What did we learn about antiaging

Starting anti-aging care in your mid-twenties - isn't that totally exaggerated? Bernadette Brysch (37) and Catharina von Rogister (37) from the cosmetics label Cicé know that skin usually looks really good up to 35. However, the Fempower duo believes that it is too late to start with anti-aging ingredients when signs of aging can already be seen. In their office in the Schanze, the two founders tell how and when the right entry into anti-aging care succeeds and how the regionally produced care line of the Hamburg label came about.

Catharina von Rogister (left) and Bernadette Brysch founded the beauty brand Cicé together in 2007. Our femtastics author Stefanie Behrens meets the two of them in her office in Hamburg's Schanze.

femtastics: When do you recommend our readers to start with anti-aging products?

Catharina: Basically, the recommendation is that you should start in your mid-twenties. At the age of 25, however, most of them are not in a good enough job to be able to afford high-priced products.

Bernadette: We recommend that these young women first use cheap creams from the drugstore or beautiful natural cosmetic creams and supplement them with a good product. For example, we recommend the hydromask from our anti-aging line. It is applied two to three times a week, then it is enough for almost a year. Moisture is the first thing that is no longer sufficiently produced by itself.

According to market surveys, the target group “young women up to 35” feels safest with natural cosmetics. Cicé care contains natural ingredients, but not all of them. Why?

Bernadette: Until 35 you don't see the signs of aging, that's really a magical limit. We both understand the philosophy of natural cosmetics well, but our philosophy is anti-aging and the possibilities of natural cosmetics are limited. One can discuss whether antiaging makes sense at all, but every woman has to decide for herself. To dictate that we find ourselves beautiful for who we are - that is not what we want at all. You have to distinguish between beautiful signs of aging such as laugh lines and not so beautiful signs such as bags under the eyes, dry areas of skin, sagging and sagging skin.

Catharina: What annoys us: That the dogma “Accept yourself and age as you are natural” comes from large corporations and the media.

Why? With all the beauty dictates that are a step in the right direction.

Bernadette: Yes, but what is depicted in advertisements and magazines is still very beautiful and aesthetic. Women with silver-white hair, little laugh lines, retouched a thousand times. Then, as a customer, I have to think: Well, of course I have to age, but I don't look like that at all, what am I doing wrong here? We perceive this as an uncomfortable double standard. There are just huge differences and nature is very unfair.

Skin problems don't stop in your early twenties.

80 percent of visible skin aging is caused by external environmental influences. UV rays play the biggest role in this. How do you deal with the topic?

Catharina: We are of the opinion that in Germany you don't need light protection all year round. Especially in the course of the discussion about vitamin D deficiency, it is okay for the skin to take in daylight unprotected from time to time. If you work with physical filters, the creams become as pasty as with a white film on the skin. We advise you to apply a sun protection product if you are on vacation longer in the sun.

Bernadette: Despite our focus on anti-aging, we think holistically: light makes the skin age and at the same time we need light. It also protects us from osteoporosis, depression and diseases of the elderly.

Bernadette's personal favorites: “The deep lifting has an amazing effect on expression lines around the eyes and forehead. Nasolabial folds are pure gravity folds that unfortunately cannot be removed with cream. The day care has a light texture and offers protection against environmental influences through antioxidants and the night care ensures the regeneration of the skin. "

"Tried and tested in aesthetic surgery" - that is one of your statements. Would you also consider antiaging surgical procedures yourself?

Catharina: In the course of our collaboration with surgeons, we have got a different perspective on the subject of OPs. I didn't know what problems some women get in old age that they can't get under control with cosmetics. For example, a chicken neck due to age-related sagging of the skin and the effects of gravity. Bernadette and I also noticed how our bodies had changed after our pregnancies. I would no longer rule out surgical interventions for myself.

Bernadette: Regardless of whether we would consider surgery ourselves, we are extremely liberal and say: "Anyone who wants it." As a woman, we definitely don't want to dictate anything to other women. We've had that long enough, we still have it - and that's out of the question for us.

Catharina: We have learned over the years that it is important to see a good doctor and not try to get procedures as cheap as possible. We heard gruesome stories about it.

What sets your antiaging care products apart from other brands?

Catharina: We originally developed the care line for aesthetic plastic surgeons, especially for use before and after operations: This means that the products are extremely soothing to the skin. This is relatively rare in the anti-aging sector, as most anti-aging products mainly contain water and fat. Many companies ignore the fact that many women have skin problems as they get older. Our products are great if you have acne of old age or neurodermatitis, for example. Skin problems don't stop in your early twenties.

Bernadette: Some problems only arise after a certain age: Acne of old age is an example, couperose and rosacea. Very dry areas of skin often only appear with or shortly before the menopause. We try to give the skin a lot of soothing substances in order to counteract latent inflammation that comes from environmental stress at an early stage.

In addition, our products are designed in such a way that the small palette can be used quickly and easily. Most products also work overnight: the hydromask and peeling serum are overnight products so that you don't have to sit around somewhere to let them work.


Cosmetics may not play the same role as diet in our lives, but a little more education about skin care would be great.

What drives you in the further development of your line: unusual ingredients, new studies or the fulfillment of customer requests?

Bernadette: There are around 2,000 cosmetic brands for care products on the German market. We do a lot of market analysis, but in the end we concentrate on our products and the needs of our customers with whom we are in contact via the online shop. What is most wanted is a facial toner, sunscreen products, and a hand cream. Some of that will be next at Cicé. We invest between one and three years in every product development.

Catharina: In blogs in particular, you can see that consumers are increasingly dealing with cosmetic products and are becoming more choosy. There are also more and more small brands coming up. In this way, it is no longer just the big companies who dictate what's trendy.

So cosmetics are being chosen more and more consciously?

Bernadette: In any case. We wish that at some point customers will be just as well informed about cosmetics as they are about nutrition. Cosmetics may not play the same role as diet in our lives, but a little more education about skin care would be great. We therefore explain very transparently the use and mode of action of our ingredients on our website and in our customer magazine.

Catharina's favorites: “The body care is a body lotion with hyaluronic acid, which also provides dry skin with moisture for a long time. It also contains soothing substances that improve the appearance of the skin, for example after shaving. It moves in quickly and smells good. Eye care is rightly our most popular product. With the dispenser you can dose precisely and it does not creep into the eye. The cleaning foam is essential for me because it cleans intensively, but absolutely does not dry out. I am also a big fan of our body lift against cellulite. It strengthens the upper fatty tissue and you can no longer see the cellulite so strongly on the outside. It works after 4 to 6 weeks for as long as you use it. It can be used very well seasonally. "

Aren't the technical terms for ingredients sometimes confusing too?

Catharina: Yes, not everyone can read the INCI lists correctly, chemical names can get mixed up.

Bernadette: And if you have a substance with a concentration of 0.03% as a preservative in the cream, then that may be a stumbling block for some, although it may be more harmful to walk right behind a car for five minutes. Perhaps a post will then be posted about it - that doesn't make it any easier for us. Still, I think it's good that more and more people are showing interest in what they put on their skin.

When you founded the company, you ventured into the hotly contested cosmetics market - how did you attract attention?

Catharina: In the beginning, we didn't approach it at all that we wanted to achieve a certain position in the cosmetics market. We originally founded our product line for the “Clinic im Centrum”, ie for doctors in aesthetic plastic surgery. We started selling in the clinics. We were in a special position and did not compete with other products.

“We pack beautiful parcels with handwritten cards,” the founders tell in an interview.

Did that work well?

Bernadette: Unfortunately, sales there weren't enough to sustain our company. At the same time, we have been trying for years to boost sales of our products in pharmacies, on TUI cruise ships, in board sales for Lufthansa and Air Berlin, in hotels and cosmetic studios. Except for teleshopping, we have tried every distribution channel that exists in Germany. Without any notable success.

You haven't given up despite the dry spell?

Catharina: As an “emergency solution”, we have gradually built up the online shop. We never said that we would now go completely online, but we realized that this was exactly our niche.

Bernadette: Sales via the online shop turned out to be very good! We noticed: the customers who buy from us online come back and recommend us to others. That slowly made us strong. We are extremely good at direct customer business. We are great at responding to customer inquiries. We take time to talk to customers on the phone. We pack beautiful packages with handwritten cards. That's when we discovered our strengths and continued to expand this sales channel. We now have customers around the world who buy regularly from our online shop.

Catharina: The fact that we and our team personally stand behind our products also helped us in contact with bloggers.

Have the collaborations with beauty bloggers made you better known?

Bernadette: Many beauty bloggers started reporting on Cicé and came up to us. Later we realized that they also need good photos and proper quotes from us. So the teamwork has grown slowly. We have now met almost everyone who write about us personally. Quite a few have already sat at this table and drank coffee with us. It is important to us that bloggers take time to test our products before they write about them. If bloggers then have the feeling that it doesn't really fit, then we don't strive for cooperation. It must have an authenticity.

Catharina: We scored points with the bloggers because our products are simply good. There are the right ingredients in it, questionable ingredients are deliberately not used. Many bloggers are experts who appreciate that. The most popular product is our eye care. Bloggers have often described them as the best eye care, which we are of course very happy about.

And many will certainly be happy to support an independent, regionally producing label.

Bernadette: All creams and serums as well as the folding boxes are made in southern Germany. The dispensers and labels are also increasingly coming from Germany. We are very committed to regional production. This is important to many. And also that there is no corporation behind it.

Did you already dream of founding a label during your joint international business studies?

Bernadette: During our studies, we didn't think too much about what we wanted to do. We were both open.

Catharina: We wrote business plans as part of our studies, but even then it never occurred to me that this time would be implemented.

Bernadette: Which is actually interesting, since we both come from entrepreneurial families and founded a company quickly after graduating. I originally wanted to work in cultural management and first went this way after graduating. Catharina worked in a large PR agency. But we were both only half happy, luckily the opportunity arose to set up our own label.

We weren't at all beauty queens before the foundation,

How did that go exactly?

Bernadette: My father and my uncle asked me if I would like to manage an order for their company in the biotech industry: the development of a cosmetics line. I wanted to do that, but with my own company and with Catharina! Even after we finished our studies, we hadn't parted ways: we were still good friends, but up to that point we had never talked about doing anything together professionally. However, we had already lived together during our studies, wrote homework together, and traveled through South America with our backpacks.

It was a good prerequisite to know that you can work together - in every situation! That gave me the idea to ask her and, surprisingly, Catharina immediately said yes.

Team Spirit! At Cicé, all employees work part-time.

Were you founders with an affinity for cosmetics?

Bernadette: At first we weren't really interested in cosmetics. Before we were founded, we weren't at all beauty queens who kept buying products. But we were attracted by the idea of ​​building our own brand. We worked our way into the subject very much. Eleven years have passed since then: We are both managing partners and both have shares in the company.

We built the company so that we can combine work and family.

In addition to the expertise in creams, team spirit is important to you, you can feel it immediately.

Catharina: What we particularly enjoy is the work of five in a team. We all work part-time, most of them are mothers.

Bernadette: I got pregnant for the first time a week after the company was founded. Our company has grown in this context.

Catharina: After Bernadette had her three children, I had two children. (both laugh)

Bernadette: We built the company so that we can combine work and family. Parental leave or part-time work have never posed problems for us or our employees. We would like to integrate children's activities into our everyday life without it stressing us too much. So the office usually ends between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., which has worked well. We have a great atmosphere in the team. We all love going to the office. We work together in an appreciative and polite manner. That is very important to us.

Thank you for the interview!

Here you can find Cicé:


Photos: Linda David

Interview: Stefanie Behrens

Layout: Kaja Paradiek

- Advertising: This story was created in collaboration with Cicé -