Antipodes was created without compromise, with honesty and with beauty and the environment in mind. Founder Elizabeth Barbalich wants to educate the world on the extraordinary benefits of certified organic and premium natural skincare. We recently caught up with her to find out exactly how she is achieving this.
You had a very successful career in medical surgery before launching Antipodes, what made you change direction into the beauty industry?
After graduating with an MBA from the University of Auckland, following on from a science degree in biology from the University of Canterbury, I won a highly competitive position with a United States Surgical Corporation. During these eight years working with the international medical technology company, I learnt that innovation is key. Working for years in operating theatres alongside surgeons, I also learnt a very rigorous approach, which is probably in my nature anyway. There is no room for error in surgery.
Whilst raising a family I developed a passion for a natural lifestyle. My husband Zoran developed a real interest in natural health and cared for the whole family’s health with healthy food, raw juices and supplements. Even with three kids under four years old, I felt the best I ever had. The interest broadened to natural cleaning products for a non-toxic household, and eventually skincare. I trawled the world’s natural skincare offerings to find a product hydrating enough for my own dry and sensitive skin. I couldn’t find any natural skincare that performed as well, or felt as good on my skin, as the conventional brands I was using. I saw a need in the market for a cool avant-garde, niche brand that elevated natural skincare to the next level.
Why was it important to you to create a natural brand, over something more ‘mainstream’?
In my invitation to women to make a positive health choice by converting to natural skincare from their conventional brand, I wanted to offer them the familiarity of similar textures and levels of hydration. I found the natural brands available at the time didn’t do enough to maximise hydration for my own dry skin. The natural brands that I’d experienced simply weren’t hydrating enough. So I invested a lot of time and care in replicating a velvety texture. But I also wanted to offer them the courage of my convictions. I knew the scientific proof of performance would be key in a market starting to fill with natural skincare. How could we stand out from the crowd with so much ‘green-washed’ marketing? I wanted consumers to be able to see past the hype to the black and white results of our independent, third-party scientific investigations – so they could rely on a scientist’s findings and really trust that Antipodes can work to improve your skin’s appearance.
How has New Zealand inspired the creating and continued development of Antipodes?
We are surrounded by New Zealand nature which is a constant source of inspiration and contributes vastly to the Antipodes experience. We present pure, safe and natural formulations created from unpolluted New Zealand nature. Fertile soil, clear air, high sunshine hours and clean rainfall offer superior growing conditions to give us bountiful premium natural ingredients from which we create our nutrient-rich skincare and makeup. Sustainably harvested botanical bio-actives from plants and trees in the lush New Zealand wilderness, with potent skin-enhancing properties that have evolved in splendid isolation over millions of years. New Zealand’s horticulture is world-class. Innovative, high-tech focused producers extract their yields from New Zealand’s clean environment with maximum vitality, freshness and nutrient density. These passionate producers love to work their land, and never take their eye off quality for the sake of quantity.
Even our packaging is inspired by New Zealand nature. The green print is what we call our “New Zealand wallpaper”.
What are the challenges when working with natural ingredients?
Every harvest of natural ingredients is variable, due to weather and growing conditions, which means naturally every batch of skincare we make is subject to variation.
Using natural fragrances in formulas is also a challenge, however, we believe we’ve created some of the most sublimely fragranced products, and our formulas are as such that the fragrance stays even after opening.
- Nutrient-rich avocado oil
- Kiwi seed oil
- Revolutionary antioxidant Vinanza Grape from sauvignon blanc grapes
- Manuka honey Active 20+.
- Mamaku black fern for cell renewal
- Crimson pohutukawa for skin conditioning
- Golden kowhai for high antioxidant bioactivity
- Omega-rich harakeke New Zealand flax
- Potent antibacterial totara
What advice would you give to someone looking to swap their conventional skin care to natural and organic but didn’t know where to start?
Take small steps. There’s no need to rush out and buy a whole new set of products. Replace one product as your conventional product runs out. Take time to learn about your skin type and identify products that may suit your skin. If you have a store that stocks natural products, try and make time to go in store to try products and try to acquire samples to try before you buy; many brands offer sachets or trial sizes. Also, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for your skin type. If it’s not working don’t persevere: try something else.
What has been the most rewarding part of running Antipodes for the past 10 years?
Watching the brand grow to be available in countries across the world. Starting in New Zealand and Australia, Antipodes is now widely available in the UK and across Europe: Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Copenhagen and more.
The anecdotal support and testimonials we receive every day, as well as the huge results we get on our scientific and clinical testing, also spurs us on.
If you could only leave the house with one Antipodes product, which would you choose?As the owner of Antipodes, it’s hard to name just one product. I love the Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Cleanser to remove excess sebum and nourish my skin, before applying Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum, Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin Plumping Serum (a water-based serum for my thirsty skin), Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream, and then Immortal Natural SPF Hand & Body Moisturiser. Sounds complex but this is my very simple daily skincare regime! I then apply a good dusting of our amazing new Mineral Foundations SPF17, followed with the Skin Brightening Mineral Powder, and finish with a flourish of our blood red lippy - launching this April in the UK.
Where would you like to see Antipodes in a further 10 years?
In every smart woman's beauty arsenal across the world!