[Exclusive Interview] AHAVA’s Head of Research Uncovers the ‘Art & Science’ of Natural Beauty

April 15, 2016 Team AHAVA

 

Our very own Dr. Miriam Oron chats openly about what goes into the products and why; real moments of discovery from the lab, and her love of nature [especially Dead Sea Mud] and skin science...

AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories Dr. Miriam Oron

What inspires you at work? In developing Products?

It starts with the idea or dream. When marketing presents something, I try to get into their heads to see the vision. It’s a combination of science and art. When I create a product, it’s art. That special, sensorial feeling  when the consumer  opens, feels, and touches the product, it’s an art. So I try to combine art and science. I very much love living between these 2 worlds of science and art; pushing the limits of stability, color and sensorial properties of the products.

How do you define beautiful, healthy looking skin?

I think that the most important thing for the consumer and the thing that I try to live up to is not to over promise. It is better to be very precise. Another thing is to target a woman’s real needs, along with the functional activity (i.e. wrinkle reduction, age spots).

 

“Real Beauty means understanding the quality of life of the consumer. Any woman that is strengthened through her self-esteem, is a beautiful woman.”

 

 Describe AHAVA in 1-2 words

I think that the first feeling that comes to mind is integrity and quality.

Can you tell us about your background?

A: My PhD was in electrochemistry. I started out in the micro-electronics industry and after 3 years I went back to the university to study the effects of UV damage on the skin because I wanted to expand my education to a more biological field. During my 4 years post-grad at Hebrew University, I met Ze'evi [Ahava's Chief Technology Officer], and that is how I came to AHAVA and cosmetics.

What is your favorite AHAVA product and why?

Products that contain Dead Sea Mud, because they contain a unique composition that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world, and because how they feel on the skin. The one I like best is the DermudTM hand cream

What do ‘skin-friendly’ skincare products mean to you?

We take a lot of time testing and formulating the products. Ultimately when it comes down to it, when I have to make a safety decision I have to ask myself, would I apply this on my children? If I can do that, then I know that it is safe.

What have been some of your favorite AHA!  moments or discoveries in  the lab?

The Crystal Osmoter discovery is  one of them. It is amazing, because we’ve been educated in the past that salts are only mixable in water, not in gels, oils, or creams, and just to have the concept of a salt in oil is amazing.

AHAVA Dead Sea Labs and Dead Sea products

The Majestic Dead Sea View from the Lab

Another amazing thing about this is the activity on the skin: the delivery system. What happens is that because of the liquidity of the oil, it just penetrates right into the very upper layer, letting the Dead Sea crystals to come into contact with our skin.  This is why we feel a warming effect. The salts are hydrated by the water, coming out of the osmotic pump.

Can you talk about AHAVA’s 4 elements: mud, salt, water, and plants, and what they mean to the development of products?

Those elements have distinctive properties in this region - Dead Sea mud and water have such high mineral content. We are always looking at new plants and new ways to sustainably harvest plants. you can now get a  large extract from a very small tissue of a plant. The process is to take a very small piece of a leaf or a seed and you can grow it using stem cell technology. When you develop it, you try out various conditions in which to grow it. You analyze the extract and choose the one that gave the best results in terms of safety and efficacy. So by doing this, we are being very sustainable, because we are conserving the environment. It also allows us to create an extract that is much more effective, because we can better study the ways in which it affects the skin.

Can you discuss the importance of being a Vegan-friendly skincare brand?

I think we have so many good raw materials, and we’re so lucky to have the Dead Sea minerals and the salt. We have also created  so many raw extracts.

Our ingredients are so amazing, that we don’t have the need to use animal sourcing or testing. I think in the long run, looking at the path of sustainability, it’s the right path for us. We don’t need animals to make our products better.

How do science and nature factor into your product development?

I think that it all comes together in AHAVA. Because we have the natural skin benefits of this unique region, and are working with it in a sustainable way through technology.

What do you see are the big trends for consumers? What problems fo you want to solve for them?

It’s a very personalized direction. I think that personalizing beauty for every consumer is the future. We do a lot of clinical trials for skin diseases such as psoriasis, but also for cosmetic products such as wrinkle reduction. Every woman is different; each has her own skin structure and different properties. Therefore, the future is to adjust the products that we are using to each and every woman’s individualities, even changing the color and the fragrance, not just the “dose”.

 

AHAVA's Head of Research and Developments Labs at Dead Sea

Dr. Miriam Oron at AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories - with AHAVA's International skincare patents

Can you talk specifically about the Dead Sea mud?

Well what’s funny - is that it’s the world’s oldest clinical trial. We have records of people using it dating back thousands of years. It creates long-lasting moisture and also has anti-inflammatory properties. That is why it has been used for ages for skin disease. Also the heating activity of the mud is very special, because it can keep warm for a long time on the skin, which is why it is helpful for people with arthritis.

Can you explain AHAVA products’ ‘Osmotic pump’ technology in a simple  way?

When you put a tea bag into boiling water, you see that the water becomes colored,  because all of the water molecules from the tea are coming out. So this is what happens with the OsmoterTM. When we apply something to our uppermost skin layer, that is very concentrated with salt, the water wants to come and hydrate this salt. That is the Osmotic pump. Nature has a tendency for balance, and this is why the tea bag once it’s wet, the tea extract doesn’t stay inside it wants to disperse. That is just how the water wants to come up to the top layer of the skin to balance out the salt. You can also think of it as a natural magnet, pulling moisture and nutrients to help nourish your skin.

Osmotic pump pulling moisture in your skin by dead sea minerals

The Osmotic Pump pulls nutrients and moisture to the outer layers of your skin, where it needs them most.

 

Have any questions for Dr. Oron? She'd love to answer - drop us a comment or question!

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