Gill Meets Colette Haydon

colette working with lixir

What is your background?

I am a doctor in dermo-pharmacy.  I am passionate about the skin and formulating skincare. Over 20 years ago I set up a laboratory in London called Elixir de Beaute.  Together with my team, I formulated hundreds of products for many of the most coveted beauty brands.  I am pretty sure there is at least one in your bathroom.  I stand proud behind them all.

You have created products for brands such as HealGel, Jo Malone, Aromatherapy Associates and REN to name just a few; what has driven you to create your own brand?

Lixir is driven by my skincare and laboratory experience.  My skin beliefs have evolved with time; they are deep, disruptive and controversial.  Above all I want to improve your skin, not wrack your brain. I dedicated my work to the understanding of skin.

When formulating products, where do you begin?

Firstly, I formulate the base. It is the core of the product and signature of the formulator, what you see, feel, smell and love. So much can be achieved for the skin if the base is right and it often takes a lot of work. Secondly, I add the active ingredients. If you come to my lab, you will not find a cupboard dedicated to the face, neck or eye. An ingredient works on facial wrinkles and eye wrinkles; a good active ingredient does it all. I believe there is no such thing as a cream which is good for one part of your skin and not the other.

Can you explain the concept of Lixir?

Lixir is a mix of hard working, everyday products and targeted molecules, an advanced yet relaxed approach to skin care.

The universal good skin trio are absolute essentials, multi-tasking to the max. They are for all skin types, for young and older skin, for face, eye, neck to hands, for your bathroom, handbag, deskside and whilst you travel. They work together seamlessly whilst only taking a few minutes of your time with no layering required.  I recommend:

  • DAY: Re-apply UNIVERSAL EMULSION as needed

The three NIGHT SWITCH products are for specific skin concerns and formulated with pure active molecules for targeted results. They are for night, when your skin switches to repair mode and are to be mixed with UNIVERSAL EMULSION which is also a serum base. Only use one at a time, then give your skin a rest before switching to another. Switching stimulates the skin to get better results.  It is a very simplistic, yet effective approach; truly, there are only two skin concerns, ageing skin and problem skin and I would recommend:

  • Ageing Skin (wrinkles, sagging, sun damage):  Four weeks retinol + Two weeks PHA.
  • Problem Skin (dull, open pores, breakouts): Four weeks retinol + Three weeks BHA.

The hero product?

Really, my universal good skin trio is my hero, I know they are three products but they are my three ‘mousquetaires’ and you know their motto, one for all and all for one.

What are your views on natural versus synthetic products?

The natural versus synthetic battle is dated and not worth fighting, not all chemistry is bad. There are simply good ingredients, safe, effective and formulated correctly. There are bad ingredients, harmful or ineffective.  Twenty years ago, I created ‘The No List’; It is now time for ‘The Yes List’. There is a misconception that ‘No List’ products, natural if you like, should contain many botanical extracts, which often have little effect, pure molecules with published clinical results are more effective.

Somewhat controversially, you believe that SPF products should only be used on the beach, can you explain your thoughts behind that statement?

Regrettably, sunscreens are in my ‘No List’ ingredients; on one hand they protect the skin against burning, but on the other they are quite harmful to the skin if used every day.  UNIVERSAL EMULSION can be used as an unusual emulsification technique to obtain an SPF 10 without any added sunscreens, so it is ideal as an urban day cream and primer when the exposure to UV is in fact very low.

Beauty industry myths?

It creates names for products which have the same base and do the same thing – day cream, primer, night cream, moisturiser, serum – and is ever more inventive. What is the difference between a night cream and an overnight mask, even I don’t know! Penetration of the active ingredient into the deeper layers of the skin is unnecessary, this is not how it works. The skin is a barrier, only the top layer (the epidermis) is accessible. A good molecule is a biological messenger for the epidermal cells. The message received triggers a series of cascading events able to reach the targeted cells in the skin’s deeper layers.

Skincare truths?

Less is often more; products with too many active ingredients confuse the skin, it works too hard, gets tired and gives up. It is better to ask the skin to do one thing at a time, but to do it well. The skin likes a change of scenery. An active ingredient used for too long saturates the skin and it no longer delivers results. It is good to switch things around to keep the skin interested and avoid the plateau effect.

How do you see skincare evolving over the next five years?

I recently overheard the speech of a brand at a buyers meeting, their new serum was going to re-train the skin to behave as young skin, genetic re-programming if you will, with a little science fiction thrown in the overall look for good measure. I don’t want to be re-programmed and I think there are many others who don’t, we just want good skin.  I predict a more approachable language around skincare subtlety mixed to a return to a more charming delivery.

Gill Meets | , , , , , , , , ,
  • Victoria Health

    Hi Geeta, the Vitamin C Paste contains 15% water, not enough for oxidation in a Glycerine base but enough to create a structure and protect the acid form.

  • Shannon Tisdale

    I am so interested in Colette’s (and Gill’s) stance on SPF. I’m new(ish) to Victoria Health. Is there more reading on this topic anywhere?

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Shannon, welcome to VH. It is a personal choice but below is a link on the topic of SPF.

  • Tracy Moores

    Hi I am really interested in the vitamin C paste it explains a whole lot and also for years I have used serums, eye cream all feeling a little like being layered, so what do you recommend for ageing skin and wrinkles thank you x

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, Vitamin C Paste is great for morning to lift and smooth, at night Night Switch Retinol mixed with Universal Emulsion.

  • Tracy Moores

    Hi Colette, I’ve been trying the C Paste and I am really enjoying it, I’ve just ordered the Universal emulsion, and then I will go on to buy the electro cleanser will this all combine and help get good skin, I will then use the retinol. do you mix this with the Universal emulsion? Sorry for all the questions. Kind regards Tracy

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, yes Night Switch Retinol should be mixed with Universal Emulsion and not used directly pure on the skin. Glad you are enjoying the C-Paste. Colette.

  • Tracy Moores

    Hi Colette, me again sorry… I then take a break from the Retinol for 2 weeks what do I use then? Then I take it I use the Retinol again for 4 weeks and repeat? Thank you

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, You may but I am a little confused, in any case the idea is not to use retinol for more than 4 weeks.

  • Jasmine Clarke

    Hi I love the concept and look of this range , I’m not a layerer (not a word!) but the range contains essential oils, I know its justl aunched but could there be a chance a non EO version will be made? My endeavours o find skincare I can use that is something with function and purpose continues and is difficult and each time I think that is what I’d love something prevents me due to skin contact allergies. THanks Jasmine

    the main thing I’d like to know is does the range have any oils in that have the component of citral in them, I’ve checked ingredient listings but know they don’t list ingreidnets in very low percentages though I’m sure some of the EOs in the range have citral naturally occurring .,

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Jasmine, there are no plans to release a range without essential oils. Colette

  • Jasmine Clarke

    Thanks Colette I really appreciate your quick reply. It’s citral I’m allergic to and I wondered if the essential oils/extracts contain citral naturally occurring. I can see it isn’t on the ingredient listing for any of the listings but wanted to be sure e.g does rose geranium have it as a component or rose extract? Thank you Jasmine

  • Victoria Health

    Unfortunately I think it is best to keep away from products with essential oils, an allergy can trigger another.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Katherine, the video is being filmed currently and will be available soon.

  • wjs57

    I wish you had a way of reviewing products on your site. I am using the Vitamin C paste,universal emulsion and night switch PHA/AHA and think they are all great. The Vitamin C paste has brightened my skin after just one week and the emulsion is one of the very few moisturisers I have ever used which works for my 60 year old combination skin. It sinks in beautifully without stickiness or leaving a residue and my skin feels smooth all day. I am so far very impressed and am about to order the retinol night switch next.

  • Victoria Health

    Hi, thank you for your feedback. We are hoping that our new website will have the feature for reviews.

  • Kathrine

    Hi, I’ve been hearing a lot about using a balm to remove make up then a cream to cleanse the skin, does the lixir cleanser remove make up or should it be used after makeup removal?

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Kathrine, Electrogel Cleanser most definitely may be used to remove make up.

  • Kathrine

    Thank you

  • Linda

    Is it available yet? I can’t find it either and it’s weird that the product states to watch a video which isn’t even ready yet!

  • Victoria Health

    Hi Linda, we are still waiting and i have chased the manufacturer. Shabir