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Our Story

Rock & Herb™ creates unparalleled skincare from some of the finest bioactives around the world, backed by science. Our products embody the nature and cultural beauty of certain place- a mountain, a lake or a forest. Mothers are a core focus group for Rock & Herb. We develop products without retinol, chemical sunscreens and parabens- ingredients known to be unsafe for new mothers without compromising the effectiveness of skincare. We use natural extracts and actives at effective but safe levels.



Why no Retinol? Isn’t that a good skincare ingredient?

Retinol and its derivatives are the work horse of most skincare formulations because it delivers fast results, is multi-functional and not expensive. In fact, you can obtain retinol and its derivatives cheaply as part of a prescription or dermatologist advice. The fact that it is available under prescription really means that (1) it should be used carefully as a separate product, where you have full control of its application. The fact that it is cheap means (2) there is something not quite right about paying an exorbitant price for a formula whose effect is mainly achieved by the retinol derivative.

Retinol delivers fast results by increasing cell replication and collagen production. However, improper use of retinol and its derivatives results increased skin susceptibility to environmental damage, which hastens skin aging in the longer term. Retinol and its derivatives are not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women as it can transfer from mom to the placenta to cause birth defects. Research also shows that it can transfer up to 60 times more as compared via the placenta route while breastfeeding! Rock & Herb was built to continue to provide mothers (and others) effective skincare without retinol.

What about chemical sunscreens and parabens?

Chemical sunscreens have two significant drawbacks. (1) Many chemical sunscreens can be systemically absorbed through the blood stream. Oxybenzone has been linked to a rare birth defect known as Hirschsprung's disease. (2) Chemical sunscreens that wash off our bodies to enter the ocean disrupts the reproduction and growth cycle of corals, and bleaches them. Most notably these chemicals are oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor.

Rock & HerbTM does not use parabens for the same reason: (1) There is data that excessive exposure to parabens increase risk of child obesity in females. Whilst liquid medicines that children take are typically protected by parabens, there is no need to further expose ourselves and children to more parabens in skincare with better alternatives. (2) The preservative butylparaben also causes coral bleaching.

Is Rock & HerbTM a clean or organic beauty brand?

There is no official definition for clean beauty, although we may use ingredients with organic labels in Rock & HerbTM products and are considered free of toxins. Organic skincare labels applied to water based moisturisers, serums, and toners are inaccurate, simply because these products possess high amounts of water to hydrate the skin appropriately and require preservative. A product should contain at least 70% organic products to fall under the category of organic products (Australian Certified Organic association).Purified water, regardless of source is inorganic and it is illegal to market water as organic (National Organic Program, US Policy). Our brand Rock & Herb reflects the nature of our products, where Rock symbolises the inorganic component of our products, and Herb symbolises the organic or botanical component of our products. The inclusion of natural ingredients, and safer and food-grade preservatives in our products may result in slight product variation in terms of color and scent from batch to batch.

Are natural ingredients even effective?

Natural ingredients can be highly effective. One example is Botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein produced by certain bacteria, for use in Botox injections. The natural bioactives that we use such as (enzymes, acids, botanical extracts) all have shown to be highly effective in their roles (be it repairing, hydrating, soothing, brightening or reducing acne). We also supplement them with synthetic actives that have shown to increase effectiveness. When considering to use any natural or synthetic ingredient, we always consider its benefits, safety and price point to the consumer.

Are natural ingredients safer?

Natural ingredients are not necessarily safer or less allergenic. As always, we screen and select ingredients from large suppliers who have long been in the skin, food and drug industry. The natural bioactives that we chose (enzymes, acids, botanical extracts and lipids) were more gentle than most synthetic alternatives, whereas other synthetic actives and base ingredients were chosen over naturals because they were less allergenic. When considering to use any natural or synthetic ingredient, we always consider its benefits, safety and price point to the consumer.

What is a good skincare routine?

In my opinion a good skincare routine begins at home with effective skincare that adds to or protect skin health. It should not compromise long term skin health and strength for short term marketed functions.

A good skincare routine may be followed up by a visit to your aesthetician or dermatologist to address issues areas that topicals are less effective at (e.g. lasering of broken capillaries and non-invasive face lifting). You should never feel pressured to engage in an aesthetic treatment you are uncomfortable with. Regular visits may be necessary for the management of chronic skin disorders and/or for checking of potential skin diseases (e.g. melanoma).


Dr Su Chew

B.Sc (Biochemistry), M.Res (Nanomaterials) Imperial College London

Phd (Life and Environmental Sciences), Nanyang Technological University

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