This month we (virtually) sit down with náu Founder and Dr in Pharmacy, Anne-Claire Walch to talk all things career, skincare and her predictions for 2021, beauty and beyond.
What led you to studying Pharmacology?
Having a family of doctors definitely fuelled my interest in the world of medicine. I knew I had a scientific brain and I was curious to discover more about our body but didn't want to become a Doctor, so studying pharmacy was a good option for me.
How did pharmacology then lead you to skincare, in particular?
I've always been interested in beauty, fragrance and skincare. Pharmacology was a way for me to better understand the human body, its interaction with the environment, and comprehend its reaction to ingredients and why. While studying Pharmacology, I got the option to specialise in cosmetics and thought it would be a way to add a bit of glamour to my every day!
When did your passion for skincare begin?
My passion for skincare began at an early age. Watching my mother adorn herself with skincare and makeup made me realise the impact a good beauty routine had. As I began my studies, I realised that there was so much more to skincare and that the industry itself had a long way to go when it came to the quality of the products and ingredients currently on the market. I was fascinated by the process between our skin and the range of elements and active compounds that we can use.
Do you believe you can make your passion your job? How?
Beyond my interest in skincare and fragrance, my true passion lies in leading a project of my own. Together with my team, I believe that we can considerably improve the quality of the natural ingredients that products are made of and develop better products overall - this is our mission, that's what we are passionate about. To me, making our passions our job is just mandatory - we only excel at the things we love doing, and that's our only way to succeed. That's why during our recruitment process, my first question is always: 'what is it that you love doing?', I can only work when I'm passionate, we need to find the true passion that drives us!
What is your skincare philosophy?
I used to wear foundation or BB cream + blush to cover anything that I wasn't happy about with my skin. Since the first lockdown, I've learnt to listen to my skin needs, how it reacts to what I eat, the environment, and what it really needs to look healthy. I've realised that my skin needs very different things depending on my cycle, the temperature, or if I binge on chocolate and cheese because I'm having a stressful week, and so on. When it comes to my skin, I am a firm believer that less is more. I cleanse twice a day, and then apply the ingredient-based product that my skin needs the most, and always a nourishing overnight cream to wrap up the day and restore. For my hands, anything nourishing is a must at least 3 times a day in winter, and my body - that I tend to neglect - I try and remind myself to use body lotion 2-3 times a week.
What are the skincare ingredients you swear by?
Hyaluronic Acid! My skin just loves it, it's like a true swiss-knife and does all the things my skin needs.
Skincare - multi-step or a few key heroes?
Since I was a teenage I have always cleansed my skin with Cleanance by Avène - it really has been my holy grail!. I am currently loving our Regenerative Serum powered by Glycoin and Hyaluronic Acid, followed by any face cream, my face creams change depending on my skin's condition and need - sometimes I will use the our Clarifying Face Cream or the Age-Control Face Cream.
What does 'natural beauty' mean to you?
It's going to sound weird, but it's the same process for when I am looking for food. Where and how did they grow? How are they packaged? Where do I buy them from? I want the product development journey to be as transparent and clean as possible.
Talk us through your regular ‘self-care’ rituals.
My self-care ritual starts early on in the day, I wake up, get ready for the day and have a green tea first thing in the morning. Then I dedicate at least 40 minutes to exercise, have a quick shower, and by 9 am, I feel energised and ready to power through the day. Working from home and not being able to walk every day has been a significant change in my routine since lockdown, and exercising every day has really helped me stay sane!
What effect has lockdown had on your beauty/ritual routines? The good, bad and ugly? Any you’ll be carrying forward?
I'd say the realisation of the importance of well-being rituals. I'm a firm believer in the holistic approach of beauty - feel good to look good! Be it exercise, having a skincare routine, socialising, eating well... everything that makes our day-to-day more enjoyable, it all contributes to looking our best.
Your view on ageing - In the beauty industry in relation to products but also personally.
My grandmother was Vietnamese, and she had the most gorgeous skin up until she was 80 years old! I find that women with the most character are the ones that embrace life and ageing. I would always favour natural-looking skin - that said, I'll definitely be replacing my moisturiser by anti-ageing skincare when I spot my first wrinkles! Not to get rid of them, but to slow down the process a bit rather than any drastic invasive solutions. I think science creates many wonders nowadays and allows us to find solutions for people who don't feel confident in their own skin. Every one of us should opt for a solution that makes them feel good.
ON THE FUTURE
Yes, we’re in a pandemic. But what has been your silver lining of 2020?
Definitely, starting a new company with my wonderful team. 2020 couldn't have been a better year for me; it has brought so many achievements and lessons - more in 1 year than I have in a very long time!
Any predictions for 2021, beauty and beyond?
I'd say less make-up and more skincare. And most importantly, more conscious packaging and product development, to reduce the carbon footprint of every product we buy, without having to give it all up!
HIVE TAKE 5
LISTEN ? Generation XX, a great French podcast about Female entrepreneurs
WATCH ? So hard, I think I've watched everything that's on Netflix and Amazon Prime! My latest crush is The Queen's Gambit
LEARN ? Being aware of my weaknesses and constantly pushing myself to improve!
GO ? I've been stuck in France since lockdown so right now going back to the UK would feel exotic! Otherwise would really love to go to Mongolia
WHERE ? My handle is @annexclaire but I'm not at all a big social media user. I just use my account to spy on all the beauty brands out there!