Simplifying science-driven skincare with Dr. Natasha Cook

Dr. Natasha Cook was the first Australian Dermatologist to create a namesake skincare line. For our November-December issue Editor Anita Quade spoke to Dr. Natasha Cook about her journey in the skin industry, the importance of science-backed routines and creating products your clients will actually use.

You are the first Australian Dermatologist to create a cosmeceutical skincare line. Tell us how it feels to be such a pioneer in the industry?

“Nowadays, I feel proud of what we have managed to achieve and realise how progressive and ahead of our time we were. We were selling online in 2005 ‘lol’ with a cartoon image of myself, which these days is called a bitmoji!

Pioneering was not always well received in the beginning. I have to say it has been a very difficult journey. I started the range mid-2005, back in the day when there was little support from colleagues who saw me as Avant-garde and too commercial. Predating the “Instagram” trend, wanting to genuinely make products that delivered and defied the “BS” and pseudo-scientific claims of the mainstream beauty world. I copped a lot of professional jealousy and backlash. As a young woman, it was hard to stick to my beliefs in an environment that was often negative and not supportive.”

How do you feel looking back at your journey?

“I can say today I am extremely proud of as a self-funded and self-created entrepreneur to have colalted the range over the last 15 years. Literally product by product. Nothing makes me prouder than the joy in a customer’s voice expressing how we have helped change their skin and in a way that changed their lives in a positive way.”

What have tough times taught you?

“The difficulties make the success sweeter and the person more empowered if you can take the learnings and grow from them. For that, I am grateful as coming through those tough times now equips me with the tools that I can navigate a bigger landscape on where I want the business to go.”

What inspired you to launch your signature range?

“Myself! I spent time in the USA as an undergraduate at Harvard and back then skincare was more affordable in the US. I hustled my way through SAKS department store and naively took everything in that the Lancome sales assistant said and proceeded to spend all my hard-earned student dollars on everything she said. I’m talking eye creams, neck creams etc… I was 21!”

How did you progress your learning?

“Once I ended up on the Dermatology specialist training scheme, I loved the textbooks that were on topical pharmacology. I started seeing gaps in what the science, and what the mainstream beauty industry was offering. It seemed they were lacking the right ingredients in the right concentrations that were essential for a product to work. I saw that you could get some of this in the pharmacy products but they were aesthetically displeasing to use and lacked the luxury feel and elegance of the “ingredients depleted” department store products. So I was on a mission to make products that delivered, contained the real deal based on my dermatological studies, and felt amazing. On top of all that it had to be easy to use and simply feel good. I then wanted to make the brand all about education, not about pushing a sell – So that’s where DrNC started.”

dr.NC skincare created by Dr. Natasha Cook
Creating a range that’s easy for skincare consumers to navigate is “key to compliance” in Doctor Natasha Cook’s mind.

After obtaining your medical degree you undertook a five-year program to graduate as a Specialist Dermatologist – how important is education?

“How do I put this? Education is everything! It’s the foundation of knowledge and creation. In a world where people are often revered/celebrated in celebrity for really having not achieved that much at all I think it’s important to come back to the pillars of education, credibility and commitment when we are looking for true thought leaders and experts to be inspired by, let alone take direction from.”

What inspired your love of the industry initially?

“Interestingly, I had bad skin from the age of eight. A rare autoimmune disease known as erythema multiforme. I grew up in rural Australia, so no one knew what was wrong with me and I ended up going to multiple doctors for opinions, but nothing worked until I went to Sydney to see a dermatologist who nailed my diagnosis in one. I was allergic to the cold sore virus and then my immune system would go mental several weeks later creating disfiguring targetoid ring-like lesions all over my body and ulceration in my mouth. Each bout would last weeks. I would have to have boracic acid ice baths to seek comfort. Not to mention the mental distress of feeling isolated, alienated and bullied by school kids. I wasn’t conscious that this was a motivator at the time but I look back and realise there was a part of me wanting to fix and help people who suffered as I had.”

Your range is step-by-step with clear instructions – how important was it to you to remove the confusion around skincare steps?

“It’s incredibly important! As a dermatologist, I know less is often more. I also know if things are too complex people are not compliant and therefore will not get results. Simplicity is key in fact as Einstein said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. We have too many line extension products in the market that are there to feed corporate bank accounts, NOT people’s skin.”

To read the full interview with Dr. Natasha Cook, and more about her range flick through to p.64 of the digital November-December Professional Beauty magazine below.

To learn more about dr.NC skincare follow the link.

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