LESSE's founder, Neada Deters, firmly believes you can’t rush perfection—or great skin, and that "Less is more."
The Beauty Minimalist: Neada Deters
Photo by Carolyne Lorée Teston
Scaling back on harsh ingredients isn’t exactly new advice, adds Deters, who routinely received this recommendation from “almost every beauty expert” she interviewed during her tenure as an editor. “Applying too many formulas depletes the skin barrier and leads to inflammation, irritation, and acne,” says Deters, who admittedly piled on products in her twenties in pursuit of a clear complexion. It was only after downsizing her skincare routine and making the shift to more natural ingredients that she noticed both immediate and long-term results.
“As an editor, I also understood how high the standard for formulas was to cut through the noise of such a competitive industry,” adds Deters, who never compromises when it comes to organic ingredients. “Using products formulated with non-organic botanicals means that farming chemicals were probably used in the cultivation of those ingredients, which is potentially harmful to both skin and soil.” To guarantee LESSE is putting forth Mother Nature’s absolute best, Deters recently made the decision to grow many of the brand’s key ingredients. “It means we can cultivate and extract botanicals for the highest efficacy, as well as ensure the vitality of our soil, which impacts the wider ecosystem,” she explains.
Delivering farm-fresh formulas straight to your face, however, is only one of the brand’s many sustainability initiatives. LESSE doesn’t dilute its products with water (one of the most common base ingredients in skincare) and the label-free packaging (a strategic decision made to keep bottles and jars out of landfills) is designed to minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
Our products are packaged in aluminium, which has the highest rates of recyclability. Or [they are housed] in clear or frosted glass, which has the second highest rate,” says Deters.
“Most people don’t realize this, but colored glass and post-consumer recycled plastic have very low rates of recyclability.” Plus, all the outer packaging is made using recycled paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and printed with soy ink.
After being inundated with products professionally and personally, it was important to Deters to quite literally clear the air and create some much needed breathing room in the beauty industry. For the self-proclaimed “perfectionist,” this meant breaking away from the system and launching truly indispensable formulas when they were good and ready. Currently, it takes LESSE two to three years before a product debuts. “Learning when to sprint and when to rest” is Deters’ biggest takeaway as entrepreneur, and thus far, setting her own pace has proven essential to winning the race.
Her proudest product moment: “Our Ritual Serum. It’s the product that transformed my skin, and we hear of so many people with chronic skin conditions—from eczema and rosacea to acne and blackheads—being able to transition off prescription skin care because this formula provides enough relief and support.”
Her good-skin secret: “Skin is impacted by so many factors, including location, climate, season, stress, and so much more. I highly recommend finding products that bring skin into balance and strengthen the skin barrier so that you don’t have to make major changes to your ritual when you travel or during a seasonal shift. I live in Los Angeles now but travel to New York almost every month and spend a few weeks home in Sydney every year. I increase my use of the Regeneration Mist and Bioactive Mask in dry climates or seasons. I’ll also increase my use of the Refining Cleanser when I’m in New York to combat pollution. In fall and winter, I tend to use a few more drops of the Ritual Serum for extra hydration.”
Her daily beauty ritual: “In the morning, I wash my face with cold water and then generously spray the Regeneration Mist across my face, neck, and decolletage. Then, I massage a few drops of the Ritual Serum into my skin with a gua sha stone, which really does make a difference. I’ll allow the serum to absorb while I brush my teeth and finish by curling my lashes and applying SPF, eyebrow gel, and lip balm.”
In the evening, I wash my face with the Refining Cleanser. Twice a week, I’ll apply our Bioactive Mask cold from the fridge and allow that to take effect for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a damp towel. Then, I generously spritz the Regeneration Mist and follow it with a few drops of the Ritual Serum massaged in with a gua sha stone. Finally, I’ll gently tap a couple of drops of the serum around the corners of my eyes and onto my lips before finishing with a swipe of lip balm.”
Her ride-or-die product: “Since the air in Los Angeles is extremely dry and I have been traveling frequently, I’m using our Bioactive Mask every few days without fail. It is so supportive when skin might be feeling extra stressed, and helps to prevent congestion and acne after wearing a fabric mask all day.”
Her biggest beauty indulgence: “This is more an indulgence of time, but I take a very long bath once a week. I’ll apply my Bioactive Mask, read a book, and just enjoy an extended moment of quiet.”
Her top drugstore discovery: “The one product I still go to the drugstore to buy is micellar water. I’ll travel with a mini bottle in case I need to quickly cleanse my skin in transit.
Her beauty icon: “My [maternal] grandmother, who was a beauty queen in the Philippines many decades ago. She still has incredible skin and cares for it with such reverence. She also taught me the importance of quality, the beauty of simplicity, and that wearing SPF everyday is essential.”
Her favorite escape: “I love to travel and I try to go somewhere new every year, but right now I am craving a week in Sicily. Our Regeneration Mist is essential for any warm or dry climate and it’s so invigorating after a dip in the ocean. The Ritual Serum also helps soothe inflammation, reduce the impact of UV, and provides the perfect amount of hydration.”
Her dream vanity raid: “My [paternal] grandmother, who passed away after battling skin cancer for 30 years on and off throughout my life. I wish I had the chance to raid her vanity in the 50s and add an endless supply of SPF to it. She and I were incredibly close. Her experience had a deep impact on me and it drove me to truly care for my skin. I have worn SPF every day of my entire life since I can remember, at least since I started to develop my own skin ritual around age 12. I’m crazy about it.”
Written by Amber Kallor