Pedro Catala of TWELVE Beauty at Ayla

We’re always very excited to introduce a new brand to you — even more so when it’s a brand that we’re introducing to the US for the first time; has considerable pent-up demand; and has a founder who’s also the formulator, because then we can ask all kinds of questions. TWELVE Beauty, our latest import from Spain, checks every one of those boxes. Beauty editors have asserted, “What Pedro doesn’t know about natural skincare isn’t worth knowing,” and after Pedro flew in from Valencia for a day to give our team an in-depth training on his products, we could see why. Read on to learn more about Pedro and TWELVE.

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Ayla: You have more training in skincare formulation than most brand founders — tell us about your background.

PEDRO: I come from a very small, rural area in Spain where everything was cured with plants (though not so much nowadays, unfortunately). I remember botanical remedies being such an important part of the community’s ethos. People used flowers, seeds, leaves, and stems to treat minor ailments such as insomnia or digestive issues. Sometimes people used plants to address even more serious conditions. I will never forget watching my grandmother collect a fern that she placed inside the shoes of a young girl, who was very sad after breaking up with her boyfriend. According to my grandma, having her feet in contact with the fern would make the girl feel happier and forget her ex-boyfriend more quickly. It was so fascinating, and we all felt reassured that everything we could need was in our mountains.

My upbringing inspired me to want to better understand medicines and gain scientific knowledge at university, so a pharmaceutical degree with a strong botanical and ecological orientation was the perfect option. After my degree in pharmacy, I did a 4 year postgraduate diploma in Botany and started working as a pharmacist in a private clinic in London. At that point, I wanted to apply my botanical knowledge with skincare. To better understand formulation, I got a Masters in Cosmetic Science and Technology at the University of Siena, which led to the longest but most rewarding degree — a PhD in Skincare Formulation.

 

Ayla: And how did TWELVE Beauty begin?

PEDRO: I have always been fascinated by plant extracts and their effect on the skin. Working as a pharmacist in a clinic for over ten years and listening to patients’ concerns made me realize that there was a need for serious, clean skincare compatible with the delicate composition of sensitive, reactive skin.

During five years of research, I identified twelve natural and organic extracts which I believe are essential for keeping the skin healthier for longer—hence the name. I cannot stress enough the fact that natural product formulation is a science, not an experiment. TWELVE is the result of my lifelong search to find the very best botanicals in the world, proven to transform even the most sensitive skin.

 

Ayla: What do you think distinguishes TWELVE from other brands on the green beauty shelves?

PEDRO: There are several reasons, but I think the main one is the fact that TWELVE beauty does not rely on an external chemist: I am the Master Formulator and I also truly understand how the ingredients I work with can help senstive, reactive, and stressed skin. I should also mention that, because of my botanical knowledge, I give part of my spare time to botanical conservation projects — it's a real passion.

 

Ayla: What was your first product?

PEDRO: It was the Rewarding Body Balm, which was inspired by patients undergoing radiation therapy at the oncology clinic I worked at in London. After their treatment, their skin was so reactive that some even had trouble getting dressed afterwards. The balm is still currently used in several clinics in Central London by complementary therapists. The patients themselves came up with the name, as they felt the balm was a reward to their skin — and they were the ones who pushed me to do more research on skincare.

 

Ayla: Which product are you most proud of?

PEDRO: That’s a difficult choice to make, but it has to be the Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream. I have tried so many different products on the market; some of them are exceptional, but I have never experienced anything like this cleanser. It works so effectively and gently, and subsequently leaves the skin feeling extremely soft and balanced. It is more a treatment than a cleanser. There is no other cleanser out there that gives the skin back some of its main components. In other words, it minimizes the damaging effects of cleansing. 

Two other products I’m partial to are the Hyaluroil Lip Treatment, which is so unique, and the Rapid Eye Treatment, which summarizes perfectly what TWELVE is all about — keeping the skin healthier for longer.

 

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Intrigued? Click here to shop the TWELVE Beauty lineup, and click here to get on our email list — we’ll announce opportunities to ask Pedro your own questions via social media and in person at our San Francisco studio!