If you don’t already know, I’ve been on a mission: use one skincare line for three months – nothing else. It’s actually almost been four months, and I am ready to share my experience with you. It’s been quite crazy – I literally went from a cabinet of fifty products to five Oumere products. If you want to learn more about the background story behind my shift, click here. To summarize, I became tired of myself: purchasing product after product, creating an ever-growing skincare cabinet, and having a lengthy routine got old. Especially right before I made this decision, I wasn’t happy with the products I was trying and the results. It seemed to me that all this alternating and overwhelming my skin led me into a cycle of using products, becoming tempted by what other products had to offer, then feeling like I needed more. By the time I started wising up, I had a cabinet of 50 products. It was time for a change, and this is where my minimalist experiment with Oumere comes in.
My routine has been simple and stuck for the most part to the following:
No. 9 Daily Chemical Exfoliant
As you can see, most of my product usage is at night: the eye cream is instructed for nighttime use, and the cleanser I use primarily in the P.M. to wash off makeup. As for the Daily Chemical Exfoliant, in the evening after work and commuting, this is when I will have the time to spare a full 30 minutes for the exfoliant to do its job.
Though this routine has been very consistent, there have also been a few times where I would simply cleanse my skin and apply nothing else to it. Before if I did such a thing, I would panic, believing that my skin was now left ‘helpless’ and would suffer with the absence of product. With the correct view that ones skin is self-sufficient, and that you are simply supporting it with the right products, you naturally feel much more carefree and free of the obsession to always stick to a routine.
In the end, these 5 products were the only products I used, regardless of the order.
The Oumere Experiment
In these past three months, I would have never expected getting so many compliments of how my skin looked better and clearer. I could certainly notice my skin improving, but hearing it from so many people, some who I would see frequently and others rarely, was surprising – especially since I thought it was ‘clear’ and ‘improved’ already after venturing into green beauty and treating my skin better. I’m still to this day taken aback by how many people remarked upon my skin and continue to do so.
My skin experienced changes in different stages. Although you may have a very different experience, I will share mine so that you have some sort of a baseline.
~ Stage 1: In the Clear
Time: First 3 Weeks
Result: The first improvement I noticed from the very beginning was how the skin on my forehead became elastic and supple. It’s a rather weird place to get excited about, but it’s the part of the face I abused the most in the past and I had never seen such a strong effect on it before. I must emphasize that I never saw this level of deep hydration with any other moisturizer or hyaluronic acid serum before. I also didn’t simply feel an immediate effect post-application which wore off, rather I noticed how my skin was retaining the benefits. I have always been after products which will give the skin that supple, healthy look, which is what has led me to try products with hyaluronic acid and other hydric moisturizers in the first place. Alas, I didn’t realize how ineffective those products were and how dehydrated my complexion was until I saw these differences. Further, I noticed my skin was looking clearer, just as others were commenting, even though I didn’t have breakouts. I attributed this to the fact that my skin was getting smoother, elastic, more hydrated, and brighter. These benefits kept building upon each other the longer I used the products, and continue to do so now. Stage 1 is really what sold me to continue to experiment.
~Stage 2: The Skin Purge
Time: After 3 Weeks – About 6 Weeks
Result: I started to experience a ‘skin purge’ (I highly recommend you read more about this under Question #3 here). Although the breakouts weren’t severe, they were still occurring frequently. It was primarily a lot of smaller breakouts with some larger ones sprinkled in as well. Still, they were controlled as I continued using the exfoliant, which revealed to me how I didn’t need a spot treatment with use of the line. Don’t freak out if this also happens to you!! It WILL subside. In fact, if you follow the dilution directions and gradually build up to using the product per the directions, you may not even go through this phase. I knew my skin had a lot of damage from my past, thus I’m not surprised I went through a bit of this phase. After about the first 6 weeks, sure enough I stopped breaking out. From Day 1, however, I could see the improvements from Stage 1 continue even throughout the skin purge.
~Stage 3: Clear and Fancy Free
Time: After 1.5 months
Result: I quite honestly very rarely breakout now a days, even when I don’t have the cleanest diet or ideal sleep schedule (which is quite frequent). Of course, when its near that time of the month, I will get breakouts. This was also the case before I started the experiment as well, except I don’t need spot treatments anymore since the No. 9 Exfoliant works very well. I want to also note that my pores are usually quite big around my T-zone, and although they didn’t disappear, they have shrunk in appearance a bit. Not every issue is solved, but I cannot deny a lot of issues have been addressed and improved upon. To summarize: scarring pigmentation is improved, pitted scars are starting to resurface, skin is more youthful (i.e. supple, elastic, hydrated). My deeper acne scars are leftover from my teen days, and I have been sure no product applied topically would make a strong impact. I spoke with Wendy of how I’m starting to notice they are resurfacing, and she told me this is due to the No. 9 Exfoliant, which prompts new skin from stem cells. She didn’t sugar coat it either and say they’ll be gone in a few months, but rather in a few years.
I wanted to share the experience of one of my lovely readers so that you can see she went through similar stages:
“So I wanted to give you an Oumere update… The first week my skin looked great. The second week my face broke out quite badly, probably a “purge” from the daily use of No 9. The third week and now into the fourth my skin looks better than it has in years. I really hope it only continues to improve! Every morning I use only Oumere and in the evening I use a few simple, rather bland products that I know my skin loves and I want to use up. I’m only masking every other night… trying to baby my skin! “
She went through the skin purge earlier than I did, but as you can see there are 3 main stages you are likely to go through yourself – the duration of each will depends on your individual skin.
What makes these results different?
As I stated above, there have been a lot of differences I have observed, but the results I have been the most pleased with are more supple skin and the impact on my scars. It is to the point that I do not mind continuing this ‘experiment’ into the future. What was different this time than from the other times I was using high-quality products in green beauty?
These significant benefits could be from numerous facts:
- No more overwhelming my skin with a multitude of products.
- Maintaining a stable routine for a long length of time.
- No excessive cleansing/masking or hot water on my skin.
- Using clean, filtered water to rinse my face as opposed to tap water.
- Ditching essential oils.
- Foregoing product on some days.
- Using a gentle daily chemical exfoliant.
- Using serums formulated with science-backed ingredients.
- Minimal application of ‘extra’ products such as foundation, sticking to thin layers.
Naturally, this isn’t a secret formula nor the ‘whole picture.’ For example, there are many beneficial ingredients in the world that haven’t been touched by science, yet have been utilized for years through traditions and cultures. Also, masking with the right products at the right frequency isn’t detrimental.
I strongly believe all of the reasons I stated above played a role, and highly encourage you to adopt some of these as well. These are simply some differences I made simultaneously which I believe helped me, but am sharing in the case they help you. Oumere products are expensive and I’m not going to sugar coat that, but you can see through my list that it’s not just the skincare products that play a role, it’s also the habits that go along with it. You can apply these to your own routines and see if you notice a difference, without spending any money. That being said, I do give a huge portion of credit to the Oumere line. The founder herself strongly supports and writes about these very habits, such as minimal cleansing, no essential oils, and foregoing tap water.
Combined with these habits and Oumere products, I am not getting tired of the compliments coming my way, I will tell you that for free.
What effect does this have on future purchases? Do I still love my past ‘holy grails’?
As I have said before, I don’t discount the products I have used and loved in the past that have also played a role in improving my skin. Due to the extent of results I have experienced recently and what I have learned from the Oumere Bioluminescence Blog, however, naturally some products will no longer be the focus of my attention. This is also due to the ‘less is more’ mentality I have now, in which I don’t want a plethora of products – I’m happy with what I am using and for now, it’s that simple.
There is a lot of controversy involved with the use or omission of certain ingredients in skincare, and I’m not here to discuss them, but I am here to share my decisions with regards to them. Each brand founder has their own philosophies of which ingredients and methods are the best. One of the tips I have given before is to notice how these beliefs will be reflected in products, and to see whether you align with the philosophies before choosing the products. Along this line, a major change I am making for future purchases is that I now choose to forego essential oils on my face, a decision that has been made due to Oumere. If you want more my opinion on this, you can read the post I linked above. This is your choice to make thorough your own research, and I am simply sharing mine. There is a lot of passionate debate out there on the essential oil subject particularly, which is not a bad thing by all means. The issue I have with these debates are more the way each side puts down the other. I have said this before – debate, share, discuss, but don’t put others down.
This being said, I am a lover of essential oils – I heavily rely on them for aromatherapy. For one, I don’t even need to say how much I love my Osmia Organics body soaps, and those contain essential oils. I’m not giving up on them completely and saying they are awful as a whole, I am simply eliminating their usage on my face and utilizing them for their aromatherapy benefits. Naturally, this eliminates a lot of products in green beauty, and a lot which I have used previously and adored. However, this is fine for me, as there are still a plethora of options which are essential-oil-free. For example, I have loved the Tigress Face Balm by Earthwise Beauty. Now, Ava has released Yasuni, an essential-oil free balm that currently sits on my wish-list.
These same points apply to hyaluronic acid, another ingredient which I am going to avoid since the performance has not been as strong in terms of deep hydration. Once again, this has been prompted by reading the Bioluminesence Blog on Oumere.
Is my skin ‘perfect’ now?
No. I also still have my bad skin days – factors being from diet, hormones, stress, etc – but that is to be expected. I still look to improve issues such as my oily skin, pores, discoloration on skin, sun damage, scars, etc. Yet am I exceedingly happy with the condition now? Definitely. My skin is not ‘perfect’ now- but it is better to be sure.
Do not become obsessed with the idea of perfect, ‘glass’ skin; work to improve the factors that are in your control the best you can, and be happy with that. Through your own issues you wish to improve, I encourage you to remember that patience is key. Don’t expect to wake up to flawless skin after years of damage and only a few days of good habits and products – put in the time and effort, and be patient. Even I know that the road to recovery doesn’t simply involve a few weeks of good skincare – aside from the proper products you also need a better diet, less stress, etc, to help your skin bounce back. I for one know that as I continue incorporating these habits and products, my skin will continue to improve.
Oil Dissolution Theory ($90 for 120 mL)
I first tried this cleanser as a sample that came with the Travel Set. I immediately fell in love with how light yet thick the consistency was at the same time. Recently, the product was reformulated without the addition of Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , an ingredient I have commented on before as being a possible comedogenic ingredient. I actually realized it gave the product a thicker, more moisturizing feel, which I loved – and I wasn’t breaking out. However, as some people have sensitivities to coconut-derived fats, the formulation has changed. Now the consistency doesn’t have that slight ‘thickness’ to it, but it certainly accomplishes its job just the same.
I have discussed how cleansing less and avoiding direct contact on my face with hot water in the shower has made a very positive impact. In keeping with this, I try to avoid cleansing my face unnecessarily, such as in the mornings. Unless I wake up with particularly oily/unbalanced skin or it has been a hot night, I stick to this habit. Even now I have to remind myself that waking up with oily skin is okay and I simply need press a cotton pad to remove the excess oils. At night, in order to wash off all the makeup/grime from the day, sometimes I will double cleanse and use a cotton pad to really remove any residue.
Based on the theory that oil dissolves oil, the cleanser is formulated with ingredients such as watermelon seed oil and Camellia Japonica Seed Oil. The cleanser is used “for dissolving oils, removing makeup, and eliminating contaminants that accumulate on your skin throughout the day, all without drying your skin.” As it doesn’t contain chemical emulsifiers, you really have to make sure to shake the product up (I’ve never spilled). It will turn foamy and into a light sunshine yellow. Really make sure to massage this product into the skin – you will be SO surprised at how much less congested your skin feels, even if you think its super icky and needs a harsh scraping. Alas, no spatulas needed, just your fingers and some oil. Do also try to use clean, cold water when you want to rinse the product off after thoroughly massaging it into your skin. I actually started to recently fill my empty bottles with filtered water from my kitchen and rinse using this. Tap water, to no surprise, is harsh and filled with undesirable impurities, even if the concentration is low. It’s a small change, yet every little difference you make can add up over time.
Although I adore this product, it is on the pricey side. I would say that if you are concerned about the pricing, this item can be considered lowest priority – I would recommend focusing more on the exfoliant and serums. Green beauty is saturated with oil cleansers so you won’t have much trouble finding an alternative, simply be mindful of the oil profiles and of making sure they aren’t higher in oleic acid. However, if you are able, I do highly recommend purchasing this cleanser.
No.9 Daily Chemical Exfoliant ($80 for 60 mL)
I was careful to introduce myself to a daily exfoliant, as I have shared before that I put my skin though rigorous treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc, to the point where I totally wore down my skin barrier. With the harsh treatments and products I used previously in my routines, I would see a short and quick difference, then those benefits would recede and my skin would cease to improve as time progressed. This led to an onslaught of purchasing new and promising items, and overusing them. My habits, my mentality, and my products were all wrong – a triple-threat to my skin. As you can see, I had my reasons to be weary of committing to chemical exfoliation. After speaking with Wendy, however, and reading the background on the subject (click here to read), I went for it. The different types of acids contained in the product are all explained on the web page, and the product itself is stated to be gentle. I decided to forego all physical exfoliants, which the founder has explained to damage the skin and promote aging, and try chemical exfoliation. I can full say that exfoliant has made me comfortable all over again, and I will explain why.
With the exfoliant, I used as the directions stated. The product comes with a mini instruction booklet, in which you are provided with a routine to eventually get your skin to using the proper undiluted amount. I used organic cotton pads from Koh Gen Doh, splitting one pad in half and further cutting that half into quarters in order to not waste any product. Now, I use my fingers and very gently tap the product into my skin – a method which I prefer. Right after I apply the product, my skin looks amazing, but again, I wasn’t sure if this was to be trusted because my experience with anything exfoliating offered short-term benefits that didn’t extend into the long-term. The fact that my skin continues to improve is exactly what has made me comfortable with the term ‘daily chemical exfoliation.’ Of course, not everyone is eager to try acids, and you should be cautious of which types of acids you use, which products, and how. The acids contained in the product moisturize, provide anti-acne and anti-bacterial benefits, stimulate collagen growth, address fine lines and wrinkles, and improve signs of photo-damaged skin. If these benefits appeal to you and you feel comfortable using it, know that if I were to recommend one product only from this line, this would be it you guys.
Stay tuned for Part II featuring the serums and eye cream!