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The Interview: RéVive Founder Dr Gregory Bays Brown on 25 years in business

Sophie Smith
25 July 2022

Dr Gregory Bays Brown is the Founder of RéVive, a luxury skincare brand formulated using bio-renewal technology to transform and renew skin to a healthier and more supple version of itself.

To commemorate RéVive's 25th anniversary, TheIndustry.beauty spoke to Dr Brown about the research that inspired the brand, its journey since launching and the moisturiser that started it all.

What inspired you to start RéVive 25 years ago?

I started RéVive longer than 25 years ago in my head, I guess. I was doing research as a general surgeon on burns. Burn wounds are devastating and if they don't heal fast enough, patients can succumb to their injuries, so anything that could speed the wound healing process was important.

I was a young surgeon at the time the biotechnology came along and human proteins were being made bio-synthetically. The Nobel Prize-winning Epidermal Growth Factor was one of them. The Epidermal Growth Factor had been discovered many years earlier and was thought to speed wound healing, but it had never been proven to do so because such small quantities occur in the body.

Very little clinical research had been done but once biotechnology was able to make larger quantities, we could do human studies. I was at Emory University at the time when we were able to show that we could speed burn wound healing.

I then became a plastic surgeon and had the idea that since ageing skin and healing a burn wound are physiologically similar in the sense to reverse ageing, that potentially biotechnology could be used to help renew skin.

How did you take RéVive from concept to creation? 

I did a series of clinical studies on humans and was able to show that we could stimulate cell renewal in ageing skin, which reverses the appearance of ageing. I patented the concept and made a makeshift form of what ultimately became our moisturising renewal night cream.

From there, I started giving it to patients. One of whom was a friend of the man that ran all of the Neiman Marcus stores in those days. He said if we make it commercially, he would put it in his stores. So, we did and we launched in Neiman Marcus in the US in 1997. Then around a year later, we came to the UK with Space NK as our second retailer.

You mentioned the night cream that started it all off, can you tell me more about this?

The moisturising renewal night cream was our initial product and it is still our number one bestseller. Powered by our bio-renewal peptide, the night cream works to renew skin and diminish fine lines and it includes 8% pure glycolic acid to improve the skin's texture and remove any dead skin cells, helping to improve the skin's complexion.

Since its launch, has the night cream changed in any way?

I have learned that it’s impossible to keep all of the raw ingredients identical. So, maybe the concept of raw materials has changed over time. However, the formula has not. Nothing has ever changed enough that the product has ever had to be reformulated. There's a saying - if it ain't broke don't fix it!

Can you now tell me about your other products?

We have just launched a new moisturising renewal lotion. This is the first time in 25 years because our night cream is still a bestseller. Up until now, we've said we don't really need to innovate in this franchise because it's still performing. However, we did think not everybody needs a cream or the level of glycolic included in the night cream. So, we've introduced the moisturising renewal lotion, which involves a more gentle delivery system. 

It's a duel acid blend with polyhydroxy acid and glycolic acid. When you bring these ingredients together, they actually have a higher level of acid overall but its done in a more gentle way. The product also offers a more lightweight texture. By adding this to our product selection, we're able to reach a broader range of consumers. We tested this specifically with men and 100% said they experienced a better post shave experience in the morning when this was used at night. 

We also added a Moisturizing Renewal Day Cream SPF 30 to the range this year. Every one of our day creams has SPF in it. I always say the most important anti-ageing cream anybody can have is a suncream - even when you're young because the effects are cumulative.

You mentioned the male demographic, is this something that's becoming a bigger focus for RéVive?

We've never had a big men's line, we're pretty unisex. Although, I do think men like a lotion. We had a lotion years ago, but haven't had one for a while. I think men love that the new lotion has a gentle acid in it.

Also, men tend to get ingrown beard hairs and the product can help with that, even on their neck. We recognised that there was a specific opportunity to open that window and we now know we could continue to go down that path a little further. However, I don't see a line extension for men specifically. I would think that gender neutral stance will continue, as that's part of our DNA.

What ingredients can you find in the brand's skincare products? 

All of our leave-on products have one of our bio-renewal peptides and that's key. I think it's the thing that really sets RéVive a part from our partners in the industry, that in addition to a basic set of ingredients, we have at least one or more of our signature biotechnology peptides.

So, there's either a bio-renewal peptide for skin elasticity, a bio-firming peptide or a bio-volumising peptide in every single leave-on product, which are derivatives of the original growth factors from years ago. 

We also use a lot of of the industry standard molecules like niacin and then occasionally vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, all those standard ingredients you hear all the time.

Compared to when you launched RéVive, do you think consumers are now more interested in the science behind skincare?

I think they’re certainly more interested in it now. When I started, people rarely looked at an ingredients list and now you just expect people to know the ingredients. So, that’s a big change. Our job is to educate the consumer on what ingredients are, why we choose them, why different ingredients work together and are better than if we chose a different combination of ingredients, for example.

RéVive

RéVive's 25th Anniversary Exclusive Set

How do you feel about the brand’s progression since first launching?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years already, in many ways it seems like a minute ago we were first seen on the shelves at Neiman’s! I am so grateful the brand has made it to 25 years and is still growing successfully. I’ve seen many brands burn brightly and then shutter over the years and our longevity is truly remarkable and something I am so proud of. I am also proud that we’ve stuck to our scientific principles all these years, not bending to market fluctuations and fashion but remaining true to our heritage.

Are you doing anything special for 25 years of RéVive?

For our 25th year, we are really focusing on reinvigorating our iconic, heritage franchises. Each product innovation offers a fresh take on a classic. With the help of new creative partners, we’re also able to modernise and visualise the science to further establish our credibility as a leader in science-forward skincare and educate the consumer.

Looking ahead, do you have any ambitions for the brand?

My goal is to truly be a global powerhouse brand. Over 50% of our business is through online and international sales, so we’re well on our way. However, there's still room for increased distribution and so that's what I look forward to.

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