Five Dot Botanics is a radical new vegan skincare brand launched in 2019, that aims to challenge the status quo of the beauty industry, by ditching long and impenetrable ingredients lists and only including 5 ingredients in all of their beauty products. Quite simply, they do more with less. We spoke to co-founders Zaffrin and Brian O'Sullivan.
What led you to start Five Dot Botanics?
We founded Five Dot Botanics because we wanted to create great skincare using minimal ingredients, and to offer complete transparency and clarity over the ingredients that go on your skin. Many beauty brands have long ingredients lists and a lack of clarity over what the ingredients really are, and we wanted to create something minimal and clean with an ingredients list that consumers could really understand.
How did you choose the name?
The “Five” in our name is our north star. We only use 5 ingredients in any product we make, the “Dot” is a reference to the morse code that runs through our branding and “Botanics” is included because we use ingredients from plants, seeds, nuts and flowers.
How would you describe your products, and what makes them different?
Radically minimal ingredient vegan skincare, offering maximum results. We use high-quality ingredients that have proven benefits for your skin, and we show that using fewer ingredients can be better for people and better for the planet.
What stereotypes exist in your industry, and how are you breaking them?
Beauty products have often been divided by gender, which is not in touch with what people want. We deliberately created a gender-neutral brand that embraces everyone and challenges the idea of beauty products for men or women. In addition, the beauty industry has often used many ingredients in skincare (20,30,40+) and we want to challenge the idea that you need that many ingredients in your skincare to have great skin. You don’t, you can simply use fewer and better ingredients, which is better for you and the planet.
Can you tell us more about where, how and by who your products are made?
We work with a formulation lab with over 30 years experience in cosmetic science, and everything we make is manufactured in the UK.
What’s your favourite product from your collection and why?
We love all the products in our Five Dot Botanics family! However, if we had to choose, our Pure Rewind Restorative Face Mask gets a lot of great comments from our customers, the deep rose clay is mixed with botanical oils, so it is really nourishing on the skin. We included lavender in the face mask as it is a really relaxing and soothing essential oil, and perfect for masking when you just want a bit of me time! It also makes your skin look and feel great.
How has the brand and industry evolved since you started?
Our brand is a bit of a pioneer when it comes to gender-neutral minimalist skincare. However, the beauty industry has evolved in recent years as consumers have become more savvy about the ingredients in their products. The clean, natural and organic skincare space continues to grow, and independent beauty brands are really changing the landscape.
What changes have you had to make since you started – and which ones were the hardest?
When we first developed our launch products, we had two products that included certified sustainable palm oil. We were comfortable that we were doing the best we could by way of that supply chain, however we decided to ditch it altogether. It meant reformulating and testing from scratch all over again and finding a sustainable alternative, which at the time felt hard but ultimately was a good decision.
Biggest highs and lows?
The biggest high was launching Five Dot Botanics and getting our first orders and customer feedback. Nothing beats the feeling that people love your products. Lows, there are many as a small business owner, but probably the hardest one to take was just before launch, we had a supply chain issue with one of our active botanical ingredients which delayed our manufacturing and launch date.
What drives you, and where do you get your inspiration from?
Using business as a force for good drives us, as we believe there is a way to create value for society through running a business with consideration for people and planet. We are inspired by people who have challenged the status quo. Anita Roddick when she set up the The Body Shop was doing something really incredible in the fair trade and beauty space that had not been seen before.
What other pioneering brands do you admire and why?
We hope to certify as a B Corporation company, so all the brands that are certified B Corp are an inspiration for us – brands like Patagonia, Rebel Kitchen, Method. We also love the growth in plant-based businesses.
The next big thing in your industry is…
Minimal ingredient plant-based skincare!
If you were doing something other than this, what would it be?
Launching something in the pre/probiotics space.
What’s next for Five Dot Botanics?
We have a few new products in development, so the next stage for us is to manufacture and launch them in the UK.
You can browse the Five Dot Botanics collection here.