Science Behind The Brand Is The Ultimate Codex! Honest Talk With Barbara Paldus, The Founder Of Codex Beauty
Tell us about why you decided to create CODEX BEAUTY?
I started Codex to prove that scientific standards should have a place in beauty. Beauty and science weren’t always in the same conversation. The enforcement of regulations in the US beauty and cosmetics industry is severely underfunded. This has enabled beauty companies to take great liberties in terms of the types of performance claims they make in their marketing materials, with little to no scientific substantiation backing up those claims. Today’s consumers need and expect products and practices that are innovative, perform as represented, and are more sustainable. Now we are starting to see beauty and science work more collaboratively in an attempt to accomplish more in the beauty industry. My mission is to bring science, specifically biotechnology into beauty, in order to allow consumer to make data-driven decisions and solve critical sustainability problems that affect our planet.
Is there a particular story about the name, why Codex?
The Codex was the first form of what we call a book today. For two thousand years, the codex was the repository of human knowledge, especially science and engineering. Today, digital codices organize even greater amounts of information. The genetic databases that modern pharmaceutical companies use, for example, are also codices. The modern-day codex has become a universal source of knowledge and how nature works. We named our company Codex Beauty because we use knowledge from many different disciplines to develop our products: we start with ethnobotany, refine it with skin genetics, plant biology and chemical engineering for extraction or biotechnology for amplification, integrate these novel ingredients into innovative formulations, and claim product performance based on clinical trial data. We are a data-driven company, like the modern digital Codices.
What does your daily business & behind the scenes look like?
We have a small team of nerds that are really passionate with beauty and skincare. We have a cool little office in London and all of us are immigrants. It’s a very nice atmosphere, which is very important for me. My favorite part of the week: every Friday we have “Microbiome Classes” so that everyone stays on top of the new science.
If you could change one thing, anything, what would you do differently today for CODEX?
I would have taken a deeper breath and started more slowly. I would have finished all the science up front, and then launched my products. But – the world is very competitive, and in the end, I am glad that we launched last year, before Covid.
What would you advise to young entrepreneurs in the beauty industry?
I would advise young entrepreneurs to really find their vision, voice and brand. We have had to rework ours several times. And what I’ve learned is that in the beauty industry – be yourself. In the tech sector, the datasheet and price of your product speak for themselves, and marketing is far less important. In the beauty industry, your authentic story is everything.
What are your favorite products?
Share with us your very special insider ritual.
I am a very simple person. I love my 30 second spa moment in a hot shower with the exfoliating wash every morning, followed by dabbing on a little superfood, and locking in the moisture with the facial oil.
What is the biggest challenge to create a brand and stay on top of things each day?
I am a perfectionist so I worry about everything. I sometimes drive my team crazy with my detailed questions. I really want to understand the science of what we are doing – the Why. I want to make sure that we are doing things the right way, even if it’s hard – the How. And I want to make sure that our customers are satisfied – the Who. Then I’m also very involved in new product development – the What.
What is inside of your products?
We have many amazing ingredients inside our formulations, but we are particularly proud of our two technology platforms: We have invented a novel, food-grade preservation system called PreservX. It is a patented combination of four edible, yet potent ingredients. All four ingredients, as used in the food industry, as designated as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the US FDA. Each ingredient has a specific function but has skin benefits too! Bia Complex is made with a very special formula of macerated oil infusions of calendula, immortelle or flower everlasting and comfrey blended together with water infusions of heartsease and mallow to form a deeply nourishing elixir. Each of the plant extracts addresses hydration in a certain way. What’s really interesting about the Bia Complex is that we’ve taken traditional, exceptionally pure methods of extraction, and worked with our manufacturers to produce large quantities without compromising on quality or potency. Many companies would rather buy plant extracts that have been extracted using solvents, alcohol, glycerin or CO2, which is a faster and cheaper way to make products on a large scale. At Codex, however, we prefer to buy our herbs directly from local farmers and work with our manufacturers to come up with a scaled-up version of the chemical-free, all-natural water and oil infusions.
What’s next? Any new ideas for the future?
We are excited to be launching a brightening line that has yet another patent-pending protective formula, called Antu Complex made from a blend of extractions from three key Patagonian plants (matico + maqui + murtilla) that are known for their ability to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation, and a humectant such as hyaluronic acid. The goal of this combination is to help capture reactive oxidative species (ROS) from sun exposure and urban pollution, so that skin can recover quickly and be restored to a healthy state.
What does matter for you the most?
We want to advance beauty science by bringing in biotechnology principles, while saving our planet. From the microbiome, to the macrobiome.