Q&A with Ed & Andy
Akt is a brand new, London based, skincare company that makes intelligent deodorant formulations “Born to Perform”. Launched in Spring 2020 and is available exclusively at John Bell & Croyden. The innovative products were created by two West End leading men, Ed Currie and Andy Coxon, in their Camden Kitchen. This week we spoke to Ed and Andy to find out more about Akt and the story behind the brand.
Q: What is Akt and what makes it different to other deodorants?
A: Akt is an effective, life-changing, natural deodorant balm. It is plastic, aluminium, and cruelty-free, and is enriched with a blend of fragrant botanicals and Deo-Barrier Complex™ to keep you feeling dry and confident all day long – without breaking character. Ever! Akt is nourishing to the skin and won’t leave any stains on clothes. It’s also good for the planet and is 100% recyclable.
Q: So, where did the inspiration come from?
A: It all began in 2015 when we were working together in a West End show. The ultimate problem performing eight shows a week, under hot lights is keeping fresh and dry. That’s not to mention the rehearsals, classes and training during the day. Mainstream deodorants just weren’t cutting it. Antiperspirants stained our clothes, didn’t stop the sweat and made us smell not so great after a few minutes. Nothing worked for us and we literally tried everything! So, we decided to create one ourselves. We spent the next three years researching, developing, and formulating, collaborating with leading experts in fragrance and cosmetic science with exacting standards and a whole heap of creativity. The Deodorant Balm was literally “Born to Perform!”
Q: Akt comes with an applicator – can you explain how this works?
A: Our underarms are one of the most sensitive areas of the body with a high concentration of lymph nodes. We must take extra care of this area. The applicator is inspired by the Chinese practice of Gua Sha. It’s designed to encourage microcirculation and lymphatic drainage around your underarms, chest and neck, which can help to relieve tension, boost immunity and energise your body. It is made of premium brass and has natural anti-microbial properties. It’s your new daily Akt of self-care!
Q: From your kitchen to launching at John Bell & Croyden – can you tell us more about the research and development process?
A: Every week we would make a new formulation and test it out. Some were successful, many were not. It took us a whole three years, lots of volunteers and hundreds of failures to finally create a clean, natural deodorant that performs. After launching a Kickstarter campaign, we realised the demand for an effective deodorant was palpable: we raised over £48K and sold 3500 units in pre-sales.
The main ingredients we decided upon are:
- DIATOMACEOUS EARTH – a kind of ancient fossilised algae from Peru that absorbs excess moisture to keep you feeling dry and confident.
- CALENDULA OIL – which works to heal and soothe damaged skin from shaving and years of neglect.
- SHEA BUTTER – this provides the skin with a high dosage of moisturising fatty acids and vitamins A, K and E.
- DEO-BARRIER COMPLEX – our proprietary blend of natural, mineral and plant powders that rest invisibly on the skin, and cleanse, deodorise and absorb moisture. All-day.
- COCONUT OIL – the Earth's natural moisturising miracle ingredient. It is antimicrobial and helps to improve skin's appearance.
- VITAMIN E – an antioxidant that protects and repairs skin.
Q: What scents does Akt come in?
A: Three different, premium fragrances are all inspired by different “scenes” in nature.
Scene 01. Exterior. Orange Grove’s key notes are petitgrain, mandarin, neroli, and juniper berry. Imagine the midday sun beating heavily on the grove. Sweet aromas bursting from the freshly peeled orange and neroli blossom dances, alive on the breeze. You pour yourself another ice-cold gin and tonic – it’s summer after all.
Scene 02. Exterior. After Thunder contains cedar, eucalyptus, bitter orange, rosemary. This one is more of a walk through the woods after a thunderstorm. Damp cedar, fresh leaves and citrus rays of morning light that slice through the canopy. You take a deep breath as the day begins again.
Scene 03. Exterior. The Onsen features vetiver root, lavandin, citrus, patchouli. Inspired by a Japanese natural hot-spring. Imagine the cold air rushing into the lungs. Your body is warm from bathing in the onsen and your mind is clear and calm. Nothing but the sound of the mountains. Pure serenity.
Q: Everything about the product has been designed with strong environment ethics – can you tell us more about your decision behind it?
A: It’s very important to us both, and we knew from the outset that our ethics would play a key role in the product. We are proud to have developed plastic-free packaging suitable for modern living. The Deodorant Balm is packaged in aluminium tubes ideal for their durability, portability and recyclability. Aluminium can forever be recycled without losing any quality. But plastic caps that usually accompany aluminium tubes can’t. In response, we created bespoke aluminium caps to prevent more plastic entering our ecosystem. The only compromise is that our caps can’t pierce the seal, but simply find something sharp (a pen is ideal) and you’re good to go.
Q: Finally have you tried out the product on your fellow performers, and what was their reaction?
A: The West End is where the story began, so we decided to test it in some of the hardest working individuals we knew of. Every single West End cast member in London was given a sample of The Deodorant Balm to test for its efficacy and comfort. The response was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Theatre inspired the creation of The Deodorant Balm, but its community inspired the brand.