Meet The Maker: Pedro Catalá, Founder, TWELVE Beauty

I can often be found pottering around in green beauty mecca Content. One of the brands I came across in there is TWELVE a botanical based skincare line especially suitable for sensitive, stressed and allergy prone skin. I popped in for a chat with the charming founder and brains behind the brand, Pedro Catalá, who is a pharmacist, cosmetologist and botanist. I’m always keen to know more from actual formulators harnessing the power of plants. So of course I was all ears and wanted to learn more. 
Pedro-Twelve-Beauty at Content Beauty
What lead you to create TWELVE and why the name? 

PC: “I have always been fascinated with plant extracts and their effect on the skin. Working as a pharmacist in a clinic for over 10 years and having listened to patient’s concerns made me realise that there was a need for serious clean skincare compatible with the delicate composition of sensitive, reactive skin.  During five years of research I identified twelve natural and organic extracts which I believe are essential to keep the skin healthier for longer, hence the name.

Why do you choose to formulate with natural and organic ingredients? 

PC: “I have been studying botany for over 20 years so I am more aware of natural ingredients than synthetic ingredients.  Being a botanical pharmacist it was the right path to take.  Besides I do pay extra attention to how all the ingredients I use are extracted by visiting all our suppliers. I also analyse every single batch of floral extracts that arrive in our studio and I prefer to use cleaner products like organic ingredients.”

What is the rarest ingredient you work with? 

PC: “I am a big fan of traditional ingredients but at the same time I understand the market is hungry for exotic ingredients which I am not so keen on usually due to poor sustainability. One of the rarest things you’ll find in TWELVE is the tiny molecule of hyaluronic acid which I personally encapsulate in the lab to make it soluble in oils and to enhance skin penetration (used in the TWELVE Hyaluroil lip treatment).”

Do you use any synthetic ingredients and why? 

PC:”The only synthetic ingredient I use is a preservative called Dehyroacetic acid which is globally approved by ECOCERT and COSMOS formulations. Preservatives do not have good publicity but they are necessary to preserve formulae (except 100% oil products).”

What is the biggest challenge formulating a natural beauty product?

PC:”The choice of natural ingredients is smaller compared with the traditional or classic beauty industry.  I think the smooth silky skin feel that silicones provide is difficult to achieve. Also preservation is difficult in natural beauty products. There are several ingredients which act as a preservative called “non preservatives”. It is a great choice for natural formulators but it is difficult to achieve the same level of efficacy as traditional preservatives.”

I see a lot of confusion around the word “alcohol“. Please explain why it’s not 
always a bad thing to see on an ingredients list? 

PC:”‘Alcohol’ as we know it can be seen as ‘alcohol denat’, ‘ethanol’ and ‘ethyl alcohol’. However there are other natural ingredients that contain the word ‘alcohol’ such as ‘cetearyl alcohol’ and ‘behenyl alcohol’. Despite their names these are a completely different substance with a distinct set of properties – they are not ‘alcohol’ as we know it – normally they are emollients and used for consistency. The important thing for consumers is that ‘alcohol’ always dries the skin no matter its origin, even the ones extracted from sugar or organically grown plants.

What does the term “natural beauty” mean to you? 

PC: “As a formulator I know how difficult it is to create a product so I do not want to criticize other brands despite how some are greenwashed. To me natural beauty is a totally clean natural beauty product. However there are some natural ingredients that can irritate the skin such as essential oils, sodium phynate (to capture impurities) and potassium sorbate (natural preservative). My advice is to try before you buy.”

Working and teaching in different countries do you notice any differences in how green beauty is accepted?

PC:”Of course, in countries like Germany and Austria, natural beauty is almost mainstream. Customers over there are so familiar with natural beauty. The UK is completely different to the rest of the world. The market is still niche although everyday more people are aware of the benefits of natural beauty. The extraordinary thing over here is the fact that customers are very loyal and embrace a complete healthier lifestyle. They are very well informed, are very discerning and know exactly what they want.”

What products do you advise to use for looking after skin in the summer? 

PC:”It is all about hydration and repair. A good regenerating cream is a must. The skin appears dry and the tone dull. It is important to keep the skin super hydrated to ensure the right cell turnover. Also oils rich in linoleic acid are great to repair the epidermis. My top ingredient for the summer is buddleja extract. This powerful plant helps the skin cells repair any possible damage after sun exposure.”

buddleja flowers
In case you don’t know (I didn’t until after I spoke with Pedro) this is the buddleja plant – spotted everywhere this summer.
What is your Desert Island product from TWELVE? 

PC:”The Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum is one of the most complete products of the range. It works wonders on dull skin and of course the skin can always benefit from moisture and radiance.”


What is your top (non-product) beauty tip for healthy skin? 

PC:”We focus on food, exercise and beauty products but I think stress is the real enemy  for the skin. Stress plays havoc on skin. When we are stressed we tend to generate more free radicals which are the real culprits responsible for skin ageing. We need to take the time, to step back, breathe, exhale and meditate.”

Anything new on the horizon for TWELVE? 

PC:”Lots of exciting launches. Customers have been suggesting new products and I have been listening to them so watch this space.”

So much insight from Pedro! I hope you found that all as fascinating as I did. Have you used any TWELVE beauty products?


For further information on TWELVE and to find out exactly what those twelve ingredients are head over to 

  1. You seem to have had quite a lovely conversation. Pedro sounds like a true expert, and I like the wisdom in his decision-making. Also I’m particularly curious about the Hyaluron molecules, because here’s where size DOES matter 😉 Strange enough, I haven’t seen Twelve over here yet, but will pay attention next time I go online beauty shopping.

    And he’s right, here in Germany (and in Austria, as well as in some parts of Switzerland) natural cosmetics have quite a standing. There’s even a renowned fair each year in February (Vivaness in Nuremberg) and a renowned industry event each year in September (Naturkosmetik Branchenkongress in Berlin) discussing just the organic and natural cosmetics, trends, challenges, future development and much more. Very exciting really. Happy weekend, Lynda! ❤

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