Meet Alison Cutlan - Creator/Founder of BIOPHILE Skincare. This award-winning scientist has consulted for various beauty brands for decades. An industry expert in green chemistry, she has recently created and launched her own skincare line BIOPHILE (which means lover of life and living things.) Merging the power of bio-fermentation and nature she has created clean, innovative, and sustainable products that deliver beautiful, healthy, and glowing skin.
Alison Cutlan photographed in Brooklyn, NY by Simone Silverman.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was a nature and adventure child, always spending time outside with the plants and animals. I’d often take home samples of plants/flowers to make into healing muds or perfumes (which I made by soaking in sunlit water).
My father is a veterinarian, and my mother is a creative, so I grew up around science as much as art. As a child, my dad used to put me at his microscope, where I’d look at bubble shapes at 300x or anything else he had on hand, and I was captivated. The world of science meant creative discovery to me, so I gravitated towards it. I studied molecular biology and studio arts in college and went on to research medicinal plants in grad school. I was very interested in ethnobotany, biology, and utilizing the healing power of plants for medicine and wellness. This was the early nineties, so people weren’t using naturals like they are now.
After grad school, I entered the skincare industry as a botanical specialist and product developer with companies like Thymes and Aveda. I moved to NY in the early 2000s and entered the post-grad Fashion Design program at FIT to explore a design interest. In no time, I realized that while I loved design, I didn’t like fashion design and missed working in science. So I dove back into skincare innovation and developed products for companies large and small (including Kiehls, Naturopathica, Marmur Metamorphosis, and smaller indie brands) and started my own laboratory where I research and develop new concepts/products in the area of skin microbiome, biology, bio-design, and sustainability.
‘There is not a need for more,
but a need for better, a new paradigm of care.’
WHY CREATE BIOPHILE?
There are millions of skincare products on the market (too many!), and the vast majority of them are not that healthy for the skin or the environment. Despite the 10 step protocols and sheet mask overload, people more than ever, are suffering from skin issues like irritation, acne, rosacea, and part of it is the skincare being used. There is not a need for more, but a need for better, a new paradigm of care.
So, with my interests in bio-design and microbiome, and my expertise in skincare and ingredient innovation, I set out to create formulas that are almost entirely bio-made (via fermentation). I named it ‘Biophile, which means ‘lover of life and living things.
Each formula is built around proprietary Biotic BrothsTM made by combining probiotic bacteria + botanicals and fungi in a unique bio-fermentation process that results in a nutrient-rich, probiotic superfood for the skin. The broths are our water phase, and we formulate directly into them, adding advanced bio-actives and hydrators to create luxurious formulas that work with the natural biology of the skin. These formulas are highly concentrated but gentle, and the skin responds quickly. Within days, the skin becomes smoother, calmer, and more radiant.
‘I believe in doing more with less and think of each formula as a system rather than a recipe.
All of the ingredients work together to create synergy in the skin.’
THE BIOPHILE LINEUP
Root Bionic Refining Essence (Refine/Tone) :
This gently refines the skin, clears pores while it hydrates and brightens. It features lactobionic acid, willow bark, hyaluronic acid in a base of our ROOTS Biotic BrothTM
(Lacto/Bifida fermented licorice, ginger and burdock roots).
Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum (Feed/Treat):
This is the ultimate skin food, hydrator, and regenerating treatment. It smooths and brightens the skin while delivering powerful anti-aging benefits. Made with our powerful SHROOM Biotic BrothTM (Lacto/Bifida fermented chaga, reishi, tremella mushrooms) for a supercharged antioxidant and adaptogenic protection along with high levels of Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Peptides, and Bio-hydrators.
Bio Barrier Oil (Nourish/Fortify):
Made with fermented green tea seed oil, which has higher activity and penetration than other oils, along with omega-rich seed oils, dermal-strengthening schizandra berry extract, and a unique bacterial glycolipid that reinforces the skin barrier like a ceramide. When the oil goes on top of the serum it has a ‘plump and seal’ like effect and makes skin glow.
“What do I think makes a woman powerful?
Having depth of character, being grounded,
and doing what you’re passionate about with the fullness of who you are.
WOMEN, WHO INSPIRED YOU AS A YOUNG GIRL?
Jane Goodall was a hero of mine and still is. At 25, she went off into the Congo, alone, to study apes. She opened the world’s eyes to their value by putting herself in their world, to learn from them, instead of the other way around. Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the greatest naturalists ever known and an incredible human being.
Amelia Earhart: An adventurous (and stylish!) woman who marched to the beat of her own drum- breaking norms and aviation records. I got my pilot’s license when I was 17 years old and had a lot of exhilarating adventures in the air. I didn’t do anything quite as extraordinary but learned a great deal about risk and rewards with the unknown and responsibility when your life (and other peoples) is in your hands.
Debbie Harry: Style inspiration and big crush. I listened to her Parallel Lines album in the 5th-grade classroom daily, and it was everything. Her punk/new wave style was cool, and I tried to emulate it for years.
Women, who inspire me now?
Greta Thunberg, Neri Oxman, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez & Lizzo!
WOMEN, WHO YOU THINK HAVE AGED WITH GRACE/INTEGRITY?
Isabella Rossellini, Gloria Steinem, Oprah, Iris Apfel, Emmy Lou Harris, Alice Walker.… the list can go on. These deeply interesting and strong women are grounded in their passions and their gifts keep radiating out to the world as they get older. They are teachers and guides and remind us that the journey can be long, joyful, and keeps getting more interesting.♥
ALISON CUTLAN’S SKINCARE TIPS FOR WOMEN OVER 40
• Cleansing: Be gentle with cleansing, you don’t want to strip your skin of essential oils, but you do need to cleanse.
• Exfoliate: Wisely and don’t overdo it, but do it. Use acids like polyhydroxy acids (bionic acid) that will encourage healthy skin turnover, but will also hydrate and protect the skin.
• Explore Clean + Fermentation Skincare: Use clean, concentrated formulas with actives that have science behind them- fermentation skincare is powerful for older skin since it supports the barrier and skin immunity.
• Work on keeping the skin calm: Support the barrier and the rest will follow. Inflammation leads to a cascade of issues in the skin like ROS production, barrier impairment, and collagen degradation, so keep the skin calm.
• Gua Sha tools: I think increasing blood flow/circulation in the skin is a fantastic revitalizer so using the gua sha tools (or even just your fingers) to stimulate lymphatic drainage is great.
• Incorporate probiotic wild fermented foods into your diet: This will have a direct effect not only on the health of the whole body, your immunity, your brain, but also your skin!
FEW OF MY FAVORITES
Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’ album.
She is a powerful feminine creative force that is truly unique. I put this album on when I want to connect with my inner power.
BOOK / NOVEL
Michael Pollen’s Omnivores Dilemna changed my life forever and
awakened me to the broken systems we need to change for more sustainability.
The NOMA guide to fermentation is inspiring.
Combining ancient arts with experimentation and creativity.
The original Blade Runner is a fave – beautifully shot, styled, and told a story of a dystopian future. Also Harrison Ford.
Passionflower for its likeness to a UFO and Orchids
for the shape-shifting diversity of them on earth- 20-30 thousand species!
Pure jasmine oil is intoxicating.
Notes of ambergris, amber, and sandalwood are also lovely.
When I first smelled Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion (Frederic Malle) which is a variant on the rose, I was enchanted by it
CITY / PLACE
Iceland for its blue lagoons, fjords, mountains, and extreme beauty.
FOOD / MEAL / CUISINE
Japanese for the artistry, commitment to quality, and flavor harmony. Northern Italian food for the robust flavors and yum factor.
His masterpieces create ambient sensory experiences of light, sound, and space that are deeply profound- lifting the viewer to the expansive place of perception between reality and dream state.
David Bowie. Never afraid to push boundaries of style and perception.