Rising up from the rolling Tuscan countryside is Borgo Santo Pietro - a boutique hotel bringing Tuscany's natural abundance to the plates - and now bathrooms - of its guests. Escapism, bottled, Seed to Skin is the result of hotel founder Jeanette Thottrup's bid to develop science-driven skin solutions which harness the best of nature, joining forces with cosmetologist Anna Buonocore. Turns out, it works! We caught up with Thottrup to talk brand beginnings, getting to the root of her innovative skin care collection - available exclusively at Liberty.
Anna, Jeanette - how did the two of you meet? We met five years ago when Anna worked in another lab and came to promote a white label brand. We were already looking into creating our own brand, then Anna and I started talking... we knew we needed to have our own lab in order to create what we wanted.Shop Seed to Skin
"One-by-one, each of our formulas has been studied and researched, methodically and thoughtfully developed, and most importantly has risen from integrity. "
How did Seed to Skin come into fruition? Jeanette: After leading a very busy life as a fashion designer, I decided in 2001 to settle down and start a family. Things did not go so predictably when we found out we could not have kids and went through IVF with no luck. I couldn't accept our fate and, as a last attempt, turned to alternative healing. We spent two years going through detox, balanced diets, and acupuncture, and in 2006 I gave birth to our son.
That essentially, is how it all began! After that, I studied natural medicine and became a Journey Practitioner. I have been an advocate of the power of natural remedies for over 14 years now and the 'natural' consequence of my experience was to share what I knew. There was still so much untapped potential for natural ingredients within the realm of skin care and, until recently, the beauty industry was typically split into all-natural-organic or high-tech science. No-one was effectively blending the two. I decided to create a natural but scientific skin care line with the benefits of both. For this we needed our own laboratory which was built on the Borgo Santo Pietro estate. Over the past five years, I worked with a team of experts and together we combined my knowledge of natural ingredients with scientific expertise to form a natural molecular system, where science and nature meet. It is with great pride that we introduce Seed to Skin.
Anna: Having obtained a PhD from the University of Siena in both Pharmacy and Cosmetic Science and Technology, Dr Anna Buonocore had over 15 years laboratory experience when she joined us: "Seed to Skin is science. To be able to work full time on research and development in this field, gives me love for my profession. Seldom in my career as a scientist have I had the benefit of developing products made with unlimited, top quality and often costly active ingredients. The satisfaction I derive from creating formulas with these exceptional ingredients is immense, giving individual care and attention to each product, one-by-one. Seed to Skin keeps its promises and is a genuine story: each piece is the result of passionate scientific pursuit proven by clinical studies."
What's the brand philosophy? To merge nature and science. What is the point of science if you don't start with a raw, pure and powerful ingredient? We start from the integrity of the soil where life begins - hence Seed to Skin seemed the only appropriate name for our line. We love the potency of plants and what they can do when teamed with science to extract their best active properties for targeted skin regeneration. At our on-site laboratory, we are deeply committed to transparency. Our relentless research, combined experience and many trials and errors have led us to create a remarkably regenerative skin care collection. All our products are individually handmade with assigned batch numbers. We do not outsource to third-party companies, ensuring the integrity of our process remains intact and the product is never compromised. One-by-one, each of our formulas has been studied and researched, methodically and thoughtfully developed, and most importantly has risen from integrity.Shop Seed to Skin
"Science comes into each and every one of our formulas, in how to harness the right part of the plant material and combine with the right molecule sizes so the actives go where we want them to."
What does it mean to be a naturalist? I actually don't know! I have studied natural medicine with Neal's Yard.
Why is it important to use all-natural ingredients? To eliminate unnecessary toxins and because it benefits from nature that actually works when formulated correctly.
Where does the science come in? Science comes into each and every one of our formulas, in how to harness the right part of the plant material and combine with the right molecule sizes so the actives go where we want them to. I am all into natural and, had I started when I was 28, I would properly have been fine with a less scientific approach but, being 52, it's got to work!
How do you develop your recipes? We do considerable research and study on the raw materials we use, then look at what we want to achieve and start experimenting (a lot) - this is the advantage of having our own lab. We spend so much time trying and testing before we have an 'uncompromised' solution which brings together the best from nature with the best results. Most of our products have been four years in the making.
How many people work at the on-site laboratory? For now, two that produce and then Anna and myself.
Where do you source your ingredients? All over the world! We use wild and organic raw materials wherever possible - we base our science on naturally-derived molecules and formulate without parabens, silicone, mineral oils, artificial perfume and colour, phenoxyethanol, sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate.
Borgo Santo Pietro was a medieval village where pilgrims stopped over to be cured before entering our neighbouring church and Abbey San Galgano - all the residents in the village made curing salves hence the number 1129 on our lids. Today it is a 220-acre organic estate with a 5-star hotel and an award-winning spa.
What's so special about your local region? It's a very untouched part of Tuscany with a beautiful river and thermal springs. It has been one of Tuscany's most sought-after areas for centuries because of our metal hills which were sources for all metals including silver - the soil is naturally rich in all the minerals.
The bottles are amazing, where are they sourced? We have designed and produced all our bottles ourselves.
What are your top tips for great looking skin? Drinking lots of water, exfoliate the skin and, of course, be happy - to have a good skincare regime is vital.
Where do you see the future of skin care? Hopefully more transparent to the end consumer and with a focus on real active ingredients, not just on lots of marketing.
Aside from using Skin to Seed products, do you have any top tips for a perfect complexion? Eat lots of vegetables and drink plenty of water, exercise - to reduce inflammation in the body - and, of course, use Seed to Skin!