From suffering to success, Jacine Greenwood’s best decision was saying “enough” to well-meaning dermatologists and taking her acne problem into her own, very capable, hands.
She started self-educating, making, and then testing products on herself to ease scarring and problems from severe acne and ageing.
What was self-help, is now the multi-million-dollar beauty brand Roccoco Botanicals which has won awards both globally and at home for its innovative products and customer results. This month, Roccoco Botanicals has been named as one of the Asia-Pacific’s fastest-growing companies by the Financial Times for the second year in a row.
Jacine sat down with The Carousel’s Giulia Sirignani about her skin obsession, dos and don’ts for skincare and her embrace of nature as our greatest healer.
“I started with cystic acne at fourteen and it basically encompassed my life at the time,” says Jacine Greenwood who founded Roccoco Botanicals a decade ago. “I spent so long trying to cover it up. I went to so many different cosmetic counters, professionals, and dermatologists – but all that did was leave my skin red, dry, and peeling. Nothing helped,” says Jacine.
Jacine is candid about the devastating impact skin problems had on her self-esteem and confidence right up until she was 40 years old.
“I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I wouldn’t even look in a bathroom mirror in a public toilet,” admits Jacine. “Then, all three of my children developed eczema. For me, that was heartbreaking, because again, we went down the dermatologist route. It would work while they were taking the steroids, but the moment they stopped, it would come back again. I knew for both myself and my kids, I had to find the solution. I had to do this myself,” explains Jacine.
“I spent an awful lot of time, 17 years actually, researching journal studies, putting information together and trialling things. When I first started, I wasn’t a cosmetic chemist. I self-taught myself cosmetic chemistry, and then officially became qualified as a cosmetic chemist about six years ago.”
Jacine has a passion for using herbs and botanicals and encourages her customers and clients to go for natural ingredients in their skincare rather than synthetics.
“Our customers are allured by natural offerings. They’re not wanting synthetics, in fact, they almost have a fear of them. However, in my work and travels I still regularly catch people mistakenly saying how natural products don’t work as well as synthetics. But it’s not about whether it’s natural or synthetic, rather it’s about the formula. Our ingredients and our formulas, even though they’re between 94% to 100% natural, outperform retinols, vitamin C’s that are synthetic, and clinical peptides. The results are astounding”.
Jacine offers advice on what natural ingredients are good substitutes for their synthetic equivalents.
“For vitamin C’s, Kakadu Plum is a good example. No one ever reacts to it. Yet, if you were to put a synthetic like Ascorbic Acid on skin, it would cause a lot of irritation mainly because of the high percentage that they need to use it at. Another example are your retinols. Retinols are quite popular because they come with a lot of journal studies. But beware, because they can also cause a lot of irritation and people tend to overdo them. Instead, we use things like Psoralea, which is a plant and a Vedic herb, and it performs exactly like a retinol, but with zero irritation. It’s so gentle that it can be used on babies,” says Jacine.
While encouraging the use of natural products, the “fairy godmother of skin” says she can’t wave her magic wand if your diet is poor.
“Your diet is really crucial, “stresses Jacine. “Acne is a Western disease. In the 19th century, we didn’t have acne. Make sure that your diet doesn’t have dairy in it. Milk itself has five pre-converted testosterones. When you drink it, you may as well be saying, “would you like a zit with that?” And I would also suggest avoiding gluten as well, because that can be a huge trigger for acne. Good eating will probably fix about 50% of the problem which is quite substantial. But, if you are acne prone and not following the dietary recommendations, it doesn’t matter what products you’re using, you will still keep breaking out unfortunately.”
Check out our full interview with Jacine Greenwood and The Carousel’s Giulia Sirignani here: