Indie beauty conversation with Obvs Skincare
25 Nov 2021 --- The UK-based beauty startup Obvs Skincare was born out of “turning a negative into a positive.” We talk to Founder, Sian Louise, about her journey to create the brand, what it took to bring it to fruition and how she hopes to impact the beauty segment.
What was your inspiration behind launching Obvs Skincare?
When I originally started my small business, I needed a distraction from life, lockdown and COVID-19. Before my second miscarriage back in January 2020, following my second round of IVF, I started eating organic and switched my skin care to more natural substances to aid the pregnancy.
Being a polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) sufferer, I struggle with acne, but being pregnant I wanted to find an organic solution I could apply topically that wouldn’t harm me, or the baby. Unfortunately, I miscarried again.
I decided to take the negative energy from this experience and turn it into a positive. This is where my business idea began. From here, I began furthering my research into biochemistry, natural ingredients, and sustainability in the beauty industry.
On my educational journey, I continually gained new certificates in areas such as biochemistry, organic skin care formulation and more. And so, my Organic Intensive Skin Recovery Cream was born. I formulate and make all the skin care products myself from my bespoke home studio and laboratory in my garden. I also make our biodegradable packaging.
I launched at the end of May 2021 and sold out the next day!
What was missing from the mainstream skin care market that you sought to fill with Obvs Skincare?
Natural, organic, vegan skin care that actually worked, without any plastic packaging.
What was the moment you realized your formulation could successfully clear acne?
After my Organic Intensive Skin Recovery Cream cleared my acne within a week, and also cleared up my friend’s baby’s nappy rash overnight. She had tried everything, even prescribed stuff, and the only thing that worked was my Intensive Skin Recovery Cream.
What ingredients did you explore and which of these made it into your final products?
I explored various natural butters, including cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter as well as natural oils such as coconut oil, almond oil and safflower oil. I found most to be comedogenic (pore-clogging), so they actually made my acne worse. I also tried unrefined and refined shea butter but soon realized that refined shea butter had all of its natural goodness stripped in the process of refinement.
Eventually I realized that organic, unrefined shea butter and organic safflower oil were both perfect for what I was looking for as they are packed with natural benefits and are non-comedogenic.
What are today's consumers looking for from their skin care products and brands?
Sustainability and effectiveness. Consumers are fed up with being ‘greenwashed.’ They are also looking to minimize their skin care routine. With our organic moisturizer, you can also double it up as a cleanser by using a warm cloth to assist with its application.
How is Obvs Skincare seeking to answer these needs?
By providing honest skin care that is 100% natural, with absolutely no plastic or added synthetics.
What did the process to launch Obvs Skincare involve from conceptualization through to commercialization?
I started in my kitchen. My aim at the time was just to make an effective anti-acne cream that would help my own adult acne. I had no intention of launching a business, until I realized that I had created a unique formulation that actually works!
Once I had the Intensive Skin Recovery Cream tested and it was approved by Oxford Biosciences I allowed friends and family to try it. The results were unbelievable! That is when I knew I had to get it out to the general public. And so, Obvs Skincare was born.
I am scientifically minded but a hippy at heart, so I wanted to make sure my business was organic, biodegradable, vegan and sustainable - which gave me the name, Obvs.
I bought the trademark, set up my limited company and set up my website. Alongside this, my husband was building me a bespoke laboratory in our garden. We did this using the money we had saved for our third round of IVF.
It took around a year to be ready to launch the business as I decided to apply for leading organic certifier Soil Association certifications. I wanted to be COSMOS Certified, Organic Certified, Vegan Society Certified and Leaping Bunny Approved before I launched, as these organizations mean a lot to me and they are what my brand stands for. It cost a lot of time and money but it was worth it.
What were the greatest challenges to achieving your vision for Obvs Skincare?
To change people’s mindsets about skin care, to educate consumers about what our skin absorbs and how some ingredients can be doing more harm than good.
My products are super concentrated so a little goes a very long way. I am trying to educate consumers that you do not need lots of the water-based products out there when they can use smaller amounts of oil-based products – regardless of skin type.
For example, did you know that oil-based products are actually better for oily skin? When oily skin is cleansed with water-based products, especially those containing alcohol, it strips the skin of our natural oils so our skin produces more to overcompensate!
What are your short-term and long-term hopes and goals for Obvs Skincare? What impact do you hope to have on the skin care market?
To educate as many people as I can of the benefits of natural skin care ingredients, and that they do have a choice when it comes to plastic-free packaging.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist