Bacteria IS good for your skin. No, that wasn’t a typo, and as morbid as it sounds, it’s actually true.
It’s probably the last thing you’d want to hear, germaphobes, but scientifically speaking, feeding your skin with microbiome (aka the bacteria that live on it) will do your skin good. We’re not talking about any sort of bacteria by the way — only the good.
Now, we’ve all grown up with the idea that bacteria can cause some infections which may affect our overall health, but in actual fact, good bacteria that live on our microbiome play a protective role and form an integral part of our skin’s barrier — it helps absorb food, trains the immune system, and can even regulate our moods.
But hold up, before you start ditching your shower or skincare routines, hear us out.
We spoke with Marie Drago, founder of French skincare brand Gallinée, to find out more about the brand’s unique complex of prebiotics, probiotics and lactic acid, and how bacteria has been a constitutional ingredient in helping her through her auto-immune disease. Here’s what she had to say:
When asked about the brand, Marie Drago explains, “Gallinée, in french, is a name for a hen. I just like the sound of the name and also in France, the symbol of France is a french cock, and I’m quite a feminist so I wanted something that was reminiscent of a french hen instead — that’s why there’s an egg in the logo. People never notice but I’m very proud of it, it’s a little egg with a french accent.”
HOW GALLINÉE CAME ABOUT
Marie Drago first came about the brand a few years ago, back when she was battling an auto-immune disease and came to know about how a prebiotic and probiotic diet has improved her symptoms.
“I was put on immunosuppressants, like really heavy ones, and it never really worked for me. So I researched the science of this and I started to switch from my heavy treatment to a probiotic and prebiotic diet, and it changed my life.”
With a perverse attitude towards her cause, Marie had a eureka moment — “if you take care of your bacteria inside, it’s really helping your gut and your whole system, why is no one taking care of the bacteria outside?” She then pursued her studies to expand her knowledge before building her own brand. Marie said, “I passed my thesis on skin probiotics, and I patented my thesis. So the whole idea of Gallinée actually comes from my problems and my pharmacy thesis.”
MISCONCEPTIONS OF SKINCARE
K-beauty has proven itself to be a hit with many in the beauty industry — but just like every other trend, it’s not for everyone. Dishing out the old with the new, comes a more minimalistic approach to skincare — of which Marie feels strongly about. “For me, it’s really less-is-more. So, there’s a thing that you should pile up a lot of skincare and put a lot of things on your skin, and the whole idea of Gallinée is that your skin does really well by itself and you just need to support this microbiome for your skin to work. I think minimalism is going to be the biggest trend in skincare.”
“I wash my face and my body with our soap, then I use the vinegar toner and finish it with the serum. That’s it.”
HOW IS BACTERIA GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
Sure, you’d probably be a little uncertain about putting it on your face — because let’s face it, who in the right mind would put bacteria on their face, right? Nevertheless, Marie explains, “you have bacteria on the skin too, and the skin microbiome regulates your immune response, so it’s really good for sensitive skin, because it will keep the inflammation down. We also use a lot of lactic acid because it kills the bad bacteria, helping your skin by lowering the pH.”
“We know the role of the microbiome is super important, which means that you’ve got to rethink every single beauty product that’s been formulated. Usually, everything we put in beauty products was to kill bacteria, so either with anti-bacterial or with alcohol, or even with preservatives. So there’s a really big shakeup in the beauty industry.”
INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
“Stay away from anything alcohol-based, and no SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), and not products with too many preservatives. Recognising something with too many preservatives is easy, those open pots, the jars? If you dip your finger in it all the time, it needs to have a lot of preservatives. And preservatives are not good for bacteria.”
“So in Singapore, our bestseller seems to be the foaming cleanser, which is a nice little cleansing foam — it’s pH5, it’s never going to be drying. It’s actually quite plumping and the foam is really smooth, so it’s a very nice little product.
And clearly, around the world, the face vinegar, so the vinegar toner, is really popular. I am so proud of this product because we’ve got two patents on it, we are using prebiotics that no one’s ever used before, which are coming from algae that’s releasing stress of the skin, the physical signs of stress.”
OTHER BENEFITS FROM GALLINÉE
“Usually, the idea is to give you the skin you’re supposed to have, so the thing I realise most is that people don’t wear foundation anymore [after using Gallineé]. You don’t need to use makeup anymore because your skin is just nice. Just good. It’s clearly a range for sensitive skin, but also for people with acne, because acne is a bad bacteria, and you balance it with the right kind of bacteria for healthy skin.”
THE IDEAL SKINCARE ROUTINE
If you’ve seen Marie’s skin, then you’d best believe that she’d have a long list of products that she has in her arsenal — but that’s where you’re wrong. “My skincare routine is literally three products, it’s the soap, that I use for everything, and it’s not a soap it’s like a cleansing bar. The vinegar, to tone, and just even in the morning that’s the only thing I put. And the serum, because it’s oil-free.”
Gallinée is available at all Sephora stores and online at sephora.com.sg. Prices range from $23 to $109.