I founded Emma Lewisham with a single purpose - to make a meaningful difference in the beauty industry.
For me, achieving a meaningful difference means setting a new standard in skincare; proving that luxurious, high performing skincare doesn’t have to come at a trade-off to women’s health or the environment. Emma Lewisham is for women who want high-performing results from their skincare, without the compromise.
The seeds of Emma Lewisham were sown when I uncovered an ugly truth, a product I had been applying for a personal skin issue (hyperpigmentation) contained a known carcinogen. I was told by my doctor that I should stop using this product if I was trying to start a family or was pregnant. I thought, "If I can't use it then, why would I ever use it?" Further research into this product led me to uncover how unregulated the beauty industry is and that the last major changes were close to 100 years ago, despite credible research proving the impacts skincare can have on our health.
I learned that some of the ingredients in skincare include tyre lubricants and simethicone. They are not ingredients that deliver benefits to our skin. They're used to prolong the product's lifespan or increase texture. Once you learn this is what you're applying to your skin, you don't want to go back!
I went looking to replace my skincare with truly natural and safe alternatives, with efficacious and evidence-backed results - only to find it didn't exist. I was used to investing in high-performance, premium cremes and serums. Suddenly I found myself at organic health shops trying to find a natural equivalent, and I had the realisation that these products were not going to deliver the results I was used to. It became clear to me that natural, non-harmful ingredients came at a compromise to efficacy and evidenced-based results. This was a compromise we were forced to make.
I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the beauty industry. I took on the challenge to build an ambitious brand that could prove it was wholeheartedly possible to produce 100% clean, naturally derived and safe products that would be as effective, if not more so, than high-end cosmeceuticals. I wanted to prove to women they didn't have to compromise their health for beauty.
I built a team around me to concept the product, including three of the very best biochemists in the country. Together, we spent years researching and sourcing the most potent and proven natural ingredients from around the globe, including the latest innovations in the green skincare space. Eventually we launched our first line up of products that were 100% clean, natural and free of any harmful or suspicious ingredients, while being as effective as anything in the world, being proven to rival and outperform traditional brands. A breakthrough in beauty.
We developed our product line from scratch and approached natural skincare differently. We wouldn't compromise with using the synthetic preservative commonly used by natural brands in the industry, so spent 6 months cracking the natural preservative code. Instead of using 2-3 hero ingredients, we use up to 30 high performing natural ingredients at the highest levels of concentrations. We use no fillers, so every inch of the product is working to ensure we are delivering more results than ever before. We focus on quality and efficacy first and cost last - natural ingredients can be up to 16 times more expensive than synthetic ingredients, but this is the investment we make. We source and offer our customers 100% clean products (based on independent authority EWG's Skin Deep Database) containing ethically sourced ingredients. Emma Lewisham has banned over 1,400 ingredients that are deemed to be deleterious, or potentially harmful or irritating to the skin.
In the process of developing Emma Lewisham, we knew the meaningful difference we wanted to make was not just being clean and uncompromising to women's health - but also to the planet's. The Emma Lewisham brand embodies sustainability. Our ingredients are ethically sourced, we respect the community they come from and the biodiversity. We're passionate about providing customers with transparency, what we call "farm to face" and having a direct line to the farms we source our ingredients from, working with them to grow alongside us and improve how we operate together. We use recycled and compostable packaging, offer refillable solutions and take ownership for our products' end-of-life and ensuring they are diverted from landfill and kept in circularity.
Sustainability is woven into every part of our business, you will see it in every detail. It inspires us. We've proactively problem-solved sustainability issues with the beauty industry. 20 billion units of beauty packaging is produced every year, with the majority of it unable to be recycled through kerbside recycling. This was a revelation to me! Once I unmasked this, I couldn't turn a blind eye to it.
Emma Lewisham founded New Zealand’s first sustainable facial beauty initiative in June 2020. The Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle is a free, incentive-based recycling programme to ensure all New Zealand facial beauty products are given a second life – it is about rethinking the entire process of a beauty product’s lifespan. The Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle moves us away from a linear model, to a circular beauty model – sustainability is the ultimate luxury.
From the start, we have set an ambitious goal to be a zero-waste, 100% circular brand. I believe the future of beauty is a circular, never-ending closed loop system. We will always take ownership for what we bring into this world. We have a vision of no beauty brands' packaging ending up in landfill and the industry moving away from disposability.
Bottle by bottle, Emma Lewisham champions sustainable change and paves the way for its industry peers to reflect and follow, at the end of the day, it has to be a collective effort.