International award-winning former hairdresser Lucy Vincent now leads the sustainable clean hair and skincare brand Sans, found in every guest room at The Hotel Britomart.
Lucy Vincent’s hair and skincare brand, Sans, developed over a decade ago, was one of the pioneers of the clean beauty movement. Crated using natural active ingredients and a ‘less-is-more’ approach (many of the products can be used on both skin and hair), the brand has become a cult favourite around the world – and will be part of The Hotel Britomart’s guest offering.
The Hotel Britomart: What’s the story behind the Sans name?
Lucy Vincent: When Sans was originally developed, the name was an acronym for Sustainable And Natural Skincare. But it has a double meaning because ‘sans’ is a French word meaning ‘without’, as in without any harmful chemicals or unnecessary ingredients. Minimalism is a core part of our philosophy.
Why did you develop the brand?
LV: I started the brand in 2007 from seeing a need for pure, clean skin and haircare that actually delivered results. At the time I was running three hair salons and two skin clinics, and lot of the products around were either cottage-industry lavender-based natural products, or cosmeceuticals in hefty acrylic packaging loaded with synthetic ingredients. I wanted a product that was as beautifully designed as it was sustainability-minded. So I found an environmental scientist, and a biotech scientist who was leading some really exciting cancer research at Auckland University, and the three of us looked at ingredients and how cells respond to them to find ingredients that would be the ideal balance between natural and effective.
What products will be found in the rooms at The Hotel Britomart?
LV: We have a really beautiful edit for The Hotel Britomart. In the shower, they have the core cleanser, pH Perfect Body Wash. Our philosophy towards cleansing is that it should be a mild process that doesn’t disrupt the skin’s natural barrier function. It’s a ceramide-rich cleanser that gently cleanses while providing intense nourishment. Then there’s our Balancing Hair Wash. This cleanser has a broad-spectrum function from men’s hair to hair that’s been intensively coloured and straightened. Afterwards, guests can use our Nourishing Hydratant, which has an active ingredient called Keratrix which provides thermal protection, hydration and life to colour. In the bathroom, guests will also find our new Cellular Repair Lotion, which is a bit of a game-changer in that it’s a multi-functional fluid moisturiser for both body and face. It contains 5 percent niacinamide, which is a gold-standard ingredient used by dermatologists to reduce inflammation, increase rejuvenation and giving skin clarity and brightness.
You’ve developed a refill model for the hotel that minimises waste. Can you tell us about how that works?
LV: The old hotel model of 50ml miniature bottles is based on essentially a single use, which creates a huge amount of wastage both in packaging and product. For The Hotel Britomart (and other hotels we work with) we provide refillable 500ml PET bottles. PET is a highly recyclable food-grade plastic. We avoid glass bottles in the shower area, as it can be dangerous if they’re broken. We operate a bulk refill system that minimises waste, where the hotel returns the bottles to us for refilling, and after the bottles reach the end of their life after multiple uses, we send them to our recycling partner. As well as minimising waste, having full-size products in the hotel gives guests a much more luxurious experience because you’re using the genuine product instead of a cheaper imitation.
What do you mean by that?
Ah – well, lot of people don’t realise that the miniature hair and body care products you get in hotels – even when they carry a well-known brand name – are not necessarily the product that you would get in a bottle of that brand when you buy it at retail. Because there is so much wastage in the miniatures system, it would be hugely expensive to put the genuine product into miniatures. So what you get is a version with the active ingredients removed to make it more affordable for the hotel, but the same signature fragrance and texture so it feels like the retail product. By using a long-lasting refill system with minimal waste, we have the exact same Sans product in hotels as you’d buy anywhere.
Good to know! Are Sans products manufactured in New Zealand?
Yes, we manufacture in New Zealand. We work closely with our laboratories here in Auckland to source all our ingredients sustainably from New Zealand and overseas. We only work with companies that provide full transparency on how ingredients are grown, harvested and processed.
And if people want to purchase Sans products to take home with them after their stay at the hotel, how can they do that?
They can purchase them directly from our website – – we ship anywhere in the world within 2-5 days, so their package will probably be waiting on their doorstep by the time they arrive home.