Banishing the age-old notion that ‘beauty is pain’, Orveda is a revolutionary skincare line that advocates the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurveda. Taking us back to the very beginning (around 5000 BC to be exact), it references the oldest holistic system known to man, melding the wellness ethos with cutting-edge cosmetic science and biotechnology.

What Sue Y. Nabi – the brand’s brilliant founder – doesn’t know about skincare and beauty, isn’t worth knowing! Armed with years of experience and invaluable knowledge from her tenure as President of both L’Oréal and Lancômeher range of totally vegan and gender-free skincare – co-founded with friend and business partner, Nicolas Vu – is loaded with concentrated formulas and optimal probiotics, outdoing the power of makeup by a mile.

To lift the veil on the Orveda glow, we met with Sue to talk her beauty revolution.

You’ve had an incredible career in the luxury beauty and wellness industries – and that’s putting it lightly! How did your entry into the field come about? What were those early days like?
It all starts with my childhood. I was born in Algeria to incredibly hardworking parents; my father was an engineer and politician, and my mother was a French teacher. I was brought up practicing the language and – by the time I reached 16, when I knew that I wanted to move away to create something – there was a natural pull inside me to move to Paris. I enrolled in engineering with a specialism in biochemistry, after which I picked up business studies; that’s partly what opened the door of L’Oréal for me. It was the perfect fit.

The early days weren’t so glamorous, but I loved them! I’d often drive to the south of France and go knocking from door-to-door selling shampoos to supermarkets. I loved telling stories, and people loved to hear them. That relationship really stuck with me throughout my whole career – so much so that, in 2005 when I became the CEO of L’Oréal, I made it my mission to fine-tune the story of the brand and take it into new territory. Come 2009, my next step was to do the same with Lancôme.

It was shortly after your departure from there in 2014 that you launched Orveda. What’s the story behind this brand?
The name and principle of Orveda comes from the contractions of ‘Or’ for ‘Origin’ and ‘Veda’ for ‘Ayurvedic’ science. The brand is completely vegan and inspired by Naturopathic and Taoist principles; it’s founded on the basis of unlocking the cell-level healing power of the skin and undoing the harm of decades of using aggravating products. Many traditional medicines, including Ayurveda, are based on boosting what naturally occurs inside the body and repairing what’s been damaged as a result of stress, aging, pollution and bad products. The philosophy of our brand is to create makeup from within; it’s all about strengthening the skin's barriers through natural and bio-fermented actives like marine enzymes and probiotics. Nature will always be stronger than anything we do, so it’s about harnessing it as a powerful tool – Taoism teaches us to not fight things that are stronger than we are, which leads to our motto, ‘work with the skin, not against it’.

We mainly use green ingredients in the pursuit of balancing the skin, aiding what I call the ‘me-cosystem’. Our skin and our self is an ecosystem, and we need to make sure that we are not breaking the balance anywhere – everything must work harmoniously.

Image courtesy of Charles Helleu.

Is it fair to say that many of our skin conditions are in fact of our own doing? A result of the aggravating products that we have historically used. 
We’ve certainly created a generation of sensitive skin that stems from using harsh chemicals and cleansers, cheap makeup and subsequently cheap makeup strippers. There’s also the issue of procedures like lasers and peels, which are great for giving you that instant gratification, but in the long-term are killing off all of the good bacteria that your skin thrives off of.

If you had to choose, which Orveda products would you single out as your favourites? Are there more in the offing?
One of our cult products is ‘The Healing Sap’, a serum that boasts a high concentration of actives, a fantastic texture and is scented with galbanum – an incredibly rare and luxury natural ingredient. The scent is a first of its kind, since everything on the market is either unscented, floral, or fresh with citrus. It has really established its own space. Our ‘Overnight Skin Recovery Masque’ is also a close contender for the top spot; it’s made up of 35% actives and treats the skin with that strong boost while you sleep.

I’m also so excited to launch a new product in our collection – we’ve called it ‘The Prebiotic Emulsion’ and we’ve been developing it over the past year with one of France’s most talented plastic surgeons. Bringing the freshness of a serum and nourishment of a cream, it amalgamates the two and is full of probiotics, hyaluronic acid and omega-3 from meadowfoam seed oil. It’s a total powerhouse!

I would love to do something more serious in terms of makeup; it would be unlike anything that’s on the market today. 

Watch this space… 

Get the glow, shop Orveda here: