Natural progress: Debbrah Craven

The founder of House of Life explains how she combined ancient and modern techniques to create revolutionary organic and sustainable skincare

Style 29 Apr 2020

House of Life founder Debbrah Craven

House of Life founder Debbrah Craven

I never used to be interested in skincare. I’d wear whatever I’d see in the nearest high-street pharmacy, whatever was easiest. That was until I went on holiday while I was taking a break from my corporate job after the birth of my third child. I picked up a 24-hour sunscreen and thought: ‘Excellent, you don’t need to do anything, just put it on and forget about it: that’s great!’ It gave me a rash all over – my face and body were completely swollen and I looked like a monster.

I am quite a confident individual so I didn’t mind the physical impact so much but the full-body rash did make me realise how my skin reflects my health on the inside. That in turn began to impact my confidence, especially because it effected how people perceived me and my ability to work and function. Not only did it stop me going into the office, I had a young baby at the time and it also stopped me breastfeeding. It really made me think about how the skin is the biggest and one of the most important organs in the body, I took it for granted until then.

Initially, I thought I’d eaten something but I was still suffering when I got back to England and I figured out after a long process of deduction that it must have been the 24-hour sun cream. I tried some more on my skin and the spots reappeared. It made me realise that I never thought about my skin properly and that I didn’t want anyone to go through the same thing I had.

House of Life offers 21st-century skin wisdom
House of Life offers 21st-century skin wisdom

I looked into it more and I realised how many toxins there are in skin and personal care, I didn’t have a clue. And that sun exposure is responsible for 90 per cent of premature aging of the skin, we’re susceptible to it even when the sun isn’t shining. UV damage doesn’t just come from UVA and UVB but infrared radiation too, in fact it is responsible for more than 50 per cent of the sun’s damage to the skin. Plus, our skin is constantly exposed to artificial UV radiation from our constant use of mobile and computer screens.

The rash really made me realise there was no solution out there that offers sufficient protection without the toxins. It made me want to to a solution that I trust 100 per cent, that is toxin-free and works and protect me from UV and pollutants safely and is simple enough to suit my busy lifestyle.

Since I was little, I have always been interested in science, health and design. For these reasons, I always worked in the field of innovation and transformation including 16 years working in global telecoms before I started the journey to creating House of Life. This background made me my own most rigorous client and analyst.

I wanted to produce a 100 per cent clean and organic solution, and I also set a goal for myself to create innovation to the space. I wanted to create solutions that make consumers’ life easier, that are scientifically proven to work and that outperform the synthetic, or not 100-per-cent natural, products on the market today in terms of look, feel, smell, science and purity. A product that not only reverses ageing but also prioritises skin health and resilience and that can improve quality of life and happiness – for today and the future. That not just correct skin problems but enhance longevity and help skin thrive in the ever-changing environment that we are live in. When I experienced the toxic rash I realised that the skin is like the wall of your house ­– if your skin is not happy, you are not happy!

Coming originally from Asia, I also have experience of cultures that have centuries-old solutions to skincare and I couldn’t see why we would throw all of that knowledge away. So I set out to find the best team of experts who could source the latest breakthrough in natural technology. We work with top cosmeceutical scientists in the UK to scout for this, the majority of the technology we incorporate in our formulas currently comes from Germany, and my search for the ancient methods brought me to Georgia.

House of Life combines 3000 years of ancient knowledge of skin healing and the latest natural science to the forefront of luxury skincare

My research told me that Georgia was the birthplace of medicine – the word itself is said to come from Medea, the princess of the Colchis Kingdom in the west of the country – and that the people are particularly known for their ability to help treat wounds and skin damage because of the generations-old knowledge, passed down for 3000 years, of how to balance natural ingredients to create powerful curatives. In Georgia I found the best herbalist in the world, Dr Lali Gegeshidze, who had treated thousands of people with natural herbal remedies. She had already been approached by a few pharmaceutical companies but didn’t want to work with just anybody.

I was delighted that she agreed to be our in-house doctor, sharing the knowledge and practices of her family that had been passed down to her through the generations. Dr Gegeshidze has always said that she is passionate about using her talents to help a good cause, to treat people. She also wants the world to know of the heritage of herbal medicine in Georgia and feels House of Life is the right company to do this.

What Dr Gegeshidze taught me is that it’s about the balance of ingredients that really matters, not just what’s in there but how much of each thing. Now I am proud that after years of product development, we have a skincare solution that is not only effective but also scientifically proven to work in the cleanest, greenest, quickest and most convenient way. Our products now contain the most powerful types of antioxidant extracts, which is thanks to the knowledge of our experts and in-house doctor, the quality of the wild, organic ingredients that we handpick and the plant-based blending technology we developed to extract and retain the powerful compounds that live within the ingredients. The multiplying effects when these work together combat free radicals and inflammation that cause accelerated skin ageing in today’s fast-paced 21st-century living and environmental changes.

House of Life makes organic and clean solutions that are scientifically proven
House of Life makes organic and clean solutions that are scientifically proven

Today women are expected to do multiple jobs: we’re the mum, full-time worker, professional, cleaner, socialite, looking after parents etc. We travel all the time, expose ourselves to different environments, stare at screens all day, are constantly busy, we’re exposed to pollutions and we overload ourselves with beauty products. An average woman is exposed to more than 290 chemicals per day through personal care products only, let alone pollution and chemicals in food. All of these things stress the skin and our bodies can’t cope. We don’t notice until something breaks.

I developed our products mainly for someone like me who wants simplicity but has the highest expectations, who wants something to be scientifically proven that really works, and wants something beautiful, pure and luxurious and that they can trust and fits their busy lifestyle – and because today we need a different approach to skincare. We need something that addresses more than just hydration because of pollution and the stress we’re under. House of Life offers organic and clean solutions that are scientifically proven and are fast and convenient to use, avoiding the need to overload skin with multiple products that can cause skin dryness and sensitivity in the long run.

That’s why we call it 21st-century skin wisdom, it is more than natural skincare, it is about progress and leaving a positive legacy. We bring 3000 years of ancient knowledge of skin healing and the latest natural science to the forefront of luxury skincare and we are delivering it in a clean, organic, transparent, targeted and simplified way. Our all in one solution for example is helping to reduce the supply chain from four products down to one, making us more sustainable, which is really important to me. Our packaging also has zero carbon footprint – we’re a tiny company, if we can do it, why can’t big companies? I can now confidently say that my skin reflects my life, my health and my happiness and I hope through the small act of innovating skincare solutions, I can give the next generation real choice and provide transparent skin health and resilience information that is not based on personal opinions but on scientific fact.

House of Life has just launched a one-minute per day express facial; find out more on Instagram,