L:a Bruket: ”Biotech is the progressive continuity of innovation within natural beauty”
Co-founder Mats Johansson shares how to merge natural skincare with biotech — and predictions on what the future holds within this industry field.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
October 19, 2022
Skincare brand L:a Bruket is the story of how a creative artist and an entrepreneurial brand developer made a carrier shift and turned their focus to nature and how it could be used for skincare treatments, selfcare, health — and pleasure. Married couple Mats Johansson and Monica Kylén escaped Stockholm and ”the corporate corridors” — to use Johansson’s own words — for a life on the west coast of Sweden, in Varberg.
— It’s a part of Sweden that we knew well since before and where we wanted to create a new balance in life between urban influence and a closer relation with the sea, lands, and forests that surround us, Johansson says.
”While natural resources are limited, biotechnology offers infinite possibilities”
Being close to nature, he continues, has been the backbone of La Bruket, making conscious choices about the ingredients. The new face care line merges natural skincare with biotech ingredients, proving the capabilities of nature in advanced skincare formulas. La Bruket also goes further with the Cosmos certification — allowing full transparency and a strong guarantee of the naturality of both ingredients and production mode.
You’re most known for natural skincare and are now adding biotech. Which of those two do you prefer?
— We do not see ’natural’ and ’lab-grown’ as opposed, we believe biotech is the progressive continuity of innovation within natural beauty. The next wave of eco-designed cosmetic innovation will be coming from the fusion of nature and science, to find the best solutions for skincare while ensuring the restoration of the resources. Biotechnology is part of those solutions. It’s a valuable tool for us to recreate specific properties found in living organisms, such as coastal plants, algae, and trees, that are ultimately beneficial for skin health. While natural resources are limited, biotechnology offers infinite possibilities. It has undeniable benefits and preserves biodiversity, says Johansson. He continues:
— The main one is to be able to cultivate living without ever putting pressure on nature. The multiplication and production in the lab environment preserve natural resources by reducing water consumption and land space for farming. It is particularly interesting for resources with challenging renewability, cultures with low-yield crops or negative social and environmental impact. Additionally, it opens opportunities for vegan alternatives to powerful ingredients. It is the case with vegetal Hyaluronic acid from wheat fermentation, offering enhanced moisturization and better ageing benefits versus the standard animal derivate. As an example, for the face care line, we’ve sourced Algica, a bioengineered ingredient that’s sustainably produced, has multiple benefits, is highly functional, and efficient. It is moisturizing, anti-pollution, and balancing.
— The lab environment of biotechnology allows easier control, for a reliable prediction of quantities and quality of the raw material. Such consistency in quality is usually dependent on weather in traditional farming so it’s definitely an interesting complementary resource regarding current climate variations recently observed. If this approach can be part of paving the way for the industry to turn in this direction, it is great.
The mentioned face care collection aims to offer health-boosting, premium, and sustainable skincare.
— After having experimented with organic and natural ingredients for 14 years, we have brought together a collective, led by our R&D department, to challenge the norms of the industry and combine our botanical expertise with the sharpest and latest biotech development. Our research has led us to find new and rare bio-tech-developed molecules, with scientifically proven results, that work to powerfully improve the skin’s cellular ecosystem. We combine it with pure natural ingredients inspired by the Swedish landscape surrounding us with traditionally renowned active ingredients. They form unique molecular associations that improve skin health while ensuring optimal tolerance. The whole point is to stay loyal to our core values even while developing really ground-breaking natural skincare.
— The result from the almost 3 years we have put into this is a range with seven products that are used in five steps as a short routine with long-lasting results. It begins with double cleansing with the Essential cleansing oil plus the Mild cleansing gel and finishes with the moisturising Protective fluid and Regenerating cream. The formulas work in-depth on cell restoration and regeneration mechanisms for healthy radiant skin, over the long term. It is 100% COSMOS-certified, made in Sweden, vegan, dermatologically approved, and gender-neutral.
”Biotech has the ability to create a circular value chain”
What will see in the future of biotech?
— It’s definitively an opportunity for the cosmetic industry, with the willingness to give back to nature what we took from it. Science, and biotech as part of it, should serve an ultimate goal: the restoration of the resources with a climate-positive impact. We are already seeing a lot of experimenting with fast-growing bio-ingredients, brought forward with new technologies, having interesting properties and circular production processes. I mentioned Algica and it’s a great example of this approach. The production process of this microalgae is circular and inspired by nature. It absorbs carbon dioxide, cleans water, and produces a valuable organic by-product. Nutrient-rich wastewater from a nearby fish farming constitutes the food for the algae. When they grow, microalgae consume the nutrients, and the water is cleaned. The clean water can thereafter be transferred back to the food industry while the by-product remaining after Algica extraction — organic algae biomass — is used as soil fertilizers and feed, says Johansson. He continues:
— Biotech has the ability to create a circular value chain with traditional farming and push the boundaries towards an even more sustainable production process and resource management. We believe that this is only the beginning and new ingredients will be designed. It is very promising and certainly the way forward, but the big question is how fast these developments will be available on large scale. Areas we see coming next in the radar of biotech include the perfume technologies, for vegan, natural and powerful scented compounds; broad spectrum natural and ocean-friendly sun protection; and eco-designed and biodegradable packaging, says Johansson. He adds:
— Next year, we will continue to elevate skincare with new technologies for our upcoming innovations, for face care and body care. We will also continue our social work to preserve our local ecosystem and Swedish biodiversity as initiated this year with Forest Pledge, the first charitable commitment through which we support a program to protect ancient forests, with the Naturarvet association. We’re also now getting a lot of international exposure and interest, especially in Asia, where customers are showing a huge interest in our natural and organic skincare. We are expanding our international distribution through a qualified network, to share our Swedish philosophy and approach worldwide with the opening of more than 10 customised points of sales.
— The main benefit of biotech is to be able to cultivate the living without ever putting pressure on nature.
— Biotech has the ability to create a circular value chain with traditional farming and push the boundaries towards an even more sustainable production process and resource management.
— Next on the radar of biotech: the perfume technologies, for vegan, natural and powerful scented compounds; broad spectrum natural and ocean-friendly sun protection; and eco-designed and biodegradable packaging.