Professor Augustinus Bader (AB) spent over three decades developing healing products for burn victims. In 2018, he decided to harness the groundbreaking technology he had pioneered to create his namesake skincare brand, Augustinus Bader, with his co-founder Charles Rosier (CR). Just four years on, the Augustinus Bader range has become a renowned skincare brand loved and religiously used by thousands around the world.
Talk us through your career.
AB: My medical training took me all around the world. I studied in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Harvard in the US. I also travelled to the Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai to work in their burns unit. It was here that I first witnessed the immense trauma, suffering, and accompanying scar formation caused by burn injuries. Especially cases involving children usually require multiple, complex, painful surgeries to remove thick scar tissue that would otherwise cripple their growth and development. This experience stayed with me – I wanted to find a way to improve these types of treatment. Completing my specialisation in Medical Biotechnology, combined with my education as an experimental surgeon, led me to Hannover to study under pioneering scientist Professor Pichlmayer learning the field of clinical organ transplant. This training was the catalyst for my desire to understand organ failure and wound healing. I became the first professor of Tissue Engineering at the University of Tuebingen and then, later, the Stem Cell Biology department Chair at the University of Leipzig. While supporting the university, answering demands to give close to 500 lectures over the years, and inventing and patenting over 200 key technologies, I maintained the motivation to improve and alleviate the suffering of children with severe and disfiguring burns. I spent decades researching stem cell capabilities to repair our bodies to develop a treatment that would provide scar-free healing, culminating in developing a ground-breaking wound gel for skin regeneration.
How did you find your way into the beauty space?
AB: My mission started with the intention to help burn victims, particularly children with traumatic injuries. Several years ago, I developed a medical-grade hydrogel to treat children with severe burns but found it challenging to secure grants to fund the clinical testing required to bring it to the market. At that point, I met the brand’s co-founder, Charles Rosier, who had the vision to apply similar techniques to create skincare products to help fund more trials. It took two years of convincing – but after realising that the cream was giving people confidence and happiness, I agreed to adapt the technology to create a more intelligent product for everyday use.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
AB: After three decades of research into wound, skin, and trauma healing, I discovered the triggering and stimulating mechanisms of stem cells and, subsequently, how to replicate the natural healing process that occurs in minor injuries. I developed a medical treatment based on my findings that could cure and rejuvenate damaged tissue with unprecedented efficiency. Despite promising results and many possible fields of application, I was struggling to secure funding for further clinical testing. Charles Rosier, my partner in this enterprise, had the vision to apply the technology to skincare consumer products to fund my research. He thought if the technology could turn burned skin into perfect skin, then the know-how could be used to develop innovative skincare to help with wrinkles. At the time, the idea did not wholly convince me, but I started to prototype a skincare product for certain patients with problematic or fragile skin. The creams made a real difference to the people, and they kept coming back asking for more. After two years of Charles’ perseverance, I finally understood the potential to apply this knowledge of intrinsic stem cell communication to develop a skincare-approved product.
How have things evolved since Augustinus Bader launched in 2018?
AB: Since the brand’s launch, we have always focused on constant research and innovation, creating the most technologically advanced formulas and growing our portfolio of products to address customer needs. We are always in the lab looking to improve and innovate. We have built the identity of Augustinus Bader through the quality of the skincare. The people who use the product see a positive impact on their skin. We can’t compromise with that. Our most recent innovation is The Eyebrow and Lash Enhancing Serum. It uses our proprietary TFC8 technology to ad- dress the underlying causes of diminishing lashes and thinning brows, supporting better follicle functioning and natural growth. It provides a solution for those looking for a clean, irritation-free product for visibly fuller, longer brows and lashes.
You’re one of the fastest-growing beauty brands today. What has the response to the brand been like?
AB: Seeing how many people have been helped by our products has been incredibly gratifying. Word of mouth recommending the creams to friends by satisfied users has been the best response, and it makes us proud to realize this. The skin’s beauty and elasticity are meaningful external signs everyone can see.
CR: We are the only emerging brand with a real chance to disrupt the hierarchy of the big established groups. We live in a world where newcomers are constantly disrupting established hierarchies. In the beauty world, this disruption has yet to happen. We have a shot to take a seat at the table with the big guys. If you look at our growth, we are on a trajectory where we have detached from emerging brands but still need the presence of the big guys. In five years, we’re going to be there.
The entire brand is designed to work as a collective. How does each product work with one the other?
CR: We genuinely believe the world doesn’t need more products, so we want to confirm that our products rank number one in each category. We are a product and science-driven company, not a marketing-driven company. Our voice will remain consistent no matter what we launch, and that’s all about science and quality. Since every skincare product from Augustinus Bader uses the same TFC8 complex, there’s no need to slather layers of formula onto your skin in a multi-step routine to achieve the best effects. Just one product is enough for your skin to reap self-renewing benefits. When picking the best product(s) for you, it’s more a preference for texture. Those who prefer a lightweight formula might opt for the brand’s The Serum, or if they like a creamy moisturizer, then The Rich Cream will do the trick. Some products also have targeted benefits depending on what type of area of the body or face it is. For in- stance, The Eye Cream is spiked with specific ingredients to combat under-eye puffiness and dark circles; these are in addition to TFC8, which supports the body’s natural renewal processes and boosts the skin’s health. AB: Our focus has always been on our products’ science and efficacy; for us, it’s quality over quantity. Our TFC8® technology – a patented formulation assisting in transport mechanisms for skin repair – can address many skin concerns, so we expanded our offering to our customers to provide a choice of texture and application properties. The reason we are not recommending a multi-step routine is that we believe that as long as you have one product with TFC8®, you will see results.
How has Augustinus Bader changed the skincare game?
CR: Unlike other skincare brands, we are backed by over 30 years of research in cellular repair and Professor Bader’s deep understanding of stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. All Augustinus Bader topical products are powered by our patented skincare technology TFC8® (Trigger Factor Complex), which is composed of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesised molecules that are naturally found in the skin. Augustinus Bader is a technology platform that leverages our disruptive skincare discovery about cellular communication. The key to our success is creating formulations that genuinely work. They work because they’re based on the physiological knowledge of the skin’s intrinsic repair code that originated from Professor Bader’s medical research. It’s precise because our DNA is different from other companies that we have achieved powerful consumer interest.
You’ve got celebrities around the globe who are fans of the brand. Who are the most prolific people who have used the brand?
CR: A prominent advocate for moisturizer, Hailey Bieber, also shared in an interview with The Skincare Edit that Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream is one she uses daily. Kate Bosworth has de- scribed herself as “addicted” to Augustinus Bader’s skincare products. Others like Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campell, Demi Moore, Dakota Johnson, Ashley Graham, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Kate Elson, Jennifer Aniston, and Gemma Chan are also among the many celebrities who use Augustinus Bader’s products. We also have high-profile investors such as Melanie Griffith, Carla Bruni, and Courteney Cox.
You recently entered the GCC market. What was the motivation behind this?
CR: For our brand, it is a significant opportunity as it allows expanding our footprint in the global premium market.
What, in your opinion, are the brand’s hero products?
AB: The Rich Cream and The Cream are very popular as they suit the texture preferences of the most common skin types, normal-oily, combination, and dry. We achieved in creating a formulation that works. The reason it works is that we respect the physiology of human skin with a knowledge base that just originated in recent years. The products are innovative in this sense. We released products that bring a real solution to our customers – our focus was on maintaining the highest efficacy levels while viewing the long-term goal of better overall skin health. We are pioneers in this respect today in our niche.
Throughout your career in the beauty space, what have been the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
AB: I developed ‘TFC8’, a novel transporting agent. After many years of researching the regenerative capabilities of stem cells, I began to understand how the body healed itself in conditions of trauma and inflammation. My research findings were the basis for the creation of the first trial of the Trigger Factor Complex (TFC1), developed for a medical-grade hydrogel that has the potential to repair large traumatic wounds without the need for skin grafting. The complexity of applying medical technology (hydrogel) to consumer skin care was situational. The hydrogel came from a situation where we had wounds with open skin in a clinical setting. It was complicated to change the approach for intact skin as it has to navigate the body’s natural healing code differently. We eventually found a solution – The Trigger Factor Complex 8 (TFC8) is the eighth trial of the complex, adapted to create a non-medical skincare mechanism, to deliver essential actives to the cell microenvironment in the right concentrations, supporting the skin to assume a healthy renewal process.
And the milestones?
AB: For us, it is incredibly flattering to be recognized by our peers. It confirms that our ambition isn’t too crazy. It was a massive endorsement of what we have achieved as a brand. They weren’t judging the best marketing campaign but the best skincare product. Today, our number one asset is still our product. We may not have the same marketing budget or distribution as our competitors, but our product sets us apart.
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