TWELVE formulator Pedro Catalá on his Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum

TWELVE Brightening Serum

Pedro Catalá — 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." One of the standouts in his across-the-board stellar line is his Brightening Serum, so we asked him to tell us how he made it so marvelously good.


Ayla: What prompted you to create the Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum?

PEDRO: Skincare science has made huge advances in treating dark spots, lack of tone and correcting dull skin, which can be major concerns to all of us — and many of the substances that exert a brightening activity are found in nature. Every day, new compounds found in floral extracts, leaf waters and seed oils are studied and some possess a powerful brightening and lightening activity. With this knowledge, I designed a botanical fluid to benefit the skin with necessary nutrients to counteract the deposits of melanin and to give a boost of healthy radiance to dull skin even for those with sensitive skin.


Ayla: How did you choose the combination of botanicals in this product?

PEDRO: I wanted to create a synergistic product that works in different ways to improve the tone and minimize excessive melanin. I made my choices based on the chemical composition of the plants, and much of the work was from a 5-year research project where I studied 56 plant extracts. Some of the key botanicals included in the formula are Yarrow, Heath Speedwell, Lady’s Mantle, Primula, and Buddleja Davidii Leaf Extract: very different plants but with a mission in common of boosting inner glow. They inhibit 5-alpha tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the excessive production of melanin. In a clinical study, this formula was applied to people twice a day, and a 28.6% reduction in the intensity of dark spots was observed after 6 weeks.

I should mention that this product is protective as well. For example, Buddleja Davidii Leaf Extract has been shown to reduce the DNA damage of skin cells by over 70%, making it an excellent ingredient to protect skin from UV damage. (Note from Ayla: still use your sunscreen!)


Ayla: We love the lotion-like texture of the serum. Why did you decide on that particular texture for this particular formula?

PEDRO: My approach here was to use a light texture that would allow me to add a huge amount of active ingredients. The Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum contains a higher-than-usual amount of botanical extracts that could potentially precipitate at the bottom of the bottle. Some of the active molecules presented better stability results if they were blended with waxes; for this reason, I selected three different waxes with different melting points as  a base to boost the formula’s stability and to enhance the sensorial aspect of the lotion.

It also works amazingly as a light texture moisturizer, which comes in handy during the warmer months.


Ayla: How do you suggest using it?

PEDRO: Apply it morning and evening with circular movements for 30 seconds. You can use it alone or combine it with a moisturizer or oil that is rich in linoleic acid or unsaponifiables — these are essential to regenerate the epidermis.



Intrigued by this magical serum? Buy it here  or in our San Francisco studio.

And click here to get on our email list — Pedro visits 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. 

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