In an industry known for its fickle attitude, the year 2021 has decidedly remained to be the one year we all seek skinimalism. Benedetta’s founder, Julia Faller, has been loyal to the less is more philosophy since the 80s. Calling the founder and president of Benedetta, Julia Faller, a pioneer in the clean beauty industry would be an understatement. What makes one a pioneer? If we had to define such a person it would be someone who questions the norm and goes against the grain, pushing aside fear of scrutiny and failure. As a licensed esthetician and clinician in the 80’s and 90’s, Julia found herself questioning the cosmetic and skincare industries. When no laboratory or even botanical suppliers, were willing to accommodate her wish for petro-chemical free ingredients she decided to do it on her own. She accomplished this by going directly to the source of ingredients and marrying science with the natural world. Today, the brand continues its trailblazing quest with transparency and conscious beauty. Benedetta is Farm-Sourced®, organic, vegan and cruelty-free. This is one hands-on brand that does not use these “buzzwords” lightly and have the certifications to prove it.
We had a the honor of speaking with Julia Faller on a zoom call and shared our skincare ideologies. The founder made it clear that trends come and go but truly healing and plant-based skincare never fails – to her skincare is personal.
Cultivated: What is the meaning behind the brand name – Benedetta?
JF: It means blessed in Italian. It really has multiple meanings on why I chose it.
When looking for a name for the line I had been asked twice in one day from a friend and then from my mom, “how does it make you feel to have the ability and foresight to create your products?” My answer was, “I feel truly blessed.” My (Italian) mother said, “Benedetto”, and I responded with, “Benedetta”.
But I think the truer reason is that each preparation is created with the intention to effectively renew the skin and bring each person, until the last drop, into harmony. You could say that all who use it are blessed.
Cultivated: Why was it important to invest your energy into skincare and launch your own brand?
JF: As an esthetician I wanted my skin and that of my clients to be healed, and rejuvenated. I did not want chemicals on my face or theirs. I knew that the skin needed purification at a core level – without stripping it, as well as hydration balance, protection without SPF’s, and nourishment that was systemically and functionally received. I see the skin as a living breathing organism. None of which was popular thinking amongst chemists and formulators.
There were no products that completely adopted this thinking. So, I set out on the journey of discovering the solution. I started with customized treatments as I honed in my studies in chemistry and the botanical, nutrient rich world. Seeing what the skin received and what it rejected.
My first product launch was the Crystal Radiance Hydrating Elixirs Neroli for Drier and Ylang Ylang for Oilier skin. These were innovative preparations that aided the skin’s hydration while we slept at night using NO night creams. And under facial oils during the day. It was then that I discovered the interlacing of water and oil, something I term – “Water Integration”.
Cultivated: What were your biggest challenges in formulating and launching a farm-to-skin, organic and sustainable brand in 1986?
JF: I was laughed at by chemical companies and lines that saw nothing wrong with petro-chemicals and other non-beneficial chemicals. In fact, I was told when developing the Rosemary & Geranium Cleanser that without a strong carbomer (plasticide) it would never hold together. Without preservatives and stabilizers at certain percentages the products would go bad on the shelf. They were wrong.
I would have embraced any lab to make the products for me, and when they couldn’t, I was left to my own ingenuity.
Cultivated: How should a new customer shop your brand?
JF: I created each product in relation to another product reflected in the 5-Step Day and 3-Step Night Facial Regimen system. We always want folks to start there, however if there is a budget constraint, we suggest they start with our Rosemary & Geranium Creme Cleanser. Originally designed for the professional esthetician to use in the first 20-30 minutes of the Benedetta Holistic Facial Treatment. It really does prepare your skin for the steps to follow.
In addition, we are here to give you a consultation and we love doing it. New and existing customers feel safe that we understand them and will not try and sell them something they do not need.
There are no scripts to read to everyone. Just a one-on-one consultation to hear about how your skin is behaving, and what the best solution for you is. We will even email you recommendations without making you feel like we are pushing you into a purchase. I really value our customers and know how important it is to gain their trust.
Cultivated: I understand you approach skincare as a clinician. What is your personal philosophy on skin and aging?
JF: I believe in holistic and functional health on all levels. Alive food and drink, exercise, sleep, water uptake, mindfulness, and Benedetta.
Healthy skin doesn’t age; clean skin care should purify while stimulating lipid and hydration balance as it regenerates. Not a quick fix approach but a sustainable, systematic one.
The skin is our largest organ, so that means it is responsible for not only protecting us from the elements, but as a functioning organism. One that coexists with our cells, blood, tissues, immune system,organs, and our body systems to act its best.
Similar to what we eat to thrive and be vibrant, our skin’s [care] therefore needs to be treated in the same way. Absorbing and utilizing what it recognizes as real, versus foreign, allows the skin to be strong and resilient. Having this intention in formulation and seeing the skins needs to be such, addresses the signs of aging through functional and holistic health.
Cultivated: As a pioneer and an innovator in your field – how do you feel about the clean beauty movement today?
JF: I feel two ways about it. On one hand, I’m glad that we have elevated people’s consciousness with this information. Realizing that what goes on your skin, goes into your bloodstream. This is something I fought and argued about for many years.
On the other hand, I’m concerned that there’s far too much attentionplaced on the raw materials (ingredients) used, over the functionality and purpose behind the actual formula. I also think there are far too many products created based on a trend rather than what the skin truly needs. Anyone can throw a hyaluronic acid into a water-based formula and market it.
I work very hard in establishing trust and caring for our customer base. It is imperative that as their skin shifts and changes, we’re here to help in that transition and provide them the appropriate care.
Cultivated: Are there any brands you love and use besides your own?
JF: I actually do not look at other brands, as a matter of personal ethics. If I do not have something in the line, like a burn or scar oil, I make one. That is how much of the line manifests over time, like our Hair tonic, or our Deodorant.
In terms of nutritional health, I have many companies I love like Real Mushrooms for medicinal mushrooms. Or fresh alive Blue Green Algae of which there are several companies online.
Cultivated: How do you unwind and practice self-care in your personal life?
JF: I’m a dancer and need to dance as often as possible with classes, since the pandemic, online.
I also take my Seaweed Bath several times a week, often in the morning. Or when time allows, I do what we call our 1 TRIP TO THE SPA:
- Wash face with R&G Cleanser, wash off.
- Re-apply a thin veil over face with attention to congested areas
- Apply the Seaweed Mask, let it dry.
- Dry Brush
- Get into the Seaweed Bath as hot as you can stand it.
- Take in 12-16oz of purified or spring water at room temperature and drink throughout.
- Rinse in cool shower- cold is best and feels really refreshing after a hot bath.
- Towel Dry.
- Hydrate with your choice Hydrosol at night or Hydrosol & Creme (or oil) Duo during the day.