Turn over nearly any product in the conventional beauty aisle and you’ll see a lengthy list of practically indecipherable ingredients. When you aren’t sure what’s in your products, how can you be sure they’ll work for you? Enter Bristol & Sussex, a line built on the idea that less is truly more when you use phenomenal, bioavailable ingredients. In this line, each ingredient has been carefully selected and thoughtfully curated to fulfill a specific purpose. The oils were selected for their fatty acid profile to ensure profile diversity, nourishment and penetration into the skin, and the vitamin levels are the result of thorough research into skin sensitivity to ensure comfort while maximizing efficacy. You will find this level of precision in every aspect of the Bristol & Sussex line. We chatted with Founder Dr. Brandey Dollens to learn more in our latest Brand Spotlight.
You employ a team of doctors and biochemists when you created (and are creating) your products. Tell us why that’s important to you.
It’s all about trust. We feel that if we want to confidently claim that our products are safe and effective, there needs to be a foundation of knowledge and understanding that is backed by longstanding, institutional knowledge from entities like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As someone who is always on the go, when I purchase something, I need to know it works, and that it’s safe. More importantly I want to know who I’m buying it from.
Collectively, we have more than three decades of experience in natural and physical sciences with multiple focuses, and more than two decades treating patients. Everyone on the team brings a different perspective to the table and we use all of that education, knowledge and experience to create products that you can trust your face with.
As doctors, we are also acutely aware that things change and that we need to be current on new information. This way, we are always using the best information as criteria to bring you the most effective products.
Your line focuses on the bioavailability of its ingredients. What does that mean for each product’s potency?
It is the quintessential case of “less is more.” It doesn’t do our clientele any justice to have amazing ingredients if your body can’t use them or simply discards them. Take vitamin C for example: One type of vitamin C needs 10 percent to be minimally effective while another type needs 0.1 percent to be 10 times as effective. So while on the label you’ll see 10 percent vitamin C in big bold letters, your body will use very little of it. Your skin received very little nourishment and your time and money was wasted. We use this philosophy as the cornerstone of all our ingredient choices to ensure that we respect our client’s trust, time, money and skin health.
You practice chiropractic care as your first career. How does your knowledge and background in functional medicine inform Bristol & Sussex’s formulations?
In its essence, chiropractic is about treating the person, not the symptom. It’s the same with our products. We don’t treat dry skin. We don’t treat acne, nor dehydrated skin, nor wrinkles. We take a holistic approach to skin care. We like to think of our facial care system as a multivitamin and nutritional regimen for the face. We give your skin everything it needs to heal itself, to self regulate and to work in its optimal capacity.
Your body is amazing and knows what to do—better than any other external source. When you cut your finger, it’s not the bandage or ointment that lays new skin. It’s you; you did that. When my husband was losing his face to psoriasis, nothing traditional was working. Come to find out when we added sulphur to the products, his psoriasis begin to recede over time. It’s not about fad ‘miracle’ ingredients or mega doses, it about having what you need, daily, to have healthy skin.
Why is Bristol & Sussex a great addition to a retailer’s offerings?
We have made luxury clean beauty more accessible without having to compromise on quality or efficacy. We also offer several incentives for both the retailer and the customer. As part of our retail strategy, we also like to travel to the retail outlets and do ‘doc talks’ and classes where we introduce the products to the retailer’s clientele and teach them proper face washing techniques and explain to them, in detail, why things are done in a certain order and in a particular way.
It’s very easy to get confused with all the products available on the market and our first intention is to always make things simple. We feel that we can help bring a sense of community back into retail and like to turn boutiques into knowledge centers as well.
What’s your hero product, the product someone new to the line should try first?
Our Hydrate facial oil. Without a doubt, it’s the fan favorite. Most facial oils are heavy or leave you feeling greasy and are only suitable at night. Our’s is unique in that you can apply it right under your makeup or SPF in the morning with minimal delay. We formulated it to penetrate quickly, and deeply
Plus you can see the nutrient value in its color. It has very high concentration of CoQ10, which aids in cellular energy metabolism and increases your skin’s overall antioxidant capacity. It is truly something everyone needs to experience at least once!
What’s new/next for Bristol & Sussex? Anything you can share?
We’re always working on something! I’d say the biggest news is our packaging upgrade slated for 2019. We asked the community what they needed and wanted and modified a few things accordingly. We’re very eco-conscious and are reducing our plastic usage by 50 percent with new glass bottles. There are sneak peeks of it on our social media for people who are curious enough to find it!
Recently, we released a vegan leather clutch bag and our organic bamboo konjac sponges. After three years of developing core skin care products, it was a refreshing change to develop some accessories and the response from our community was amazing.
Our next core product release is going to be our Melt emulsifying oil cleanser. I can’t speak of it too much as it’s in its final stages of testing and preparation for release but we hope to finalize everything early next year! The response from our focus group has been great and we are very excited to add to the product line. There are several other things in the works, however they’re in their early stages—but it’s safe to say in doing so, we hope to establish ourselves as more of a lifestyle brand than just a skin care company.