Why the founders of Nécessaire believe personal care is self-care—and self-care is a necessity.
Written By JAYME CYK
Photography By CASSANDRA GREY
After ruminating over the mundane body-care market, Randi Christiansen and Nick Axelrod knew they had met their match. Together they set out to create body products that are necessary, which the duo appropriately dubbed Nécessaire. “We decided to start with body and sex as one holistic approach,” says Christiansen.“To us, the current options felt like an afterthought. We wanted to inspire people to care for their bodies in a new way and give them products to help facilitate that.”
While Axelrod comes from the fashion and beauty editorial world (he has worked at WWD and ELLE Magazine, and was a co-founder of Into the Gloss) and Christiansen has a background in marketing and product development (she spent more than 15 years at the Estée Lauder Companies), the founders landed on nontoxic personal care and launched out the gate with three body washes (two scented—eucalyptus and sandalwood—and one fragrance free), a body lotion, and lube. “Self-care is about staying conscious of your body, how you feel, what you need; pausing every so often to assess,” says Axelrod. “Am I thirsty for water? Did I eat lunch? Am I tensing my shoulders or scrunching my forehead? It’s being considerate of yourself and your body. It’s funny that we’ve become so obsessed with our facial routines, but we have let our bodies go a little by the wayside even though our bodies have so much more skin.”
What makes Nécessaire different? The line blends ingredients that both perform (think: niacinamide, plant-derived surfactants, marula oil, and more) and feel incredible. Plus, the packaging aesthetic is extremely vanity-worthy. “Generally, a product that can bring you or your partner pleasure is great to consider an everyday essential,” says Axelrod. “Particularly with the Sex Gel, Randi and I really wanted to create a product that you could keep out on your bedside table, one that didn’t feel like something you had to hide in the back of a drawer.”
The ingredients that are not in their products, however, are as important as those that are. “Clean is a wellness and a lifestyle choice,” says Christiansen. “At Nécessaire, we source clean ingredients the body can actually use and benefit from. We give our ingredient choices equal weight and equal research, and we want to share our insights and be 100 percent transparent about all our choices. We also took a sustainable approach (the brand’s boxes are made of 85 percent post-consumer waste and 100 percent recyclable materials), and we recognize that the environment is our ultimate stakeholder. No planet, no body.”
V.G.: If not yourself, who would you be?
N.A.: Ira Glass or Ina Garten.
R.C.: Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia.
V.G.: Favorite fictional character?
N.A.: Abbi and Ilana from Broad City.
R.C.: James Bond.
V.G.: The natural talent you wish you had been born with?
N.A.: To be able to draw.
V.G.: When and where are you happiest?
N.A.: In a bathrobe, at home, with my guy.
R.C.: In nature with my gang.
V.G.: The first thing you notice when meeting someone new?
N.A.: Their handshake.
R.C.: The eyes. The connection. The energy.
V.G.: Plan B?
N.A.: I don’t have one. Constantly meeting new people and talking about ideas is how I’ve always found my next career step. I have taken a pretty circuitous career path.
R.C.: I love being in beauty. Another area or chapter that would be of great interest would be a role in environmental preservation and sustainability.
V.G.: Never-fail tool?
N.A.: Burt’s Bees lip balm. It’s completely nonshiny yet moisturizing, plus the peppermint oil in the stick makes your breath smell minty. It’s a true two-in-one.
R.C.: Our old Land Cruiser.
V.G.: Necessary indulgence?
N.A.: Erewhon Market, where the bread can run you $20 a loaf, and the ketchup is twice as much as in Whole Foods. It’s absurd, but the place just makes you feel healthy and the experience is a f##king pleasure. And everything is delicious.
R.C.: Hikes in Telluride and sunrises in Los Angeles (both with my husband, daughters, and bullmastiff). Also, Champagne at Hotel Bel Air and matcha lattes at Alfreds.