TWELVE moisturizers

Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation. As one beauty editor put it, "What Pedro doesn't know about natural product formulation isn't worth knowing." In this interview with Pedro, we focus on moisturizers: what are the biggest myths about moisturizing, and how do the TWELVE moisturizers work together? 


Ayla: Moisturizing can be the toughest step to get right in a skincare regimen. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about moisturizing


1. “Combination skin does not need much moisture.” Very often, combination and oily skins are very dehydrated. Don’t be afraid to use richer textures instead of gel-based ones.

2. “Use an oil instead of a moisturizer.” The top layer of our skin is a combination of water and sebum (oil), so you need both elements to provide effective hydration. A moisturizing cream or lotion usually combines water and oil. You could also mix a few drops of a water based serum, like the Ideal Moisture Level or Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum, with an oil: this way, you’re feeding the skin with both of the main elements it needs.


Ayla: How would you choose between these two water based serums?


In the Ideal Moisture Level Serum, I included the highest possible dose of a skin-identical carbohydrate complex (saccharide isomerate, which is plant derived) that attracts water to the skin’s surface and binds it there for up to 72 hours. I suggest it for dry and mature skin, or young skin that only requires a bit of serum with foundation and does not like moisturizers. Makeup artists in London and in the US swear by it as a primer.

The Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum contains plant extracts with proven ability to reduce excessive sebum production. This is excellent for combination and oily skin, or those concerned about pore size. Many people use it underneath their favorite SPF products for additional protection from free radicals.

To both serums, I also added a substance derived from mallow along with other antioxidants that help the skin cells stay healthier. Everything is covered by a permeable film, created by the biggest molecule available of hyaluronic acid, which reduces water loss. These are both very high performing serums.


Ayla: Tell us about the other moisturizing products in the TWELVE lineup and who they’re best for.


-       The Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum is a powerful blend that not only minimizes hyperpigmentation and repairs acne scars, it is also my first choice for people who need a quick recovery after they neglect their routines. When I formulate, I always have stressed, reactive, and sensitive skin (“needy skin”) in my mind.

After using this for two weeks, you will visibly notice an improvement in skin’s texture and radiance. One customer wrote to me, “My skin is glowing as though I swallowed a light bulb.” But it hasn’t got any mica or light reflective particles — I do not like gimmicks!

-       Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser is a daily moisturizer with active ingredients that work synergistically to improve skin’s functionality and consequently boost skin’s ability to attract and retain moisture. Despite the fact that I do not believe the label “suitable for every skin type,” this tends to be a favorite across skin types and ages because it is formulated to be highly compatible with the skin.

-       Nutritive Repair Emulsion is a richer moisturizer for those in need of extra hydration. Its restorative properties come mainly from the wax collected while washing spent grain in Switzerland before it gets packed for the food industry. This waxy residue is extremely rich in pure linoleic acid, which is essential in epidermis regeneration. This is what I call sustainability!

-       Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil provides exceptional results that are very much in line with my philosophy to keep the skin healthier for longer. It replenishes key  lipids so the skin feels more comfortable and elastic, it firms the skin, and it is very soothing — so if you have redness or itchy skin, it works wonders. It activates incredible proteins like filaggrin (forget about collagen and elastin…they’re so last century), so people with dehydrated and acneic skin see an improvement very quickly. It is a universal problem solver! Its secret lies in its blend of unsaponifiable oils. These are nothing new in skincare, but they’re not commonly used as they are very expensive to obtain and difficult to work with. (Once I had the decided on every single ingredient for this oil, it took me two further years of testing to assess the stability of the formula.)


Ayla: How do you suggest layering these products?


The ideal order is:

1. Serum (water-based, like Ideal Moisture Level or Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum, or low-oil, like Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum)

2. Oil

3. Moisturizer

I quite like to mix two drops of the Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil with three drops of the Ideal Moisture Level or Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum as a “super serum,” then follow that with a moisturizer.



Intriguing, isn't he? Pedro will be joining us on May 5, 2018 for a free, don't-miss-it workshop on decoding ingredient lists and separating skincare myth from reality. It's an extraordinary opportunity to learn directly from this master formulator, and if you're local, we hope you'll join us. You can book a one-on-one consultation with Pedro that day, too! To reserve your spot, click here.