I wanted to show you something that is quite uncommon in the social media world – a progression of my bathroom cabinet by taking away products, not adding on to it. Check out the picture below – ignore the top shelf as those are my hair products, which are tame in number. The second and third shelf are skincare designated – serums, masks, cleansers, exfoliants, oils, sunscreen. It’s not the most #shelfiegoal cabinet out there, but it’s certainly not minimal either. Simply put, there are way too many products.
Why do I specify that subtraction results in progression? Because my skin, wallet, and mentality are in better condition since the change.
I’ve accumulated these products over a period of time, with items ranging from full to nearly used. I used to believe I could never have enough masks or serums once upon a time. Although I have always been good about testing products, making sure to dedicate 1-3 months to a line before review, I have been accumulating and purchasing new items before finishing off the previous ones. It’s quite easy for me to get excited over new products, and I want to try out so many. Unfortunately, this leads to overload. Now it’s inexplicable to pinpoint when exactly I felt overwhelmed and felt the need to simplify my skincare, but I can say that while it took a period of time to get to this point due to numerous factors, snapping out of it was quite instantaneous. It’s like if you’re thinking about getting short hair over time, then one day just wake up randomly and say “I’m getting a bob.” That’s my best analogy.
I simply started to become uninspired by testing so many products, particularly when I spent so much for African Botanics and Twelve Beauty, and did not like a majority of products. After noticing that certain products weren’t working for me, becoming tired of spending so much, and feeling confused from what to choose from my extensive collection, I came across the Oumere blog. This was another major influence in my decision. All of these factors weighed in and I decided to just stop putting in so much money into my bathroom. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to accumulate and try out so many brands and items, but it came to a point I questioned whether all of this was truly a good investment for myself. Are all of these products and ingredients even necessary? Will my cabinet grow bigger and bigger while I pursue more products? Is this actually beneficial for my skin?
With sharing this story of progression through subtraction, I want to influence you to do the same. I want you to not feel overwhelmed by the social media posts out there which consist of so many products in one single bathroom space. To not buy another product without finishing one. More is not better. I opened up my cabinet and told my mom and sister, literally, take it all. I kept a select few products for myself, shown on the 3rd shelf, and either finished up what needed finishing, or gave away the rest. I mean, I finally got to fit my second frame up on the second shelf after all of this! Those remaining four skincare products on the third shelf are going to end up being given away as well – I’m simply not using them, they serve as the last of my resistance to changing my old lifestyle.
I wanted to pick one brand and one brand only, and to stick with it for many months. Thus, I had to choose carefully. After reading the articles on Oumere’s Bioluminescence blog and assessing the brand, I decided this would be the one. These are the new products you see in the picture on the second shelf. I’ll now let you in on why exactly I decided to choose this particular brand, so you can see my thoughts when I am looking to commit to new products.
Formulated by a cellular biologist, Wendy Ouriel, with expertise in cellular aging, extracellular matrix biology and the biology of skin care, I was immediately intrigued by the knowledge behind the founder. In fact, when I messaged and started firing away numerous questions, there was no hesitation in answering them. Immediately, Wendy would answer with an explanation. This is one of the factors which helped me trust her more, since I’ve never heard of the brand before. Some of the articles I read on her Bioluminescence blog were very surprising to me, such as the posts about why essential oils and hyaluronic acid are not beneficial skincare ingredients. In green beauty, we are inundated with ingredients such as these which Wendy explains in her posts to be detrimental for our skin, as proven by science and studies. I can’t deny that over the years my skin has improved, and using products that contained these very ingredients were a part of that process. However, science is also science, and although I believe in the power of traditional knowledge not yet touched by it, having legitimate studies is always a comfort. A lot of people attracted to green beauty feel completely turned off from Western science- and I don’t blame them, I reached this point once- but I truly believe a balance is what is best. Oumere is science meets plant-based beauty, which I believe is a perfect matrimony. Now my support of this brand is not to discredit any brands that do use the ingredients this particular brand advises us to avoid, or to discredit the products that I have used in the quest to improve my skin. They absolutely have and retain their place in my skincare journey. As I’ve said before, one of the characteristics I love about green beauty is how passionate and meticulous the founders are about creating non-toxic products. Whether it’s about looking all over the world for the best quality, being in direct contact with their sources, or the care shown for their clients, they score very high. However, my support of Oumere also shows my support for proper studies and effective ingredients. That being said, on some topics such as oil cleansing, Oumere is in line with and sells their own oil cleanser. This highlights how there are some areas green beauty in fact excels in. Once again, I press on being balanced when weighing information.
I have noticed some green brands call out and attack others. Recently, in an Instagram story by Pedro of Twelve Beauty, he stated that brands should inspire each other to be better and stick together rather than attack each other – I couldn’t agree more. As I said, many green beauty brands have been a part of my journey to better skin, whether they contained essential oils or vitamin C. However, I also believe it is very important that brands inspire each other. Stating an ingredient is good versus bad shouldn’t be seen as an attack on the brands that use it, but instead it should be an educational conversation that inspires brands, whether in green beauty or conventional beauty, to continuously ponder and improve upon their formulations and mindset. As I have said in the post before this, many products are formulated per a founder’s philosophies. Thus, in order for their to be growth, a brand should be willing to evolve or converse when different information is shared. I mean, this is a piece of advice for everyone, including myself, when it comes to any topic – be open-minded, converse rather than argue, and evolve when needed.
Oumere is a relatively new company, and I was worried at first it may just be a brand after money, but after seeing how quickly and well the founder answered all of my questions, and assessing the associated blog, ingredients, and the philosophy, I began to trust it. What really convinced me, however, was seeing that upon discovering hyaluronic acid is actually drying for our skin rather than hydrating, Wendy simply removed the ingredient from her skincare line, and wrote a blog post saying exactly why she did it. Why do I love and respect this so much? She realized something is not working, backed it up, and took it out. No trying to cover herself up or continuing to believe an ingredient is good through ego, no fuss, and no complaining. This to me proves that the brand has its client’s skin as a true priority, and it shows the founder is open to evolving.
I read the Bioluminescence articles, and decided I will commit to their content and recommendations. After all, I may be seeing results from all the products I have been using, but really how do I know in the long term how my skin will look or what’s really going on at a deeper level? I highly recommend the blog (click here to read), and want to quickly touch about one of the posts about sensitive skin with the following excerpt:
Skin sensitivity is not a natural property of skin. It is not something you ‘just have.’ Skin sensitivity, with few medical exceptions, is a condition that is created by bad skin care. Babies and children generally do not have skin sensitivity issues. And for the most part, skin sensitivity is something that women experience more than men, and start to complain of this ailment in their teens. The reason is because women use skin care more than men, start to use skin care in their teens, and the skin care market is saturated with skin damaging, sensitizing ingredients.
I do believe this is an excellent point, and is common sense. I know I have been my skin’s own worst enemy in the past by using so many harsh, incorrect products. And yet, being now in green beauty, how was I to be sure that I was necessarily in the ‘right’? My experiment to put science to the test thus began. I continued to empty out my shelves, purchased the line, and made sure to also search for sunscreen and concealer that would fulfill the “50 Ingredients to Avoid” List posted by Oumere. I didn’t even realize how hard it was to find clean sunscreen that could have minimal and ‘proper’ ingredients until I made this my mission, and finally after a long and hard search, I settled on Raw Elements’ Tinted sunscreen. The second inactive ingredient is green tea extract, an ingredient actually used in Oumere’s own line. It does contain rosemary extract, however, I decided to let it slide as it was already so difficult trying to find a good, clean item that was free of essential oils and met all of the criteria. As for makeup, I decided to just stick to very minimal use, so whatever products I had and loved, I could continue using (again this proved to be a very challenging area to search and fulfill the criteria).
Back to some thoughts on hyaluronic acid. After I started using Twelve Beauty’s Rebalancing Serum, I noticed my skin was actually producing more oil, and this is when I decided to look into the ingredient. It’s unfortunate that there are so many articles that just regurgitate others, even if they are very loosely stated and don’t have adequate proof. This was another point I had to agree on with Oumere- there are a lot of studies that aren’t even properly set up or performed, and yet they are cited and used regardless. I read the respective blog post then further inquired the founder about whether botanical hyaluronic acid is a good choice, or whether the molecule size of this ingredient actually matters, or whether being in a humid environment will be beneficial in conjunction with it. I was told that the ingredient, regardless of what source it was derived from and its molecular size, by property and biological necessity it will pull water from its environment and is therefore to be avoided. If I noticed hydration benefits from a product that did contain it, then it was most likely from the other ingredients. I have used other serums and products that do contain hyaluronic acid, but now I am unsure whether the hydration came from the other ingredients. Based on my experience with this Ideal Rebalancing Serum, I can buy this information, which again helps further my trust.
I have been using Oumere for already three weeks now, and I will write a more descriptive review about the products separately after a couple of months have been passed. What I really wanted to emphasize with this post was how continuously discovering new ingredients, new studies, and new brands should have a positive impact for all of us. We can co-inspire each other by having an open mindset to entertaining and pondering upon which ingredients are the best to use, and it shouldn’t be a point for everyone to aggressively argue over. In addition, I really wanted to emphasize how downsizing your routine can feel SO good. I use 2 products in the morning, and 5 at night – I feel overwhelmingly better having such a straightforward, simplified routine. No more masking, no more using one serum one night and then skipping it the next, no more concoctions, no more effort. I use one brand, am testing it loyally, and feel no pressure nor desire to purchase others at the moment nor be enticed by new releases. I can confirm that thus far, my skin looks the best it ever has. It’s been surprising that a few people, close and far to me, have been commenting upon it. But again, you will have to wait for the brand review for more details ;). I’m not preaching you to drop your money on this line and throw away all your products containing essential oils or cayenne pepper or rosemary – that’s your choice completely if you want to have your own experiment. I am deciding to follow the recommendations and determine the impact upon my skin. Again, I will assess my skin and write a review to share with you the differences I see. What I am recommending you to do is to stick to using a few products, if you have a cabinet similar to the one I did. Before trying Oumere, I started using only one product in the morning, and two at night, and even with this, I already felt my skin looking better for it. Again, you have to ask yourself if you just may be the culprit for making your skin sensitive by overusing so many products.
With this I will conclude with reviewing the points from the previous sister post 1.0 on skincare routines:
(1) Your skin is different. Choose wisely.
I will again emphasize, never follow trends. Focus on knowledge and efficacy. I can see this line being applicable to many skin types, which proves that knowledge and proper formulation is so important because it can actually address many different skin types.
(2) Know the brand.
This absolutely still goes. Again, the beliefs of a founder influence their products. You want a knowledgable team, pure ingredients, and proper formulations.
(3) Empower your skin not your products.
YES. Always. Nothing to add or change here.
(4) Create your routine.
With this, I will now add, simplify your routine. My routine consists of 5 products I use on a daily basis: cleanser, 2 serums, exfoliator, and eye cream. My cleanser and eye cream are only used at night.
(5) Know when to change and when to remain the same.
I see this point differently now. With the overwhelmingly positive response I am seeing from my skin from using less products, but highly effective products, I do believe that I can use these items on a daily basis, no matter the season or external factors. Thus, I will advise to once again focus on simplicity and now I will also add consistency to that. This emphasis can be foregone if you note a negative impact or a lack of an impact.
Hope this sister post helped! Let me know your thoughts :).