In conversation with Lauren Bowker
Founder of T H E U N S E E N, Lauren's work explores all things unseen, collaborating with the likes of Selfridges, Dazed, Swarovski, and Virgin Galactic, speaking for the UN and is on the advisory board for the British Beauty Council.
We spoke to Lauren about the future of innovation and what she'd like to see next.
Q: THE UNSEEN Beauty as a brand places innovation at the core of each product. Why is innovation so important in the beauty industry in your mind?
Lauren: Innovation is essential to move things forward and challenge the norm. I hope it can give people more authentic ways in which to explore their individuality and the world around them. If you look at the past few years of the beauty industry, there’s not been much change and material science can help us to create more intelligent products for the person and for the planet.
Q: You've worked as a material scientist for over 10 years, where you founded T H E U N S E E N, what inspired you to start in this industry with THE UNSEEN Beauty?
Lauren: The inspiration to the start in the beauty industry came from that curiosity to explore. I recognised there wasn’t a lot of true newness in the colour sector and that people were not being truly represented, and quite honestly that the ingredients in beauty were stagnant, not representative of the progress the material science industry has made and that felt like a really exciting place to explore.
I see the skin as a medium between who we are inside, and the world we live in outside. I want to use that as a surface to join the two through material science and create intelligent products.
Swarovski Gem Stones
Q: Can you talk to us about the success of the Fire video and how that impacted your entry into the world of beauty?
Lauren: When our Fire video – the colour-changing hair concept – went viral in 2017, we saw there was a community of people excited by something they’d never seen before. We wanted to put that “Magick” in their hands and see what they create. Real newness in beauty is notoriously difficult, everyone is formulating from the same soup of ingredients. We spent the last four years developing our own soup, so that we can serve our community with new products.
At T H E U N S E E N, we believe change starts with knowledge and through our purpose of revealing to the world what it cannot see for itself. We believe together with our community we can harness material science to change the face of beauty.
Q: Where do you see the future of innovation in beauty headed/ the future of THE UNSEEN Beauty?
Lauren: I believe material science has the potential to truly change the beauty industry, to create more intelligent products that do better.
I see a world in beauty that doesn’t currently exist, a world that’s more representative of the individual in it, a world that leaves nothing but experiences on the planet, and a world of materials that haven't even been invented yet. When we can lab-grow our ingredients from the cell up, what will we grow, what will that open, what will we create then? That’s what’s inspiring to me.
Q: What innovations would you personally like to see?
Lauren: I'd like to see investment into ways of testing new ingredients for cosmetics as well as research put behind novel materials for use in the beauty sector. This would then open a whole new field of ingredients, colours and materials that we can use.
In terms of products, I’d love to see a colour that can auto correct to every person. Why are we as consumers being forced to put ourselves in a box and pick a shade off the shelf that represents the closest match to our skin tone? Why don't we flip on its head and create products that match us? We have the science to do so, we’re just not developing it in the beauty sector, so lets!
Q: Do you have a favourite out of SPECTRA and COLOUR ALCHEMY?
Lauren: I’d like to say that my favourite hasn’t arrived yet! SPECTRA and COLOUR ALCHEMY were born from years of exploration and so I couldn’t possibly choose between them they both have an equal space in our journey.
Q: What’s unseen that you’d like to see?
Lauren: If we could see how we use our energy, we’d be more protective of it. That goes both ways from a carbon emissions point of view of energy and as our own human energy. It’s something I've always tried to explore and visualise in my own life. I think if we could see energy, we’d care more about how we use it.