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Harnessing the healing alchemy of the natural world, with a focus on rare New Zealand botanicals.

The Brand

The word RAAIE (pronounced “ray”) comes from “Ra”, both the ancient Egyptian sun god, as well as the Māori word for “sun”, and “ray of light”.

RAAIE is an ode to our complicated relationship with the sun. We adore her, we worship her warmth and light, but she makes us look wrinkly and old. It’s like a toxic relationship with your worst ex; we know she’s damaging us, but we can’t stay away.

80% of ageing is due to the effects of the sun, and yet, we shouldn’t hide from the sun out of fear of ageing. The sun is a literal force of life-giving energy. It is essential to our existence. It’s good for our mood. It's good for our immune systems. It’s good for our gut. It regulates melatonin, which regulates sleep, which regulates skin repair. There is no such thing as good skin without the sun.

We do, however, need the right skincare.

New Zealand botanicals are uniquely positioned to protect and repair our skin from sun damage because they experience some of the greatest UV exposure on the planet due to the hole in the ozone layer and other geological factors. To survive, they have had to develop a defensive mechanism: high levels of antioxidants.

These antioxidants benefit our skin in the same way they benefit the plants: they repair damaged cells and protect against future damage.

No one is more aware of the harsh reality of sun damage than New Zealanders. Recent studies by dermatologist Dr Greg Goodman show that wrinkles and sagging can appear 20 years earlier in women in the Southern hemisphere, compared to our Northern sisters. This sun damage accelerates signs of ageing like wrinkles, rough, dull skin, brown spots, red veins and sagging.

The founder

“Growing up in New Zealand we always had to be super vigilant about protecting ourselves from the sun with sunblock and wide brimmed hats, and it turns out New Zealand’s botanicals have developed their own defensive mechanisms to survive and thrive in the harsh New Zealand environment too. It’s like they have created their own “plant sunscreens”.

When I came back to New Zealand, I realised we are so fortunate to have access to a treasure trove of unique ingredients — some of which are only just being discovered.

Aotearoa is a goldmine of plants and sea botanicals that are some of the most bioactively rich in the world. It was there that I decided to build my own beauty brand inspired by these amazingly powerful plants.

Skincare Philosophy

Our skincare philosophy is to protect the skin during the day and repair it from any damage in the evening. We favour a simplified regime compromised of potent, active ingredients. We believe the most important building blocks of skincare regime are a Vitamin C serum in the morning and a Vitamin A serum in the evening. And, of course, SPF (we have one launching later in the year, but in the meantime, we recommend Elta MD Clear Sunscreen or Isntree Watery Sun Gel). 

Clean science philosophy

We are in awe of nature’s botanicals and lean on them heavily throughout our formulas but also believe lab-derived ingredients should play a role in skincare for the best - and fastest - results. Just because something is derived in a lab, doesn’t mean it is harmful for you. Equally, just because something is plant-based, doesn’t mean it isn’t toxic. Poison ivy is a plant. There are deadly toxic mushrooms. Hydrangeas contain cyanide!

We are less concerned with “natural” or “synthetic”, and more concerned about whether ingredients are safe and biocompatible with your skin. Because at the end of the day, we spend money on skincare to get results. And those results come when natural ingredients play on the same team as lab-derived ingredients that have decades worth of clinical efficacy studies behind them. Things like Retinoids and Vitamin C that make significant cellular changes in your skin – the kind of changes that you can see.

We embrace a holistic approach that harnesses the power of the natural world with the hard learned knowledge of science. Yay Science! Yay Nature! Yay teamwork! Yay brighter, tighter, mightier skin!

Note: We classify all of our plant and lab-based ingredients via EWG (Environmental Working Group) which is an independent, non-profit, nonpartisan organization which provides ratings on cosmetic ingredients so customers know what they are putting on their skin is safe.