by Azeezat Fadekemi Sulaiman and Karine Laudort- Idonije
The first thing you notice when you meet Eve Taylor is how gorgeous her skin looks. We say this for a very good reason…because it’s very hard to believe that you’re staring at an 82-year-old woman!
In the world of skincare, Eve Taylor is right up there with the greats, having launched her company over 50 years ago after deciding that there had to be more to life than staying at home playing housewife. The year was 1963 and her youngest son was just 5 months old.
50 years on, the brand has gone global with an enviable export portfolio to Asia, and the Eve Taylor brand is a firm favourite amongst beauty and skincare professionals in the UK and abroad. In 2008, Eve was awarded an OBE for her services to the beauty industry and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
As we met her to discuss the launch of the brand’s new product for teenagers, we’re bawled over by Eve’s vast knowledge of skin science and her catchy sense of humour.
We wondered how the brand has managed to remain relevant after all this time in an industry that is as fickle as the beauty industry.
“You’ve got to change”, she says. Eve says the changes brought about by the advent of the internet has meant the business had to adapt with the launch of different products for the retail market.
“We’re well-known in the professional market, but because of the changes with the internet and the mass markets and the fact that salon staff are not trained to sell the products, when they do the treatments in the salons and clients love the products, they ask where they can buy them, so we’ve had to change after 50 years to make the products available to consumers directly.”
The brand is breaking even further into new markets with the launch of its latest skincare range, this time for teenagers. Why teenagers we wondered? “We’ve developed this range for the retail market primarily because teenagers as we all know, don’t go to salons for their skincare.”
The teen- skinactives range was created to treat skin problems that usually affect teenagers. The range which includes scrubs, masks and spot treatment creams for treating break outs and other skin problems is specifically designed to cater for the busy teenage lifestyle. They’re also free from paraben, lanolin, mineral oil and artificial fragrance.
With the brand’s ethos of treating skincare from the inside, we wondered how she intended to break into a market where the general consensus is to break every lifestyle rule imaginable because let’s face it, teenagers aren’t exactly likely to have or even keep to a specific skin regime.
“Well, you can tell them you have a choice: I can help you improve your skin, but not if you don’t cooperate,” says Eve. “Your diet and way of life are the most important things in skincare,” although she’s quick to admit, “You don’t tell a teenager don’t do something, it’s the worst thing you can do. It’s like saying to somebody you’re fat. You don’t say that. You could say I’ll treat your body like steak, you’ve got to tenderize steak and I’ll treat your fat this way.”
“With teenagers, when do you stop being a teenager? It’s not just the food causing the breakouts, it aggravates an already existing problem. Are they smoking or dabbling in pot, because that affects the skin even if they only tried it once.”
“The truth is if you keep drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating junk food, it will later have an effect on your skin. Look at the food industry now, everyone is screaming cut out the sugar, cut out the salt intake, but we’ve been saying this for years. I said to a bunch of college students I spoke to years ago, keep doing what you’re doing now and you’ll make me a very rich woman years from now, when you’re all in your 30’s looking for skin solutions and anti ageing creams. What we’re trying to do now is trying to help the teenagers maintain their skin, that’s all.”
Eve’s approach to solving skin problems from within is what makes her so different to other skincare brands, because she places great emphasis on lifestyle and what goes on inside the body.
It’s also the reason all the brand’s products are made of completely natural ingredients and essential oils, no preservatives or parabens and the Eve Taylor brand is well-known for its essential oils particularly the No 1 blend- a unique blend used to calm and soothe sensitive skin and allergies. It was the first ever oil manufactured by the brand in 1968 and still remains one of its biggest sellers till date.
It’s not surprising to see why the brand is so successful, Eve’s passion for the skin has taken her to places far and wide in search of new ways and ingredients to improve skincare. “I’m in the skincare business not the beauty business,” she says. “Wellbeing of the human being- this is our business. If someone has skin problems, then we have to find out where are they? What’s causing them? If you can find the clue, a clue to the origin of a problem, then the possibility of solving the problem exists,” she added.
This might seem like an antiquated approach to beauty and skincare, what with today’s easy access to over the counter products that promise to ‘get rid of your spots and blackheads’ in hours.
The skincare mogul doesn’t agree with this approach, calling it a ‘pharmaceutical type of thinking’. She adds that the consultation (which has been left out of the skincare process in recent times) ‘is very important’ as this establishes what exactly you’re dealing with.
By asking specific questions, says Eve, you can get to the root of the problem rather than just treating it topically, with the chance that the same problem might recur because the root cause wasn’t addressed.
“My knowledge comes from asking questions”, she tells us, and we wouldn’t doubt this for a second as Eve has an uncanny ability to literally tell you stuff about you that only you know- just by looking at you. Has she got mind reading abilities? No. She’s just very good at observing little details about a person and using her knowledge of skin science to form a hypothesis which more often than not, is right. Quite fascinating.
She tells us from the consultation session, it’s easy to trace the source of the problem, whether medical or emotional with questions like how regular the menstrual cycle is and the use of contraceptives, all issues that should be looked at when treating blackheads.
We learnt a few things during this interview, things like how where you live and work can affect your skin with people living in the city being more prone to dry skin because of the pollution, while those in the suburbs are more likely to have better hydrated skin because of the greenery. We’re clearly on the wrong side of town then aren’t we Londoners?
Other factors that apparently affect the health of your skin are occupational hazards like working in skyscrapers and tall buildings as this dries out your skin because of the altitude, while obviously your diet and lifestyle also plays a huge impact.
Eve also talks skincare routines saying the way we care for skin in different parts of the body should be determined by the amount of wear and tear in that particular area. For example cleansing the face.
“One of the most important things is that when people are cleansing skin around the face, they’re too aggressive,” says Eve. She advises to rotate gently as the skin is delicate and can easily dry out.
Asked how she manages to hold her own with three of her sons managing the business, she tells us, “I started in the beauty business when everything was masculine, but it’s easy to work with my sons because I love my business and I’m a strong person. It’s been an exciting journey and even though there’s been ups and downs, I’ve absolutely loved it.”
Read our review of Eve Taylor’s teen- skinactives here.