Dr Geoffrey Herber Explains the Value in Visible Results With RVR90 by Ultraceuticals

Ultraceuticals is celebrating its seventh year of running the innovative RVR90 treatment program which helps clients achieve their best skin in 90 days – the benchmark for visible results. Anita Quade chats to founder Dr Geoffrey Heber about the program’s success.

Career history

You have such a long standing history as a cosmetic physician – tell us what sparked your interest in skincare initially?

“During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in the sun – at the pool and beach. Because of this, my skin had noticeable sun damage. When I would look into the mirror I could visibly see the brown blotches and other signs that my skin was greatly affected by the sun, I knew I had to do something! I then started my studies to become a cosmetic physician treating and improving patients existing sun damage. I developed an interest in cosmeceuticals in the early 1990’s after seeing the effects active ingredients could achieve on the skin at an overseas conference and then on my clients back in Australia.”

You then expanded that knowledge and ventured into the business side of things. Tell us about that..

“In 1988, I opened one of the first few non-surgical cosmetics medical clinics in Australia – Herber Davis Cosmetic Medicine. In 1991, I founded Doctors Formula, and became the first Australian distributor of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) products, to cosmetic medical clinics, the beauty industry and pharmacies. I set forth to create my own company, initially made up of just three people in a basement at my home, importing cosmeceuticals. However, these imported products were becoming increasingly expensive and I believed I could create more efficacious and affordable products locally. After much research and planning, Ultraceuticals was founded.”

You obviously found after opening one of the first non-surgical medical clinics in the market in 1988, there was a gap for high quality skincare – tell us about what was missing in the market?

“It was the opening of my clinic that I recognised my clients needs for high performance skincare products that were more effective than those generally found in department stores and pharmacies. As well as producing better results in their own right, higher performance formulations could also maintain and enhance the discernible results clients experienced from cosmetic medical treatments they were undertaking at my clinic.”

How did you do your research?

“I regularly attended dermatology conferences in the USA and I happened to attend the first conference at which AHA research was presented. The use of AHA resulted in changes in the skin that no other ingredients came close to. However, the results were dependent upon a product’s level of acidity and the concentration of the AHA included in the formulation. At that time a large multinational company introduced a very expensive “AHA” product that contained 1% of an AHA which was unknown and for which no published research existed. It was a moisturiser which could not have had any of the recently discovered revolutionary effects of AHA’s.

It was because of this that I recognised there was a gap in the cosmetic industry for truth and trust. For products that really worked, based on readily available research, and which were not marketed in a misleading way.”

Founding Ultraceuticals

In 1998 you worked with a team of chemists to create what is now the Ultraceuticals range – what was your ethos for the brand?

“I was determined to improve upon imported skincare ranges on the market. So, the ethos of the brand was to create skincare products that people could trust. The philosophy was to use active ingredients that had independent evidence for their effectiveness. I formed a powerful team of Australian and international chemists to build unique formulations. Our goal was to create to potent and effective and cosmeceutical skincare products and that is how Ultraceuticals was founded.”

Tell us about the process of creation?

“Each Ultraceuticals product isn’t merely created – it’s tested in clinic – and trialled on the type of people who would use it to ensure that our products deliver real visible results. We don’t solely rely on using proven ingredients, we make sure they deliver results to our guests.”

What were some of the main skincare concerns you were hoping to address with the range?

“I planned the range to address all the common skin issues: dryness, pigmentation, wrinkles, dullness, coarseness, large pores, loss of firmness and acne.”

Unique ingredients

How have you evolved the brand over the past 20 years – is there one particular product you consider to be a “miracle worker” or ingredient?

“We do clinical testing of all our treatment products before we take them to market. We launched upgraded versions of our Vitamin A retinol products a couple of years ago, to create our range of Vitamin A Corrective Serums. These contain a form of Vitamin A that has been proven to be more powerful than retinol. We have had different versions of retinol products on the market since 2002, I have never seen signs of ageing improve so drastically as a result of one product.

The product that works miracles in my eyes is our Ultra Smoothing Pore Refiner. It not only exfoliates but also visibly shrinks pores to make them appear almost non-existent. The results are incredible!”

The skincare landscape has been flooded, especially recently with some many launches – how do you remain ahead of the trends and competitors?

“Our marketing team are constantly analysing the competitive landscape, while also looking at our existing product ranges to determine if we have any gaps in our offering. In addition, our in-house Research and Development team which consists of PhD trained chemists continually research scientific literature for innovations across both ingredients and formulations. As we formulate our products in-house, we don’t rely on contract manufacturers that offer similar formulations to a variety of companies, our formulations are unique to Ultraceuticals. In addition, because we conduct our own research, we can utilise ingredients as their clinical effectiveness is reported, we don’t have to rely on the companies selling them to inform us, keeping us ahead of the trend.”

Dr Geoffrey Herber

What is RVR90?

You launched the RVR90 program seven years ago – why did you consider this important to implement?

“I walked into the cosmetic floor of a large city department store and was confronted by a sea of counters and products before me. I thought to myself, ‘How would anyone know what to buy that does what they want?’ We can prove that Ultraceuticals products work, so why don’t we show it! Showing people what could be achieved for their skin within 90 days with Ultraceuticals products and treatments, and with the guidance of Ultraceuticals skin professionals was a natural progression.”

Tell us about the program?

“In consultation with a qualified skin esthetician, clients have an initial consultation in which photos are taken, and a personalised skincare and treatment plan is prescribed specifically tailored to the client’s skin concern. A treatment may be performed, and three further visits 30 days apart are booked. At the repeat visits the therapist and client discuss the plan, adjust it if necessary and complete another treatment. At the 90 day visit the final review is performed. The therapist and client write down their experiences in the RVR90 booklets we provide. These booklets are how the therapist and their client keep track of the results over the course of the 90 days. They include progress images taken at each visit (before & afters’) and what products and treatment were prescribed and at what point in the 90 day journey.”

You have a competition for the best results how is this judged?

“The booklets form the basis of the judging for the RVR90 program. In 2022 the judging panel consisted of myself, and our long-time Global Education Technical Training Manager – Tracey Beeby in addition to a panel of three expert external judges.”

Entries are judged on the greatest visible difference to the skin that can be seen in the before and after images within each category, combined with the appropriateness of the expert skin plan. After independently rating each submission out of 10, Tracey and I combine our results and create a short list of top three entries under each category (Anti-Ageing, Pigmentation and Acne), which fall under two broader categories: Ultraceuticals skincare and treatments only and Ultraceuticals skincare and treatments with modalities.”

What happens then to the shortlisted entries?

“The shortlisted entries for each category are then sent to our external judging panel who independently scored each entry out of 10. They also judged the entries on the greatest visible difference to the skin that can be seen in the before & after images within each category. The external judges scores were then added to myself and Tracey’s score to determine the winners and finalist in each category.

We invite all the therapists who have participated to an RVR90 Awards Ceremony where the winners and runners- up are announced.”

What has the feedback been like from clients?

“It has been outstanding. The majority cannot believe the transformation of their skin within a short period simply from using Ultraceuticals homecare products combined with professional treatments. We are often told how many clients have a newfound confidence that many thought was unachievable.”

How can salons get involved with the program?

“Any of our Ultraceuticals clinic/salon partners are eligible to participate in the program. They simply need to meet the entry criteria and submit their entries for judging.

To enter the program clinics must request if a guest is willing to be their model’ for the RVR90 Skin Challenge. If the guest agrees, the therapist will need to provide a thorough skin consultation for the guest and recommend a progressive 90-day homecare and treatment skin journey. The therapists will then book the guests in as recommended for their facial treatments over the 90 days. A photo will be taken of the guest’s skin at the salon/clinic before they start their 90-day journey, at the 60 day mark and finally at the 90 day mark. A digital entry form is then completed sharing the details of the 90 Day Journey including images and skincare plus treatment prescription and submitted for judging.”

Ultraceuticals 2023

Do you have any other skincare initiatives in the pipeline for 2023?

“We will continue to remain focused on working with our salon/clinic partners to deliver the best possible results to their clients with true professional skincare and treatments.”

Any new launches you can share?

“We have a full pipeline of new products and product upgrades going out for the next three years. Next year we are launching a product that works in synergy with the skin’s night- time renewal cycle, in addition to a product developed specifically for rosacea-prone skin. The rest are secret!”

Finally, what has been your proudest moment in your career?

“In the year 2000 there was only one beauty award competition in Australia, the New Woman Beauty Awards. Entries were judged by a panel of 16 judges from within the industry. Our Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 50 won awards for the Best Prestige Sunscreen and the Australian Product of the Year. It was the first public recognition of the quality of our products.”

This article first appeared in the November-December 2022 print edition of Professional Beauty.

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