Introducing Ipsum Alii with founders Kikoc Veopraseut and Nora Kato
We sat down with Kikoc Veopraseut and Nora Kato, co-founders of the IPSUM ALII skin care brand.
Our paths first crossed with Kikoc when she became a customer of The Bared. Being new to Singapore, Kikoc was seeking out a clean beauty destination where she could buy self-care products for her own personal use and came across The Bared.
What struck us initially about IPSUM ALII was their beautiful aesthetic, an articulate and unique brand story and a skincare formulation incorporating traditional Japanese Kampo healing ingredients - something we hadn't seen before. We also connected to their clean beauty philosophy which was much like our own. That’s when our own discovery of IPSUM ALII unfolded further.
We sat down with Kikoc and Nora, truly inspirational founders, to learn more about the brand’s product development journey. We use and love the products ourselves and now The Bared is incredibly proud to be a foundation partner for their expansion journey in Asia.
Kikoc and Nora, thank you so much for chatting with us today. Please tell us a little about Ipsum Alii. The brand’s name is certainly intriguing. Where did this come from?
As we are using herbs from Japanese traditional medicine, Kampo, it became quickly clear that we would use Latin as a language given its use in the medical books we were working with.
[Ipsum] in Latin means oneself; for example self care.
[Alii] in Latin means other; for example our environment and people surrounding us
Ipsum Alii reflects our philosophy of how taking care of oneself is part of a larger dimension that includes respect for our environment. It is about showing others the way to a more balanced relationship between oneself and our surroundings.
Can you tell us about the IPSUM ALII philosophy? How did the concept come together for you?
IPSUM ALII came to life after countless conversations led to the realisation that despite living the lives of our dreams, like many busy working mothers, we were regularly exhausted with little time for ourselves – and this was often reflected in our skin condition. At the same time, we recalled countless moments of restorative peace and pleasure while living in Japan – from soaking in hot spring onsen baths to exploring the world of medicinal Kampo herbs, both of which had a positive impact on our skin as well as our general sense of well-being.
We decided to embark on a mission: to bring equilibrium back into our busy lives, remove blockages, ensure our entire systems were circulating and flowing again – and at the same time, introduce Japan’s powerful Kampo philosophy to Europe with a range of holistic and clean skincare products, made exclusively in Japan.
We were careful to strip off as many ingredients as needed to comply with strict EU regulations and, most importantly, to ensure the purest and highest quality products for customers. We also did not add any fragrance to the products, as this can be highly irritating for sensitive skin. Then, the most powerful ingredients were paired with modern science – resulting in products offering a new life-boosting daily ritual for rest and reset. The end result? A holistic skincare line for active urbanists.
Tell us a little more about your signature products? What makes them special.
We have two signature products: The Skin Refining Gel, the Nourishing Adaptogen Cream and a third product coming up very soon.
IPSUM ALII uses a triad system from Kampo philosophy of three essential elements, to categorise the benefits of each product.
These are KI; KETSU; and SUI.
KI is the energy fundamental to living things.
KETSU represents blood, its consistency and circulation and SUI all other liquid elements in a human body.
In Kampo, the healthy state of human beings means a well-balanced condition of the three substances.
The SKIN REFINING GEL is a gentle exfoliator for sensitive skin, which both polishes and stimulates new skin cells, through a powerful blend of herbs and science. The main element, KI, enhances blood circulation.
It reacts with the keratin on the skin and gently rubs off dead skin cells, enabling your skin to renew itself; leaving your skin smooth, rosy with a healthy glow. Something we always want for our own skin!
The key ingredients we incorporated include Kihada Bark, renowned for its anti-inflammatory qualities and rich in berberine, an established anti-aging compound; as well as Maguwa Root, which calms irritations, evens your skin tone and lightens any age spots you’ve developed over time.
Our NOURISHING ADAPTOGEN CREAM contains a soothing and deeply replenishing selection of 4 adaptogenic plant ingredients. Among them is one of our favourites Reishi, a mycelium with antioxidant properties that strengthen the skin’s barrier. We also included Akayajiou Root, which bursts with vitamins (A, B, C and D) and is considered a restorative Yin tonic with powerful antioxidant benefits. This is complemented with Hatomugi seed, a powerhouse herb which smoothes, refines and tones dry skin; and anti-inflammatory Ukon, a wild Japanese turmeric, rich in potassium, vitamins and magnesium.
Our third product will offer a harmonious blend of five Kampo active herbs with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. On top of these phytoactives, we are using several ingredients originating from biotechnology fermentation, which has a distinct balance between science and nature. Bio-fermentation of natural ingredients allows us to smartly source ingredients by synthetically producing them to preserve our fauna and flora.
How do you integrate sustainability in your products?
Our Kampo herbs are carefully sourced from Japanese producers who grow indigenous medicinal plants or find the wild ones we need for our products. We formulated consciously our products to ensure phytoactives and bioactives work in synergy to create gentle yet effective skincare products. We are using ancient medicinal herbs, which have been clinically proven to be potent. None of our products and ingredients have been tested on animals. As mentioned earlier, we use biotechnology to minimise our impact on our environment. We can sincerely say Ipsum Alii is a modern ode to traditional Japanese herbal medicine.
Can you share a little of your favourite feedback from customers?
One of our online customers wrote that our cream is a “must have for product-stealing spouses”. Not only did the cream become one of her favourites, but it slipped into her husband’s routine as well! The makeup artist Karin Westerlund, who originally bought our cream for her boyfriend at the Japanese beauty corner of Le Bon Marché in Paris, has been using it as a primer to prepare models’ skin for Ann Demeulmesteer, Max Mara and ludovic de Saint Sernin fashion shows in Europe. She loves the cream and describes it as “rich but not shiny, also mild and perfume free. Great as so many models have sensitive skin”.
We love your vision for the brand, please share a little more about this with our readers.
We strongly believe in developing Kampo in Asia and Europe as the third pillar of Ancient Asian Medicine, like Ayurveda from India and TCM from China. Kampo has so many great benefits that go beyond beautifying our skin. Kampo medicine works both pragmatically symptom-oriented (e.g. healing of eczema), but can also be used in the context of complex and diverse complaints (e.g. menstrual problems, menopause, stress-related issues). It would be wonderful if more people could experience its benefits more! With this in mind, we’d love to develop a whole lifestyle line of Kampo based products to make Japanese beauty rituals & wellness accessible to people outside of Japan as well.
You started with Europe and now you are in Singapore. What is next?
There are still many countries in Europe we want to explore like Germany and Scandinavian countries. Of course, Asia is on our mind for expansion; it is the birthplace of Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese Medicine. We are so happy to start this incredible adventure in Singapore with The Bared!
Ipsum Alii is exclusively available at The Bared in Singapore.