Pedro Catalá has been preparing his entire life for this moment.
The plant-based skincare innovator grew up in the Spanish countryside, where herbal remedies abounded for everything from colds to sadness. That background inspired him to pursue an undergraduate degree in pharmaceuticals, a post-graduated diploma in botany, a master’s in the Science and Technology of Cosmetics and, finally, a doctorate in Natural and Formulation Technologies.
Ultimately, after five years of careful formulation, he launched Twelve Beauty, an organic, plant-based skincare line for every type of complexion—including sensitive and reactive. The collection is named for what he sees as the twelve most essential ingredients for promoting healthy skin.
Here, the London-based private hospital pharmacist and beauty creator explains why happiness is found in the little things:
Live The Process: What first sparked your interested in pharmaceuticals and botany respectively?
Dr Pedro Catalá: I come from a very small rural area in Spain where everything was cured with plants (not so much nowadays unfortunately). I remember botanical remedies being such an important part of the community’s ethos. People used flowers, seeds, leaves and stems to treat minor ailments such as insomnia or digestive issues. Sometimes people used plants to address even more serious conditions. I will never forget watching my grandmother collect a fern that she placed inside the shoes of a young girl, who was very sad after breaking up with her boyfriend. According to my grandma, having her feet in contact with the fern would make the girl feel happier and forget her ex-boyfriend more quickly. It was so fascinating, and we all felt reassured that everything we could need was in our mountains. My upbringing inspired me to want to better understand medicines and gain scientific knowledge, so a pharmaceutical degree with a strong botanical and ecological orientation was the perfect option.
LTP: How did you come to launch Twelve Beauty?
PC: I have always been fascinated by plant extracts and their effect on the skin. Working as a pharmacist in a clinic for over ten years and listening to patients’ concerns made me realize that there was a need for serious clean skincare compatible with the delicate composition of sensitive, reactive skin. During five years of research, I identified twelve natural and organic extracts which I believe are essential for keeping the skin healthier for longer—hence the name. I cannot stress enough the fact that natural product formulation is a science, not an experiment. Twelve is the result of my lifelong search to find the very best botanicals in the world, proven to transform even the most sensitive skin.
"Natural product formulation is a science, not an experiment."
LTP: If you had to choose one product from your own line that you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
PC: What a difficult choice! Can I pick two, pleeeease?
The first one would be my Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream. I have tried so many different products on the market and some of them are exceptional. However, I have never experienced anything like this cleanser: It works so effectively and gently, and subsequently leaves the skin feeling extremely soft and balanced. It is more a treatment than a cleanser. There is no other cleanser out there that gives the skin back some of its main components in this way. In other words, it minimizes the damaging effects of cleansing.
The second one is from my botanical blend collection: the Hyaluroil Lip Treatment. It has become a cult product with lots of followers around the world due to its unique combination of ingredients and the immediately effective results.
LTP: What do you personally do, in terms of rituals and self-care, to help stay healthy and balanced?
PC: Long treks and meditation have a hugely positive impact on my wellness. I also love recipes that celebrate whole foods and taste incredible: I’ve tried almost all of the recipes in the Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook, Good + Simple. They all taste so good! Their recipes are so easy to make too—even for someone like me.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
PC: To me, it is all about reaching a state of mind where you enjoy every single moment, from sharing a cup of tea to an impromptu dinner with friends. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or expensive—spending time with friends and family always makes me happy.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more every day?
PC: I think it’s about being real and honest and true to your own wellness journey. In an era where we are constantly bombarded with advice and influenced so much by how things look, I think it’s more crucial than ever to cultivate your own self-acceptance. It’s important to set realistic goals that make us feel happier, grounded and more authentic—and to be content in our skin as much as possible. There is—and will always be—room for improvement. Imperfect is the new perfect.