‘I’m passionate about the pursuit of healthy skin rather than “perfect” or “flawless” skin’Natasha Dauncey, Founder & Owner of Apothaka®
Once in a while you come across a gem, that is how I feel about Apothaka. After browsing the skincare collection for some time I purchased The Comforting Cleansing Oil (now on my second bottle!) and have not looked back since. Natasha’s knowledge and what truly benefits our skin it is second to none! I was delighted when she took the time to share with us the story and more behind Apothaka.
Tell Us A Bit About Yourself!
My name is Natasha and I’m the sole owner / founder of Apothaka®. I live in Hertfordshire with my hubby and daughter. I’m passionate about the pursuit of healthy skin (rather than “perfect” or “flawless” skin), and achieving this with a simple but carefully-curated and effective routine.
As a brand owner I feel I have a responsibility to tackle the misinformation and fear mongering about skincare ingredients that persists in the beauty industry, particularly in the “clean beauty” space. For me, being ethical isn’t just about the impact on the environment and on people, but also about how brands market their products and how we engage in conversations about skincare – with honesty, transparency and built upon knowledge from reputable sources.
Tell Us A Random Fact About Yourself!
When I’m not busy working on all things Apothaka I love to dance a variety of different styles (you name it, I’ve probably tried it!) – it’s my way of keeping fit without feeling like I’m exercising! I’m also still a little obsessed with doing nails / nail art but I don’t get as much time for that these days!
How Was Apothaka Born?
Apothaka® was born out of a frustration with my own skin and finding products to suit it. After years of having clear, unproblematic skin I started experiencing acneic skin in my late 30s. The multiple products I used only made my skin worse as they were harsh and stripping. I started researching ingredients, bought a few and started experimenting with my own blends. Initially I made things for myself, then friends and family. When they asked me for more and offered to pay I thought there might be the seedling of a business idea.
I undertook courses in product formulation, cosmetic regulation, and then a level 4 CIBTAC in advanced skin science more recently to further cement my knowledge. Coupled with having worked for the pharmaceutical industry for years in research, I felt I was well placed to offer a unique perspective on skincare. Although Apothaka® started out as an exclusively plant-based brand, it has evolved with my expanding knowledge to combine the best of what nature and science have to offer in order to support healthy skin barrier functioning, as well as respecting the environment. My formulations are unique, simple and effective.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge For You To Overcome?
The biggest challenge (and bugbear of mine) has been tackling the misinformation and myths around ingredients in skincare, and the resulting fear that has been created. Much of this comes from the “all or nothing” philosophy around ingredients amongst many clean beauty brands, and a false belief that exclusively natural products are better for skin and environment.
The reality is that it’s far from the truth: whether an ingredient or product is safe/suitable (or effective) for the skin has absolutely nothing to do with whether it comes from nature or if it’s synthetically produced in a lab. You can get highly irritating ingredients that are natural, and ones that are synthetic. We tend to have more data about a lot of the synthetic ingredients used in cosmetics as they’ve been studied more over the years. Also, the term “natural” isn’t regulated, so it’s a bit meaningless as a focus for marketing.
With any ingredient there is always a degree of processing needed to make it suitable for cosmetic use – it can be refined or processed so much that it no longer resembles the original ingredient! That’s why my focus is on choosing ingredients that support overall skin health – where they come from is irrelevant. For me, formulation is paramount and that’s what can make or break a product.
Furthermore, it’s entirely possible to combine “natural” and synthetic ingredients to produce extremely highly effective and non-irritating formulations – I don’t believe it has to be one or the other! The other consideration is that natural ingredients can have a very significant environmental impact. This is compounded when certain natural ingredients become “trendy” as it puts huge demand on those ingredients. Plants and trees already have a hard enough time due to climate change without us adding to the issue by harvesting ingredients that are in short supply.
As an example, the price of essential oils has increased dramatically in recent years. Much of this is down to climate change which has affected yields of oils, but it’s also down to the increased demand on essential oils – much of which is driven by the clean beauty industry. Unfortunately the fear-based dialogue has led to a lot of dubious claims and labelling of clean beauty products which only serves to confuse consumers mistakenly believing that clean beauty is the better choice. Long lists of “free from” ingredients, use of terms like “no toxins/ nasties”, “preservative-free” or “free of synthetic preservatives” are not only misleading, in many cases, they could be dangerous! Who would want to use a product that’s potentially full of bacteria or mould on their skin??
Which Product Are You Most Proud Of?
That’s a tough question as I’m proud of all my babies! But if I had to pick one, it would be Barrier Support Serum. A gorgeously hydrating water-based serum with 5% niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and ceramide complex, I created this unique formulation to support skin barrier health. If your skin barrier is functioning optimally it will be healthy and hydrated, and less susceptible to irritation. Furthermore, it will allow for a more simple routine as your skin will function better itself. It took over a year to develop and several iterations over that time, but I’m over the moon with the finished product. It’s been extremely popular with my customers too so I’m clearly not the only one that loves it.
What Has Been Your Pinch Me Moment?
That’s a difficult question too as I’ve had several! When I initially launched, I had planned to sell only in the UK (I didn’t for a second think there would be much demand for my products outside of the UK!). But after a number of enquiries about shipping internationally early on, I decided to open up shipping and getting orders from all corners of the world was a real pinch me moment! It’s also really special to see repeat orders from regular customers and I’m fortunate to get a lot of those too.
Finally, the lovely messages I get from customers who take the trouble to write to me, telling me how much my products have helped their skin are also amazing to read and they spur me on to keep creating products which address their needs. Having a truly fragrance-free range means I have a lot of customers with problematic/reactive skin and knowing I’m able to help them, especially when their options are limited, is such a wonderful feeling!
You Have Won So Many Awards which One Has Stood Out For You The Most?
I think my first award will always hold a special place in my heart – that was back in 2017 – the Beauty Shortlist Editor’s Choice Award for my Rejuvenating Face Oil. I had only launched Apothaka® a few months prior to this and wasn’t sure what people would make of my products. So winning this was a really proud moment, but it also instilled more confidence in me – driving me forward to develop more products.
What Are Your Plans For The Future? Any exciting News To share?
My intention was to have a very focussed range that would allow customers to build up simple routines with just a few products but also provides a bit of flexibility for different skin types / needs without feeling overwhelming – it’s a careful balance! So next in the pipeline is a gorgeous hydrating essence – by no means essential, but a great step for those with dehydrated skin who benefit from light layers of hydrating products. Also planned is a gentle, non-stripping cleansing gel and a gentle enzyme exfoliant. The emphasis is on gentle as I really believe we need to be kind to our skin and not put it under too much stress
You can purchase Apothaka skincare directly from their website. Find out more in my SOS Recovery Hand Cream and Nail and Cuticle Oil Review.
Have a lovely week, Sarah xx
No affiliate codes have been used in this post. Images provided by SimplySarahJayneLoves and Apothaka.