5 Things About Twelve Beauty Founder, Dr. Pedro Catalá


I never thought my life would be like this. Never imagined I would graduate from Stridex pads or move beyond plastic vats of drugstore chemicals as the mainstays of my skincare routine. But times have changed. I’m a lot pickier now. I want certain skin nutrients and benefits that only plants can give me. I also like a small side order of the right lab-made goodies. I’m so much more curious – and more careful – about the  ingredients in my products than I used to be. I read a lot, but also love the chance to grill a real, live smart person. When Kim and I got the chance to sit down recently with Twelve Beauty founder Dr. Pedo Catalá, I was seriously excited about it.  

Turned out to be enlightening – and very entertaining. So thankful Pedro came to visit us in SF and made our week! We ate dim sum and drank tea in tiny cups. We only spilled a little. We laughed, we learned – and it wasn’t boring even for a second, a minor miracle for someone who doesn’t always love long brunches after my daily breakfast of 5 espresso shots. We had great conversation, great food and plenty of time to gaze in wonder at the phenomenal, perfect skin of Dr. Pedro Catalá. Here’s what struck me.

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#1. His great skin + his charm make me wanna buy stuff

Pedro is his own best poster child. He looks like he’s been doing a lot right, skincare-wise, which is pretty convincing just on its own. But there’s more. You want to make him smile because he makes you smile. I already liked buying Twelve Beauty products because they are incredible, but now using his stuff feels even better because I like and trust the guy who makes them. (I'm talking charming and earnest like Ryan Gossling in The Notebook – but way funnier).

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#2. A perfectionist is in charge

Dr. Pedro personally designs all his own formulas and carefully sources every, single ingredient himself. He personally makes the products in his own lab and tests every single item before it's shipped out. Personally. By hand. Himself. I like knowing someone really smart and obsessed is making my stuff. Yes, this means limited production. But it also means freshness and extremely good quality control. Are you someone who believes in the value of science and education? I hope so. Pedro has a PhD in Natural Formulation (yea, chemistry), and a Master’s in Cosmetic Science (yea, more chemistry). Post-grad student of botany, ex-pharmacist. Why do I call him a perfectionist? He likes doing everything himself for maximum control. He took five years researching ingredients and creating his first small line of products. One of his latest product launches, his Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil, also took about 5 years to bring to market  – 3 and a half years to develop the formula, and two more years of testing. Seems pretty obvious he is careful about everything he does, and makes sure things are right before shares his creations with the world.

Natural product formulation is a science, not an experiment,

#3. He uses the best ingredients you never heard of

Pedro is not one to rush. He is thinking through every angle. Pedro spent decades studying and many years zeroing in what he views as the most beneficial ingredients, and he built his whole product line around these. One of his key ingredients is white genepi – a much less-known but possibly more powerful antioxidant than the big one on most people’s radar, Vitamin C.  Lots of questions always swirl around Vitamin C: Is it the right kind? Is it still active enough to do you any good or did it go bad? (The most active form of Vitamin C is notoriously hard to formulate into a stable product so it’s hard to know what you’re getting). Pedro opted instead for a less famous, but stable option, so you are more sure to get the antioxidant benefit you’re after. Before talking to Pedro, it hadn’t completely sunk in – even for me – that every single product from Twelve Beauty is packed with white genepi + 2 other antioxidants (Impertoria Leaf & Butterfly Bush) that Pedro chose above all others. I love knowing every Twelve Beauty product I use is helping keep sun and pollution from eating away  at my oh-so-important, limited supply of collagen.

#4. He made me re-think something I really love

Pedro’s impressively glow-y skin (and the impressive credentials) got my attention. I felt like I had to at least listen even when he took an anti-exfoliation stand – even though acids have done great things for my semi-oily, not-at-all-sensitive, blackhead-laden, blotchy skin. Pedro thinks more about the needs of sensitive skin. He his first skincare product was a soothing body balm for cancer patients experiencing extreme sensitivity. Pedro’s view is that, for most people, exfoliation can leave skin too exposed to irritants once you take away some of the dead skin cells that give you protection. I can't totally embrace the idea of everyone going exfoliation-free, but did take to heart the idea that more is not better when it comes to exfoliating. I heard Pedro's message loud and clear that it’s super important to keep your skin’s barrier layer strong.

#5. The real tell is how he talks about his mom

Another thing that makes me like and trust him, on top of everything else I already said?   Dr. Pedro’s favorite food in the world is his mom’s cooking. He lights up when he talks about how much he loves having dinner at home with her. How do you not trust a guy who’s happy place is a night in with his mom and some home cooking? Anyway, you can see I am a fan on every level -- product to person. Twelve Beauty is a big part of my kit. I use the cleanser, serum, the night cream and the lip treatment every day. I love his London Mask, too, and use that about once a week.


- Margot