Brigitte Bärlocher takes us through the history of the famiy and how natural does not always mean good: «What we do is find a balance between natural and chemical. We test each product for a couple of years before launching. It’s a long process»
Locherber: the philosophy
In the Seventies and Eighties, herbalist shops and pharmacies were on the rise and Locherber launched their Skincare line to introduce natural products to Switzerland. In 2001, Locherber launched their Milano sister brand as an ode to their Italian heritage and their passion for art and design. Heir to the Locherber brand, Brigitte Bärlocher shares, «there are artisans whose work needs to be platformed. We wanted to create something that carries our passion for art and design to bring out Made in Italy». Locherber applies different strategies for each of its brands. To avoid confusion for their customers, Locherber made individual logos for each.
When it comes to the ingredients, Bärlocher divulges that although they try to keep their ingredients as organic and Swiss as possible, natural does not always mean good. ««Chemistry always plays a part, you cannot have something that is 100% natural. Also natural ingredients can be super active and cause some kind of reactions. . For example, essential oils cause redness and are not safe for sensitive skin. What we do is find a balance between natural and chemical to create delicate cosmetics for the skin. We test each product for a couple of years before launching. It’s a long process». At Locherber, the natural philosophy runs deeper than their products. Each of their seven lines, Clean, Hydrate, Protect, Luminaire, Purify, Relax, and Gold work with the skin to enhance but not change it. At Locheber, there is nothing to solve and there are no miracles they promise they can do to your skin. «Everybody has imperfections. We don’t want to hide them». To create further transparency in the beauty industry, Locherber Skincare uses its blog. The blog addresses skincare ingredients, trends, and consumer needs. In September 2021 the blog discussed the different acids present in their collections, «when you think of acids, you think it may be too strong for the skin but it’s not. We want to inform our customers and give advice and recommendations on what products will work for their skin needs». Locherber’s signature for the past fifteen years has been that their products are subtle enough for sensitive skin. Their market is niche but their customers are loyal. Catering to the older generation, most of their customers purchase the same creams each month.
The Milky Way Multi-Action Purifying Gel from their Milky Way collection is the brand’s first step into a new concept. According to the Locherber Skincare website, the multi-purpose gel is made with coffee and ginger root to eliminate facial impurities, stimulate microcirculation and brighten the skin. When massaged, the gel shows up in a brown tone but when wet, it emulsifies into a white milk.
To package their products, Locherber uses glass instead of plastic and recycled plastic for their tubes. Their goal is to get rid of new plastic from their production line. In the future, Bärlocher hopes to see further investment in sustainable packaging and less concentration on single ingredients within the ‘green’ beauty trend. She shares that focusing on single ingredients is ineffective because each ingredient has to be formulated to work with one another to create the desired effect.
Locherber Milano is Locherber’s fragrance line. Founded in 2011, the fragrance line aims at communicating different traditions and cultures from around the world through scent. When creating a new fragrance, the family is inspired by stories about either the ingredients they sourced or about the place they sourced them from. Most of their fragrances pay homage to their Italian heritage. To Locherber Milano, luxury means finding rare materials. Though fragrance is key to the brand, their main focus is in the design and finding the right materials to meld together. «It is challenging because you have to convince artisans to work with you. Real artisanship is rare today, it is almost impossible to find». To convey the process and concepts, Locherber produces videos.
«It shows that luxury is not something everyone can create». The Bärlocher family works together to ease the process of creating their products. For example, the family discovered a wood from Venice which remains in the lagoon for about fifteen to twenty years before it corrodes. After twenty years it has to be thrown away. The wood is from ‘briccole’ the poles that delimit the waterways. The family saves the scraps and recuperates them to make lids for their products. The Locherber Skincare line will expand to digital stores while Locherber Milano will continue to grow into an international market, namely the American one. Bärlocher hopes to expand the brand into the future where her sons or daughters will carry on the work.
Corso Magenta, 30, 20123, Milano Ml, Italy
Locherber Skincare and Locherber Milano are off-shoots of the Locherber brand. Using raw materials and natural ingredients, Locherber creates luxury products to convey the Swiss-Italian heritage of the Bärlocher family.