@neadajane wears the work shirt by Archivist Studio
Neada's organic skincare line @lesseofficial
A Sustainable Life with Neada Deters of LESSE
In this editorial we talk to Neada Deters all about her daily sustainable rituals and the influences that have driven her to lead a sustainable, considered lifestyle. Neada tells us the story behind the creation of her organic skincare line, LESSE, her skincare routine, and shares some of her favourite pieces from REV!
Where is home for you and can you tell us how you ended up there?
I’m originally from Sydney but moved to New York almost a decade ago. When I decided to move on from my career in media and fashion, my now husband and I relocated to Los Angeles. We love our community here and the proximity to nature, but Australia will always be home.
Favourite sustainable spots there?
Tare grocery in East Los Angeles is an incredible zero-waste grocery store about ten minutes from our house. I also love frequenting the vintage stores. Passenger and Scout are two of my favorites.
Have you always been sustainably minded in the way you live your life or is this something that has evolved for you?
Australians are raised to care deeply for their ecosystem, particularly the native flora and fauna. I also had parents who were talking about ‘global warming’ in the early ’90s, and generally we were raised to be mindful of our footprint. My parents always encouraged us to pick up scraps of rubbish we found and we recycled religiously at home. There was only one car in a family of four and we were told to ride a bike or catch the bus.
I think much of this was the influence of my grandmother in the UK. She was composting decades before it became popular in cities and she would grow apples in her garden, handpick berries from a neighboring farm, and was resolute in catching the bus or train to minimize pollution. For years, she also lobbied for bike lanes in Oxfordshire where she lives. She wrote passionate letters for years until she was finally heard.
There is a huge advantage to being raised in a culture and family that applauds a mindful approach—but it’s absolutely on us to continue that practice throughout our lives and evolve our approach as new information presents itself.
How are you beginning the mornings to start the day off right?
I don’t have a perfect morning routine and Covid has forced me to let go of cultivating one. I’m slow and drink a lot of water followed by two coffees, a piece of toast and a soft boiled egg. Then straight into work. I finally get dressed around 10am.
We’d love to know a bit about your beauty routine and what you look for in terms of sustainability when it comes to your skincare and makeup?
As the founder of LESSE, an organic skin care company, I really focus on our products being essential and effective. It’s really about less but better—and choosing products from sustainably-minded companies that aren’t packaged in single use plastic, and are largely organic ingredients. That is the piece many people miss: how the ingredients are grown really impacts the soil and its ability to regenerate.
In the morning, I splash my face with cold water before drying it, spritzing our toning mist and then a few drops of our Ritual Serum. I finish with a layer of the SPF we currently have in development and EcoBrow. I started gelling my eyebrows during the shutdown as my tweezing skills aren’t perfect. Occasionally I wear a mascara from Ilia but it often irritates my contacts. In the evening, I add our Refining Cleanser as my first step; and every other night I apply our Bioactive Face Masque. It’s been incredibly effective in preventing breakouts on my jawline from wearing a cloth mask.
Can you tell us a bit about the reason you started LESSE and why wanted to get into organic skincare?
There were a number of issues that I noticed within the industry, as I was looking for a solution for my own cystic acne. As I dove deeper into the ingredients, I learned how detrimental many products on the market and in widespread use are on our skin and the planet. I started to understand that skin care should be minimal, and that corporations were driven by profit, not the health and integrity of their customers’ skin. This might seem obvious but it became so dark when I realized we had been trained to feel a certain way about our own skin and what we needed to look and feel good by the industry.
The truth is that we are all enough without these products, but having certain essentials that nurture and guide our skin to do the work can be helpful—but only if they work in harmony with our body rather than forcing it to react a certain way through potentially harmful chemicals. Then I read the statistics on waste in the beauty industry. I also couldn’t find products that were gentle enough for my sensitive skin but also effective in healing my acne. Natural products that really worked.
Beyond these factors, not once growing up did I see beauty or skin care advertising that represented my mother or I. This is an exclusionary industry but it shouldn’t be; skin care is a universal need. All of our products are non-binary and created for everyone.
How did you formulate the sustainable ethos of the brand and production?
You don’t formulate your way of seeing the world. You live it.
How do you nurture a connection to nature through your business?
We grow many of the ingredients we use. Above anything else that we do, that drives a closer connection to nature.
Our company relies upon nature thriving. A key ingredient we use, which is grown in Australia, is now at minimal supply due to the Bush fires that engulfed much of the country. I know we’ll start to see that happen with other ingredients we use if climate change continues to progress.
What is your best advice for anyone looking to be more considerate of our natural world at this time?
Live with less.
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
Long days on the beach in Malibu, strolls through our picturesque neighborhood, a glass of natural wine at the end of a long day.
Do you have any health or wellness tips that you are following?
I eat what makes my body feel good and I’m privileged in that I eat almost all organic. I also try to go for a short walk or get some form of movement in every day.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you listening to, watching, reading?
I believe in doing your own research, so I read wide. The New York Times, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Associated Press every day. I also follow epidemiologists, journalists, political commentators, BLM leaders on Twitter. Most days I listen to The Daily and Up First. A couple of days each week, I also check the news covered by major outlets in Australia. A way to stay connected with what my family and friends back there are living through.
What are your top tips on how to engage in ways to help dictate a better future?
Find solutions and practice them. Focus on improving 1% each day.
How are you winding down at the end of the day?
Reading fiction to escape the incredibly terrifying reality that we live in. Taking my time in carefully cooking dinner—cooking is a very therapeutic practice for me. Sunset walks in our neighborhood.
What is making you feel optimistic at this time?
The US election on November 3rd.
Finally, what does sustainability mean to you?
Leaving this planet in better shape than we found it. In order for our generation to do that, we have so much ground to cover. It’s harrowing to consider what our world will be like if global temperatures increase by even another degree or two.
Imagery from @neadajane
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