Conversation with… Harry Roselmack
This is a first on this blog: a “Conversation with…” a man.
What’s even more rare is to find myself discussing cosmetics with a man. So you can imagine the real surprise it is to have a “Conversation with …” Harry Roselmack on cosmetics. I probably mentioned this before but TV and me are like water and oil, we don’t mix. If I remember correctly, the last time I watched TV, Harry was making his debut. So when Claire, who’s in charge of communications and media at Niwel, contacted me to introduce Neoclaim, a skin care brand; I couldn’t hide the fact that I was confused. I first asked a friend, who unlike me is a TV junkie, if he was still a journalist. She said “yes”. I then thought I had probably misunderstood and that he probably is the face of the brand… Why not? As I researched the brand further online, I finally got it: Harry Roselmack is the co-founder of the brand. And this is when my “peanut brain” started working: why people feel an uncontrollable need to get into a field that’s not theirs? Why can’t people stay in their lane? I believe that it’s this same “peanut brain” that gave me the desire to discover the genesis of this brand and what lies behind.
Have a great week!
Before we even talk about Neoclaim, the first question that comes to mind which I’m sure you’ve already heard before is: How did you end up on this journey?
Yes, I’m a little used to it, we are in France and it’s unusual to see someone in a specific area to then find them in a completely different field, it is something which, I imagine, challenges, but I can understand.
A few years ago, I met Thibaut Perrin-Faivre, a specialist in cosmetics for nearly 15 years who made a name for himself in the luxury world. While having an informal conversation with him, I mentioned how difficult it was for men of color to find adequate product to use while shaving and while discussing the issue, this question came up: is there any dermatological level study for this type of skin that resulted in finding a solution for this problem? We decided to use a lab, that’s now developing our products, and we quickly realized that there is indeed in terms of science solutions that have been developed, but have resulted in very few offerings. What you need to know is that there is a difference between skins and science. Unlike people, science is after thickness not skin color. The denser the skin the more it will tend to be oily. There are studies out there that prove it but today the beauty industry rarely demands that products be developed to meet this kind of need. If you walk by any cosmetic aisle, you will see that most of the products available cater to thin skins, which is still very relevant in France, but represents a much smaller market than dense skin on a global scale. And this is where our story began, or rather that of Neocleam, a brand that deliberately chooses to meet an existing demand from a different angle.
In recent years, we’ve seen many brands moving towards more eclectic product lines and getting on the urban bandwagon, is it the case with Neoclaim?
Absolutely not! We have chosen to embark on this venture on an idea and especially from a desire: to be based primarily on science and the relevance of a proposal that is ours to solve a problem that is our own without getting into the typical discourse: “Our product is for Africans, West Indians and North Africans.” You know, I’m the kind of people who walk the walk rather than talking the talk. I have a hard time with hearing big statements with little to no action. So beyond preconceived speeches, the future and the results speak for themselves. We rely on how we discovered an issue that, in reality, is a process related to science, and I think we have something good to offer.
What is dense skin exactly?
To make it short, the term “dense skin” is not related to the thickness of the skin, but three markers: the high melanin levels, the high amount of cells in the dermis which makes it thicker and finally the opacity of the skin surface which comprises a plurality of sublayers, unlike thin skin. The result is that for a product to be effective on this skin type, it will have to be much more intense to cross all layers of the skin and act in depth.
I noticed you only carry five products. Why five and do you plan on launching a body line?
We are thinking about it! It is true that we are focused on skincare and skin tone. This skincare line is the result of three years of work. We didn’t want to miss it. Our goal is not to transform dense skin, but to embellish it while going straight to the point: moisturizing the skin in a mattifying way, treating acne, hyper pigmentation and tightening the pores… Above all, we took on the challenge to create a product line for men. Many men have skin problems, ingrown hairs and pimples related to shaving and this product line that I myself use, is for them. We are planning to launch an additional line for the body and are currently working on a formula.
You’ve been operating for 3 years, why is it that you are now tackling the French market?
Actually, we’re operating in several countries already, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Belgium, Gabon. We are now launching in the US market. The establishment of this type of project is often longer in France than elsewhere. If we didn’t launch Neoclaim in France before now, it was primarily for a lack of opportunity. But of course, our main goal is France, it’s only a matter of time.
So now that you’ve had your first experience in the cosmetic world, what is your vision for the beauty market?
Well, I realize that we live in a diverse country in all respects and that you, like me, are the personification of that diversity. It is therefore normal that this diversity is reflected in all the different spheres and layers of our society. I think that in the French market, there is still work to be done on this subject. It should take the lead and affect politics. This is what usually happens, and that’s what I believe in. The offer must be able to respond “to the demand” those affecting everyone and all types of populations. We are in 2015 and I don’t necessarily want my children to be forced to go shop in the hoods of Paris looking for “for black skin” signs. I want them to be able to find all the products they need anywhere either in physical stores or online. This philosophy somewhat explains my presence in this journey.
Is this what you have planned for Neoclaim, an online store?
Our online store is already up and our products are on the shelves of Niwel shops and in pharmacies. They are also available at specialized cosmetic shops online.
We have a custom in “conversation with…”, every guest have to share, in one minute, their beauty secrets. No exception for you. So?
Would you be surprised if I told you I don’t have any? (laughter) Well like most men, I have what I would call rituals more than “beauty secrets”. I’m someone who likes to stay with the basics and the basics is good skin hydration. I use peau unique on a daily basis. We were talking earlier about shaving, this is a subject that concerns me because I shave my head with a razor. To reduce the appearance of imperfections and pimples, I use huile magique. I make sure to shave in the direction of hair growth and most importantly I exfoliate my skin. Men don’t always know that exfoliation helps reduce ingrown hairs, but it works. There, that’s it!
Thank you to the Neoclaim team, Niwel and La Villa Maillot Spa – Hotels for their warm welcome.
WRITTEN ON JULY 2ND 2015, IN PARIS!