Marie-Veronique Nadeau is a scientist first.
The chemist first fell for the subject at an early age and would inevitably make it her career. It was a teenage struggle with acne that led her to combine her passion for science with an interest in healing skin and to innovate in that arena. (She now holds degrees in Math and Science and an esthetics license from the Paris Beauty College.)
In 2002, she launched her eponymous line, Marie Veronique, with a mind towards curing rosacea. Since then, she has created a safe acne line and formulated the first non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen—often with input from her physicist and bio-medical engineer daughter, Jay Nadeau.
Marie-Veronique Nadeau continues to explore new realms of conscious beauty and pioneer, mostly recently launching her Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique collaboration on three serums to address inflammation. Here, she discusses how science took hold by accident and hasn’t let go:
Live The Process: At what age did you realize that you were interested in science?
Marie-Veronique Nadeau: When I was about 5, there was a TV show called, Watch Mr. Wizard. The host did little experiments on a card table, and it was utterly fascinating. I started doing little experiments of my own about the same time. I didn’t know it was “science” though; I thought it was “fun.” Oh hey, still do.
LTP: How did suffering with teen acne impact you?
MVN: Like all teenagers with acne, I pretty much felt like my life was over—at least as I saw it. It was a very traumatic time, and the suffering caused by acne does enlist my sympathies to this day. It’s real and can be very demoralizing; the pain should never be dismissed as trivial. My experience certainly does color the work I do today and, while I am thrilled if I can help people, it never occurred to me then that this would be where my life was going.
LTP: How was the experience of moving from chemistry into skincare? Ultimately, what makes Marie Veronique different from other beauty lines out there?
MVN: There was this “that was inevitable” feeling, which segues nicely into the next question: We diverge from other skincare lines because we take the science of skincare—which involves borrowing from disciplines such as chemistry, biochemistry and, these days, microbiology—very seriously. Our science background gives us the edge to take on challenges few companies are ready or able to address. This includes safe physical sunscreens, solutions for adult acne and atopic dermatitis issues (seborrheic dermatitis, eczema etc) and, of course, delaying skin aging.
We have hero products in each category:
- For aging skin combined with adult acne, our Gentle Retinol Serum and Intensive Repair Serum.
- For atopic dermatitis, our Barrier Restore Serum.
- For dry skin or inflammation issues, our Soothing B3 Serum.
LTP: Can you tell us a bit about your latest collaboration?
MVN: Kristina Holey and I are both interested in helping people with skin issues because we both had skin problems in our teens that took some time, attention and study to really resolve. So, we are very much alike in that we are driven to support people with skin problems and thrilled when we can help. Given our philosophical alignment, our finding each other was serendipitous. Good collaborations—like say, Nichols and May, or Penn and Teller—just seem so right that you think they almost had to be.
The collaboration is very organic, in the best sense of the word. Kristina sees real people with real problems, and we work on products that she then tries out. If they work, we have a real solution. It’s that simple. We don’t have to make claims or do a lot of marketing because the results speak for themselves.
"We have a real solution. It's that simple."
LTP: What are your personal wellness rituals that keep you balanced and clearheaded?
MVN: I do have a gadget called a Bemer that increases microcirculation that I use somewhat regularly. My cat, Fat Eddy, loves it, so I guess there is something in it.
Speaking of cats, I do take great comfort in petting her, and I do think pets are very important to keeping us balanced and healthy. We can learn a lot from our pets, and I think it’s interesting that the noun, “pet,” is the same as the verb “to pet”—it suggests it is the thing we value the most about our animals. And imagine they value that the most in their relationships with us—but, with cats, who knows?
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
MVN: I’ll have to ask my cat.
Okay, I asked and she pointed her nose at her dish, so food is certainly a part of a happy life. She didn’t elaborate, but, as for me, I recall one of the Monty Python people saying something like: “Just lying in bed and having books brought to me on a trolley is my idea of happiness.”
That works for me.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process,” and how do you do that every day?
MVN: I consider by how many nanometers my telomeres have shortened by the end of the day, every day, and try to be philosophical about it. In other words, I try to take the passage of time in stride.