Two decades after cofounding Ren Clean Skincare, Rob Calcraft has returned to launch his new skin-care brand: Cultured. With a primary goal of protecting and repairing the skin, Cultured has touched down in the skin-care world at the perfect time - when barrier protection is at the top of people's beauty priority lists.
"I thought my skin-care days were over," Calcraft told POPSUGAR. But his interest in science led him to Ed Yong's book I Contain Multitudes, which explores the roles of microbiomes and bacteria. "Following many years of research into the benefits of a healthy microbiome and countless formulations later, Cultured and our Biomecare product category was born."
The initial launch comprises three products: Biome One Serum ($65), Biome One Cleansing Balm ($38), and Biome One Mask ($56), each with the promise to "repair, protect, and renew the skin." Active ingredients used include inulin (chicory and agave acting as a counterpreservative "ensuring the microbiome remains strong and diverse"), postbiotic lactococcus ferment (to stimulate epidermal growth and accelerate skin self-renewal), symbiotic black-tea ferment (which has antiglycation properties to fight free radicals), and potassium azeloyl diglycinate (an azelaic-acid derivative to help with hyperpigmentation) - to name a few.
The first thing that'll draw you into Cultured is the quirky packaging. "The packaging design, believe it or not, started from an interest in pop art and Ben Day dots, those you see in Roy Lichtenstein's [work]," Calcraft said. "The grid shape also came from Piet Mondrian's designs, and it slowly morphed into how you see it today."
"Following many years of research into the benefits of a healthy microbiome and countless formulations later, Cultured and our Biomecare product category was born."
Not only is it quirky, but the brand has also weighed the pros and cons of each packaging element (because there is no current beauty-packaging solution that is perfect) to be as sustainability conscious as possible. The primary packaging is 100 percent recyclable glass and spray-coated with environmentally friendly water-based paint. FSC card and paper are used, and the ink is soybean-based. The brand doesn't use single sachets and supports the ban for them in personal care. Calcraft knows that when it comes to sustainable practices, though, there is always more to be done. "The advances in recyclable- and recycled-plastic technology are significant, and we are constantly on the outlook for better packaging solutions - our goal is to eliminate virgin plastic componentry by 2025."
I've not been using the products long enough to give thoughts about my mid- or long-term use of them, but having tried them all out a number of times, I and my rosacea-prone skin are very much into them. The products aren't fussy, nor do they feel particularly fancy (that's not to say they aren't expensive, though), which is my favorite kind of skin care. My skin feels hydrated, cleansed, and never tight or dry. Like many probiotic skin-care products, the serum doesn't smell great; to pinpoint, it smells like a carpet shop. So if you're into that sensorial element of beauty, you might want to layer with some of your favorite fragranced products. For me, this doesn't matter too much. Often, I like my skin care to get the job done, which I feel Cultured absolutely achieves.
Cultured is available to buy on Cult Beauty's website.