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The Luxury of Research: Rationale Brings Its Pioneering Skin Genetics Focus Abroad

December 1, 2022
December 1, 2022
Rationale

With three decades of business operations, Rationale has built a dedicated following of skincare enthusiasts. Built on the premise of six pillars of skin health and luminosity (vitality, brilliance, resilience, clarity, integrity, and renewal), the company, founded by Richard Parker in Richmond, Australia, has been advocating for high-tech and ingredient-led innovation from the onset. Formulated to work in synergy with the skin and harnessing the latest dermatological science, the products are also built on Rationale’s proprietary Skin Identical technology and leading Australian solar research in order to best nourish, protect, and repair the skin.

The company has been witnessing double-digit annual growth, and in 2020, Amorepacific acquired a minority stake in the company with plans to expand Rationale globally, including in South Korea, the UK, the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Rationale’s first stateside stop is Los Angeles, the home of a 1,630-square-foot flagship located on Melrose Place. Embodying the brand’s “signature synergies of rigorous skincare science and luxury, high-touch experiences,” according to Parker, the space designed by architect Robin Williams in conjunction with the Rationale design team marries illuminated geometric shapes in white and cream colors with the trademark colors of its Essential Six skincare range (orange, pink, blue, green, blue, and yellow).

Alongside exclusive retail access, the store also offers a host of facial services and treatments incorporating LED light therapy, lymphatic massage, as well as ultrasound, cryogenic, and electroporation technology. These include The Signature Consultation Experience, which utilizes UV diagnostic imaging, a tailored skin treatment plan, and Instant Radiance Facial with antioxidant infusion; and The Melrose Signature Facial, a massage treatment performed by two skin therapists simultaneously.

BeautyMatter sat down with Parker to discuss the brand’s expansion plans, the secret to consumer loyalty, and his Right-Left-Right philosophy when it comes to product design.

As a homegrown brand, what is the unique Australian take on beauty?

80% of facial aging is caused by the sun. As Australians, we understand the skin impact better than anyone else in the world. Since 1992, Rationale has been at the forefront of preventing and repairing solar damage. Our Essential Six Collections are informed by and address the needs of a genetically displaced population dealing with the highest rates of solar damage and skin cancer in the world. These insights and technologies have established Rationale as a global authority on the major causes and treatment of environmental skin protection and rejuvenation. The reward is a restoration of skin health and vitality. What we describe as “Luminous Skin for Life.”

How would you describe your visual identity?

Rationale inhabits a new space in aesthetics that is best described as a conduit between medicine and beauty, between dermatology and luxury. Our look is sleek, strong, and strikingly modern, reflecting the interplay of light and luminosity with the dynamic strength and perfection of human skin in all its expressions.

What made now the right time to expand into the US, and why LA as your first retail location?

We have many loyal clients on the West Coast, and a large number of expat Australians in the entertainment industries in LA, who have shared our story and radiant results with US skincare aficionados. Los Angeles is the perfect city for us to introduce Rationale, as residents face the same skin challenges experienced in Australia—the sun, dryness, and urban pollution.

What are the challenges unique to the US market?

The US is the largest and most sophisticated cosmeceutical audience in the world. Consumers here tend to be well read on ingredients and regularly visit their dermatologist for treatments and advice. What Rationale can bring to the US is our unique, global authority on the major cause of skin aging—the sun.

Our Essential Six Formulations and personalized skin rituals are curated based on the individual’s genetic information and geocentric environmental challenges. Our treatments embrace the luxury of transformation and transcendence.  And we are beyond excited to show US clients what we mean by our instantly recognizable “trademark luminosity”!

What has been your general expansion strategy as a brand over the last three decades? Were there any drastic changes throughout its evolution?

For the first 15 years of our history, Rationale was sold exclusively through dermatologists and plastic surgeons. This was a logical home for us, placing us at the forefront of cosmetic medicine and the birth of the cosmeceutical revolution. To this day, we remain dermatologically informed and led, but as we grew and evolved, it also became clear to us that our offering and level of service also bears the hallmarks of the luxury market. 

The quality of ingredients we use, our focus on holistic, beautiful experiences, and above all else, our relentless dedication to what we call “The Luxury of Research” all mandated that we create our own, perfect Rationale Flagship stores where every expression of our offering and brand could find complete aesthetic and scientific expression.

Today, we represent a perfectly balanced, synergistic conduit between medicine and beauty fully realized and experienced by our clients both online and offline. We will continue to grow this way as we expand globally.

What has been the key to maintaining a loyal audience?

Our client retention rates are unprecedented, with many clients having been with us for 30 years! This is due to the customization of each client’s Daily Rationale Ritual, personalized on an ongoing basis according to the individual’s skin DNA and changing lifestyle and environmental challenges.

Beautiful skin is a moving target throughout the seasons and years, and our clients trust us to be there for them to keep them looking and feeling their most radiant self. Circumstances may change, but our goal remains the same: Luminous Skin for Life. Our clients know that we are at the forefront of ongoing medical skincare research, always focused on creating the most powerful formulations to protect and repair the skin from solar and environmental damage.

"The US is the largest and most sophisticated cosmeceutical audience in the world. Consumers here tend to be well read on ingredients and regularly visit their dermatologist for treatments and advice. What Rationale can bring to the US is our unique, global authority on the major cause of skin aging—the sun."
By Richard Parker, founder, Rationale

Why was it important to take a non-trend approach to your product development process?

At Rationale, human skin and the genetic and environmental factors that determine its health and beauty are our guiding light. Our research library. In creating a new formulation, I study the way the skin is constructed, how it functions optimally, and what it needs as it faces daily challenges.

This research philosophy has given rise to Rationale’s Six Pillars of Skin Health and our Essential Six Formulations and individualized rituals that protect the skin by day and activate skin repair processes at night. We do not follow trends or use “trendy” ingredients, as these are not based on skin anatomy or vital protect/repair functions. We attend only to the skin. And it tells us what it needs.

How much of a skincare product experience is in the rational (pun intended) and how much in the emotional?

My life and work are very much influenced by the British psychiatrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist. His work on the differences between left-brain and right-brain function have reshaped everything we think about thinking and the human condition.

When we think holistically, the right brain attends and manifests inspiration and ideas, which we should then turn over to the left hemisphere for analysis and construction, before returning to the right for activation and expression. This is how our most powerful ideas are brought to life and flourish.

This Right-Left-Right philosophy is how I approach my work as the Director of Research at Rationale. My inspiration always comes from my right brain, often as an intuition or a deep “knowing” that a particular formulation or treatment is needed. I then engage in exhaustive left-brain research and analysis, and if the science and logic of the idea are validated, I then return it to my right hemisphere for aesthetic, creative refinement, and activation. Every Rationale formulation is an expression of aesthetic elevation supported by scientific rigor.

As a pioneer of Skin Identical technology, what are your thoughts on the recent surge in microbiome-friendly products?

A healthy skin microbiome (like a healthy gut microbiome) depends largely on supplying the correct nutrients at optimal concentrations based on the individual’s unique needs. Rationale formulations can be described as topical skin nutrients, supplying all of the Skin Identical vitamins, minerals, lipids, and proteins needed to empower daily protection and repair processes. The Essential Six represents an optimized “diet” for the skin, restoring all of the vital immune, antioxidant, solar protection, barrier, pH restoration, and cellular repair processes needed for maximum skin health and radiance. Under these ideal conditions, the skin’s microbiome is restored and the perfect microbial ratios and interactions are maintained.

What are the biggest common misconceptions around skin genetics and epigenetic environmental influences?

The medical science of epigenetics and its message of hope and personal empowerment to us all is the greatest breakthrough in holistic health this century. We are most certainly dealt a genetic blueprint that records the most likely health outcomes if we do not intervene.

For example, if both parents have had skin cancer and a tendency to chronically photo-age, and the child does not avoid sun exposure or use skin-protective technologies, the likelihood of that person developing skin cancer and premature aging as an adult is exponentially higher.

The message of epigenetics is clear—healthy, glowing skin is in our hands, directly under our control by the things we do (or don’t do) and the quality of skincare we use. We are no longer victims of our DNA!

What are the latest innovations and research making you excited for the future of skincare?

For 30 years, we have seen the impressive clinical and aesthetic outcomes of using the Rationale Essential Six daily over many years, and we are now incredibly excited to be developing ex-vivo DNA array technologies that allow us to validate and understand the rejuvenating benefits we see at a genetic level. We will know which desirable genes are being switched on, and which damaging ones are being downregulated.

Another major Rationale innovation is our understanding of the “importance of place” on skin health and beauty. As we expand globally, we are broadening our research knowledge of the effects of geographic location on skin health and epigenetics. Factors such as heat, humidity, cold, pollution, and urban stress have enormous impacts on the skin, and we are developing localized data that is informing our geographically led future directions in creating formulations, rituals, and treatments. We call this “Geocentric Skincare.”

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