Today, with Valerie Jutteau-Casagrande, we will explore the fantastic probiotics world applied to our healthcare and skincare routine.
Valerie is French. She has an extensive career in beauty and has cofounded, with Katie Raeburn, Biomilk a skincare company.
French Wink: How did you discover probiotics?
Valerie J.-C.: I am the daughter of two doctors and when my children were still toddlers, as a young mother, I was looking for good ideas for them not to get cold and to avoid all these small diseases that children often catch when they are all day at school or day care.
I was thinking about what I could do to strengthen their immune system and I discovered probiotics. My kids grew up with fermented yogurts and kefir. I noticed they were quite robust, actually. They weren’t often sick. It really seemed to benefit them. So I did some digging to know how probiotics worked. That brought me to microbiomes. All of those microorganisms living inside or outside our bodies and allowing them to be healthy and function properly.
You can find probiotics in specific foods, without even realizing that they are there. Like all the fermented yogurts, the kefir... In terms of drinks, there is the kombucha, a fermented black tea, which is very popular now. Probiotics can also be met in miso soups, tempeh, cabbage and bananas…
What was your ambition in creating Biomilk?
We are really focused on overall health. Whether it is for my business partner or for me, having a healthy lifestyle has always been very important. And it starts with what you eat. We both cook every day. We do our best, with the time we have, but we make our own bread, our yogurts. We have a vegetable garden during the summer. We try to teach our children how to cook, what are the right choices to make in terms of nutrition.
It starts with sports as well, spending less time in front of the TV, going outside regularly, reading a book. So it is a pretty comprehensive way of life.
What is the point of putting probiotics in a skincare product?
Probiotics are good bacteria. Our body is filled with these micro-organisms and without them we could not live. For every human cell in our body, there are 10 non-human cells. Those are bacteria, yeasts, that contribute to our balance.
Every day our skin is weakened by pollution, allergens, stress, perhaps by a nutrition that is not very ideal. And what probiotics do? They support the balance of our skin. They strengthen the skin barrier. They act as a real screen against external attacks. They mask the aggression so that our cells do not react. If they react, it could cause inflammation and irritations. Probiotics calm all of this and nourish our skin.
When and how did the probiotics trend start?
It is very recent. Until 2010, the medical community really had no interest in microbiota. At this time, there was a project that was launched in the USA, the Human Microbiome Project. The goal was to decrypt this microscopic world living with us, which is part of our body and our daily health. And we realized the impact of all these micro-organisms on our lives. We had no idea until then.
Today, there are clinical studies all over the world, to explore the relationship between microbiota imbalances and specific health problems that people could experience on a daily basis (Alzheimer’s, intestinal or skin problems).
As our goal at Biomilk is skin health, it was critical for us to return to basics: what makes our skin healthy? That is because the skin’s microbiota is balanced. So how do we develop products that work with the needs of our microbiota? Ultimately, all of our products contain probiotics and have been validated by clinical studies for their benefit to the skin.
As a customer, how can I make my choice among Biomilk products, on French Wink e-shop?
Most people tend to have mixed skin. In which case, all products will be ideal for you. Our products contain probiotics and a specific spectrum of natural ingredients that meet all the nutritional needs of your skin.
In the morning, from a nutritional point of view, your skin needs antioxidants. So start with our day cream. It is very moisturizing while remaining light, and truly rich in goji berry, Acai berry, vitamins C and E for example.
In the evening, you can use our serum which is a boost of nutrition for the skin (you are not in a hydration phase at this moment of the day). It is highly concentrated in antioxidant, vitamins, minerals, omega and it has the highest concentration of probiotics. Then you finish with our night cream. Use the scrub 2 to 3 times a week and once a week, a facial with our mask.
Do your products apply to specific age groups?
Our consumers are mainly between the ages of 28 and 45. But we also have teens, including boys who do not want to admit it because the product is pink. They use our scrub. It is the only thing that works for their acne. And we have customers closer to 60-65 years who are fond of our serum because it has a real effectiveness on small lines and wrinkles.
Can we say that probiotics are part of clean beauty?
Totally! If you look at our products for instance, they all are natural. Formulations have been reviewed by dermatologists. They have had strict irritation tests. We pay attention to the type of ingredients we use. All our probiotics are natural as well as all our super food.
Probiotics for the skin began to emerge in 2016. The clean beauty movement exited just 2 years ago. This is quite recent and it is still evolving a lot.
All Biomilk innovations are 100% aligned with the clean beauty movement. Besides, our last 2 innovations that we introduced (our face mask and our little lip balm) are 100% plant based, vegan, without preservatives, no perfume.
In 2020, what are the expectations of consumers for their skin? What do they tell you?
I think consumers are coming back from the natural product itself. The word 'natural' has been overused. So many brands were saying their product was natural, putting a superb picture of a natural ingredient on the packaging. At the end, it represented only 0.1% of the formulation.
Women have higher expectations. They ask for more information about products functioning and efficiency. They also claim for transparency about the type of ingredients used. That is something we focus on a lot in our skincare company. Consumers are no longer willing to sacrifice the effectiveness of a product, only to have something natural.
You are French. As a cofounder, does it bring something special to the brand in terms of beauty’s references?
In fact, there are two things. First, I have the feeling that French women have a much simpler regimen than many Americans. So, at Biomilk we tend to focus on simple and good quality of products, with an easy routine that doesn’t attack the skin. For example, American women will use skin scrubs that are a little harsher for the skin. While a French woman will use an exfoliant but maybe only once a week and something gentler. French skincare routine often involves one product or two. Not the succession of 4-5-6 products on top of each other.
The second point is that French people expect a certain quality not only of the product but also of textures or perfumes. With my team, we made great efforts to manage to offer textures and fragrances that met the perfect criteria to me, as a French woman. Skincare must remain a pleasant and positive experience. It is also this touch that we wanted to bring in Biomilk.
What would be your advice on getting started with probiotics?
My advice would be to try them. People often have small health problems on a daily basis, just little things bothering them. Most of the time, the solution is found with something simpler and more natural than they would imagine. Problems can be solved by lifestyle changes. Even the addition of probiotics in a daily diet would have a real effect.