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Meet The Founder

She’s so Cult: Michelle Doherty of Alpha-H

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile
Q&A with Alpha-H Brand Founder Michelle Doherty

It's now been over 15 years since Alpha-H first launched their best-loved {Liquid Gold} - the cult, multiple award-winning 'sleep in' liquid peel, which swiftly (and dramatically) revitalises dulled, ageing or acne-prone skin that's lost its lustre. We asked its creator - Michelle Doherty - to explain it all...

{Cult Beauty} Anyone who deems themselves a beauty buff has tried (and loved) your {Liquid Gold}, but for the uninitiated (for shame!) how would you sum up its myriad actions?

{Michelle Doherty} We liken {Liquid Gold} to an overnight facial. 15+ years ago, Alpha-H created this phenomenal, leave-on, sleep in liquid 'peel' that brings salon results to the home. We challenged the 'out of date' concept of cleanse, tones and moisturise - developing a formulation that when added to any existing routine (just 3 nights a week), could resuscitate lacklustre skin showing signs of fatigue, whilst dramatically improving the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation, acne scarring, sun damage... almost all of the most common complexion concerns.

{CB}Its key component is glycolic acid. This sounds frightening to those who aren’t familiar with the ingredient - can you clarify what glycolic acid is, how it’s derived and how it works?

{MD} Glycolic acid is a natural ingredient - derived from sugar cane - which delivers so many benefits to the skin. It is definitely 'friend' not foe, encouraging your skin to be the best that it can be without seeking more invasive procedures, like botox or laser. Its key benefits are:

{Exfoliation} Glycolic acid dissolves the 'glue' that binds dead skin cells to each other - and the healthy, living cells beneath them. By removing the uppermost layer, it accelerates skin's cellular renewal processes (a cycle that naturally slows as we age).

{Hydration} Collagen is essential for maintaining skin's moisture levels - GA stimulates collagen, which in turn enhances water retention.

{Firming} The increased collagen - and hydration levels - result in a gradual improvement in skin strength, elasticity and firmness, as well as a reduction in wrinkle depth.

{Transportation} Glycolic acid is the smallest of the fruit acids - and it's relatively tiny molecular size permits it to travel deeper into skin, pulling other skin-essential ingredients such as antioxidants, botanicals and peptides along with it.

{Brightening} By accelerating cell turnover and stimulating collagen synthesis, glycolic acid helps to repair signs of damage - whether acne scarring or pigmentation - glycolic is clinically proven to establish a more even, unified skin tone.

{CB} One of {Liquid Gold's} main - but arguably less lauded - properties, is its ability to stimulate collagen. Can you give us a ‘back-to-first-grade’ description of its anti-ageing action - and explain why collagen is so important for skin health?

{MD} pH and percentage are the two most important factors when working with glycolic acid - you need to initiate a gentle, controlled 'trauma' to skin's lower levels (no cells are harmed!), in order to kick-start activity.

Once spurred into action, cells start manufacturing collagen - a process that naturally winds down as we enter our 30s (yikes)! Collagen is the 'scaffolding' of skin - responsible for its structure, contour and elasticity, which is why skin starts to sag and lose its tone. Glycolic acid helps to maintain collagen synthesis, which prolongs skin's strength and 'quality' - if you use {Liquid Gold} regularly, you should soon see an improvement in the clarity, softness and smoothness of your complexion.

{CB} Clogged pores is a common concern amongst our Cult Beauty customers. We know it's impossible to reduce pore size, but how can you make pores less visible?

{MD} Our philosophy at Alpha-H is to offer a solution and steer clear of the too-common 'band aid' mentality. By gently removing the impacted cells, oil, make up and debris that accumulates within each pore, you will notice an immediate 'reduction' in pore size.

Often people opt to camouflage and cover-up rather than address a problem; let's be clear - our pores are very important and play a vital part in expelling unwanted matter within our skin - so we need them, we just don't want to see them!

{CB} What do you think has been your greatest achievement, since the launch of Alpha-H?

{MD} The creation of {Liquid Gold} was certainly the most pivotal time in the 20+ years since Alpha-H has been established. It's such an iconic product that compliments not only every skin it touches, but makes the rest of your skin care regime more effective.


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...