The Charm of Natural Beauty
Q&A with Erin Wexstten, founder of Oxalis Apothecary
Taking care of our skin and well-being should be uncomplicated and uncompromising.
- Erin Wexstten
Oxalis Apothecary was born in Brooklyn, NY in 2015 out of a long-time love of body care, an obsession with the psychology of scent and a desire to create safe and effective natural products. All of the products are 100% natural, enriched with premium plant based oils, herbs and minerals, ethically sourced ingredients and handcrafted in small batches by Erin in New Orleans, LA.
How did you first become interested in natural beauty products?
Skincare has always been a huge part of my life and the ritual was instilled in me at an early age from my Mother and Grandmother. They taught me to always take care of my skin and take pride in self care. As I got older, I started educating myself on what products I was using. I began switching to all natural products and welcomed many natural brands into my routine. Additionally, my father was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia in 2012 at the age of 60 and this news changed a lot for me. I did hours of research on the benefits of scent and essential oils for him, learning how powerful they were for memory and for curing allergies (a huge struggle for me). This was the beginning of my journey into formulating. From there, I was obsessed with learning all I could about the wonderful healing world of plants, herbs and minerals. I am still in awe.
When and why did you make the leap to start your own company?
Before I knew this would become my full time gig, I was a fashion designer for the Baby Gap in downtown NYC. I knew I wanted a change and to go out on my own but I didn’t know if it was possible. The official launch was in June 2015 after many months of developing the formulations, creating the labels and branding, setting up photo shoots and building the website. I’ve done everything from the beginning on my own. It was a very exciting time and I didn’t know what would happen but I knew I was passionate again for the first time in a long time.
What is the most important part of a skincare routine?
Consistency and understanding. Keeping up with a routine can be daunting, not to mention expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. Finding a few products that work for you and keeping them in your rotation is key. Maintaining a healthy understanding of how your skin changes daily will alleviate the stress of perfection. There is no miracle product or ingredient. Stay hydrated, eat balanced, spend some time everyday loving on your beautiful face and accepting it where it is.
What is the one product you can't live without?
I can’t go a day without my Daily Glow Facial Serum - it’s a game changer. It’s made with 100% cold pressed and unrefined oils, packed with vitamins, antioxidants and powerful essential oils and extracts. It’s highly absorbent, non-comedogenic, antibacterial and it smells amazing. What’s not to love! I’m also obsessed with our Feel Good Potion which is an aromatherapy roller for stress, headaches, nausea and fatigue. I use it several times throughout the day to give me a boost of natural energy and at nighttime to help with quiet my mind and settle the nervousness of the day.
What are the biggest misconceptions about natural skincare?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that they simply don’t work. That in order for a product to be truly effective, it must contain chemical agents and that is simply not true. Research has shown that continued use of natural, plant based ingredients work to slow the signs of aging and keep skin healthy longer. Another misconception is that the only ones that do work are terribly expensive. As more and more natural skincare brands emerge, I do believe there is an opportunity for all types of consumers to find products that they love and that work for them. We’re happy to offer products that have a proven track record of efficacy and are affordable, honest and beautiful inside and out.
There are so many beauty products that are labeled as "natural." What words should we look for on packaging to help us know what to get and what to avoid?
If a product is labeled “natural” you shouldn’t have to do the research on what’s inside. Unfortunately, there are a lot of brands using this language to entice customers who are looking to clean up their beauty cabinets. Keywords to look for/avoid are fragrance/parfum which are generally irritants, parabens, phthalates, and unnecessary fillers. Look for brands that share their entire ingredient list on their packaging and website and who use proper INCI lists. The good news is, there are more companies and websites dedicating a platform for transparency around products and their ingredients. A few that we love are Skin Deep, Think Dirty, and SkinCarisma.