ALPHA-H’S MICHELLE DOHERTY TALKS LIQUID GOLD, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND SPF
Carla Valois Lobo
Established over 20 years ago by Michelle Doherty and her husband, Dean, Alpha-H pioneered the use of glycolic acid as an active ingredient, as well as the development of products suitable for multi-tasking. At first, the brand, which is based in Queensland, Australia, was exclusive for professionals, yet the launch of Liquid Gold turned out to be its game-changer. Ultimately, Alpha-H reached a larger audience and is currently available in the UK and in countries such as Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Africa.
Following the launch event of Alpha-H’s Absolute Eye Cream SPF 15, Morning Beauty’s Editor caught up with Michelle for an interview. It was incredibly amusing to hear how her skin problems – she used to suffer from chronic acne – inspired her to build a cutting-edge brand. To make a long story short, Alpha-H recently opened its third factory in the Gold Coast, Australia, yet it is still a family-run business that formulates results-driven, effective products for all skin types. Furthermore, although those are loaded with meaningful percentages of active ingredients, they are not overpriced.
It is worth pointing out that on Thursday 13th August, Michelle is going to be at QVC UK to promote the launch of the previously mentioned Absolute Eye Cream SPF 15, which will be part of the TSV (Today’s Special Value). Please check out below the complete interview with Alpha-H’s Michelle:
How Alpha-H was created?
Alpha-H was created through my own personal journey. Initially, over 25 years ago, I was introduced to Alpha-H when it was in its infancy with just two products. We ended up acquiring it and started developing more products and taking it to the market in New Zealand and Australia. But it really was my personal journey and having such a positive experience with the two products that changed my life. I spent many, many years looking for a solution to a 14 year old problem, I mean living with teenage acne for 14 years right up to when I was 28 wasn’t how I envisioned spending probably the most important years of my life.
And how have you discovered these two products?
I was introduced [to the two products] by two colleagues that were flight atendants and they bought these products back from America. They told me I had to try because it had acid on it, and I was so scared – 25 years ago even the word acid was very scaring. I tried the products and after four days I saw such a difference to my skin that I told the girls that I would like to work for this brand.
Then we recreated our own formulations by using key ingredients like glycolid acid, green tea and aloe vera. Alpha-H comes from alpha-hydroxy acids because at the time the whole glycolic acid movement was starting to get momentum and we wanted to capture that by calling the range Alpha-H.
Which were the first products from the Alpha-H range?
We pratically pionered one-step cleansing. As far as I am aware, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. We were the first brand that had a cleanser that works as a cleanser, eye makeup remover and toner. We were in the forefront of the multi-tasking products.
When did you notice that Alpha-H was taking of?
It was really hard to get the range established because we were up against the bigger brands, such as Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, Revlon and Clarins. Even back in those days they had a lot of money and we were a family-owned business. We had no budget to actually do any advertising other than spread the word.
For a long time we’ve defended glycolic acid and multi-purpose products. Apart from the cleanser, we had the balancing moisturiser, which is a day and night cream, you can use it around the eye area and also as a neck cream but people really strugged with the whole concept of two products that can do eight things.
What is the history behind Alpha H’s Liquid Gold?
We wanted to create a product that would give our costumers salon-results but in the comfort of their own bathrooms. We did that very sucessfully with Liquid Gold, which is just a product that you use three nights a week but you look like you’ve visited a clinic when you wake up in the morning. It all happens while you’re asleep as the body is able to repair itself through up the night and be very responsive to the ingredients you’ve put on before going to bed.
Even when we launched the Liquid Gold it was still very much clinic but our beauty therapists were able to sell the product to their customers and recommend using it between treatments. It was really through the TV Shopping Network that we were able to reach a customer that never ever heard or seen Alpha-H before.
How the new Absolute Eye Cream SPF 15 was developed? Why other brands do not produce SPF products for the eye area?
The skin around the eyes is very delicate and most products are used only in the orbital bone area, which does not help to treat dark circles or pigmentation inside that area. Formulating a SPF comes with a high cost. It is much more expensive to create a product that has got SPF rating. Also, to be recognised by all the governing bodies worldwide because you have to come along with the FDA, TGA and all the governing bodies here in the EU. Being able to produce a product that is suitable for all of those markets is quite a challenge, as well as being able to formulate a SPF that is aesthetically nice to use.
What are you plans for Alpha-H’s future?
SPF. A big push on SPF. We understand that SPF is the most powerful anti-ageing tool that you can put on your face because more than 80% of ageing comes from UV exposure. As a brand, we are very conscientious and feel obligated to provide the very best protection given the fact that we’re taking away what people don’t like about their skin, so it is imperative that we give them the best form of protection that we can.