For those who are unfamiliar, Leif Products is a design-led skincare range that champions natural ingredients, botanical extracts, essential oils, and cruelty free practises. The co-founders, Jonnie Vigar and Brenan Liston have origins in design and brand management respectively but it wasn’t long before a prototype container – not used but too good to throw away – became the catalyst for a new company altogether.
The very bottle that ignited the fire is today the iconic vessel synonymous with the Leif brand.
In celebration of the annual Kitchen and Bathroom special edition, Habitus spoke to Jonnie Vigar about the origins of Leif, his own bathroom (recently renovated) and his non-negotiables for a unique room that can be at once highly functional and utterly luxurious.
Tell us about Leif and how it came to be?
As Container, my partners and I have designed cosmetics packaging for others for almost two decades – but Leif is our own. Years ago we created a prototype of a fine-necked bottle, it sat on the shelf of our studio and seemed to get a lot of attention. Eventually, we thought about filling it ourselves. We want Leif to shine a light on the botanicals that are unique to Australia. Our fauna is known the world over, the flora is equally compelling.
Your products are vegan, cruelty free, and free from a lot of undesirable chemicals. Why was this important for you and for the brand to champion? Has it been difficult?
Products we apply to the skin are absorbed into the body. Leif formulations don’t contain sulphates, parabens, sensitising soaps and look to avoid ingredients that could disrupt the skin’s natural barrier. We include essential oils for their aromatherapeutic or antibacterial properties and botanical extracts for actives. We’ve come to rely on a small handful of trusty suppliers who are aligned with our values.
As with design, we try to keep the formula simple. Our products hopefully look good and the formulas deliver on that promise. We want to create a beautiful sensory experience matched with efficacy.
What does your own bathroom look and feel like?
We recently renovated, both bathrooms are modest in size and share similar materials (concrete and brass) but the tiled floors differ – one has a pink marble while the other has a dark purple vein running through. It was nice being able to spec all the elements and get the lighting just right. I love the tapware supplied by CB Ideal in SA and the fine framed mirrors from Mark Antonia in New Zealand.
How have previous bathrooms you’ve lived with in the past informed your tastes now?
I’m originally from the U.K. where bathrooms are often cold, carpeted and lack water pressure so I’m very happy to have moved on from that. If it can’t have a view I think natural light from above works really well in bathrooms, making the space feel private with a dramatic pool of sunlight that moves around the room.
What are your bathroom essentials and why?
Sharing the space with boys means anything that helps keep the place tidy is a welcome addition. We recently produced wall holders for our 500mL bottles so they’re now in place and mostly dispensing the Leif Buddha Wood Hand Wash. I would love to work out how to tame the toothpaste.
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