Probiotics and the microbiome have been beauty buzzwords of the past few years. Promising revived and nourished skin through the replenishment and support of the skin’s barrier, we predict that this is just the beginning for probiotic-infused skincare.
Creating microbiome-focused skincare before it was even cool was Gallinée and Dr. Marie Drago. With the entire brand’s core focus being on pre, pro and post biotic skincare—the labels may seem a bit intimidating but thankfully we had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Marie herself to clarify and guide us through this microbiome journey. She dives deeper into just exactly how the skin’s microbiome works and gives us the rundown on all we need to know about keeping the good bacteria on our skin happy.
Being one of the pioneers of microbiome-focused skincare, what is the most important message you’d like to get across when it comes to protecting the skin’s microbiome?
For me the most important step is always preserving what you already have: this can be achieved by using ultra-gentle cleansers, spacing time between shampoos, and scaling back on your skincare routine. Then it’s all about using a good amount of pre, pro and postbiotics to feed and stimulate your skin microbiome.
Could you help to explain the difference between pre, pro and post biotics and how they work to benefit the skin?
Probiotics are just another word for good bacteria. In cosmetics they are usually gently killed by heat. Prebiotics are the nutrient for good bacteria alive on your skin. I find it so interesting, as it’s really putting your microbiome to work. We use a lot of them in Gallinée products. Postbiotic is a new concept: a produce of good bacteria that has a positive impact on the microbiome. At Gallinée, for example, we love lactic acid: made by lactic acid bacteria and creating the perfect environment for your microbiome.
I really think it’s a prosper revolution in beauty: seeing your skin as a live ecosystem instead of just some kind of leather to oil. Pre, pro and postbiotics help support your skin and the microbiome, and fix a lot of issues on the way: preventing inflammation, inflammageing, rebuilding the skin barrier and also helping with disease such as acne and eczema.
What are some misconceptions about probiotics in skincare which you’d like to clear up?
The probiotics are not alive in the product! So you don’t need to keep the product in the fridge. The strict definition of a probiotic is indeed a live bacteria, but in skincare we use a version that’s been gently killed by heat. So it’s still able to stimulate the microbiome, but can be kept dormant in a beauty product.
Vinegar doesn’t have the best connotation when it comes to smell or taste—but what makes it so ideal as an ingredient in the Face Vinegar Toner?
I always found vinegar such a fascinating ingredient: in France, it is traditionally used on skin infections or in hair to make them super shiny. On skin the main molecule of vinegar, acetate, is great at purifying oily skin, and used in the right amount, is also great against irritations. It’s also a postbiotic: a produce of bacteria that can select the right kind of bacteria on your skin. I think it’s time to make vinegar a star! And I think we are on the right track, as our Face Vinegar toner is our best seller, we sold more than 100,000 units since its launch.
If you could choose only three products from Gallinée to create an ‘introductory bundle set’ what products would you choose and why?
The specialty of Gallinée is that we take care of all the different microbiomes on the body: face, body, scalp, mouth and even intimate hygiene. But if we just focus on face care, I would recommend our Foaming Facial Cleanser, perfect for a gentle face cleanse, even for the most sensitive skins. I’d follow with our Face Vinegar. It’s a toner with two patents, that soothe sensitive skin while still purifying pores. I’m quite proud of this one. And then our Youthful Face Serum is the perfect oil-free intense care, it’s lifting, firming and so light! But if you want to explore a bit further than the face, our Soothing Cleansing Cream for the scalp is the perfect companion: it allows you to soothe and calm your scalp, even if you wash your hair every day. And it’s great on dandruff!
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What product has been your most favourite to create and why?
Funnily, you get the most affection for the products that have been the hardest to create. So it has to be our Cleansing Bar. We developed a simple brief: the most gentle cleansing base, a pH that would be the same as the skin, a product that could be used for face and body – and even for people prone to eczema, and of course, a lot of prebiotics and postbiotics. Our lab samples were amazing, everyone said it was the best soap they ever used. We seeded it to a few influencers who adored it. And then… we could not manufacture it. Turns out, it was so gentle that it was a bit too soft, and could not be moulded. The waiting list started to build up, and it was a bit intense. Luckily, we found a way (after 6 stressing months) and now we even have a patent on this one! And even better, it’s really the best soap you’ll ever use!
Is microbiome-focused skincare the future of beauty?
I am a bit biaised of course, but yes, it is! It’s more than another trendy ingredient: it is really a revolution. For years we’ve been seeing skin as a leather to oil, and today we understand that it’s actually a living and breathing ecosystem to support and care for.