few glasses of water after rising, and then pour some coffee. I’ll take my dog for a walk and then read while eating breakfast. For my skin care ritual, I wash my face with cold water in the morning then apply the Regeneration Mist. I follow with a dropperful of the Ritual Serum, massaged in with our Sculpting Tool. Then I’ll gently press the Awakening Eye Cream under and around my eye, and allow that to take effect for a few minutes while I brush my teeth. I finish with the Every Tone SPF 30 and the Soothing Lip Balm.

What’s your PM skin care/self care ritual?

We usually listen to vinyls after dinner, and I’ll wind down with a novel. When I’m ready for bed, I wash my face with the Refining Cleanser. Twice a week, I’ll follow with the Bioactive Mask and allow that to take effect for twenty minutes before gently wiping off with a damp face towel. I finish with the Regeneration Mist, Ritual Serum, and Soothing Lip Balm.

What are you currently working on, and what can we expect to see from LESSE in the future?

We just launched our Every Tone SPF 30 here in the U.S. and in Europe, and it will be coming to Australia and other countries soon. It’s the first 100% natural, untinted, non-nano zinc oxide SPF 30 cream that blends into all skin tones. We spent four years on the development and were able to create our proprietary dispersion technology, which enables our formula to blend completely into darker skin. As someone with sensitive, brown skin, this is the sunscreen I have longed for my entire life — and an essential for so many.

Words by Peter Bain
Photography by Joseph Blair