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The Interview: Tiffany Salmon, Founder and CEO, Scientia

Sadiyah Ismailjee
23 June 2020

A self-confessed beauty junkie – and conveniently, an expert at developing brands and delivering beauty trends – Tiffany Salmon was tired of innovative skincare not being accessible, too expensive and confusing. She wanted a skincare experience that’s ahead of the trend, easy to use and one which delivers results. Not finding what she wanted on the market, she decided to create Scientia.

Scientia is a cruelty free, vegan and sustainable skincare brand using 100% natural products. Founder and CEO, Tiffany tells's The Beauty Edit more:

Could you tell us a little bit about your background?

I joined my family’s cosmetics business almost 15 years ago, so I’ve literally spent my whole career working in, and being obsessed with, cosmetics. As a creative director helping to create amazing beauty products for some of the world’s biggest retailers and with a lab at the tip of my fingers, I decided it was time to create something for myself…

What inspired you to create Scientia?

Having worked in beauty for so long, friends and family constantly came to me for advice and as much as I love trying new products, I would always revert to the same simple skincare rules. I wanted to help women get the best out of their routine by showing them what they should invest in, when they should use it and what result it is going to achieve. Plus, I wanted as many people as possible to experience the amazing innovation I get to play with day in day out!

For me, beauty helps me feel good as well as look good (I hope!). So, I also wanted to help other women find time for moments of selfcare in a world that is often stressful and overwhelming.

I am a designer at heart, so of course I needed something that looked gorgeous too. With all the know-how and a lab at the tip of my fingers, I decided to just create it myself- Scientia!

You launched in November 2019, what was the initial response?

SO positive. Skincare is such a personal thing, so it’s important to have a brand that resonates with consumers on that level. The most positive comments have been about the fact that our formulas are all developed and made by us in-house, we use recyclable glass, our packaging is made with FSC board and soy ink, so there’s a real focus on sustainability, all whilst keeping the products shelfie-worthy too! That’s really important to me.

I’m a designer at heart and I wanted my range to bring a smile to people’s faces - to brighten their day. Beauty is meant to be uplifting, so I made sure I designed our packaging to look amazing on your bathroom shelf. Aside from aesthetics though, people are genuinely impressed with how hard-working our formulas are. I literally travel all over the world for my job, so I’m able to find the best innovation and global ingredients and bring those to our team of in-house chemists, so I make sure our formulas are going to deliver results before I release them.

What is the brand’s core philosophy?

I like to say Scientia was ‘created to be worthy of your face and your bathroom shelf.’ And by that I mean not only do they look gorgeous and work really hard, but they’re also products you should be proud to use. Cruelty free, vegan and sustainable packaging - beauty should make you FEEL good after all, so our products are made for moments of selfcare, whether that’s a mini-meditation morning and evening, a daily ritual or a sensorial Sunday facial.

What sets you apart from other skincare brands?

Because of my family business, everything from initial concepts through to formulation, packaging design manufacturing and marketing- is done in-house. Basically this means we can a. do things faster and b. we can be super involved every step of the way, from the moment an idea sparks till you get the product in your hands.

How do you come up with ideas for new products?

Literally everywhere. I’m obsessed with skincare (obviously!) and a lot of the time it’s all I think about… I also talk to a lot of people about it (in person and online) and I listen to the questions they ask me. Because of my family business, I do a lot of research, I meet with a lot of industry experts – from buyers, to cosmetic scientists to ingredient suppliers – so I get a good understanding of what’s happening in the market. I’m also lucky enough to travel for work, picking up on emerging global trends. Although that said, some ideas just pop out of nowhere… I came up with the name Scientia at the hairdressers, so you never know!

You globally source natural ingredients for Scientia products. Could you share some of the natural ingredients present in Scientia products, the benefits and where they come from?

Scientia started with our Dusk and Dawn Elixirs. Each one of those formulas is a blend of 23, 100% natural oils that have been sourced from all over the world – I literally wanted to create the mother (nature) of all facial oils! The ingredients in those formulas are amazing and as well as being perfectly balanced to benefit your skin, each one has been blended for its aromatherapy benefits too. The Dawn Elixir has Ginger, Fennel and Pink Pepper to uplift and energise, whilst Dusk Elixir includes Lavender, Frankincense and Yllang Ylang to help calm and soothe your mind. They are literally my mini meditation morning and night.

Aside from that they are both packed with skin-loving ingredients such as vitamin-rich Rosehip and Moringa Seed oils - wild harvested in Turkey and grown by a co-op of small scale farmers in Uganda respectively – to luxuriously hydrating Virgin Baobab oil, grown on the coast of Kenya. Our Lavender oil comes from French lavender fields whilst our Avocado oil provides a second income for farmers in Kenya – we use fruit that’s been rejected by the food industry.

It’s still amazing, it just looks unconventional! One of my favourite ingredients is Bakuchiol, which is a great alternative to retinol if you find this quite sensitising – ours is grown in India and cold-pressed to create the collagen-boosting, anti-ageing ingredient we know and love!

Who is the Scientia customer?

Well… for me the Scientia customer is anyone who wants amazing skin… it’s me, it’s you, it’s your mum, your sister, your best friend. It was so important for me that Scientia was not only accessible but delivered innovative products that really work. I think we also particularly appeal to design lovers too because the packaging is so gorgeous if say so myself…

Sustainability is becoming a crucial focus the beauty industry, in what ways is Scientia incorporating sustainability into its business model and brand identity?

Sustainability has always been a big focus for us. All our bottles are made of recyclable glass, our packaging is printed on FSC board and printed with soy ink, making the entire process more sustainable and the packaging recyclable. That doesn’t mean we stop there however, there’s always something you can do better, but we feel comfortable in the knowledge our packaging is 100% recyclable….

What is your top seller and why?

Right now, it’s our Peachy Clean milky oil cleanser which, got to say I’m obsessed with too! Antioxidant rich and ultra-nourishing, it starts off as a beautiful oil that you massage in for a first cleanse, then you add water and it changes milky for a second cleanse to gently removes dirt, impurities and makeup whilst working to soften, soothe and hydrate.

It’s got some of my favourite natural oils like youth-boosting Watermelon, soothing Rosehip Oil, calming Aloe Vera and nourishing Jojoba, Sweet Almond and Baobab. There’s even a secret ingredient in there that leaves a silky veil of hydration on the skin even after it’s rinsed off.

We’ve also got some great fans of the brand, such as Sali Hughes - she raved about both our peach products and it’s been our bestseller ever since.

What are your top 3 Scientia product recommendations and why?

Ooo no! It’s like making me choose between my babies! Honestly, I love them all so much, I’d never put out something that I wasn’t completely obsessed with. So, when it comes down to choosing a favourite, it all depends on my mood… right now I’m loving the Peach & Glow hydra skin tonic.

When I created this, I really wanted a toner that packed a punch, I wanted it to target my hyper pigmentation, be skin brightening, seriously hydrating and target signs of ageing! AND protect my skin from external aggressors with its powerhouse of antioxidants.

During both pregnancies with my 2 kids I really suffered from hyperpigmentation -you know that dreaded ‘pregnancy mask’- and since introducing Peach & Glow I’ve really found that the tranexamic acid in there has helped make it almost invisible as well as giving me an all-round radiance boost.

Then, it’s got to be our latest launch – the Notox youth boost eye serum! This mini (holographic and pink) powerhouse is supercharged to lift, plump and brighten the eye area, with an amino acid peptide complex to help mimic the effects of Botox, I’m so proud of this one and it’s my am & pm go to for an instant hit of cooling hydration and a little lift for good measure. It’s also 89% natural, which is super unusual for such a targeted treatment.

Perhaps most of all right now I’m loving my Dusk Elixir. The world is a pretty stressful place at the moment and my evening skincare routine is where I really look to find a moment a selfcare and relaxation. Not only is the Dusk Elixir active oil blend absolutely jam packed with incredible 100% natural oils (23 to be exact!) that aid the natural repair and recovery of your skin (think collagen boosting Bakuchiol, soothing Moringa and antioxidant-rich Avocado) it also smells incredible.

With French Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Rosemary oils, the aromatherapy benefits are just divine, helping to induce a real sense of zen before bed, as well as giving me an amazing glow to wake up to.

What do you think have been the most important skincare trends of 2020 so far?

A massive one since we’ve all been in lockdown is DIY treatments, something that gives you the experience of having an amazing facial, all within the comfort of your own home. From the home technology (led lights, steamers) to the more self care element of it, aromatherapy, and then super targeted ingredients, there’s something for everyone who’s trying to bring their skincare treats’ in-house.

When it comes to ingredients, Vitamin C is already huge and it’s only going to get bigger. Anything that’s going to help give dull, tired a gorgeous glow we all love. Matte skin is out and plump, dewy, healthy and glowy looking skin is in and it’s not going anywhere.

How Scientia responding to such strange and challenging times?

It’s obviously a difficult time for everyone at the moment and not just us, so whilst it’s definitely not an ideal scenario for us as a new brand, we have just focused our energy on supporting our customers and thought about how we could help them.

So, what do they need right now, what sort of content do they want to read and how can we best support that? Self-care has been SUPER important during lockdown, even for us as a team personally, and obviously as a brand we really promote skincare as selfcare, so we wanted to make sure our content really communicated that – it wasn’t about selling products, but providing educational and helpful content that people would find useful in some way, whether that’s educational or a complete distraction!

What were the biggest challenges you faced setting up your own brand?

For Scientia specifically, the skincare market is SO competitive and there’s already so much out there. It was really important for me that the brand was unique, with it’s own tone of voice, aesthetic and products that offer something that doesn’t already exist on the market.

What are your greatest achievements to date?

Getting recognition from Sali Hughes was huge for me. I put so much work into making these formulas as incredible as they can be, so to have that recognised by someone’s expertise that I admire was amazing.

What advice would you give to anyone starting up their own beauty/skincare brand?

Be really sure that this is what you want to do and then just go for it! Find your niche, what are you passionate about? You have to really be into it to make it work. Look for your area of the market and then keep going till you get there! I wake up and go to sleep thinking about my work and it’s that obsession that keeps me going

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