Lars Fredriksson talks us through the minimalist approach to his hard-working beauty range
Who? “I’m not a doctor; I’m not a chemist; I’m not a scientist. I’m just a very normal guy with a marketing degree. I’ve just been blessed by having been able to work with very skilful people,” Verso’s founder Lars Fredriksson opens in his clipped Swedish-tanged English. His description may sound slightly self-deprecating but once you’ve enjoyed the unveiling of a Verso product of your own, you’ll understand how the idea – that marketing magic – of his products is as powerful as its undeniably impressive effects. Having spent 15 years in the cosmetics industry, working with doctors and surgeons who, as Fredriksson explains, categorically believe that if you are to make a difference to your face or your body you must do an invasive treatment. “But,” he conceded, “that’s except for Vitamin A. It’s the only thing that works – we know that! There are numerous, numerous supports to those claims.”
To explain: a much higher strain of vitamin A can be found in the prescription acne treatment Roaccutane; in lighter formulations though, it’s proven to shrink pores, control blemishes and counteract ageing by encouraging the cells’ reproduction of collagen. In accordance with such proven results, Fredriksson elicited the creation of a new generation blend of Vitamin A – Retinol 8 – setting the foundation for a range of high-grade anti-ageing products with a difference. “I wanted to have what we call in the industry a ‘doctor’s brand’ that doesn’t necessarily just look like a white tube.” Cue Byredo-level minimalist packaging delivered in fine grain cartridge paper boxes – each item a present in itself.
What? The latest product to complete the set – each item is numbered in order of its creation, like building blocks – is the Lip Serum: a perfect example of the hybrid multi-functionality of the range. With your humble handbag balm comes a swipe of glossy hydration, a gentle dose (it’s always a gentle dose) of Retinol 8 that will work to reverse fine lines around the lips, and peptides that encourage the lightest of plumping. Like the rest of the line, the Lip Serum is standalone – each product is built to blend in with your routine, and elevate it. They are pragmatic, undemanding products and courtesy of Fredriksson’s Swedish sensibilities, hyper-functionality come hand-in-hand with ultra-stylised packaging. They’re like a pair of Acne jeans for your armoire de toilette.
While minimalist in form, they are minimalist in concept too. The Lip Serum’s brothers and sisters are entirely uncomplicated and thus easy to assimilate into your life – see? Clever marketing. From Facial Serum to Day Cream, Night Cream, Hand cream and Deep Hydration Masks, Verso has crafted an acutely edited selection – a smorgasbord if you will – there’s only one of each kind and they do what they say on the tin. And some.
Why? Fredriksson’s sheer pragmatism makes the Verso concept irresistible: “Most people don’t have time to do complicated routines and go through all these extensive steps that some brands are promoting,” Lars explains of his ethos. “So if someone is looking for a really good, solid day cream with clearly great moisturising and anti-ageing benefits – here you go. You don’t need to use 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 steps; you can cleanse your skin, apply your day cream and off you go. But everyone should use at least one Vitamin A product a day. Most brands have at least one or two, so for those who are already using one: continue! Never stop! For those who aren’t using one these could be a good alternative.” Fredriksson doesn’t even need to go in for the hard sell and it’s clear why: the beautiful packaging pulls you in and the instantly plumping formulas keep you coming back.