While it’s certainly important not to judge a book by its cover when it comes to choosing skincare, new brand RAAIE’s bottles are enough to turn your head at least. The smooth sculptural white vessels of the first two products from the new brand serve to do more than just look pretty, however; their opaque nature protects the active ingredients held inside.
RAAIE (pronounced ‘ray’) offers Morning Dew Vitamin C Serum, an antioxidant serum that promises brighter skin, and Yellow Moonbeam Retinal Elixir, a luxurious overnight treatment with encapsulated retinal, a Vitamin A derivative with clinical results to show it works 11 times faster than retinol.
After 15 years working in London, New York and LA, RAAIE creator Katey Mandy says on her return home her interest was piqued to the potential of native extracts and how they might add to the growing interest in clean, green skincare with proven benefits.
“New Zealand botanicals are unique in that they survive – and even thrive – under harsh UV levels,” she says, referring to the wild-harvested alpine rosehip, native marine sea algae, harakeke, kānuka and mamaku black fern that are included in RAAIE’s skincare. “Our ancient forest has evolved to protect itself by producing high levels of antioxidants, and these antioxidants protect and nourish our skin in the same way that they do for the plants.
RAAIE creator Katey Mandy (left) and a shot from the brand’s launch campaign.
Australia has had its moment on the world stage with ingredients such as kaduku plum, desert lime, and Australian clays – it’s time to move the spotlight to the incredible bioactives we have here.”
Mandy says it wasn’t enough to just brand her products natural, she wanted their efficacy to set them apart.
“Natural skincare is great but I think there is a consumer who is looking for something that is a bit more grunty – skincare that gets solid results. There have been incredible developments in the world of skincare science, so going down an all-natural route was never an option for me. I want the science on my face! For us, it’s about the best of both worlds: the finest natural ingredients backed up with the most effective scientific breakthroughs.”
As a result, RAAIE combines New Zealand botanical extracts with the latest in cutting-edge cosmeceutical science, like professional-grade Vitamin A (retinaldehyde) and Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B (niacinamide).
And up next? Tackling tricky to formulate mineral SPF, expected to land later this year.
“Our brand is all about the complicated relationship we have with the sun,’’ shares Mandy. “We adore her but she makes us look wrinkly and damages our skin.”
She wanted to launch with an SPF but was so fussy about getting the formula right, it didn’t quite make the cut. Says Mandy: “We have a stunning, light-weight, velvety mineral SPF coming … and it is so worth the wait!”