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Skin Stories #1 - Dr Franziska Leonhardt

Skin Stories #1 - Dr Franziska Leonhardt


Dr Franziska Leonhardt, 36

Co-founder and CEO of AVE+EDAM

Hi Franziska, tell us a bit about more yourself and the brand you are building. 

I will be turning 37 soon. Seeing that number still surprises me. I am the proud mum of a 6-year-old daughter, a passionate runner, and like to experiment in the kitchen. In 2018 I’ve founded AVE + EDAM, a skincare brand that walks away from mass production and off-the-shelf products. I was frustrated with trying so many new creams every year (and spending a hefty fortune on it) only to find myself disappointed with the results. That’s why we’ve decided to start with one day and one night cream, which we tailor to every customer. I believe that individuality is the way forward. 

As a successful mum and entrepreneur, your days must be incredibly busy. What’s your secret?

My days are extremely fast-paced. I’m breaking down my collagen through a lack of sleep and long hours in front of the computer. Did you know, cortisol levels naturally decrease while we sleep? However, when we miss some hours in la-la land, cortisol levels stay high, contributing to the breakdown of collagen. Fortunately, my daughter keeps me sane. We are incredibly lucky to live in a very calm and leafy area in North-West-Berlin. It’s a gateway to paradise, with all the linden lined avenues, chestnut trees, and great green spaces. Here I can relax and recharge.

Do you have any healthy habits that boost your skin and your energy levels?

Apart from running and keeping fit, I’ve come a long way with my diet. Since recently, I believe in intermediate fasting with one or a maximum of two meals per day (If you only eat one meal, it can surely be a cake, right?). Thankfully, I have my favorite cafe just around the corner from my office. I can get anything I need at Lama, including lots of vegetarian and healthy options. And they make the best coffee ever!

Tell us about your beauty routine in the morning.

I like to keep things simple. I use our new cleanser, straight out of the lab, a serum we developed (both to be launched very soon!), and our personalized day cream, which I gently massage into my face. I love to try all the new products we create, so I switch between creams a lot. But the most important thing is to clean your face thoroughly and then keep it hydrated. 

How would you describe your skin?

My skin tends to show all of the long nights I put in, a lack of vitamin D, and dozens of coffee refills. When I catch an unexpected glimpse of my face in the mirror, I always promise myself that from this night on, I will go to bed earlier. Stress and little sleep can lead to hooded eyes and dry skin - I know what I am talking about. Hence I try to keep my skin hydrated as well as possible. Not only from the outside but also by drinking a lot of water. 

Please take us on your personal skin journey now.

Over the past 30 years, my skin has changed several times. In my 20s I had to deal with reddening and dry patches. I have always used little makeup, as I’m not a big fan of it. We at AVE + EDAM promote natural beauty! When I became a mum, my beauty regime became even simpler, and it will probably stay that way for the next 20 years to come. Now I am more concerned with dry skin and pigmentation. I am also experiencing much more sensitivity to certain ingredients. Generally, I don’t want to fight my skin aging, but I won’t give in easily either! Looking healthy and vibrant is what’s most important to me.

What is your personal hero ingredient?

At the moment I do love my day cream’s hero ingredient - Bakuchiol. My friend and business partner Shirin - my personal skinfluencer - introduced me to that amazing ingredient. Shirin has over 25 years of experience in beauty, working for Swiss, Japanese and French companies and always finds the best solutions for my skin’s needs. Bakuchiol is a natural alternative to vitamin A. I was on a prescriptive cream before but didn’t handle the side effects well. But Bakuchiol is just perfect for me. It instantly smoothed my too-serious-for-my-daughter “resting face” and enhanced my skin’s structure without drying it out.

Who’s your skin idol? 

My aunt! She has been the most important guide on my skincare journey. She uses very few beauty products and only repurchases when she runs out. One good cleanser, one good moisturizer, an iconic black mascara, one good red lipstick (which she uses as a blusher, too), and her favorite perfume: Chanel No 5. To this day, I love greeting her with a hug – if only to smell that glorious perfume! I learned from her very early on, that fewer, good quality products lead to much better results.