We spoke with Ross Macdougald, founder of the innovative Biologi, about his world-first skincare product.
Ross, an industry chemist who has been developing plant-derived extracts for cosmetic products since 2012, was frustrated. He was frustrated because of the low levels his serums were being used in the commercial products for which they were intended. So, what did Ross do, you ask? Ross created the first skincare company to provide a 100% active single ingredient, organic plant serum. That’s what Ross did.
What made you start Biologi?
I spent my 30-year career formulating for some of the biggest global skincare brands, many of you may have used some of these products on your own skin.
Over this time I became frustrated by the misleading, false & deceptive marketing claims made by these big name brands, so I set out to find a better way.
I investigated clinical studies that were showing the nutritional benefits of the raw food movement and this provoked my thinking; would the same nutritional benefits apply to the skin if we extracted the pure plant nutrients from it?
After 7 meticulous years of research and development, I created an extraction technique that kept the plant extract nutrients stable and alive. Through this discovery, I was able to capture and bottle the world’s first ever natural stabilised vitamin-c. So when the product is applied to your skin with potent levels of phyto-actives that operate inside the bottle, as if they are still inside the plant, it detoxifies the skin (some people may experience a breakout), before it starts to repair and rejuvenate.
When I took the samples & research to the multinationals, they wanted to add other ingredients. so it fit into their financial modelling. Adding other ingredients to the extract we knew would have killed the phyto-actives inside the product, so I started Biologi.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I’ll hand this question to my finance & Biologi’s Managing Director Lucy Kuper.
The great thing about Biologi is that it simplifies your skincare routine. Cleanse, exfoliate and apply Biologi, that’s it.
Right now, I’m loving our Bqk Radiance serum I’ve secretly been using it for months and now I can tell everyone about it! I’m using a Konjac Sponge to cleanse and lightly exfoliate my skin and apply a light make-up from Ere Perez.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Biologi is built on results, trust & transparency. We are in a clouded market place of products that tell you what you want to hear, but due to the formulation often means the end-product product either no nothing or make the condition worse. One of the biggest challenges is that due to no regulation brands get away with diluting the actives down to 0.2% which is the fundamental marketing campaign message that drives sales, but at such a low level it doesn’t actually do what the label claims – brands do this to save money.
Regulations are so weak especially in Australia brands get away with using ingredients that are actually harmful to the skin, to bulk up the volume, often adding fragrance (a known skin irritant) to hide the evidence.
Biologi are working hard to educate people so they can make informed choices when it comes to selecting skincare.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’ In the scope of Biologi, who made your products? Can you tell us a bit about them?
Biologi are different in every way possible, even in our production
The great thing about Biologi is that we curate the entire process. Our raw materials wholesale business Plant Extracts delivers the extract to our retail brand Biologi. We have a dedicated team of Australian Native experts who sustainably source our ingredients from the Byron Bay Hinterland, Broken Hill, and North West region of WA.
Why did you pick the ingredients that you have chosen to work with? Can you explain more us about how your serums differ from others?
We wanted to show people the power of Australian Native plants, there is so much rich bio-diversity in Australia, some native plants don’t even have names or perhaps they did, and have been lost over time. It was important for us to use plant material sourced from our own backyard. We have Fingerlime and Davidson plum growing in our backyard so we started there, then looked at the Kakadu Plum and recently the Quandong.
We also chose plants that can be sustainably sourced, the Fingerlime & Davidson Plum is sourced from the Byron Bay Hinterland, where the grower practices, best farm sustainable practice.
The Kakadu Plum is wild-harvested from Northern WA & North Western NT, and the Guangdong is sourced from growers in remote regions of SA & Broken Hill.
The reason we are different from any other products is simple – we have only 1 powerful plant ingredient!
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is “ to take chances and always trust my gut instinct” and I got that from Ross!
What’s next for you and Biologi?
Products, products, products…We’re focused on releasing more products showcasing the powerful native plants Australia has to offer. We’ve just launched the new Bqk, that targets pigmentation and I can tell we have more to be released soon.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
Kate Morris founder of Adore Beauty highlights the continued gender inequity, she is definitely a Mover and Shaker in our industry and she’s just stocked Biologi on her platform, so she is invested in Clean Beauty as well, we’re thrilled to be working with her!
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