Five Minutes with Emma Lewisham

Words by
Sphere Editors

10th April 2023

Since launching her skincare business from New Zealand in 2019, Emma Lewisham's climate positive brand has found a global fan base of women devoted to her patented, high-performance, 100% natural products. One reviewer, India Knight of The Times, noted her skin's improvement after using Emma's Illuminating Cleanser, as "really quite startling."  What's the secret?

My journey to launching Emma Lewisham was deeply personal, after a career in innovation and technology I took time out after losing my mother to cancer. After putting my work above my wellness for many years, I began to be more considered in every facet of my life.

I got more serious about my research into skincare after discovering “hydroquinone”, a product I was using for hyper-pigmentation, was questionable for my health and actually banned in many countries around the world. After losing my mother, my wider holistic health was on my mind, but it wasn’t until a conversation with my doctor that I’d considered this to include skincare.

Emma Lewisham Illuminating Oil Cleanser
Emma Lewisham Illuminating Oil Cleanser, £48

I began an obsessive search to understand what we are putting onto our skin.. and was surprised to discover that traditional beauty products used petrochemicals in their formulations, so I began looking for natural formulations, but they didn’t seem to exist.

During my research I was struck by a quote from a Nobel Prize winner, Frances Arnold... who described nature as the world’s most powerful bioengineer. I knew then, that if we could find a way of unlocking nature’s potential, we could create the world’s most intelligent skincare. 

By using ingredients innate to the skin, like niacinamide, aloe extract, and vitamin B3, and our own patented plant stem extract, we’re speaking the skin’s own language. Our meticulously chosen natural ingredients represent the cutting edge of what science has unlocked in nature.

Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum, £90
Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum, £90

Our botanical ingredients are grown all around the world, with extreme craftsmanship required to extract their natural actives... Some of these take months to harvest, dry, and process, in order to extract the most intelligent, bioactive form of these active ingredients available. While this is more laborious and complex than producing these synthetically, we believe in taking the best, not the easiest, path forwards. Our ingredients are tested, retested, and if necessary biologically repackaged to ensure maximum effectiveness.

The key products I recommend everyone start off with are

Skin Reset Serum - Our Skin Reset Serum was our very first product, and it has since gained a cult status.  This award-winning serum is a powerful product for evening skin tone, improving pigmentation, and restoring radiance in lacklustre looking skin. It’s designed to target five key points of the cellular processes that produce hyperpigmentation and is an all-around staple for people who want beautiful skin texture and even and brightened skin. 

Supernatural Face Crème Riche - this is a rich and luxurious powerhouse formulation, engineered with 32 active ingredients to deliver a lifted, intensely hydrated, and wrinkle resistant complexion. It not only stimulates collagen production, but also decreases its degradation, and has been proven to be up to 21 times more effective at boosting collagen than other leading brands.

Illuminating Oil Cleanser - we refer to this as our facial in a bottle, and it is one of of our most loved products. It features 23 active ingredients that create a healthy skin lipid profile and provides 8-hour antioxidant protection, all while effectively removing makeup and impurities without stripping the skin or leaving an oily finish. 

Supernatural Face Creme Riche, £100, at Emma Lewisham
Emma Lewisham Supernatural Face Creme Riche, £100

We didn’t anticipate the success we have achieved in the last year, but I think on reflection, it tapped into what people were looking for, and what was relevant to them which is…  we have found a way to bring together two seemingly opposing strengths - science and nature - and create the world’s most intelligent skincare. So people don’t have to compromise.

I live in a beautiful area of New Zealand surrounded by lots of parks and water…I love getting out in nature and prioritise making time to move my body every day - it’s one of the ways I decompress and recharge at the end of my day. I find being outside and breathing in the fresh air so calming and grounding.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me...with my daughter, husband or friends. 

My most treasured possession is…People. I wouldn’t be where I am personally or professionally without the people I have around me.

My most extravagant self-gift is...a 90 minute massage. I find it such a powerful way to quickly drop into a state of deep relaxation.

Emma Lewisham
Emma Lewisham founded her eponymous skin care line in New Zealand in 2019, with the aim of creating science backed skin products using only natural ingredients.

My favourite place in the world is.. New Zealand. It’s true that you don’t truly know how lucky you are until you leave. I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of travel throughout my career and every time I return home, I feel like I can breathe again. I feel incredibly lucky to live in - what I think - is the most beautiful country in the world.

The highlight of my career so far has to be… I can’t choose just one! Some of my highlights are launching into retailers that I’ve admired for a long time, having happy staff, meeting Dr. Jane Goodall, and being the world's first climate positive beauty brand. 

The last book I last read… is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.

The next question on my mind is… how to continue to crack the best formulation for our natural sunscreen. It has taken me 7 years thus far but I am determined to continue improving it. Natural sunscreen that applies and feels as luxurious as chemical sunscreens is an incredibly difficult thing to master, but I know it can be done!

Discover Emma Lewisham at Harrods