You’ve all had long careers in the beauty industry. How did this help with the launch of Elixseri?
Alicia: During all the years we have spent in this business, we have learned what not to do. There are some activities many brands undertake that we know are just not going to help our brand or get us close to our customer. So we will avoid these.
Faiza: We understand the skincare customer and what she craves. We also understand that there is a lot of marketing hype in this business. For example, certain ingredients can do more harm than good. We let science lead us and we are not swayed by trends.
Marina: We can see how our products transform our customers’ skin.
How did you create the brand and what inspired you to work on it? Would you introduce other products apart from serums?
Alicia: We know that serums are the future of skincare; they are the most potent of all products and will penetrate deepest, providing the actions that give the best results. And thanks to our technology, we can create high-performance serums that are also clean and natural, which means better skin health.
Faiza: Serums are the most technologically advanced treatments for the skin. The size of the molecule dictates how deeply the ingredients will penetrate and at Elixseri we will only work with the smallest molecules. At the moment we have no intention of creating anything other than serums, as we are serum experts. That is not to say that you cannot have a cleansing serum, a serum mist ‒ and a serum for every part of the body.
What’s your desert island product?
Alicia: For my skin, Elixseri’s Rescue Diver and a hat. For my sanity, a really good long book
Faiza: Rescue Diver, our hydrating serum, and an Yves Saint Laurent mascara
Marina: I can’t travel without our hydrating serum Rescue Diver. It’s like drinking water.
What is the process of coming up with a new product? How long does it take approximately?
Alicia: We worked on our products for two and a half years, but we needed some additional time to tame the Alpine Crystallised Light Water that serves as the basis for all our serums. No one has ever created cosmetics with light water, so the learning curve there was important. On average, we can probably go from brief to the finished product in 18 months, depending on how innovative it is. In some cases, we tested over 50 versions of a product before being satisfied. And we will always be this demanding. That’s why our serums are exceptional.
Do you have a favourite product from your line?
Alicia: Rescue Diver
Faiza: I love to layer my serums so I would hate to choose.
Marina: Opening Act is a must-have. In all my years as a skin therapist, I could never find this level of deep exfoliation combined with treatment.
What’s your personal favourite ingredient when it comes to skincare?
Alicia: I love Arabian Cotton meristem concentrate. I think that this ingredient has magical powers. I love our ferments as well, especially mangosteen.
Faiza: I think that many of your readers will be surprised to learn that most collagen comes from bovine sources. I was delighted when our scientist proposed using marine collagen, which is now my favourite ingredient and is 99% compatible with our own collagen. And it gives fabulous, visible results.
Marina: From our range, I am a big fan of the Swiss bio-engineered cone snail toxin. It’s proof that biotechnology is the future, and with this line-smoothing ingredient a little bit goes a long way.
Do you think consumers are now more interested in ingredients and what goes into a product?
Faiza: Customers are absolutely more interested and therefore more educated about what goes into their products ‒ and that is a great thing. But it can be a challenge to cut through the marketing and understand the science. For example, many brands tout high concentrations of ingredients as if the higher dose will make a bigger difference. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact this could possibly cause more harm than good.
Alicia: I am so pleased to see the degree to which customers research the ingredients that go into their products. There are preservatives and other ingredients used in personal care products today that were invented in the 40s and 50s. We simply have better science today, so our expectations should be higher.
What’s your make-up routine like?
Alicia: 10 to 15 minutes. I don’t need much for the complexion or base (thanks to our great serums). But I find myself spending much more time on my eyes than before.
Faiza: What routine? Living in London I actually spend more time cleansing at night than applying in the morning. I literally have four products in my arsenal: a Nars concealer, a BareMinerals bronzer, YSL mascara and a Dior deep red lipstick.
Marina: Depending on my mood, I have several looks. But in general I like to wear sophisticated make-up and always be camera-ready.
Any skincare favourites from other brands?
Alicia: I love masks. Sisley’s Express Flower Gel and Masque Eclat Express are two of my favourites.
Faiza: Eve Lom cleanser and Aromatherapy Associates bath oils for silky smooth skin.
Marina: Dermalogica Pre-Cleansing Oil and the entire Verso Line; I like to work with a little amount of retinol.
How about skincare available on the high street?
Faiza: Bioderma Micellar Water ‒ and Epsom bath salts for detoxing.
Alicia: La Roche Posay hydrating cream cleanser and Weleda body lotion
Where do you shop for clothes? And beauty?
Alicia: I am a loyal Yoox customer and I love to go to London or Paris to shop.
Faiza: My absolute favourite place to shop in London is Aimé in Notting Hill. It is a must. Ask for Vanda, the best stylist and dresser in London.
Marina: My clothes seem to find me … I find special pieces wherever and whenever I am in the mood to shop.
Do you cook? What’s your favourite meal to make? And favourite restaurant to eat at?
Alicia: I enjoy cooking for dinner parties, when I can make really big meals. But I don’t like to cook every day, so I am lucky my husband helps out. Every time I come to London I make Faiza take me to Masala Zone to get my fix of Indian street food.
Faiza: I do cook but I find it very tedious. I am teaching my children to cook so that they can take over. In London, I would highly recommend Mazi for Greek food, Orjowan for Lebanese and Six Portland Road for an amazing wine list.
Marina: I don’t have kids so I am not obliged to be in the kitchen. My boyfriend loves to cook, which is great … And sometimes I really like to experiment with traditional Serbian dishes.
You’re now being stocked in London by Selfridges, which is amazing. What’s next for your brand?
Alicia: We have a pretty well-defined growth strategy that focuses first on Switzerland, France, UK and Germany and then expands internationally. But we always look at opportunities case by case.
Faiza: Our philosophy is only to open those accounts that we can support with regular training and promotion. Our close-to-customer philosophy depends on that.
Marina: I will be focused on training the skin therapists who handle the brand. We have even developed our own Elixseri serum facial.