The 18 Ideas and Key Ingredients Behind Ao Skincare

18. It’s a natural number.

Ao Skincare is created from a constantly evolving magic combination of 18 innovative ideas, compounds and processes. The elements that make up this number will continue to evolve over time but our drive to create the finest skin care will always be the same.

Dermatologist Formulated

1. Designed by Dr Mark Gray

Most skin care ranges, from drugstore brands to high end cosmeceuticals, are created by chemists in a laboratory. Ao Skincare is different. It is the personal project of Dr Mark Gray, a leading New Zealand Dermatologist. His clinical interactions with patients over the years has given him valuable insight into what is really needed to attain and maintain a healthy balanced skin. 


2. Mountain filtered artesian water.

Nearly all skin care products are made with water and the quality of that water is crucial to the quality of the product. The Artesian water we use to make Ao is drawn from deep beneath a virgin Kauri forest reserve in the far north of New Zealand.

Originating in Antarctica, it is driven up by powerful polar winds, passing over the Southern Ocean until it reaches New Zealand, where it is swept over the snow capped Alps. Traveling further North, it falls as rain over the native kauri forests, sinking through the layers of mineral deposits until reaching a network of pristine underground aquifers.

3. New Zealand origins.

The natural compounds that form the basis of Ao Skincare aren’t created in a lab. Instead they grow naturally in some of the most spectacular natural environments on earth. They are:

Manuka Honey
Take a walk in the New Zealand bushland and you’ll be surrounded by Manuka trees (Leptospermum Scoparium). During summer, bees collect nectar from the Manuka flowers, the dark, rich honey they produce contains extremely high levels of methylglyoxal; a powerful, naturally occurring anti-bacterial agent. We use the best medical-grade Manuka honey, which helps to draw moisture into the skin and promote rapid tissue repair.

The world’s purest Lanolin
New Zealand has over 60 million sheep and the natural lanolin that protects and preserves their wool is unmatched for its moisturizing and natural barrier qualities. Sheep may be common, but the ultra high-grade, hypoallergenic Lanolin we use is anything but. It has been refined to medical grade quality using a unique purification process to ensure the integrity and purity of the product.

4. New Zealand Botanicals.

Many of the plants that produce these potent botanicals are found only in New Zealand, which is why Ao is unlike any other skin care in the world.

From the heartwood and bark of the mighty Totara tree (a New Zealand native), this super antioxidant is three times stronger than Vitamin E. No trees are ever harmed in the harnessing of this extract to create our skin care.

Phormium Tenax (Harakeke) Seed Oil
Harakeke Seed Oil is nature's super skin hydrator, rich with with natural antioxidants and polysaccharides. It naturally soothes, hydrates and cools, reducing puffiness and redness.

Cyathea Cumingii (New Zealand Tree Fern) Leaf Extract
For centuries, the Maori people of New Zealand have used the pulp from the young fern fronds for their healing properties. The polysacharides in this extract form an elastic, resistant film, which assists in tightening the skin.

Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Seed Oil
Extracted from the seeds of the Kiwifruit, this potent oil contains more than 60% Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3, ALA). The high concentration of ALA helps to maintain moisture by combining with protein and cholesterol to form living membranes that hold the cells together.

5. Natural Botanicals.

The potent botanicals used in Ao Skincare are among the world’s finest, sourced from natural, renewable sources. They include the following oils and extracts:

  • Jojoba seed oil (Simmondsia Chinensis) 
  • Sunflower Seed Wax (Helianthus Annus)
  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis) 
  • Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) 
  • Olive Leaf Extract (Olea Europaea) 
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia Sinensis)
  • Pomegranate Extract (Punica Granatum)
  • Licorice Root Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)
  • Grape Seed Extract (Vitis Vinifera)
  • Mugwort Extract (Artemisia Vulgaris)

6. Algae.

Algae are rich in proteins, Vitamin A, sugar, starch, Vitamin B1, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and calcium, many of which are beneficial as emollients, anti-inflammatory agents, and antioxidants.



7. Potent Vitamins.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Highly beneficial for aging skin, Niacinamide is a potent cell communicating ingredient which improves skin elasticity and strength, removing discoloration and promoting even tone and texture.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C)
While not same as regular Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), this form of Vitamin C may stimulate healthy collagen production and may reduce wrinkle depth.

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (water soluble Vitamin C)
This ingredient helps to limit oxidative stress, which occurs when cells sustain permanent damage from free radicals in sunlight and the atmosphere. Applied to the skin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate can help slow down the aging process and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

8. Vitamin A Substitute.

Bakuchiol is an antioxidant found in the seeds of the plant psoralea corylifolia (commonly known as the Babchi plant). Bakuchiol has a retinol-like effect on the skin without the risk of irritation and photosensitivity.

9. Active Plant Extracts.

Ao contains Jasminoides Merstem (Gardenia) cell culture extract to boost and maintain the collagen levels in your skin.

Extracted from the leaves of Lilium Candidum (White Lilly) leaf cell extract may have anti-aging properties, which may include reducing dark spots and evening skin tone.

10. Peptides.

Peptides function as moisture-binding agents and help promote skin repair. Ao contains several peptide compounds, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-37, Acetyl Octapeptide-3 , Bis (Tripeptide-1) Copper Acetate and sh-Oligopeptide-1.

11. Cell Repair Technology.

Sodium hyaluronate gives skin volume by retaining water. It's abundant in the dermis of young skin, but declines with age, causing skin to lose its youthful fullness. 

Phenyl t-Butylnitrone is an advanced antioxidant that ‘traps’ free radicals and converts them into harmless and useful oxygen, which is transported back into the respiratory cycle.


Ideology & Methodology

12. All Natural Alternatives.

We have chosen to use natural, eco certified zinc oxide as the active ingredient in our sunscreen. It is a broad spectrum UVA, UVB reflector and the only active sunscreen ingredient approved by the FDA for babies under the age of six months. We think this is a pretty good endorsement for zinc.

13. Better For The Environment.

The health of your skin is directly linked to the quality of your environment. That’s one of the reasons why our moisturizers are manufactured using cold processing technology. Conventional heating methods can damage the original molecular structure of the pure, natural and active ingredients. Cold processing not only maintains the integrity of our product, the process itself uses less energy, therefore reduces our impact on the environment.

14. Accessible Pricing.

Everybody should have access to quality skin care. So from 2017, we will be introducing tiered product ranges that bring our quality, effectiveness and commitment at different price points.

15. Made in the USA.

We’re proud to support American innovation and enterprise, so all of our products are proudly made in the USA in compliance with best practice manufacturing standards and FDA certifications.

16. Continuous Improvement.

Like natural, living things, Ao is always evolving. We are constantly researching and developing new ideas, compounds and technologies to improve the performance, effectiveness and purity our skin care and we release Ao updates every 6-9 months.

17. Transparency.

We believe in clear skin with a clear conscience. So our skin care doesn’t hide behind science and big words. We’ll tell you what goes into each of our products, where it comes from and what it does. 

18. No Nasties.

What we left out of our skin care is just as important as what we put in. So you won’t find any parabens, sulfates, PEGS, TEA, DEA, mineral oils or artificial fragrance. If you want to know why, just Google them.


Prepare Cleanser
Often cleansers can dry out your skin. This is due to a high level of surfactant (soap) contained in the formulation. With a unique composition and low level of surfactants, this cleanser works to clean your skin without stripping it of its natural oils
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Fortify Day
Luxurious and nutrient-rich, this moisturizer is cold-processed to ensure ingredients maximize their nourishing and conditioning qualities. 
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Protect SPF30
Daily skin defence comes in two forms; chemical or natural. Our natural sunscreen protects and nourishes but won’t leave your skin feeling tacky. 
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Restore Serum
Peptide and vitamin-rich, this serum helps to revitalize, strengthen and restore the skin. 
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Night Treatment
Antioxidant and nutrient-rich, this hydrating night cream repairs, restores and conditions the skin
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Retinal Rewind
Retinal (Retinaldehyde) is a powerful form of Vitamin A with known anti-aging benefits, including helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. 
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"My skin felt soothed, nourished, and hydrated. After a few weeks of use I actually noticed a difference in my very dry skin. I do think it is worth the investment."


“This retinal product is having a magical effect. My skin is more radiant, feels silky but firm, and I can already see a reduction in surface lines.”


"If you're looking to amp up your skin care routine, Ao Skincare's Cold Processed serum is one of our faves. Manuka honey provides moisture retention, while the 3 vitamins firm the skin."