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5 Minutes with… Marie Drago, Gallinée founder

When it comes to good skin health there’s a new brand on the block that are here to take care of things – Gallinée. Each product in the range uses a patented complex of prebiotics, probiotics, and lactic acid to boost naturally good bacteria for your healthiest skin yet. We caught up with the brand’s innovative founder, Marie Drago, to chat skincare, starting your own business, and her must-have product from the range…

How did you get started in the beauty industry?

I trained as a pharmacist but the pharmaceutical industry was not really for me, so I went directly to beauty. I had the chance to work for La Roche Posay, Soap & Glory and loads of other amazing brands but I always preferred skincare – especially if it was quite technical.

What prompted you to start Gallinée?

I got interested in bacteria and the microbiome quite a few years ago when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. I found the world of our bacteria absolutely fascinating and, as I had a lot of skincare experience, I got the idea of developing skincare products for you… and your bacteria! I had never created a company or a brand before so I was really lucky to have loads of support from my friends and family, as well as some really cool people in the beauty industry.

Did you face any unexpected challenges when starting your business?

Loads! We had an ‘interesting’ development process because most beauty products want to kill bacteria, not nurture them, so we had to rethink everything we knew. For example, it turns out that doing a pH5 soap is really really hard.

We were also all a bit surprised by the toffee smell of the face cream when it came out of the lab but, as it was due to the active ingredients, we decided to keep it. One of my friends has a saying I quite like – the number of times it takes to succeed is the number of times you fail plus one.

What sets Gallinée apart from the other skincare brands out there?

We are the first beauty brand to take care of your skin and its bacteria. We see the skin as a live ecosystem and we support it. The results are quite impressive – it give you back the skin you were supposed to have. Also, I think we were the first brand to promote ‘bacteria’ as a nice thing!

Tell us about your proudest achievement so far.

It’s way too hard to pick just one! Waking up one morning to discover that Jennifer Lawrence had been using our hand cream at the BAFTAs. And launching the best soap without soap (but with a patent) on the market – because it was so hard to develop. Plus, every time we receive a nice feedback from a customer it makes our day at the office. It feels so good to have products that really make a difference!

If you could only recommend one Gallinée product to the Birchbox customer, which would it be?

Hard question – it would be like picking your favourite kid. I would say the Foaming Facial Cleanser, because it’s a super soft and gentle cleanser, and everyone loves the creamy foam and the amazing grapefruit smell. I’m quite a big fan of our latest launch: our Face Vinegar, a toner like you’ve never seen before. It has 2 patents pending, hibiscus vinegar and algae prebiotics to give you skin that’s both radiant and soothed. A little technological wonder! Oh, and if you have sensitive skin, or skin prone to eczema, please try our solid Cleansing Bar.

You know the science behind skincare! What do you find are people’s most common skincare concerns?

At Gallinée we see a lot of people with sensitive skin or eczema. But, I also love how we get a lot of questions about certain ingredients – what do they do and why they are here. I find it really good that people want to know more about what they are putting on their face!

Talk us through your usual morning beauty routine.

I am the laziest girl in the world, so my morning routine is simple. In the shower I wash my face with the Foaming Cleanser and use our Mask & Scrub maybe twice a week. Then a face cream with a few drops of Youthful Serum, a bit of concealer (I love the RMS uncover pot), liner and mascara by Beauty Pie, and that it! Minimalism is so in! For the body I use our Body Milk, and then the Hand Cream on hands… and feet! (It is really good for this.)

What does the future hold for Gallinée?

It’s almost hard to keep up with everything happening at the moment. We are working on a number of innovative concepts and partnerships and slowly conquering the world. Watch this space!

Discover more from Gallinée at The Birchbox Shop.