With a history spanning seven decades, attached to a proud family name, Doctor Eckstein is a skincare brand that has well-and-truly stood the test of time. Verena Eckstein shared the brand’s roots with Professional Beauty, proving that smart skincare never dates.
Could you tell us the Eckstein story in your own words?
“Oh, there is so much to say and so many parts of the story, I don’t think I can say it all here. Since the beginning it really was a family endeavour- my grandparents, Dr Richard Eckstein and Linde Eckstein founded the company in 1949 in Oberasbach, Germany. At the time my dad, Gerd, was 3 years old, so he really grew up with the company. It was normal to talk about product ideas at the dinner table, and I always enjoyed hearing stories about those times, especially how well my grandparents worked together. Jump forward another generation, and it’s a similar story. Today it’s my mom, brother and I that are continuing the family tradition together.”
Founded in 1949 Doctor Eckstein is a truly heritage brand – how has the brand moved with the times [this alludes to the expanding marketing towards men, a focus on celebrating individualism, have Doctor Eckstein products always been cruelty free/or had vegan and gluten free offerings)?
“Doctor Eckstein has always valued creating high-quality products, made for individual skin-conditions and preferences. Each person’s skin is unique and they should have products that make their skin happy. Today we have over 100 products, suited to 10 skin care conditions, and various lifestyles. By making sure to always create the highest quality products that fulfil a skin care need and solve a problem, in some ways the brand has naturally stayed with the times.”
Some of your father’s, Dr Gerd Eckstein’s, work in the 1970s was truly pioneering – could you expand on his research and use of hyaluronic acid, biomimetic peptides and championing of the treatment of sensitive skin?
“In the 1970s, my father, Gerd Eckstein just finished his Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy, and joined the company as the director of Director of Research, Development & Production. He brought a new energy to the company and was the one who helped pioneer our sensitive skincare products, the use of hyaluronic acid, as well as using biomimetic peptides in our products. He had extensive knowledge in the use of plants and their natural properties which greatly influenced product development, and he was always up-to-date on the most recent research. I remember the story of how a repair ingredient was discovered, and before proof of efficacy was even published in the trade press, my dad – because of his outstanding reputation in the industry – was able to acquire the research from the manufacturer confidentially. This research was then used in the creation of our Repair products. We still have the original papers on the repair complex in our company archives.”
What would you say the Doctor Eckstein brands number one point of difference is?
“Something unique about the brand is that for the past 72 years we have been able to stay true to our roots and create skincare that always puts the needs of the skin first. It doesn’t matter what is or isn’t currently trending- what matters is, will this make our customers’ skin happy?
Many years ago, when I shadowed my dad as a teenager, there was a trendy skincare ingredient and it seemed like almost every other brand was using it, but my dad refused to use it because it wasn’t skin-friendly and instead it actually hurt the skin barrier. Not surprisingly that ingredient quickly came and went, but I remember this story because it’s just one example of how skin health and being scientifically-based always come first for us.”
How important is third party testing in independent labs to the brand and what kind of processes are the products subject to during testing?
“Creating stable, safe and high-quality formulations with the best skin-compatibility is extremely important to us. During our research and development process formulations thoroughly get tested in-house, as well as third party tested for stability, such as via a bacterial challenge test. We also have third-party dermatological testing done, to guarantee skin-compatibility.”
What does it mean to you to now be helming a family business? What new ideas and approaches are you bringing to product development?
“I love botanical medicine, and it’s great being able to incorporate my doctoral studies into the product development at Doctor Eckstein. Being a part of the natural medicine world, I also want to help consumers understand ‘natural’ isn’t always better – sometimes natural ingredients can be harsher on the skin and less environmentally-friendly to produce. At Doctor Eckstein, our goal is to use the most-effective, safest and skin-friendly ingredients, for example we intentionally use a combination of pharmaceutical-grade, certified organic, Ecocert, as well as high-tech ingredients.”
What trends do you see coming up and where do you see the future of the skincare industry moving?
“I think rise of the educated consumer will continue to increase, and as well as transparency— something we at Doctor Eckstein want to help support. With this push for transparency, I believe some consumers will want to return to using family-owned or independently operated brands, where they know there is extra pride taken in the quality of the products produced.”
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