Harnessing the transformative power of New Zealand's natural world, the Raaie philosophy is all about science-backed skincare using high strength, pro-grade ingredients fused with the healing powers of New Zealand plants to nourish, brighten, and protect your skin. Yay Science! Yay Nature! Yay brighter, tighter, mightier skin!
We talk to the founder of Raaie, Katey Mandy about her inspiration behind the effortlessly cool brand, her skincare advice, and what's next to come for Raaie.
01 Tell us about your first memories of skincare?
I remember watching my mother applying all sorts of tonics and elixirs to her face. As a child I felt like I was observing some kind of personal ceremony that I didn’t understand but there was something about the ritual and wisdom of it that intrigued me.
02 What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care is different for everyone, but ultimately, I think it’s about the practice of taking time to look after – and focus on – yourself. That might mean exercise or meditation, but it might also mean pouring yourself a glass of red wine and drinking it in front of the fire. At the end of the day, it is whatever fills your cup (or glass).
For me, skincare is a big part of self-care. The act of cleansing the day away, the benefits of touch and mindfulness, the routine of applying the vitamins and minerals that nourish my skin. As a mother of two young children, I don’t get much time to myself anymore, but my skincare routine is a moment in my day that doesn’t belong to anyone else.
03 Tell us about your beauty rituals? Do you have must have routines for AM and PM?
Absolutely – your skin needs different help in the morning and evening which is why we have designed the AM/ PM treatment system.
In the morning you need protection for the day ahead. So our Morning Dew Vitamin C serum is packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C, NZ Blackcurrants and Sauvignon Blanc Grape Seed that neutralise the free radicals that can damage your skin throughout the day. These ingredients are also great for brightening skin and giving you that dewy glow.
At night your skin needs to repair itself. So the Yellow Moonbeam Retinal Elixir is formulated with Retinal (a type of Vitamin A that works 11 times faster than Retinol but without the irritation) to increase cellular turnover and reveal younger, fresher firmer cells. We’ve also added Bakuchiol, Niacinamide, Squalene and two types of Hyaluronic Acid; as well as healing and nourishing NZ botanicals such as native marine algae, alpine rosehip and harakeke native flax.
04 What were you doing prior to RAAIE? How did you transition into the beauty field with botanicals?
My love for botanicals goes right back to my childhood. I spent many weekends helping Dad re-wild the family farm in Northland. Then in my twenties I moved to Europe and spent 15 years working in the creative and beauty industries. When I returned to Aotearoa, I combined my passion for our unique and bioactively rich botanicals, with my experience working in the global beauty industry, and RAAIE was born.
05 Your products stand apart from the usual skincare ingredients we often see by using New Zealand botanicals. Tell us your journey behind developing this incredible range.
I believe the best results come when science and nature are working on the same team. We are in awe of New Zealand’s botanicals and lean on them heavily throughout our formulas but also believe lab-derived ingredients should play a role in skincare for the best - and fastest – results. Because modern science is pretty incredible, and who doesn’t want to reap the magical, anti-ageing benefits of concoctions that have been carefully studied and specially formulated for maximum results?!
06 We love that you love this planet as much as we do. Tell us about your sustainability practices with RAAIE?
We really love this planet - it’s the only one we’ve got, so we are 100% committed to not messing it up for our children. We want to make decisions now that will reduce the impact on their planet.
RAAIE uses a refillable glass packaging system. Our bottles are glass and we have a refillable system whereby we will collect bottles and refill them in the lab.
Sustainable ingredient sourcing is also super important to us. Given that we use NZ botanicals in our formulas, it is critical that they are sustainably harvested, have a low impact on the land, and are easily regenerated. For example, in marine algae harvesting, our suppliers follow Tikanga Māori - a strict, traditional harvesting practice of the indigenous people of New Zealand. This respectful approach means we can offer high potency natural bioactives whilst respecting the land and water that the ingredients came from.
07 What are you continuing to learn about yourself and about business even today? Do you have anything exciting planned for RAAIE this year?
I am very impatient. If I have an idea, I want to see it come to life quickly. Our business suffered a lot of delays due to COVID affecting supply lines, ingredients hold ups, packaging hold ups, etc. which I found incredibly frustrating. I’m learning to let go of the things that are outside of my control but it’s a journey.
In terms of what’s next, we are very excited about the launch of our SPF later this year. Given that our brand is all about our complicated relationship with the sun, I really wanted to launch with an SPF but was super fussy about the formula not being too thick or oily. The good news is that the extra time in the laboratory has paid off and we have a beautiful, lightweight, velvety formula launching later this year. We have many more products in the pipeline that we are super excited about, such as cleansers, moisturisers, botanical oils, and exfoliating acids. My favourite part of the business is getting in the lab and playing with the elixirs and potions – maybe it’s the latent memories of watching my mother all those years ago?!
Discover more about Raaie Skincare at https://raaie.co.nz