When Jacine Greenwood began concocting her own skincare formulas at her Queensland kitchen table, it was out of frustration. "I had problematic skin from age 14 on," she says. "I was always told I’d grow out of acne. I never did."
Despite trying products from just about every major beauty brand to solve her skin issues, she struggled with a multitude of concerns, from acne and rosacea to seborrheic dermatitis and eczema.
Pushed by continuing skin issues, Greenwood became a beauty therapist in her 20s. It was after attending a seminar on skincare ingredients that she decided to roll up her sleeves and try making her own. "I realized there was no professional product on the market that was completely acne-safe," she says.
She started researching what other brands were adding to their products and reading scientific journals, devouring information. After gaining a good understanding of formulas and preservatives, ingredients and irritants, she got to work.
It was, Greenwood acknowledges, a lot of trial and error.
"The first product I tried to make was an exfoliating cleanser," she says. "It was beautiful and thick until the acids went in – and that collapsed the formula." Fifty-two attempts later, she stabilized the ingredient ratio and finalized the blend.
"The next product I tried to make was a moisturizer," she says. "That took 26 times to get right."
Innovation in skincare
Greenwood has since moved beyond experimentation at the kitchen table. Today, she’s a qualified cosmetic chemist and the CEO of Roccoco Botanicals, now a multimillion-dollar business. It’s the only beauty brand named in the Australian Financial Review FAST 100, officially making it the fastest-growing on the continent.
Thinking of what sets her skincare apart from the slew of other brands out there, she’s quick to point to Roccoco’s formulation philosophy and highly unique ingredients.
While most other beauty brands use one or two active ingredients in their products, Roccoco uses up to 30, Greenwood says.
"That isn’t normal."
Its formulas are so packed with actives, the white coloring expected of skincare isn’t even possible. More focused on getting results and solving problems, Greenwood is pleased with the kaleidoscopic colors.
A fan and founder favorite is the Ruby Crystal Cleanser, a luxe cleansing balm that promises a hydrated, radiant glow – and comes in a brilliant, almost iridescent red. Last year, the cleanser won the 2022 Cosmetics & Toiletries Allē Award, making Roccoco Botanicals the first Australian brand to receive it.
The ingredients Greenwood uses in her products are things that, many times, no one has heard of before. "I’m often the first to import our ingredients into Australia," she says. "Then my suppliers are required to do some regulatory work. It’s the challenge of innovation."
Coming soon from Roccoco is the world’s first fully bioavailable vitamin C. Already a powerhouse ingredient for brightening and antiaging, this vitamin C boasts 100 percent penetration. Later this year, an eye cream will get a boost from fermented echinacea, thanks to its potent skin-rejuvenation properties. A supercharged acne-fighting formula created with groundbreaking technology in the form of a yeast ferment dissolves biofilms, the sticky glue secreted by bacteria.
The challenges and wins of innovation
With unheard-of ingredients and atypical formulations, Greenwood has had to rely heavily on education to rally consumers to her brand. "I’m proud of how we’ve grown organically, which is highly unusual," she says.
"Most brands break the market by spending thousands on advertising. We grew because our products delivered exceptional results – and people talked."
Expanding into the United States wasn’t planned. When Greenwood started educating consumers there, they fell in love with her, she says. From there, the brand’s popularity exploded across the country – mainly through word-of-mouth. Roccoco is now preparing products and packaging for sale in Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Today, the skin issues that plagued Greenwood are things of the past. Her complexion has changed considerably, with fewer breakouts, a more refined texture and far less sensitivity.
"I look younger than when I was 40," she says. "It’s because of Roccoco that my skin has changed so significantly. It used to be a source of embarrassment, but I love my skin now."