Over the last few years, it’s felt like there’s been no end to the successes of the natural and organic beauty industry. Brands are launching and developing at lightening speed rate and these days ‘green beauty’ means a whole lot more than a DIY formula made in someone’s kitchen. However, for us, there have always been a handful of well-respected individuals who have truly pioneered in the market from the very early days. Lucy Marr just happens to be one of those people.
Lucy is the founder of go-to Glasshouse brand Sans [Ceuticals] - a highly effective range of potent, multi-use products for skin and hair, made using the finest quality botanical ingredients. She started her career as a hair stylist, launching her first salon with her partner in Auckland when she was just 24. Stephen Marr is still one of New Zealand’s most well-respected salons, with three sites and two skincare clinics under the brand’s belt. These days, Lucy is firmly at the helm of [Sans] Ceuticals - developing formulas that bridge the gap between science and nature.
“Sans [Ceuticals] was born from a frustration of not being able to find pure, natural, results-driven products, that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable” explains Lucy, “When I was studying to become a hairdresser, I fell in love with trichology - a medical and cosmetic study of the hair and scalp. I also spent a lot of time with a dear friend who is a biotech scientist carrying out exciting research in the field of cancer. The more I learned how ingredients and cells work, the more I desired to create a product that was good for both our bodies and the environment, whilst actually delivering results.”
Results are confidently at the center of every Sans product. Each ingredient has been picked for purpose - whether it’s sustainable ground bamboo to gently slough away dead skin cells or powerful vitamin E for treating scarring and stretch marks. The word ‘Sans’ (translating to ‘without’ in French) also hints at the ingredients not used in Lucy’s formulations.
“The skin is our largest organ and absorbs about 70% of what is applied to its surface,” she says, “To me, that’s more than enough reason to be conscious of what and how much we’re applying to our bodies. All our ingredients are pure and sustainable, with no unnecessary harmful additives for our bodies or the environment.”
What we love about Lucy’s attitude is that her ethics extend to so much more than just the products she wants you to fill your bathroom shelves with. A New Zealand native, she’s used to feeling connected to the land and nature in a way that perhaps us Brits aren’t so well accustomed to. For instance, her approach to food and drink mirrors her approach to hair and skincare, with “less” certainly meaning “more”.
“I avoid anything processed, only because I love cooking, I love gardening and I really prefer food in its natural state” Lucy tells us, “I generally start my day with a green juice of cucumber, green apple, spinach, ginger and lemon and I do love my spice. I also enjoy a good glass of Pinot Noir in the evenings!”
As if running a global beauty business wasn’t hectic enough, Lucy’s busy home life bringing up her two boys (Billy, 13 and Jonny, 11) has taught her the importance of switching off, zoning out and remembering that work can always wait. “I no longer work in the evenings like I used to which I find really helps to maintain a healthy work/life balance” she says, “For me, finding your own centre of gravity comes from what makes you really happy and grounded - family, cooking and gardening are key.”
Part of Sans [Ceuticals] success hasn’t just been down to what lies on the inside of the (100% recyclable) packaging, but the brand aesthetic as a whole. Beautiful, ecological and a minimalist’s dream; purchasing a piece of Sans is as much a design-led statement as it is a cosmetic one. Their signature neutral palette reminds us of the land and earth Lucy feels so connected to, and the use of biodegradable ingredients and vegetable inks for printing all make for a brand that intertwines style, substance and ethics - which is no mean feat.
It’s rare to find someone with such a holistic approach to life that also has a natural skill for the nitty gritty of running a business as well. Keeping the two well balanced is an “ever-changing beast” explains Lucy, particularly when it comes to juggling kids and running a company. “Just when you think you have your systems down, the whole game changes” she says, “Constantly having to remember things, not drop the ball and keep the well-oiled machine that is life moving - while dynamic and interesting, can be really taxing at times.”
It’s a balancing act many of us are familiar with and Lucy’s openness on getting it right (and it easily going pear-shaped) is refreshingly honest. With some exciting developments and expansion for the Sans brand expected in the near future, we’ve got our eyes peeled for more products at the cutting edge of the natural beauty industry. In the meantime, we’re taking a leaf out of Lucy’s book and surrendering to life’s twists and turns with her healthy can-do mentality and maybe a glass of Pinot Noir…
Words: Lucy Vincent
Images: Holly Sarah Burgess for An Organised Life