LESSE Founder Neada Deters’ Minimal Mid-Century Home
Images by Hannah Mills
The idea that less is more seems to be a recurring theme when you speak to Neada Deters, founder of the organic skincare range LESSE. It’s a philosophy that underpins the development of her products which a friend of mine recently described as “all killer, no filler”, that is to say – each ingredient in the range is precisely selected to be both transformative and to work in harmony with the others. The same can be said about Neada’s beautifully renovated Mid-Century home in the treetops of Echo Park, with a sense of light and openness punctuated by a carefully curated selection of vintage furniture and art. We visited Neada to celebrate the launch of LESSE at IN BED, to talk science and sustainability, and to meet her cute pup Alfie.
“We’ve just moved into our new place! Our previous home was just the next suburb over, but we really love the community in Echo Park. So many of our neighbours have lived here for decades and there is wonderful proximity to nature—our street borders one of the largest parks in Los Angeles and our local hiking trail is just a few feet from our front door. I hike most mornings and some of my favorite local places are Cookbook for fresh produce and bread, Tilda for a glass of natural wine, and Stories or Des Pair for books.”
“Our home was converted about a decade ago by a previous owner who was an art collector, so the space is really a gallery designed for living. The bones are mid century—one of my favourite architectural periods—and internally it has been opened up to allow an immense amount of natural light to flood through. My favorite feature, though, is the large tree that our deck was built around. It provides a beautiful canopy of natural shade.”
The bones are mid century—one of my favourite architectural periods—and internally it has been opened up to allow an immense amount of natural light to flood through.
“I’m naturally a minimalist but, where I do fill space, I usually gravitate towards vintage furniture and objects either created by friends or collected on travels. Our bedroom really centers around our bed, which was handmade in the U.S. Our bedside tables are vintage Milo Baughman burl wood that are quite wide and tall, so our dog sleeps under one of them. On each side table, we usually stack all the books on our reading lists alongside vases by my dear friend Rachel Saunders.”
“Almost all of our furniture is vintage and it’s difficult to choose favourites between them, but I am thrilled about our recent purchase of vintage black leather and chrome dining chairs by Mies van der Rohe—one of my favorite designers and architects. I also love my recent art purchase, a watercolor on canvas by British-born but New York-based artist Joe Henry Baker. I hope to collect a few more of his pieces in the future.”
Neada holds the LESSE Bioactive Masque; A calming, detoxifying and nutrient-rich treatment for sensitive skin. Neada loves to keep this product in the fridge for an extra anti-inflammatory effect.
“[Before starting LESSE] I worked in media and fashion, but my role in New York led me to write about beauty and interview experts within the industry—while I was struggling with my own skin issues. The more I began to research and understand skin function, how products are made and marketed, how inaccessible and unattainably aspirational too many brands were; the more I understood how the industry was missing the mark and needed to redirect itself to be more sustainable, more diverse and inclusive, more considered and less compromising in its products. I wanted to create a change in the space, and knew the best way to do that would be from working within the industry.”
“It’s minimal for numerous reasons but the primary cause is that too many products simply aren’t necessary and can be harmful to both skin and the planet. When we are applying and taking off and applying more products, it wears away at the skin barrier and causes it to be more vulnerable, more reactive and more prone to breakouts. When we produce and use more products, it takes energy to create the product, manufacture the packaging, and more carbon to ship it to a facility and then onto stores or customers. The most sustainable approach to living is simply living with less. In the case of skin care, one doesn’t need to compromise on results when they use fewer products—it’s simply about using more considered, effective formulas that work to support your skin’s natural function. As we grow, our products will always classify as essential. It’s the foundation of our company—after all, LESSE is pronounced ‘less’.”
It’s minimal for numerous reasons but the primary cause is that too many products simply aren’t necessary and can be harmful to both skin and the planet.
“Almost every ingredient we use is organic, and we source these botanicals from verified ethical partners around the world. There are also a few ingredients that we grow in partnership with our manufacturer in Canada, which is something incredibly special and which allows us to use ingredients that are generally very difficult to source despite their incredible benefits. These are grown on land just down the road from where we bottle our products, and are extracted on site before being blended into our formulas.”
Pictured is the LESSE Regenerative Mist, a super hydrating formulation with Tremella & Gotu Kola.
“We are incredibly rigorous with what we choose to include and exclude from our formulas. You might notice that none of our products include water or other diluents, and we don’t add fragrances—every single ingredient is included for its efficacy in helping to replenish and strengthen the skin barrier, balancing oil production, fading dark spots, reducing inflammation, decongestion, hydration, or any of the other key needs for skin of all types including the most sensitive or acne-prone.”
We are incredibly rigorous with what we choose to include and exclude from our formulas.
“Sustainability is something we talk about and take action on as a team every day. It’s a bit of a puzzle, trying to put together all of the pieces of sustainability in a historically wasteful industry but we’re committed to making the most sustainable choices we can in all aspects of our company—whether that be customer-facing or behind the scenes. I also believe in being open to evolution, especially when it comes to sustainability. As more sustainable options become available, we will continue to reiterate how we operate as a team and as a brand. In the three years since we launched, there have been countless choices we have made to prioritize the planet over profit; opting to leave an opportunity on the table that could have expedited our growth but that would have been a compromise on how we choose to operate, sustainably or ethically. Though for us, it’s never really a choice.”
“We have so much in the works but very little that I can share yet! Things are slowly starting to open up here in the U.S., so I’m really looking forward to finally having some events after a long year and a half lockdown—and I’m personally hopeful that I’ll be able to make the trip home to Sydney soon, to see family and friends.”