A Q&A with Janet Hayward, Founder of Ipsum Skin

March 2, 2023 Ipsum, Skincare

When we find a product we really, really love, we want to know everything about it – what’s in it, how it came to be and who’s behind it.

Such is the case for Ipsum, a gorgeous all-natural, certified organic collection of skincare that is proudly Australian made. Discovering that the woman behind the cult lip balm, addictive (and effective) facial oils and award nominated cleanser (more on this later!) has decades of experience in beauty journalism and a wealth of knowledge in plant-based skincare should come as no surprise. These are expertly thought-out and developed products that will become favourites in your beauty bag. So what’s in her beauty bag? What product does a skincare founder always travel with, what does she think of the term ‘clean beauty’ and how did these products come to be?

We spoke with Janet Hayward, Founder of Ipsum Skin…

Q. You have a wealth of experience in the beauty industry and have authored three books. Tell us a little about your background and how you found a passion for beauty?

I trained as a journalist and my background is in radio and tv – I originally worked at the BBC in archive research and news in the UK. But time spent working for a national women’s magazine completely tapped into my love of beauty products! I was co-founder of beautydirectory in 1999 – and later beautyheaven – in the early days of digital media and both sites became the key resources used by both journalists and all beauty lovers. This was great because I could indulge every day meeting with beauty brand founders, beauty brand managers, formulators etc to talk about beauty developments and ingredients! I also made some great and very dear friends in the industry which has proved invaluable in creating Ipsum.

Q. Working as a beauty journalist, you must have seen hundreds of brands and tried countless products. What inspired you to create Ipsum and led to the choice of an all-natural, plant-oil based line?

When I first started writing about beauty, natural and plant-based beauty products were regarded as a quirky exception that were not as sophisticated in performance, or as luxurious in formulation, as mass marketed brands. From a personal point of view, I knew that my skin – which was usually dry in texture – responded really well to plain wheatgerm oil that I bought at the Body Shop compared to a mass-produced, synthetic moisturiser which often caused irritation! So Ipsum was always going to be an all-natural, plant-based line. The more I spoke with cosmetic chemists and formulators, the more I wanted to learn about the intricacies of ingredients and how they work. Plant oils and extracts are bioactive compounds, which means they are easily recognised and readily absorbed into our skin, offering their own unique complex of macro and micro nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, peptides and minerals. For example, plant actives, such as bakuchiol, are a great form of retinol because they offer so much more to support the skin than laboratory-made retinol. It is simply not possible to replicate this level of complexity in laboratory-made ingredients. Careful formulation, working knowledgeably with synergies of different plant oils and extracts can produce the most beautiful, complex formulations and sophisticated textures with highly effective skin care results.

Q. Was there one product that you always dreamt of creating, or did you envisage a complete Ipsum collection from the outset?

I am quite minimalist in my approach to skin care and body care so my main driving force in creating Ipsum was to create an ideal, nutrient-rich Face Oil and Body Oil that would absorb quickly and leave my skin feeling super-nourished, comfortable and radiantly healthy. I’ve always loved the balancing effect of plant oils on skin – how all skin types respond to the nutrients in plant oils – so dry skin starts to look more nourished, healthy and plump; and oily skin starts to produce less oil and looks more clear and less congested. So I launched Ipsum in 2019 with a choice of two Face Oils and two Body Oils. However this started the ball rolling as I was asked then to create other products to complement these! I am still reserved in my approach to product development and will only create a product if I feel there is a genuine need to help keep skin at it’s healthiest and most radiant best.

Q. The term ‘Clean Beauty’ leaves room for a lot of confusion and varying definitions. What are the values behind Ipsum and could you share what the COSMOS certification means and why it was important for Ipsum?

I agree that the term ‘Clean Beauty’ is confusing and I’m not sure it is helpful! I prefer to use ‘green beauty’ because Ipsum products are created only from organic plant oils, esters, waxes and extracts sourced from plants grown in their native environments – and then supercharged with potent Australian native botanicals. The exception is our Enzyme MicroPolish which is in powder form and also includes organic rice powder and kaolin in the formulation. We use the highest quality, most ethically sourced ingredients from plants (and the earth!) and follow a sustainable path during the entire process. Having COSMOS organic certification for Ipsum assures that the entire process from planting to harvesting, through to extraction, formulating and packaging meets strict criteria with zero negative impact on animals, the environment and humans. Ipsum also supports Bush Heritage Australia, an organisation that works with indigenous communities and agriculture to regenerate and protect our unique landscape and native species.

Q. If someone is brand new to Ipsum, where should they start? Do you have a favourite product?

This is a little like asking me to choose a favourite child! However, I tend to have a favourite product based on the weather and how my skin is feeling! In the summer I often use Enriching Face Oil because it contains vitamin C to help even out skin tone; in the winter I often use Nourishing Face Oil because it is soothing and the molecular composition means it is almost like a moisturiser. However Face Oil Intense Treatment is an all-year-round favourite because it has the same effect on skin as a great, relaxing holiday or at the least a really good night’s sleep! It contains Fragonia which has potent anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties so it works topically to protect, soothe and heal skin – and also has incredible aromatherapy benefits that help to clear respiratory congestion, balance emotions and stimulate the body’s own melatonin which regulates the sleep cycle. For this reason I never travel without it because it offers great protection in the aircraft cabin and also helps to alleviate – even eliminate – symptoms of jet-lag!

Q. Beyond beauty, what are some of your wellness and self care rituals?

I have a dog – a pug-cross – and he is the best wellness ritual! I enjoy the daily walks which are quite slow now that he’s 14 years old but they take us through the most beautiful nature. I practised yoga for over 15 years but I’ve replaced this with pilates exercises which I enjoy for their focus and precision.
I also enjoy the ritual of bathing every evening to help me wind down – usually with Olverum bath oil or Epsom bath salts – and afterwards I always read in bed (I love fiction and I’m enjoying working through the novels of Clare Chambers at the moment) which helps me enjoy a deep and relaxing sleep!

Q. If you were filling your dream beauty bag, what products would you pack?

For colour, I would choose Manasi 7, RMS and Ere Perez – I love that you can use these on eyes, cheeks and lips. I always wear an eye pencil – usually black or deep grey – and rather than a full mascara I prefer Surratt Lash Tint in Black (the wand is incredible for separating lashes and giving a natural look).

Breaking news! Ipsum Best Skin Cleansing Oil Balm Award Nomination

Ipsum Best Skin Cleansing Oil Balm has been nominated for The Green Edit’s People’s Choice Award for Best Beauty Product 2023. This cleanser is a gorgeous, calming and soothing formula that melts away makeup, sunscreen and impurities. It provides the perfect amount of slip for a relaxing facial massage as you cleanse away the day. We love combining it with Ipsum Best Skin Enzyme Micropolish once a week for a deeper cleanse and gentle exfoliation. A true multi-tasker, it can also be used as an hydrating mask. With water, the Best Skin Cleansing Oil Balm evolves into a milk that easily can be easily rinsed off or removed with a warm cloth for a refreshed complexion.

If you’ve fallen in love with the Best Skin Cleansing Oil Balm, vote here for People’s Choice Best Beauty Product 2023.

Need help with your Ipsum skincare routine? Talk to us via Live Chat or email us


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