With an unparalleled cocktail of raw, rare earth clays, IMMUNOCOLOGIE's incredible, gender-neutral range respects and fortifies all skin types - increasing resilience and boosting cells' resistance to the everyday environmental onslaught. Super-natural and brimming with powerful active ingredients, we caught up with its awe-inspiring creator - Karen Ballou - who talked us through 'the science bit' and shared her pearls of beauty wisdom...

{Cult Beauty} Hi Karen! Could you begin with a little bit of the brand back-story? How {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} came to be, and what makes it 'special'?

{Karen Ballou} The {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} story began eight years ago when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Immediately I had to examine every aspect of my lifestyle and adjust accordingly to make sure my body - most notably my immune system - was getting what it needed to stay as healthy as possible during chemo and radiation. As a skin care industry veteran and self-proclaimed beauty junkie, the experience woke me up to the reality that skin care users (like myself) could not find products that were as clean and natural - in terms of their ingredients - as they were effective and luxurious in terms of benefits and application. 

Through this experience I also recognised products were not being formulated or marketed to understand the skin as the body’s largest organ and its first line of immunological defence. So through what was a rather life-changing and at times traumatic event, I wanted to create something positive that helped change the way we understand the skin relative to our overall health and wellness. This meant providing individuals with an experience that signifies what I think luxury skin care should be in the 21st century: products that are sustainable, socially equitable, with the highest quality ingredients that provide a luxurious topical sensation and create the healthiest skin over the short and long term.

{CB} What’s the significance of the brand name? What does {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} stand for?

{KB} We want the brand and our products to be a conversation starter, and the name helps to inspire questions just like this which start that conversation. {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} stands for two things. First, it stands for the science that connects the skin and the body’s immune health. And secondly it stands for a relationship: a relationship between our body, our skin, ourselves and the world at large and how we choose to positively engage with each individually and collectively to allow them to flourish.

{CB} It’s all about the French green clay. How did you alight upon this ingredient, and what makes it so ‘magical’?

{KB} When I was undergoing treatment, it was recommended that I drink a tablespoon of raw earth clay every day to help calm inflammation in my skin and in my lymph nodes, as well as to detoxify my body. I knew clay was incredibly mineral rich and detoxifying because of its ionic characteristics (which reduce the effects of cell-ageing free radical damage), however, I was doubtful I would notice any real results given the treatment I was receiving. A week or so later, the inflammation had calmed drastically and my skin tone had evened to such an extent that my treatment partners started asking me what I was doing. 

It was at that point I knew - given my background and passion for formulating skin care - that we needed to harness this wonder ingredient into a skin care product that could deliver these benefits topically. 

{CB} You also talk about ‘Vital Oligo Science’. Can you demystify this phrase for those who’re unfamiliar?

{KB} Vital Oligo Science is a reference to oligo minerals, or minerals that maintain essential balance in the body and keep it healthy and vibrant. {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} products include patented science that can effectively deliver active ingredients to the skin in a way almost no other natural or luxury products can and it does this all through the use of these oligo minerals which we source and extract from French green clay from southern France. So not only will vital oligo science make sure you’re getting as close to 100% efficacy from your products as possible, but you’ll also be receiving essential minerals that maintain balance in the skin and play vital roles in its overall health.

{CB} What would you say is the 'hero product'? The one that's guaranteed to kick-start an {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} addiction?

{KB} Oh that’s a tough one… though I would have to say our {Super 7 Elixir Face} serum. It is one of the world’s most nutrient rich serums to date and has so many different functions that if someone were to ask for a product that takes care of it all, it’d have to be this one. 

It’s a moisturiser, hydrator, wrinkle-reducer, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, and a natural probiotic for the skin. This serum will literally transform your complexion, helping it to be the healthiest it’s ever been. 

An alternative is our {Oxygen Treatment Crème} that delivers an oxygenated exfoliation that will leave your skin looking like you went on an extended-stay spa-cation in just one night of use.

{CB} Which skin types would you say {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} is best for? Are there ‘issues’ the range is tailored to?

{KB} I would say most notably, {IMMUNOCOLOGIE} is focused first and foremost on reducing skin inflammation as a method of preventing ageing and increasing the efficacy of our natural actives. As an organ, your skin’s inflammatory response - or its immune response as it is also known - is a natural biological reaction to help the body fight pathogens the body encounters. 

However, while helping to defend the body in the immediate term, chronic inflammation over time (which is very common in the skin) can also cause stress to your cells that amplifies the rate at which they decline, especially as we get older. So by focusing on this one key ageing factor, we’re not only able to help prevent or reduce the signs of ageing, we’re also able to make sure the skin has the nutrients it needs to prevent inflammation as well as target specific concerns like fine lines, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne, dark circles and more. 

Lastly, this also gives us the ability to formulate products that work for every skin condition, no matter what skin type, unlike many other brands out there. We created the line to offer a very tight range of products to focus on specific skin needs or concerns, with specific per product rituals you can use depending on skin type. 

{CB} If you could impart one piece of beauty wisdom, what would it be?

{KB} The idea that ageing isn’t inevitable is antiquated and regressive and contributes to a lot of woman not feeling as confident as they should. We feel like it’s time to embrace reality versus a construct, that it’s time to celebrate women as they mature, no matter the age. 

It’s time to shift the dialogue in that general direction by demonstrating how, when we focus on creating healthy skin, we’re not only clarifying the benefits of what healthy skin means physically, we’re also being more honest with ourselves, realising the benefits of what it means to focus on truly taking care of ourselves, everything from our diet, to exercise, even to how we use free time to disconnect for a little bit. 

These values outweigh the farce that guides us towards an outcome that is unattainable, deceptive, and oppressive. Beauty is not only how we look, it is also how we feel! So take care of yourself first and foremost and your individual beauty will show through naturally.

{CB} And finally, what’s next for {IMMUNOCOLOGIE}? Are there any exciting new products or technologies in development?

{KB} Our intention is to always maintain a line that stays focused and distributes products that provide a clear solution for our customers. We do not ever want to contribute to the confusion many consumers feel when it comes to skin care by expanding purely for the sake of expanding. With that in mind, we do have a few exciting items in the pipeline - to give a hint, think: extremities, and something you can mix in with your morning smoothie...