It all began when Elizabeth Barbalich (Antipodes CEO & founder), armed with a biology degree and deep interest in both science and nature, was searching for natural skincare that offered the same benefits as prestige brands.
With an impressive scientific background, including playing a role in pioneering technology for laparoscopic surgery, Elizabeth was raising three children and on a family quest for improved health and wellbeing.
By combining her love and knowledge of science and nature, Antipodes was born – a cutting edge brand that’s good for both skin and the planet, but also gets results. Right from the beginning, Elizabeth was set on using pure New Zealand ingredients that were independently tested and scientifically validated.
Antipodes chooses to use clean New Zealand ingredients, partner with suppliers who align with its values, and retains its manufacturing in New Zealand. The business also has ambitious sustainability goals for 2023: 100% plastic-free packaging, 100% kerbside recyclable in New Zealand and Australia, and 100% traceable ingredients.
BeautyNZ caught up with Elizabeth to find out more:
Q. In the beauty industry, skincare is a key component of many salon businesses. As beauty professionals will know, the correct skincare regime for clients is essential. What are clients looking for today in a skincare regime?
A. Results. Efficacy is everything – clients want evidence that a product will do what it claims. Our customers are smart. They read the ingredients list and seek out information to fully understand what they are putting on their skin. They expect to have all the information at their fingertips, and rightly so. I’m incredibly proud of the independent testing that our products and ingredients undergo – it’s rare to find natural skincare with scientific backing. We are one of just a few brands internationally who strive to create 100% natural-origin formulations, that also achieve the all- important scientific efficacy, through independent in-vitro testing and clinical trials.
Q. Apart from skincare results, what other attributes are clients looking for?
A. A brand that shares their values, that is committed to minimising its impact on the environment. Since day one, sustainability has been at the heart of everything we do at Antipodes – we’re 100% family-owned and all our products are created and made in New Zealand. We source the purest ingredients to go into our formulations, which are all grown using sustainable farming, without chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. Our entire skincare range is certified vegan, vegetarian, or organic.
Our green ethos also spreads to our eco-friendly packaging. We’ve used glass and aluminium as our core packaging for 18 years. These materials are incredibly high quality – which is important to us as a premium skincare brand – but they have the added benefit of preserving the integrity of our formulas, they are fully recyclable and endlessly reusable. So from our perspective, these materials are superior to plastic in every way and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
On a more personal note, clients are more and more focused on skincare as self-care, taking a moment in their day to turn the application of their skincare into a self-care ritual. Each evening I always take the time to pause and take a few deep breaths as I massage in my serum and night cream, to soothe my skin and my soul at the same time. That’s why the sensory aspects of the range are so important to me – the fragrance, the texture, the feel on my skin.
Q. How has your background in science influenced your approach to developing Antipodes?
A. I studied biology at university, which helped enormously when I decided to launch Antipodes, because science plays a critical part in the development of every formulation. I started the business because I couldn’t find premium, natural skincare that was scientifically validated. I’m really passionate about uniting potent natural ingredients with independent scientific and clinical trials to create skincare that gives enviable results.
Q. What sparked your initial passion in the industry?
A. After I’d had my three children, I began paying closer attention to my health, and that included both what I put in my body and what I put on my body. I went searching for high- quality natural skincare that was free from chemical nasties, but I couldn’t find premium, natural products that offered the same benefits as the conventional skincare that I’d previously used, so the idea for Antipodes came from there.
I started mixing and testing skincare formulations in my kitchen, and soon found some excellent local ingredient suppliers that we still work with today – for our avocado oil, kiwi seed oil, manuka honey, and Vinanza® Grape extract, which is a byproduct of the Marlborough wine industry. At that stage Antipodes was just me, so I was travelling up and down New Zealand, trying to convince stores to stock my products, and then training the store staff myself.
Q. What were the first products to be developed and how has the brand evolved?
A. Antipodes’ very first product was Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser & Makeup Remover. Combination skin is the most common skin type, so I developed a cream cleanser for both oily and dry skin. It helps balance oil, but it also nourishes the skin and doesn’t dry it out. It’s a beautiful soft cleanser and highly effective at lifting impurities, including eye makeup.
It’s also a brilliant morning cleanser to help remove excess sebum that accumulates on the skin overnight. Shortly after Hallelujah came Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream, Divine Face Oil, and Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream. Now, 18 years later, we are stocked in more than 40 markets worldwide.
Q. Is there a specific focus around Antipodes as a professional skincare brand and why?
A. Antipodes occupies a rare niche in natural skincare. Our unique difference is the focus on scientific validation, such as the gold standard: in-vitro testing, which shows the ability of key products to stimulate collagen and protect from oxidative stress.
Q. Has there been any change in product development around mature skins and what does this mean for the professional therapists?
A. The core products in our anti-ageing range are scientifically proven in-vitro to stimulate collagen production in human fibroblast skin cells. Our hero product, Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream has our most exceptional result: boosting collagen by up to 92%. We have an exciting new release for mature skin coming in early 2023 that will cement our position as an innovator in the natural skincare space.
On top of in-vitro or clinical testing, our new products also undergo in-vivo trials – impartial feedback from independent testers who trial a product in their own homes for several weeks, and then leave objective feedback, which reveals a product’s most significant features. Together, this scientific testing gives therapists the ability to target specific skin concerns much more accurately, and to be confident that a client will see the benefits.
Q. What are your summer skincare essentials?
A. As the seasons change, so does our skin – in the hotter months skin can become more irritated, more blemished, more dehydrated, and more prone to signs of ageing. The two new probiotic products in our Calming & Clearing range can help: Flora Probiotic Skin-Rescue Hyaluronic Mask and Credo Probiotic Ferment Revitalise Serum.
Extensive research went into the creation of the range, which features a world-class probiotic called Kalibiome. Flora features a strain specially formulated for sensitive skin, while Credo’s strain focuses on rejuvenation, to address blemishes and wrinkles.
Flora is a twice-weekly mask, dermatologically tested, to de-stress and freshen skin that is sensitive or inflamed. It is cooling and soothing, and an ideal skin-recovery mask to reduce any redness or discomfort following salon treatments.
Credo is a daily serum that features high-tech fermented ingredients (kombucha, bamboo, and plant hyaluronic) to target breakouts and signs of ageing, to reveal skin that is calm, clear, and healthy.
Q. What is your personal favourite product?
A. The one Antipodes product that is always in my handbag, on my desk, on my bedside table, and in my bathroom cabinet is Ananda Antioxidant-Rich Gentle Toner. I have dehydrated, sensitive skin, and the 100% natural formula is wonderfully soothing. It’s also great for a quick spritz through the day over makeup, to keep my skin calm and hydrated. I can’t live without it!