Beauty editors have one hell of a job. They trial copious beauty products, have every makeup brand you can imagine on tap, and are privy to all the beauty regimens worth knowing about. For Neada Deters, LESSE started like this: she was the Managing Editor at a globally-respected but niche fashion-et-al website. At the time, they were still short of a beauty editor, so Neada—being the self-starter she is—took on the task of heading up beauty content, too, trialing every product and treatment that landed on her desk.

A dream for some, but a skin nightmare for Neada, who was already dealing with undiagnosed breakouts that had continued to worsen throughout her twenties. Amidst a sea of misleading messages—as unpredictable as a riptide and chemical-heavy as the North Atlantic garbage patch—she thought, If someone who has this kind of industry knowledge and access finds the industry complex to navigate, then how must everyone else feel?

And so came a lightbulb moment, sparked by the years of advice she’d accrued from interviewing global skincare experts. Her three takeaways (in no particular order) were: organic ingredients are the way of the future, formulations that balance the skin rather than strip it are key, and so is a less-is-more product lineup—a tightly edited selection that will not only save you precious minutes in the morning but will keep your skin from going into meltdown mode.

These days, Neada loves to work. In fact, she’s almost always working, even when she’s travelling (an in-flight bioactive charcoal mask is, of course, essential). She’s not yet hit the 30 milestone, but she’s already married, has moved cities three times, and has gone from watching hip hop shows backstage in New York to meditating on Venice Beach between meetings. She, perhaps because of it, possesses the kind of preternatural drive needed to commandeer a flourishing business beyond its first year.

As for the future? Neada has big plans, including new product launches and picking up floor space at two major department stores (one giant, one niche).

Work aside, Neada is deeply thoughtful. She’s articulate. Her knowledge and interests are wide-reaching. From book recommendations to picking apart the concept of balance (spoiler alert: the construct doesn’t exist!), this is one interview you will want to read in full.

Words, Rose Howard. Photography, Erik Melvin.