A Q&A WITH CO-FOUNDER TARA
Our Face Oil is a luscious serum that conditions skin and assists in cell turnover. It can also be confusing and polarizing. We’re used to conventional beauty creams that promise “non-greasy!” “won’t cause breakouts!” “instant absorption!” “easy application!” There are so many questions about face oil, what it does, and who it’s for.
Most of us spend our lives embroiled in a battle with our skin’s natural oil. There is either too much of it, too little of it, or it’s in the wrong places on our faces. Recently I suggested to my husband (who has the most beautiful olive skin that happens to produce A LOT of oil) that he try our Face Oil, and he looked at me like I was insane: “You want me to put more oil on my face?!” Well, yes.
We talked to Tara to help us understand this product better. Because once you get the hang of it, I promise you this—you will never, ever, look back.
Q: I HAVE OILY SKIN. WHY WOULD I ADD OIL?
A: Adding a nutrient-rich oil to your skin can help recalibrate your skin’s fundamental oil production. Harsh cleansers, petroleum-based moisturizers and alcohol-based creams strip your skin of its necessary oil, causing it to overcompensate by producing more oil. And this starts a vicious cycle: as you dry your skin out, it produces too much, which makes you strip more, and over and over again. This can lead to aggravated sebaceous glands, clogged pores and breakouts.
Sometimes, oily skin is actually dehydrated skin trying to fix itself. The skin needs, wants, and functions best with a fair amount of water and oil. Your skin is smart, so if you apply a beneficial oil to it, it will regulate and balance itself. This in turn leads to better skin health and less reliance on products, which leads to money saved ‘cause you don’t need as much product. Whoa.
Q: WILL IT MAKE ME BREAK OUT?
A: No! In fact, this is a formula specifically made for oily, blemish-prone and normal skin types. We use plant oils that are high in lineolic acid, an essential fatty acid that contributes to the health of your skin’s sebum (the oil produced by your skin to protect it from the elements).
A deficiency in lineolic acid causes the skin to produce sebum with high levels of oleic acid which is dry and sticky and may lead to blackheads and clogged pores. Lineolic acid is also the essential building block for ceramides, which is a fancy word for lipids, which is a fancy word for fats. Fats are moisturizers that keep water in (hydration) and keep irritants out.
Q: WHAT'S IN IT?
A: We use non-clogging, non-greasy organic plant oils such as hemp and sesame (not the toasted variety... hello pad Thai face). We also use an herbaceous and fresh-smelling blend of organic essential oils that are anti-inflammatory (vetiver), antioxidant (juniper), and balancing (patchouli and geranium).
Q: DO I USE THIS INSTEAD OF MY USUAL FACE CREAM?
A: Yes, use this in place of cream! Or, if you get added benefits from your cream, layer them! You want to layer your products from light to heavy. So if there’s water in your face cream, apply it before the oil. If it’s a waterless, balm-type cream (like this), you can apply it after your face oil. You don’t necessarily need both.
Q: HOW DO I APPLY IT?
A: After toning, use 1–4 drops depending on the time of day and your skin’s current state. In the morning, I like to use less so that I can apply makeup and get going with my day. Since our skin and body do a fair amount of reparative work while we’re sleeping, I like to use a bit more at night to really seal and lock in the moisture. You can even add a light layer of our Skin Cream after the Face Oil in the winter if you find your skin is dehydrated.
Q: WHAT PRODUCTS SHOULD I USE WITH IT?
A: You should always use a face oil in combination with a toner or on damp skin. I think toners are the way to go because plant distillates add another layer of nutritive value to your face regime (just make sure it’s alcohol-free). The toner plumps up old, dry skin cells on the skin’s surface so that the lipid (oil/fat) molecules can fit in between! When you apply oil while your face is still damp from toner, you will be amazed at how quickly it sinks in and how luxurious it feels.
Q: HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL "MOISTURIZERS"? HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO MAKE A FACE OIL?
A: Conventional face creams are basically 90% water and the rest are moisturizing ingredients. I wanted to create something that was cost-effective and skin-effective. Italian women have been slathering themselves with olive oil for centuries, my great grandmother being one of them. Looking back at these uncommercial, traditional ways of caring for one’s skin has always been a source of inspiration for me. It’s about going back to the plant and simplifying our routines.
Q: WHY DO YOU THINK FACE OIL SCARES PEOPLE?
A: There’s been a significant amount of propaganda and fear mongering against oil-based products in the beauty industry for the past few decades. Most oil-free products contain a petroleum-based synthetic oil and alcohol. These are a no-go, because they can be drying to skin, which will in turn prompt your skin to produce more oil—counterintuitive if you’re trying to balance or decrease oil production. Plus, the petroleum industry has been negatively impacting the environment for decades. A better approach is to feed your skin oils that help make the skin barrier healthier so that your skin isn’t reliant on products that mask and perpetuate symptoms.
Written by Vera Kachouh, marketing strategist and writer at Meow Meow Tweet, and Tara Pelletier, co-founder of Meow Meow Tweet.