Cleanser & Elixir

A couple of months ago, when we first met Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — we asked him which product he was most proud of. His answer? “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.”
We agree, so it made sense that our next interview with Pedro should focus on this first step in the TWELVE skincare regimen. Read on to find out what makes it so exceptional.

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Ayla: When you first started formulating the Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream, what did you set out to create, and why?

PEDRO: To me, cleansing is the most crucial step of the beauty routine, so I knew I had to create something not just functional and pleasant; it had to be mild yet effective. Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream was the product where I spent the most time doing the preliminary research. The idea to me was clear: the product had to give back to the skin some of the components that we strip away. It is the only cleanser rich in vegetable squalane, which is very similar to the squalene in our skin. I remember showing the cleanser to some lecturers at the University and other industry experts and they all asked, “Why do you use such an expensive ingredient in a rinse off product?” After several studies, I noticed that it minimized the harsh effects of cleansing. I am so glad I followed my instinct.

I declare myself a beauty binger, I buy so many different products and try them all…perhaps too many. I personally have not found any cleanser that leaves the skin so soft yet cleansed than the one I designed.

 

Ayla: What are the most common misconceptions out there about cleansers, in your opinion?

PEDRO: I do not want it to sound extreme, but I have seen many people treating the skin like pavement. Too much cleansing, too much exfoliation, overuse of surfactants (substances that create foam) that are all far too harsh. The fact is that the skin always suffers while cleansing. The mechanical effect of this process (rubbing, especially when using a cloth, no matter how soft) has a negative impact on the skin, so it is crucial to choose the right product. 

My favorite formulas are cleansing oils and creams. I would avoid cleansers that foam. I understand the clean “sensation” on the skin that makes them attractive, but they are way too aggressive.

Another misconception is that you achieve a "healthy glow" by deep cleansing and exfoliation. I have a customer I’ve known for years who is obsessed with cleansing and peels, and I remember her once saying to me, “Look Pedro, how my skin is glowing!” to which I replied, “Errr, It is actually burned.” (We are still friends, in case you wonder.) But the skin works as a barrier between our bodies and the environment, so the better the condition of our skin, the better the barrier will work — and the more protected we will be. The dead cells (corneocytes) protect us, and they flake off naturally. 

 

Ayla: We often get asked about the pH of the cleansers we carry. Is this an important thing to know?

PEDRO: I think it is a very valid question, as the pH of the skin together with its elasticity and hydration are the three parameters to watch in a beauty routine.

With this in mind, the value of the pH of the skin is just below 5. Although the skin can regulate the pH of its structure, it is better to use products around this pH. Some cleansers have higher ph values (pH = 7.5-8). The pH of the Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream is 5, because the skin enzymes, in charge of producing ceramides — essential components of the skin cells — work better at this pH.

 

Ayla: Tell us about the key ingredients in the cleanser. Why did you choose them?

PEDRO: Not only for the cleanser but for the entire range, my first criteria was to know and understand the safety of the every ingredient. This is why I favor some traditional ingredients that have been studied for decades.

With my botanical background, sustainability was another vital factor. In fact, my signature botanical extracts — white genepi, imperatorial leaf, mallow flower and butterfly bush — are treated as weeds in many countries, as they grow almost everywhere but they provide soothing, antioxidant, and moisturizing benefits. For this cleanser, I selected ingredients based on their chemical structure and therefore their abilities in binding and dissolving other molecules, known as polarity.

 

Ayla: We know you can’t reveal all of your secrets, but what is it about this one that makes it feel so perfect on the skin?

PEDRO: The secret is out there, actually. Part of my PhD was developing a method to create modern but safe skincare. This is why the entire TWELVE Beauty collection feels so different on the skin, as the preparation techniques are unique.

 

Ayla: Does the cleanser fully remove makeup?

PEDRO: Many customers use it as a makeup remover, which I guess depends on which makeup they use. Because the skin around the eye area has a different structure, I always recommend to avoid this delicate part of the face when cleansing, but I have heard from some beauty editors that it’s one of their favorite products for eye makeup removal!

 

Ayla: Do you suggest applying to dry skin or damp skin?

PEDRO: It works fine both ways, but I prefer to mix it first with a bit of water and emulsify it on my skin with a gentle massage. Rinse with lukewarm water, as too warm or even too cold can affect the skin by breaking capillaries. Water is an irritant to the skin, and the wrong temperature of the water can have a negative effect on the skin, so keep it lukewarm. If you use a washcloth, the softer the better…although I prefer to splash water directly onto the skin.

 

Ayla: After cleansing, should you always dry skin completely before applying the next product in your skincare regimen?

PEDRO: It is better to leave it a bit damp, especially if the next product contains humectants like glycerine or sorbitol — this will help to keep the skin elastic and moisturized.

 

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In case you were wondering: yes, the Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream is as perfect as it sounds. Buy it here — and while supplies last, you can get a full size of it free with your $95+ TWELVE Beauty purchase from Ayla, online and in our San Francisco studio.

And click here to get on our email list — Pedro plans to visit us frequently in San Francisco, much to our delight, and those of you on our newsletter will be the first to learn about his upcoming appearances. If you're not local, never fear: we’ll also announce opportunities to ask Pedro your own questions via email and social media.