In conversation with Darl' Skincare

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Born from a profound love for health, self, and skin, and driven by the need for genuine skincare that supports rather than alters, Darl’ presents three Australian-made products that balance, nourish, and protect your face, backed by science and eco-friendly packaging.

16 November 2023

We spoke to Josie Penn, co-Founder of Darl’ Skincare to discuss all things ‘skinlove’.

The philosophy of Darl’ emphasises ‘skinlove’ over skincare. How did this term emerge, and how do you believe it transforms the perception and treatment of one’s skin?

The skincare industry is full of buzz words like ‘anti-ageing’ and ‘instant result’, but we wanted to create products that have lasting future benefits rather than short-term fixes. We’re moving away from elaborate skincare routines and shifting the focus to skin health and ‘skinlove’ instead.

Grounded in ‘skinlove’, the result is a simple three-step routine with a trio of powerhouse products that work holistically to support the skin’s microbiome.

‘Skinlove’ emerged as a concept of ownership and empowerment in the health of one’s skin. Rather than putting all your trust in a product, we want the Darl’ audience to feel so confident in their skin that they can reject unrealistic skin goals and nurture their skin to optimal and vibrant health.

At Darl’, we exclusively use ingredients that enhance and maintain skin health. We avoid peels, scrubs, and strong preservatives that can harm the skin over time, focusing instead on gentle, nourishing ingredients to rejuvenate and achieve radiant, healthy skin.

With just three multi-skilled products, how did you distill the essence of skincare into such a streamlined range, ensuring comprehensiveness while also promoting simplicity?

After years of research, we’ve streamlined our products to offer everything your skin needs for your ‘Skinlove Routine’. Every component enhances your Darl’ experience. This is why our range is distilled to three essential Darl’ products; just add SPF.

Extensive, multi-step routines can risk sensitisation and irritation by overwhelming the skin with an excess of active ingredients and jeopardising the skin barrier.

Our waterless formulations focus on essential ingredients without fillers, aligning Darl’ with potent anhydrous Korean skincare.

Darl’s biocompatible range blends natural and safe synthetics that skin can process without irritation.

Water scarcity is obviously a pressing global issue. Your decision to produce predominantly anhydrous products is both innovative and conscientious. Could you expand on this approach?

Our waterless approach was fundamental to Darl’s philosophy.

As we know, water is a finite resource – research indicates that two-thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortage by 2035. We believe that everyone needs to think about how to reduce their water footprint and implement strategic ways to conserve water.

It’s fairly common knowledge that most skincare products contain between 70%-90% water with active ingredients making up the remaining 10%-30%. Waterless products eliminate the need for harsh preservatives that can harm the skin’s microbiome, essential for vibrant skin health. Just as antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome, skincare preservatives can damage skin health.

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You stress the use of both naturally derived and synthetic ingredients for maximum efficacy. How do you strike a balance, ensuring safety without compromising the holistic benefits to the skin?

The combination of both safe synthetic and natural ingredients offers the consumer the best of both worlds whilst also being safe for sensitive skin types.

Our biocompatible formulations synergise with the skin, avoiding irritation and allergic reaction. This blend enables us to create potent products with enzymatic antioxidants and a mix of traditional and innovative plant-based components that offer phytonutrients and prebiotic benefits.

I think it is important to remember that ‘synthetic’ doesn’t necessarily mean harmful. For example, our serum’s synthetic vitamin C is non-sensitising and shelf-stable, unlike many natural forms. Meanwhile, our cleanser primarily features rice bran and colloidal oatmeal—natural ingredients known for centuries for their skin-softening and hydrating qualities. Both have a relevant role in today’s skincare.

Being plastic-negative certified and partnering with eco-conscious organisations showcases your dedication to environmental sustainability. How do these collaborations enhance Darl’s commitment to a better world?

Darl’ collaborates with rePurpose Global, the world’s leading Plastic Action Platform, to offset twice the plastic waste we produce in our Cleanser, Serum, and Face Oil products. This initiative, including the Project Saaf Samudra in Goa, allows Darl’ to remove 530lbs of plastic waste annually, equivalent to over 122,000 pouches or 13,500 bottles.

With the beauty industry generating around 120 billion packaging units yearly and recycling just 9%, Darl’ recognises the environmental threat and is committed to being Plastic Negative. In an industry known for over-consumption, Darl’ focuses on innovative eco-friendly choices. Additionally, our use of glass packaging and refillable pouches was another key pillar in the brand’s efforts to limit its impact on the environment.

Our products are vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, and ethically crafted in Australia. We partner solely with suppliers upholding our values of respecting farmers, their teams, and the environment. This encompasses fair pay, employee welfare, and no child labour. Our products are made in Australia, using ingredients from ethical global farms without causing deforestation or environmental harm. Darl’s mission extends to meaningful partnerships with ethically and socially responsible organisations, advocating for sustainable industry change.

The refillable pouch design is an elegant solution to a pervasive waste issue. What inspired this innovation, and how do you envision its impact on the broader skincare industry?

Darl’ took nearly 3 years to develop before our launch in June 2023, and it’s encouraging to see refillable skincare pouches rise in popularity since then. Packaging waste is currently the primary challenge confronting the beauty industry. Implementing structural changes to reduce, reuse, recycle, and divert waste from landfills is vital, and embracing circular structures whenever possible is the most effective approach.

Providing skincare in recyclable pouches seems an obvious solution to reduce waste and our environmental footprint. We designed our primary packaging from durable glass that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional, encouraging users to refill their bottles year after year, and at a reduced cost.

Darl’ is the Melbourne-made brand taking the noise out of skincare.