Pristine Polish

Interview with INTENSAE Founders Christian Roman and James Samuel

In modern beauty departments and pharmacies, we usually find an abundance of skin and hair products aimed at a certain type of customers: those on the lookout for healthy and organic alternatives to heavily-chemical cosmetics. When it comes to our nails, however, the quest for a ‘clear conscience’ commodity is long and often ends in disappointment. Of all people, it is a duo of two men who set out to join a growing market for less toxin-based nail lacquers by founding their own label INTENSAE.

Photographer and art director Christian Roman teamed up with James Samuel, a London-based colourist with an impressive client list including Diane Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Alexa Chung. INTENSAE’s range spans colours from the whole spectrum, renouncing not only formaldehyde, DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and toluene – a formula which is slowly becoming mainstream, but also parabens and formaldehyde resin.

Nail polish is generally considered something feminine. How do two men get the idea of getting into this business?

James: I have a background in the beauty industry and I have spent over a decade colouring hair.
Christian: I’m a photographer & art director. We really love and understand colour so this has been an exciting challenge.
James: We use our experience to create colours our customers connect with. A nail technician may be excellent at her job but this does not necessarily mean she knows how to create excellent shades.

What differentiates INTENSAE from other brands? Can you explain the 5-free policy?

James: Our mission is always to create exceptional products with integrity. To do this we worked tirelessly to create the cleanest possible formula with unbeatable performance. INTENSAE is luxurious and fun it’s all about the women who wear the colours and also the women who initially inspired us to create each shade. 5-Free represents the 5 undesirable ingredients you won’t find in our products but you will find in some other brands.

Who is the INTENSAE woman and/or man?

Christian: Our customer represents the modern day fashion savvy consumer.
James: She is conscious of unnecessary toxins in her beauty products yet she likes to drink champagne in the evening. The perfect balance.

Would you like to eventually expand your product range and get into cosmetics?

James: We get asked this a lot. We do plan to expand into other avenues but it has to be planned to perfection.
Christian: Right now want to focus on building our collection of nail colours season by season. But let’s see what the future holds.

Images by Intensae

Founders of Intensae

Christian Roman and James Samuel