Philippe Hennessy

Pevonia International’s president and CEO on a tailored approach to specific skin concerns

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Pevonia International’s president and CEO on a tailored approach to specific skin concerns

My Reading Room

A quick glance at Pevonia International’s extensive range demonstrates their understanding of skin and its complexity. Creating solutions for everything from acne to ageing makes the brand a specialist in, well, specialisation. Philippe Hennessy, president and CEO, says, “With the mass market, one size fits all. You have to address different concerns and we have such a knowledge of technique that we are specialists in advanced skin care.” 

While quality ingredients and an understanding are essential, Hennessy believes a combination of selecting the most biologically active species and having appropriate technology is essential for achieving results. For example, to harness the benefits of seaweed, he explains merely placing it on the skin without extracting and separating key components will have zero benefits. 

Of equal importance is identifying the aspect of the complexion requiring attention. He asks, “Which level of the skin do you want to deal with? The surface? The epidermis? The dermis? Are you working on circulation or hydration? Sebaceous secretion? Elasticity? Acne? You need to match the ingredient with the area you are trying to target and the solution you’re seeking. That’s where our expertise is.” 

Continual evolution is part of Hennessy’s philosophy. Once the concern has been identified, researching an effective way to use natural ingredients as a preventative measure becomes a priority. Instead of Botox, Pevonia opts for plant alterative white hibiscus seed which produces a comparable effect but with a milder approach. He says, “If our product is not working, we reinvent ourselves and come up with something even better.” 

One of the industry trends Hennessy has observed is that knowledge seems to be expanding more quickly than ever. A shift has taken place, from merely looking at the skin to understanding its function and dynamics on a deeper level. He says, “Where do the cells from the dermis come from? Where is the signal switch for pigmentation turned on or off? How can you retard wrinkling formation? This physiological information is coming more rapidly.” 

With this surge in data comes a profusion of new additions to Pevonia’s range in 2017. From  a new and improved Men’s Line to budget-friendly bath collection BodyRenew and Citrus, Lavender and Tropical scented products, many use stem cells from plants working at multiple levels of the skin to detoxify and firm. The brand continues to push the boundaries of the manufacturing process and discovery of innovative ingredients. Hennessy says, “We set the trends rather than follow others because we have our own labs and R&D, and are often far ahead of the industry.” 

On the other end of the spectrum in terms of trends, Hennessy notices that some consumers find spas more of a relaxation option, which poses a potential challenge for the brand from a business perspective. He says, “You have an industry that is growing, and another that is shying away as the consumer is looking elsewhere to get it. The difference between a service and a treatment is that with the latter, there’s an objective you’re trying to reach through a technique, and you have an outcome.” 

The key to a successful skincare regime is consistency. Hennessy says that going to a spa once will not be nearly as effective as introducing products on a daily basis. He says, “If you believe in well-being and healthy living, you need to understand and incorporate it, whether it’s exercise, diet, moments to think or proper skincare. You absolutely need to take some time for yourself.”