Lucy Vincent is the founder of Sans [ceuticals], a sustainable and performance-driven skincare brand based in New Zealand. We are in awe of Lucy’s vision, rooted in practicality, minimalism, and seasonality. We’ve also had the chance to try out some Sans [ceuticals] products, and loved how gentle and nourishing they felt on our skin (the Activator 7 Oil is an absolute favorite).
In this interview, Lucy tells us about relying on whole foods instead of supplements, her view on simple skincare routines vs. more complicated ones, her newly discovered, natural ‘internal moisturizer,’ as well as sustenance, exercise, routine, and much more.
— Is routine important to you or do you like things to be more open and free?
Routine is essential and for me a foundation on which I can be more free and open. Routine enables my company and family life to tick over in a sustainable manner and keeps chaos at bay. Having said that, it also provides a platform to be open and spontaneous as I would find it too suffocating if it was solely limited to that.
— Describe your typical or ideal meal for each of these:
Breakfast – green juice of cucumber, green apple, spinach, ginger and lemon. Poached eggs on seed bread with my homemade kasundi.
Lunch – I’ll do a bento box of cherry tomatoes, micro greens, cottage cheese with raw garlic and flaxseed oil on toast or seed bread.
Snack – I constantly sip herbal tea from 9-3pm (school pick-up time). Fresh fruit, 70% dark chocolate, nuts and more grazing on my lunch if I’ve made enough.
Dinner – I’m really into spice so a Thai or Indian curry with loads of vegetables. I also really love a good steak with roast tomatoes, potatoes and a good glass of pinot noir!
— Do you partake in caffeine and in what form? If not, what is your drink of choice in the morning?
Yes, I really love a piccolo before I get into work in the morning. This is the one ritual I really look forward to.
— Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, how do you keep it in check?
Less and less so as I get older. I don’t really like milk chocolate as I find it too sickly – something that my ten-year-old self would have never fathomed. Each night I’ll eat a little dark chocolate and that usually satiates my sweet cravings. I have also heard that chocolate cravings can come from magnesium deficiency.
— Are there any particular supplements, herbs, or tinctures/tonics that you take regularly and find to be helpful with your energy level and general wellness?
I just read a great book about supplements and how bad they can actually be for you, particularly antioxidants, as they behave differently in a petri dish than in our bodies. The general theme was that antioxidants found in whole foods need the whole food to perform, rather than in isolation. Its general theme was “are we being marketed to?” Having said that, it advocated vitamin D, clean fish oil consumption, and vitamin C. I always have a bottle of Liposhperic vitamin C in the fridge because it works and I always take Krill Oil.
— Do you exercise and do you have a particular exercise routine that you repeat weekly?
I used to do yoga 2-3 times a week and felt the best ever. If I’m honest, now I struggle to fit it in but I don’t feel guilty about it as I know I will get there again. I have to say I’m not mad on exercise but I love yoga and walking because it helps turn down the volume from my working day, be more present and gives me mental clarity and space.
— Do you find exercise to be pleasurable, torturous or perhaps a little of both? How do you put yourself in the right mindset in order to keep up with it?
Once I get into it, it is easier to sustain because you just feel better. I am also of the mindset that being kind to yourself is also important, rather than being tough and feeling guilty.
— What is your idea of beauty – external, internal or both?
This is actually the question we always end with when interviewing our Sans Women. I love reading their answers because everyone’s approach to the concept of beauty is so personal and overwhelmingly positive. It’s generally not about image – but more about depth. For me, beauty is about character and warmth; embracing difference and humour.
— What is your skincare approach – face and body?
I have a minimalist routine by necessity, not design. I’d rather spend my time doing other things than wiping stuff all over my face and body. A brilliant dermatologist who I’m close to thinks that we do far too much to our skin, and I agree. A simple, singular approach can be far more powerful. It’s like a fire drill in my home every morning with my boys, so the focus is on school lunches and getting out the door. Having said that, I use Sans [ceuticals] Goji Cleansing Oil everywhere. I wash my hair once a week with Sans Nourishing Hair Wash & Ultra+. I mix Activator 7 Oil with Synergie Super Serum C and I apply my mascara in the car. I do sometimes wear RMS Un-Coverup, which is made primarily of pigment and coconut oil.
— Are there any foods, herbs or supplements you find to be helpful to your skin/hair/general glow?
An alkaline diet for sure. I avoid anything processed, only because I love cooking, I love gardening, and really prefer food in its natural state. One thing I discovered recently is sea buckthorn capsules, they contain omega 7—the closest thing to your own natural sebum—therefore it is readily utilised and absorbed. It’s the best internal moisturizer, highly anti-inflammatory (more so than fish oil), and great for your skin. Also, B vitamins and eggs (great for building protein and strong healthy hair), omega 3 & 7 (sea buckthorn oil capsules) and a healthy dose of greens for iron.
— Do you practice any consistent routines in order to avoid stress?
Age has enabled me to deal with stress so much better. I have realized after countless life and work experiences that whatever happens, I have the ability to deal with whatever arises. Knowing this has reduced that sense of panic and helps keep me remain grounded.
— What measures do you take when you sense a cold/general feeling of being under the weather coming on?
Get on Liposperic vitamin C, it will kill a sore throat in a day!
— Do you strive to maintain a healthy work/life balance or do those things overlap for you? What is your approach?
I really admire people who can be really clear with the division and separate the two.
I don’t work at night once the kids go to bed like I used to, only if I have a huge deadline. Being summer makes it easier as we’ll pack up and go for a swim at a local beach. Getting outdoors really helps to disconnect.
— What do you do to unwind or treat yourself?
Walk, pottery, cooking, and if in a good space, yoga.
— Describe the actions you take or mindset you try to tap into in order to stay on track with your self-care practice and being nice to yourself?
For me, finding your own centre of gravity comes from doing what makes you really happy and grounded – family, cooking and gardening are key for me. Also meditation, but that ain’t easy! I love reading autobiographies for a dose of inspiration, especially women’s life experiences and how they’ve come out stronger from them. I love it when people are honest and share their human side.
— A book/movie/class that influenced your view of self-nourishment or self-care.
When I was thirteen I was given a book called ‘The Herb Book’ by Arabella Boxer it soon became my bible. It was a 70s-style book on how to grow your own herbs, their nutritional value and medicinal benefits, how to cook and heal with them, and how to make skincare. It is a book that has influenced me profoundly as it is a blend of everything I do today.
— What was your path to starting Sans [ceuticals]?
I started developing Sans [ceuticals] in 2007. It was born from a frustration of not being able to find pure, natural, results-driven products, that were also thoughtfully designed and sustainable.
Through working closely with several dermatologists I really got to understand skin at a fundamental level. I wanted products that could have a noticeable effect on skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis whilst being natural and sustainable. Because of my background as a hair stylist, I also wanted to create high performance hair care that had the ability to repair damaged hair. Doing this with a natural formulation has been something of a challenge with hair care but I believe we have finally achieved it.
— At Sans [ceuticals], you put a real emphasis on the multifunctionality of your products. Can you tell us a bit more about this philosophy and how you came up with this ‘intelligent beauty’ approach?
We see a lot of inflammation and skin sensitivity from overly-complicated skincare regimes. After working in the beauty industry for over twenty years, I have been frustrated that most cosmeceutical skincare requires purchasing multiple creams and serums to be effective. We prefer to have a simplified, yet targeted approach combining actives in one formulation to deliver results.
I also believe its better to have fewer items in your bathroom that are used more frequently, ensuring fresher formulations and higher quality. Not only does this reduce clutter but it softens our environmental footprint, while also being kinder on the wallet.