Neada Deters speaks on the power of stripping down to the essentials and finding beauty in your natural skin.
Without missing a beat, Neada Deters enumerates the few items she can find on her desk: a couple of books, a set of headphones, and photos of her family. “These are all I need,” she says.
Her mind for minimalism started back when she was still in university. Then, she went on a backpacking trip across Asia with only a small bag and a few choice items. “I didn’t need much to have such a fulfilling experience,” she shares, “and that taught me a lot about life.”
Deters’ “Less is More” principle extends to her beauty brand Lesse, which she founded in New York in 2018. While others might advocate for an extensive skincare regimen, the Fil-Australian and her brand promotes a stripping back to the essentials to build a ritual, not a routine. Lesse started out with a single product, the oil- based Ritual Serum, which is made of turmeric and sea minerals. It was a solution to the founders’ own struggles with her skin, particularly her constant bouts with cystic acne.
“I had a lot of fear that, you know, what if people don’t connect with this?” Deters shares. “But it was such a statement. And for many people, it cut through the noise and really helped us succeed.”
The entrepreneur says that her mindful lifestyle was inspired by her childhood days visiting family in the island of Alabat in Quezon. A small beach hotel, pristine sands, and lovingly prepared meals from freshly caught crabs—these memories have reinforced the values of simplicity and contentment for Deters. “My grandmother and my mother have always drilled into me that you have to really detach yourself from material things and focus on what really matters,” she says.
Deters says that her brand is committed to high-quality natural ingredients and working with suppliers who are ethically verified. They employ ingredients such as wild mushrooms and Australian native extracts, drawing inspiration from Eastern medicine.
The founder also wants to create a space that is inclusive, extending value not only to their consumers but also to their suppliers, the farmers they partner with, as well as the earth that will receive all of it back. “Companies are accountable for the way that they’re creating things in a way that they haven’t been for a very, very long time,” says Deters, who is hopeful that sustainability in beauty is more than just a trend. “When we talk about beauty, we’re constantly thinking about something that is beyond what we are right now. But I think beauty comes with not just self acceptance, but a real celebration of self, of your own skin and every square centimeter of that being that you are.”
She emphasizes that it is “not about a certain look, hairstyle, or glass skin. It’s really a state of being; it is how you walk through the world. It is the way that you engage with others. And it’s the way that you take time to engage with yourself.”
Photographer’s Assistant: Alejandro Suárez Escobar. Set Design: Rahim Timbo. Shot on location at Vagabond Studios.