Skincare visionary Vanessa Gray Lyndon shares the 2+ year journey to create a skincare range specifically formulated for menopausal skin, and discusses the science behind how Metamorphosis gives transformational results using 100% Natural ingredients.
Where did the idea for a menopausal skincare range come about?
It all started when a really good friend of mine started going through menopause. And she was talking to me about how dry her skin was. And I was like, Oh my god, I haven't even thought about happens to skin as it goes through menopause. I always love to find new types of skin that I can try to help with natural ingredients. So I had to go down that rabbit hole of how hormonal changes affect skin. I began speaking to our naturopaths, GPs and skincare specialists to figure out what actually happens to the skin, at a dermatological level, so I can find the solution.
What kind of research process did you go through to create the formulations for Metamorphosis?
I really wanted to understand the skin and the biochemistry of hormonally challenged skin. You have to really understand the lipid structure of the skin and how that changes to be able to find the right ingredients to replace what is missing as our skin ages. So I started off with my naturopath and GP and really got a great understanding of why this skin gets so dry or pores become really open, and hot flushes, how they actually affect the skin and the endocrine system, and how changes in the endocrine system can deplete the collagen, which is the lifeline to youthful radiant skin.
With your brand Vanessa Megan, you've had a lot of experience using natural ingredients to solve a myriad of skin problems. Did you have to find new natural ingredients to meet some of the needs of menopausal skin?
Yeah, with Vanessa Megan, our motto is you should never put anything on your skin you wouldn't eat. I never waver from that. And I love a challenge. And what was great about developing Metamorphosis was that process of going to the science of how our skin changes, finding out what we're missing, and then trying to find a remedy through nature.
For instance, we lose estrogen through menopause. And many people use HRT patches, which are a synthetic version of estrogen, to help balance out the estrogen. But it never ceases to amaze me, that nature has has these phyto-estrogens and you can source estrogen through plant seeds or roots and they act like a gentle estrogen booster to the skin. And so I started applying this concept to the products so that we're getting a gentle amount of estrogen in each of our products and it absorbs directly into the skin, and the results are just phenomenal.
How did you determine the key skincare issues you needed to address with Metamorphosis?
We’ve been researching and developing the Metamorphosis range for over 24 months. The first product that I gave to my friend, she was like, “Oh my God, this is working.” And then she started telling me about the other problems that she was having. I've got this problem, this problem, and this one. And I was like, okay, give it to me. And let's look at all of the issues and go through them one by one and, and really put the spotlight on each problem so we could go out and create a solution. So that has been the journey over 24 months or more to get to where we are today. And then we got our focus groups involved in dermatological testing. We knew this was working for my friend… but let's test that out and see if other women are getting the same results. Incredibly, they were.
All that being said, everyone has different challenges through menopause, not everyone is going to have open pores or extremely dry skin. Although that does seem to be the predominant thing through menopause, is this extremely dry skin, and nothing will quench that thirst.
How did the focus groups respond overall?
The results exceeded my expectations, to be honest, and helped with symptoms that I hadn't even created the range to treat. For instance, one of the biggest changes was a reduction of the black hair on the face. When estrogen levels drop, many women get this black hair on their face. I hadn’t even thought of that, but with the phyto-estrogens in the Metamorphosis range, it replenishes estrogen at the dermal level, rather than through HRT or other types of supplementation, and many women see a reduction in the black hair on their face. In fact, a naturopath friend of mine Emily Rose Yates has been trying to treat these black hairs with ingestibles and herbs for a long time, and when I told her about these results, she was like, “Oh my god, I hadn’t thought of using phytoestrogens on the face. Of course a dermal application would work! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.
You’ve mentioned that Metamorphosis is more than just a skincare range. What do you mean by that?
I see Metamorphosis as an education platform. A place where women can be encouraged to share stories and support one another, and also learn from each other about how to stay confident and vibrant through the life changes that we all have to go through.
For example, we have a podcast that we're working on, so that we can talk to experts and highlight some of the highs and lows and moments that a lot of women will resonate with. And we’re going to spend a lot of time listening, to provide the sort of resources that women need. Whether that’s more perspectives and individual stories, or books that provide a unique perspective on menopause, or even links to support networks, doctors and naturopaths, or even the ability to book a one-on-one consultation with one of our skin specialists. These are all things people have told us would be valuable, so we’re on a mission to build it.
My brand Vanessa Megan started off, almost 15 years ago, as an educational platform too. As one of the first certified organic skincare brands in Australia, we spent a lot of time educating people about the fact that what we put on our skin affects the health of our vital organs. The same principle applies to Metamorphosis. Many women get blindsided by menopause because it’s not talked about enough. And so we’re trying to assemble a whole lot of information to help women prepare for, and navigate this time in their life. And we’re not only providing skincare, but things like our Women’s Blend, a supplement powder that is infused with all kinds of nutrients that are depleted in Menopause. It’s specifically designed to help with brain fog and sleeplessness, and help with energy levels.
What are some of the ingredients that you've used in this range that are different to others you’ve used in the past?
One of the ingredients that I found that really support menopausal skin is the phyto-estrogens. These work incredibly well. We use wild yam, and we're also using a red clover which is full of phyto-estrogens. We also use a lot of essential oils that have phyto-estrogen in them as well. They're great to use on the whole body, from the bottom of the feet right up, because they get absorbed into the into the bloodstream. We also use ingredients like resveratrol, which is from the skin of red grapes. And a range of peptides from nature.
We also use a soy and a rice peptide which is incredible, and an alternative to retinol. Now Retinol is something that everyone loves to use, but it can make you quite photo sensitive. So using a natural Retinol is much more gentle on the skin. And you don't have all of those contraindications, like not being able to go out and enjoy the sun. And you can find it through Bakuchiol, which is from the Babchi plant, but also this new ingredient called Rambutan. And putting them together, we are getting some incredible results that are surpassing even retinol, when you use them morning and night. We’re seeing it really even out skin tone. We had one girl that had some skin tags and after four applications, four days of use, the roughness had gone, and then within two weeks it had erased completely.
What is your personal mission?
My personal mission, whether it was through skincare, or as a hypnotherapist is, is to really help people with their self-confidence. When you're confident in yourself, you can do anything, you can be anything that you dream you are. So I want to help people have that foundation. And having great skin really helps with that self-confidence. One of my all-time favourite testimonials from Vanessa Megan that we ever received was:
“I couldn't walk out of my house without makeup on, but now I go out without makeup because I'm so confident in my body and my skin.”
So the same thing applies with metamorphosis, and really helping women get that that confidence that they lost when they went through this transformational time. It really is the backbone of what I do.
What’s your vision for Metamorphosis in the long term?
My vision for metamorphosis is to create a space where women can come and communicate, they can talk about their problems, and they are shared. I want metamorphosis to be more than just a skincare range. I see it as a community where women can come and talk, and can feel safe to share what they're going through and know that there are going to be so many other women sharing the same things: thoughts, feelings and insecurities.
And I want it to be a safe place. There’s no judgment here. We also want to offer a place where we make recommendations to professionals in the space who we know and who have been working with women in the Menopausal space, that can really help whether it's a doctor or a naturopath, a skin specialist or a GP.
What does it take to make a great skincare range?
When I started making skincare, I never thought it would become be a commercial skincare range. Like that was beyond any expectation. I did it because I wanted to educate people about what we’re putting on our skin. To help people avoid toxins and parabens and petroleum-based products, and really pay attention to what they are putting on their bodies, because it really has a direct correlation to our health.
Starting a new skincare range like Metamorphosis definitely comes with it’s challenges, especially when you are your own entity and your dreams and visions can tend to exceed the budget of a start-up. That's the challenge. Because once you’ve got the product, then it's about being able to get it to the people who need it most, right?
For me, I'll formulate, and that can take me two, three years. But I'll get there eventually. But the other part of it, the marketing and making a product visible. That can be challenging. Because I want women to have that aha moment, where they realise exactly what’s happening to their skin and why, and then realise that they don’t need synthetic ingredients to get transformational results. I want them to see how natural ingredients can really do wonders.