Products kindly provided for review by Less
The recent trend for minimalism is an interesting reaction to the consumption culture of our time: among vloggers excitedly presenting their “hauls”, there is a counter-movement in favour of doing more with…less. Taking their cue from this stripped-back approach, Less is a refined organic vegan skincare brand with a radically reduced product range. Based in Germany, Less is described as the world’s purest and most concentrated skincare company. Their vegan skincare range comprises just three products, each made with no more than five ingredients; using just water, clay and oil, the skin can be effectively cleansed and moisturised. less aims to keep the skin’s natural barrier as intact as possible and to gently repair it through minimal yet highly effective care.
Suitable for both women and men, Less’ skincare products are vegan, cruelty-free and blended in small batches. A key philosophy of less is that the products are plastic-free in order to help protect the environment. All of the packaging is made of natural materials such as glass and uncoated cardboard.
Dr.David Scherf, founder of Less, tells us more about the products and the brand.
“I realised that every time I asked someone with beautiful skin about their care routine, the answer was that they were using very little. I found this quite interesting as it was the opposite of the ‘more’ philosophy that skincare companies advocate (more products, more ingredients, more applications etc.). I wanted to learn more about the functionality of the skin – after all, nature is known to have come up with the protective layer, made from lipds and sweat, which seals moisture inside and prevents outside pollutants from penetrating. The goal of effective skincare should be to keep this natural mantle as intact as possible, which means that any treatment should be reduced to a minimum and aimed only at carefully supporting the skin’s natural self-regulation. I was not able to find a skincare brand that was consistently and convincingly oriented towards reduction (even reputed ‘minimalist’ skincare brands that would often offer more than 30 products). So I went on to develop Less.
The aim was to radically pare away everything that is unnecessary and potentially harmful – that is, surface-active agents, because they destroy the skin’s protective mantle, and preservatives, fragrances, or essential oils, because they irritate the skin. And, in principle, to question any ingredient that is hard to pronounce.
Surface-active agents are used to dissolve lipids or to mix oils with water, which is why they are contained in virtually every shower gel, shampoo ad beauty cream. Everything that contains water (again, almost every skincare product) needs to be conserved, because solutions with water go bad very quickly. So, to keep the products free of surfactants and preservatives, it was important to find a solution where water would first be added for the actual application. The result of my search was a special washing clay for cleansing and a mix of selected pure plant oils for the treatment of the skin.
To develop the face oils, I researched and investigated the fatty acid compositions and the chemical analysis of dozens of oils to find out which oils would provide the right combination of rich and moisturising care. Then I tested different oil mills to identify those with the best quality for each oil. At last, I studied which combination of the oils of the different suppliers would provide the best overall result.
The washing clay is imported directly from the mine in Morocco. The face oils are produced in Hamburg, whereby I purchase the individual plant oils from the world’s best certified-organic oil mills.
Plant oils help to balance the skin by supplying it with all the vitamins and fatty acids it needs to regain its natural protection. When applied to clean, wet skin, the oils mix with the water and are absorbed by the skin, allowing it to become hydrated, balanced and conditioned. Although the ingredients in the two face oils in less’s range are similar, each formula is slightly different in order to meet the needs of either oily or dry skin. Both contain jojoba, apricot, grapeseed and hemp seed oils, whereas the one oil for dry skin additionally contains avocado oil. The oily skin oil gently moisturises without feeling greasy, and the dry skin oil is slightly richer, leaving the skin feeling deeply hydrated. Using both on combination skin is the ideal way to ensure each area of the face is treated correctly.
The Ghassoul (pronounced “rasul”) clay is an ancient ingredient found only in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. When mixed with water, Ghassoul can be used to cleanse the face, body and hair, dissolving dirt, excess lipids and other impurities.
To use the Ghassoul clay, you mix one to two scoops with twice the amount of water, then leave the mixture to soak and cool down for three minutes. Without rubbing, spread the mud onto wet skin and hair, leave for a few minutes then rinse off. Using the clay can be a little messy, so it is best applied in the shower. It leaves skin and hair feeling fresh, soft and smooth.
The packaging and design of the products are the epitome of minimalism; simple yet stylish. Minimalist skincare can sometimes feel a little basic and boring, but less proves you can definitely have products that are both ethical and luxurious, and most importantly, highly effective.
To find out more about Less (see what we did there?), click here.
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All photos by author