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After working as a beauty editor for over a decade, Editrix Wellness founder Dahlia Devkota was growing dispassionate about the industry when the "latest” products continually failed to push boundaries. Always seeking the next frontier in wellness, both personally and professionally, it was through conversations with her sister, the renowned scientist Dr. Suzanne Devkota, Director of the Human Microbiome Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, that she crafted an idea.
An entrepreneur by nature, Dahlia saw the opportunity to bring cutting-edge science to the field she knew intimately, and subsequently spent a year in a dedicated microbiome lab making discoveries. The result of her research is a luxury brand that is blazing a trail by looking holistically at the makeup of your skin's microbiome. With its significant scientific backbone, Editrix Wellness (yes "Wellness," not "Skincare") is what Devkota affectionately refers to as “the anti-beauty beauty brand.”
So get ready to be schooled about these inventive skin-loving products that will have you clearing out your beauty cabinet. After witnessing its effects, I'm thrilled to share my Cliffs Notes.
- Uniquely rooted in science that utilizes your skin's natural defenses
- Four-step regimen is simple, gentle and effective
- The brand prioritizes consumer education and is nothing short of transparent
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- The regimen cost is steep
- To reap benefits, you need to remain consistent with the products
Microbiome skincare has been gaining traction for several years, and with its recent success (earning $381.5 million in 2022 alone), more brands are entering the category. Beirsdorf, the parent company of Nivea and La Prairie, acquired a microbiome-dedicated organization to drive product innovation with bacteria, while L’Oréal also believes it's the future of cosmetics and will be using the technology to personalize skincare products.
Let's start with a working definition: your microbiome is a delicate ecosystem of microorganisms. While the term is most often used in the realm of gut health (which refers to the health of the entire digestive system and the balance of good and bad bacteria) your skin is populated with just as much biodiversity. “It’s a highly intelligent, unseen universe that communicates with the rest of our body as well — our gut, our brain, our immune system — they all communicate through microbial language,” says Devkota.
But while there are numerous microbiome-branded skincare products on the market today, take heed. Most are simply “microbiome friendly,” meaning they don’t disrupt the skin’s acid mantle (the fine film on its surface), rather than containing the ingredients necessary to replenish healthy bacteria and maintain microbial balance. Microbiome efficacy claims may appear on many brands, but as we know all too well the FDA has a limited, and often confusing, regulation over beauty products.
Editrix Wellness is fundamentally different. Devkota’s extensive exploration led to the discovery that the most common bacteria on human skin, known as staphylococcus epidermidis, “is built-in skincare.” These healthy bacteria can do everything from synthesize collagen in the skin and protect from UV radiation to fight off pathogens (aka bad bacteria). Our lifestyle and excessive use of products “overrides healthy bacteria,” leaving it vulnerable and unable to protect our skin, hence the rise in skin issues such as dermatitis and eczema.
The good news is there's now a solution. Here's how it works: Editrix takes healthy skin bacteria from donors, purifies it in the lab, then uses a proprietary fermentation process to develop a nutrient-rich byproduct. The byproduct may appear as a single ingredient, but it includes “hundreds of nutrients including amino acids, peptides, proteins, and enzymes that communicate with other cells in your skin.” Even better, in what Devkota calls “the entourage effect,” the proportion of these ingredients is measured exactly according to what your skin can absorb and utilize.
Is the idea of bacteria-based skincare hard to digest? Think of it this way. The importance of gut health is hardly news today as it has us talking about inflammation daily and has spurred over $47 billion in gut-related food and beverages, supplements and nutritionist programs. (Not to mention over 3.7 billion #guthealth views on TikTok.) What is less discussed is the equally crucial gut-skin connection, and how that can be addressed via skincare.
The scientific 411 is that there are no living bugs or live bacteria in postbiotic-based Editrix. As probiotics are living bacteria, steer clear of skincare brands capitalizing on probiotic claims; this is a misnomer as live bacteria would not survive a skincare product’s preservatives. Instead, the brand uses postbiotics to help your skin maintain good bacteria while protecting against “invader bacteria that can lead to possible skin disruptions, aging, and if left unchecked, can enter the bloodstream causing inflammation.”
Minimalists will rejoice as the Editrix regimen is beyond unpretentious, and requires only the bare minimum so as not to disturb the microbiome. Behold their four-step regimen:
Demigod, the Ayurvedic Cleansing Oil, an antioxidant-rich oil infused with Ayurvedic botanicals, removes makeup, sunscreen, dirt and more while preserving the skin’s natural pH balance (a very acidic ecosystem between 4.0 and 5.5). With traditional cleansers, which skew alkaline (usually a pH10), your skin is stripped — the acid mantle breaks down and washes away beneficial bacteria. Demigod does the opposite, and its high dose of Vitamin C and Licorice Root leaves your skin dewy and bright. Plus I relish the jasmine oil scent.
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The Postbiotic Fermented Cleanser, is a luxe foam infused with the brand’s signature bacterial postbiotics, fermented botanicals and restorative rice and rose water. On makeup-free days, I use this as my primary cleanser. As a microbiome neophyte eager to balance my skin’s pH, I took Devkota’s recommendation of also using the fermented cleanser as a five-minute mask on occasion.
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Superare is a post-cleanse spray that ensures the microbiome is both biodiverse and high functioning. It pairs Editrix’s proprietary fermentation process and Ayurvedic botanicals with a Biodiversity Broth™ to arm the skin’s ecosystem. The more the microbiome can flourish, the better our skin’s texture, hydration and glow is in the short and long term. Which, let’s face it, is what we should demand from skincare.
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Bakterium Delirium is the last step, and the piece de resistance, of this transformational line. A savior for our sins — product and makeup overload, antibiotic overuse, environmental and mental stress, acid mantle damage, and even poor nutrition —this serum is the rehab your microbiome needs. And a little goes a long way: 2-3 drops pressed into your skin morning and night “teaches skin how to maximize its own microbiome defenses by activating intrinsic peptides, amino acids and antioxidants naturally produced in healthy skin.”
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One of the many merits of Editrix and its microbiome-centric philosophy is freedom from damaging, excessive regimens and procedures. Yet as she's always pushing technology through education, Devkota has brought the one in-office procedure known to benefit skin — without disrupting the microbiome — to our bathrooms with the newly launched The Microneedle ($175). This “collagen induction therapy” delivers an immediate glow and luminosity, while the body’s wound healing mechanism produces collagen. The single use needles are gentle, unlike other at-home tools I previously used, and after several weeks show significant effects on hyperpigmentation, acne scarring and skin laxity.
Devkota’s commitment to microbiome research, product development and consumer education is commendable, particularly within a category best known for lengthy regimens and flashy trends. But healthy skin, and the collective knowledge surrounding the microbiome, is not a fad. Make sure to watch this space, as this is just the beginning of this rich intersection of health, wellness and beauty.