Sam Loader, the man who added the science to Triumph and Disaster’s products, was particularly challenged when it came to creating the sunscreen No Dice.
Alchemist, apothecarist or whatever title you want to give them, when you conjure the image of a chemist it is most likely a grey-haired, bespeckled old man in a white lab coat slaving away over test tubes and microscopes.
Breaking Bad’s Walter White may have challenged that perception, but despite his best efforts it’s still not considered one of the 'rock and roll' professions.
Sam Loader doesn’t look like your typical chemist, but he has been one of Triumph & Disasters secret weapons. He looks like a normal Kiwi bloke – he even sounds like one. But, Sam has two chemistry degrees behind him and is the man who puts the science into Triumph & Disaster’s products.
Sam lead the team that made sure the natural ingredients in our products actually work. He also ensures our sometimes left-field ideas marry up with how we perceive what the customer wants and what unique ingredients we can use to increase the performance of our products and the customer’s experience.
That marriage between science and nature works.
Sam is briefed on a project in terms of performance goals, the feel, look and key ingredients in a product and he then incorporates modern technologies and materials that will achieve (and often surpass) the performance T&D is after.
“We make them work together to give the best function. If Dion wants a non-greasy feel, for example, we can formulate something to achieve that,” Sam says.
It is easier for Sam to make a product from scratch, but that is not always the way with Triumph and Disaster products.
“The challenge is adapting what Dion wants to our manufacturing procedures. The result is all of the products are unique to Triumph & Disaster, bespoke formulations with uniques combinations of ingredients that deliver a focused performance” Sam says.
"There really is nothing else like it on the market."
"It’s a partnership that has worked well." Dion says. “The importance of Sam and the guys is we come here as the brand owner and we want to be unique in the marketplace. But we also want to improve the experience of the end user and lead the industry forward, making better performing, safer and gentler products.
When we come to Sam we rely heavily on his team's expertise. There is a bit of back and forth and sometimes we get it close first go. Other times the result is not what we were thinking and we go back to the drawing board. We never settle for 'its OK' or 'she'll be right', either its great and awesome or it does not get made.”
It may not be seen as a glamorous profession but Sam and his team’s contribution to Triumph and Disaster’s unique range is every bit rock and roll.
NO DICE SUNSCREEN
The concept was a natural sunscreen that was light and non-greasy. Added to the mix was the New Zealand regulation that the SPF has to be 20 percent above than on the label.
From the original concept, Sam worked with the natural SPF agents zinc and titanium.
He then worked with sunscreen formulations that could be manipulated to give a non-greasy feel.
“With No Dice it is the oils that go into the product,” Sam says.
“By using light oils we could give an absorbing feel that left the skin feeling dry. We used a few natural extracts to help promote skin care and anti-oxidant properties, such as green tea, sunflower extract.”
It was a challenge to get the zinc to become invisible. Cricket fans will be familiar with how zinc was used as a kind of war paint by the likes of Aussie Glen McGrath. White lines were drawn across the top of players’ faces. It may have been effective on the cricket pitch but it is unsightly in real life.
“You need a high amount of zinc and it will remain on the surface of the skin, but you won't feel it and it won't be white. Sam says. It took a good six to eight months to perfect the formula.”
It was worth the time and effort to produce a truly exceptional sunscreen. Triumph & Disaster founder Dion Nash says working together on No Dice worked well.
“Even though it took a while it was a really clean process. We first developed a really great sunscreen that was performing well but was a little too heavily reliant on a few synthetic ingredients. So, we said you have got the performance right but we need to make it more natural. It was a really good process and we worked really well together on it. These guys brought some incredible science to the table and we thought it was amazing.
There is always a great moment when you have an idea and what comes back is actually better than you thought was possible.”
Sam feels proud when he sees the finished Triumph & Disaster product on the shelves, even though he doesn’t get any credit on the label. He also uses the product himself.
“Not only being a chemist but male as well, the products are functional. They do a lot of specific things that I want them to do.
There is a lot of natural product, which is a bonus. They are good for your skin and more forgiving on the environment.
It has been a learning curve and there have been some challenges and a lot of hours spent researching. But that is the way with products that are at the forefront and that is what Triumph & Disaster is doing, they are at the forefront of men’s cosmetics.”
Plenty of science and nature.