One major work goal for me this year was to get back to the reason I got into blogging in the first place – to write. In a new addition to my blog, I am delighted to include chats with some of fashion and beauty’s key figures to learn more about them, their brands, their work ethos. In the first of such chats, I got to talk to Nicolas Travis, founder of cult skincare brand, Allies of Skin which is a recent addition to Space NK in Ireland. Have a read and learn from one of the beauty industry’s most interesting people.

Alllies of Skin treatment image

LORNA: What makes Allies of Skin different from other brands who also champion minimal ingredients? At Allies of Skin, we believe in creating sophisticated formulations that are packed with actives without any of the traditional fillers like silicones, drying alcohol, sulfates, synthetic dyes + fragrances.

NICOLAS: We champion using lesser products but more concentrated ones and we are firm believers that you don’t need 15 steps for radiant skin.

Our pro-transparency model where we list the % of all the active ingredients and the pH on every product packaging sets up apart. Along with our decision to formulate without any of the traditional fillers mentioned above. 

LORNA: What has been the most common issue you have found with previous generations of skincare that led you to creating your brand? 

NICOLAS: Empty promises and the lack of transparency. I couldn’t find information about the levels and % of actives that I needed – like if I was purchasing a cleanser and wanted to know the pH level, I couldn’t find it.

I believe these are information that your consumers should know (like the % of acids, the pH % and the % of Vitamin C in a serum; for example)

LORNA: What is your hero active ingredient that you believe we should be using more of?

NICOLAS: Mandelic Acid. Our Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum is our best selling product globally. It treat stubborn pigmentation, enhances collagen production and helps reduces breakouts. It honestly checks all boxes. 

Mandelic Acid is the most gentle acid around which means it doesn’t penetrate as deep but is still as effective. It is also naturally antibacterial so it helps prevents breakouts too.

LORNA One common problem with Irish skin is dehydration, how would you recommend we remedy that in our skincare routine? 

NICOLAS: Apply skincare on damp skin always. Skin is very much like a sponge. It is better able to absorb more when it’s damp. So I recommend misting your face (like with our Molecular Saviour Probiotics Repair Mist that is anti-evaporation and designed to cling to skin cells instead of vanishing). 

You also don’t need to buy another product if you do not want – simply apply skincare in the shower when skin is damp. If your skin is extra dehydrated, try adding a few drops of oil to your favourite moisturizer for extra nourishment – I love organic Rosehip, Hemp, Acai, Baobab, Sea Buckthorn and Argan oil.

LORNA: Retinol is a well working preventative ingredient, what is your alternative and why should we make the switch to it? 

NICOLAS: The form of Retinol we use is Retinaldehyde; which is simply 1 conversion rate away from Retinoic Acid (the only form of Retinol your skin recognises and only available via a prescription like Retin-A).

The conversion rate goes likes this:

Retinyl Palmitate – Retinol – Retinaldehyde – Retinoic Acid. So, that means that a form like Retinyl Palmitate needs to be converted 3x before it can be Retinoic Acid – so think about how high the % needs to be in order for the skin to absorb all the benefits. 

Retinaldehyde is 1 conversion rate away from Retinoic Acid and as such 20x more potent than Retinol (which needs to be converted twice – first to Retinaldehyde and then Retinoic Acid).

This is why we decided to use Retinaldehye – it is potent yet gentle and we encapsulate it in organic Argan oil so your skin is further nourished throughout the night as it works it magic.

Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial

LORNA: How many steps in a daily skincare routine would you recommend? 

NICOLAS: As many as you can diligently follow. In order to see results, consistency is key. So, there isn’t any point starting a 12 step regimen and then only to give up halfway.

As a rule, I believe in:


  1. A sulfate-free cleanser
  2. Vitamin C serum for day
  3. Antioxidant Hyaluronic serum for day + night
  4. Moisturiser
  5. SPF


  1. Makeup Remover if you wear makeup
  2. A sulfate-free cleanser
  3. Acid serum for night
  4. Antioxidant Hyaluronic serum for day + night
  5. Retinol sleeping mask or cream
  6. Organic Oil for extra nourishment (mix together with the sleeping cream or PM moisturizer)

Allies of Skin is available at Space NK Dublin. With sincere thanks to Nicolas Travis and to the PR Teams at Allies of Skin and Space NK.

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