We've been enthusiastic supporters of Dr. Macrene Alexiades and her 37 Actives product line since its very beginning. And we're delighted to now be one of the first retailers to introduce her updated product line, which includes new formulas, new packaging, and a new name — Macrene Actives. Here, she shares the reason behind the changes she made; as always, she impresses us with her thoughtfulness and thoroughness.
Ayla: What prompted you to reformulate your products?
Dr. Macrene: A decade ago, I was the first to introduce clean beauty that was also clinically efficacious. At that time, my products were made with USDA certified organic plant actives, and free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, propylene glycol, fragrance, mica, talc, petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, animal byproducts or animal testing — and they were packaged in glass, not plastic, and with recyclable paperboard.
But at that time, the industry was not yet ready to receive me with open arms, as almost all other products contained toxins and it wasn't much of a topic of discussion.
A decade later, the clean beauty movement has caught on and I felt the need to raise the bar even higher — in terms of both clean and efficacious formulations. I scoured all the no-no lists and reformulated my line to eliminate any residual ingredients that appeared on any banned lists and upped the number of actives to 50 per jar or bottle.
For example, I removed dimethicone — even though it is known to be a safe ingredient and actually is efficacious in conditioning the skin — and replaced it with olive extracts, with a nod toward my organic olive groves in Greece. I am systematically replacing my plant actives with those sourced from my own organic farm. My peptides have been re-sourced to eliminate any glycols. Finally, I am batching and filling with my own chemists and my own lab.
The end result: each jar contains 50 actives and is free of parabens, phthalates, silicones, gluten, acrylates, glycols, sulfates, fragrance, mica, talc, petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, animal byproducts or animal testing. It is vegan, packaged in glass and recyclable paperboard with biodegradable ink — no plastic. I consider it to be the cleanest, most scientifically active and clinically proven skincare in the world.
Ayla: Your farm sounds absolutely lovely! How do you think about using your own plants vs others in your formulas — do you first supply as many as you can from your own property, and then go to trusted outside sources for the rest?
Dr. Macrene: Yes, I founded my organic farm almost three years ago. I have grown over 50 varieties of organic botanicals with the main purpose to isolate new active ingredients and identify the active compounds in plants, to be the discoverer and provider of the new actives for the next generation. I shall also include as many of my own plant actives in the products as possible. Otherwise, I have a reliable USDA certified organic plant active supplier.
Ayla: What are the main differences in the formulas when compared to the original 37 Actives versions? Can you give us the highlights?
Dr. Macrene: Yes, here are the main changes —
High Performance Cleanser is acrylate and EDTA free
High Performance Face Cream / Face Cream Extra Rich is essentially preservative-free. I removed dimethicone and replaced it with olive extracts, and I added more plant actives. I also removed all glycols.
High Performance Lip Filler was already too good to tinker with.
High Performance Face Serum is now dimethicone-free; I replaced it with olive extracts, and I added more plant actives. I also removed all glycols.
High Performance Neck & Decolletage Treatment is now dimethicone-free; I replaced it with olive extracts, and I added more plant actives. I also removed all glycols.
Ayla: We love that you are equally committed to safety and efficacy. What new developments in skincare are you most excited about, from both standpoints?
Dr. Macrene: Mine is the only brand I am aware of that does post-market testing not only on safety but on efficacy. I tested my products for efficacy following manufacture to ensure that your last drop has as many actives as the first. This is raising the bar in skincare on the efficacy side to complement my work on the clean side. I hope to build out my lab and be the leader in organic plant actives and clean formulation and manufacturing for years to come.
About Dr. Alexiades: Macrene, who holds a BA, MD, and PhD from Harvard, is a Diplomate of both the American and European Boards of Dermatology and Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine. She runs a dermatology, laser surgery and research center in Manhattan and a lab-based skin care research company. Dr. Alexiades has numerous publications and discoveries in the fields of basic science, dermatology and laser surgery. Her practice and academic work are focused on topical dermatologic anti-cancer and anti-aging therapies, laser technology and skin rejuvenation. Learn more about Macrene’s impressive background here, and shop the Macrene Actives lineup here.
Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.