Clean Beauty For the Luxe Purist
If you haven’t heard of Oil + Water, that’s probably because this new botanical skincare line only launched and opened its virtual doors this past fall. The line was founded by Brooklyn based architect-cum-skincare maven Erika Martins – and I couldn’t be more excited to share her exquisite handmade products with you!
Unlike other lines that offer an often confusing battery of options for different skin types and age groups, Oil + Water takes a reductionist approach to skin care by offering a streamlined set of products. The line currently includes a face wash, face oil and herbal clay mask as it’s core foundation, along with a lip balm and moisturizing lip tint. Once you fall in love with the facial care basics, you can excitedly anticipate a release of about 10 other body and cosmetic products currently in development.
Erika’s intent is to cover the gamut of basic skincare needs for different parts of the body including cleansing, hydrating, and less regular but more intensive care like exfoliation/ detox/ repair, as well as more luxury ritualistic care to inspire mind and spirit – all in as few products as possible.
Quite a lofty goal! But my experience with the Facial Care Set and lip balms has hit the mark. My skin is looking great, while the aesthetic experience soothes my senses.
Why you’ll love Oil + Water as much as I do
Erika’s honest and thoughtful approach to beauty is the defining ethos of Oil + Water, from ingredient to packaging:
- Products are formulated to eliminate the need for preservatives whenever possible.
- Ingredients are organic, fair trade, wild harvested, and food grade ingredients whenever available.
- Beautiful, toxin free and environmentally friendly packaging.
- Formulas are designed to meet the needs of varying skin types.
- Formulated with necessary building blocks for rejuvenating aging skin.
With her architecture design background, Erika has painstakingly designed each product to be what she calls, “a small work of minimalist art – from the logo, packaging, and subtly textured paper labels, to the choice of each ingredient and how it relates to the other ingredients in the product, as well as the line as a whole.”
I’ve been especially enjoying the Emulsifying Balm, an oil-based facal cleanser and make-up remover. It has a most delicious rose infused scent and feels wonderfully soothing when massaged into the face. It’s also not as drying as most face wash options, and though it gets my face clean, it almost acts like a pre-moisturizer to the face oil.
To use the balm, blend it with water in the palm of the hand until it emulsifies into a milky consistency. Then massage over the face with circular strokes of the finger tips. It produces a light lather and does a good job removing face makeup. I’ve even used it over my eyes with success – no burning! When rinsing I like to use a konjac sponge for a little traction, but it’s not necessary.
Be sure to use a clean and dry finger when scooping the balm. It’s important to keep water from getting into the jar since the balm is preservative-free!
Face + Hair Oil
The Face + Hair Oil feels effectively hydrating on my rather dry skin and doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. Unlike the Emulsifying Balm and Herbal Clay Mask, it has a scent similar to tea tree oil, which has a slightly medicinal feel to it.
Looking at the simple ingredients in the formula I couldn’t pinpoint what was producing a smell so akin to tea tree. When I asked Erika about it she explained that the camphoraceous notes are likely coming from either the Roman chamomile or the carrot seed essential oils, or perhaps both because of similar chemical constituents that they share with tea tree.
Although the smell is not my favorite, it’s subtle enough and what these two ingredients have to offer is far more important. Chamomile is calming and soothing for all skin types, while carrot seed is a highly beneficial essential oil for aging skin because of its high antioxidant content, it:
- protects against environmental stressors and
- helps to rejuvenate tired, dull skin cells
- combats wrinkles
- stimulates cell growth, for a firming and toning effect
- it’s even been said to provide a small degree of sun protection (although Erika makes no such claim)
In addition to all the wonderful properties above, carrot seed oil is also said to reduce water retention, which is great for the under-eye area too.
For the hair, Erika recommends working 2-3 drops through the ends only, for taming frizz.
Herbal Clay Mask
I just love the Herbal Clay Mask, fragrant with notes of citrus and bergamot it’s such a pleasure to apply and enjoy the scent as the mask dries. Aside from helping to remove dead cells and rejuvenate the skin, Erika explained that bentonite clay has the unique ability to hold a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged toxins like heavy metals. Detox! We all need it.
For this reason it’s important to avoid putting any metal in contact with your precious mask! If the clay comes in contact with metal before being applied to the skin, it will have lost some of that detoxing ability.
Although suitable for any skin types, it’s especially good for oily or acne-prone skin!
Ingredients: Bentonite clay, french green clay, zinc oxide, white willow bark*, calendula flowers*, jojoba oil*, arnica flowers*, aloe vera powder*, bergamot essential oil* (*organic)
Lip Balm + Lip Tint
These luscious lip balms are just excellent. My lips tend to get dry and need frequent balm applications (no matter how much water I drink!), so I was pleasantly surprised by how long both the Lip Balm and Lip Tint kept my lips feeling moist and soft.
Although they have great staying power, both come on light, not heavy or thick like a lot of other brands. The tint has a lovely, coral-red hue that’s just enough to give your lips some color and depth, while looking completely natural.
They may seem a bit pricey, but aside from the pure and clean ingredients, each contains twice as much volume as you’ll find in a standard lip balm tube.
Lip Tint Ingredients: Sunflower oil*, coconut oil*°, beeswax, cocoa butter*°, alkanet root^, vitamin e oil, spearmint essential oil*°, bulgarian rose absolute, peppermint essential oil*°, red oxide, silver mica (*organic, °fair trade, ^wild harvested)
Lip Balm Ingredients: Olive oil*, coconut oil*°, beeswax, shea butter*, cupuaçu butter, vitamin e oil, sweet orange essential oil*, ginger essential oil* (*organic, °fair trade)
Each of the face care products are wonderful on their own, but the idea is to use the Emulsifying Balm with the Face + Hair Oil daily for cleansing and moisturizing, along with the Herbal Clay Mask weekly for deep cleaning and detox. You can buy each product a la carte or the whole Facial Care Set for $122
The set should last about 3 months on average. Expect the oil to last that long using 3 drops twice a day, but in my experience I found myself using closer to 10 drops to cover my entire neck, face and eye area. With the mask you’ll get 3 months with weekly treatments, at 4 grams per teaspoon. As for the cleanser and lip balms, it really depends on how much you use, but 2-3 months is a safe estimate. The lip balms will probably last the longest, but all depends on just how frequently you apply.
None of the products currently on offer include wheat or gluten ingredients. The Care and Use Guide on the Oil + Water website refer to gluten because there’s a chance future products may contain wheat.
Oil + Water$26
- Organic, fair trade, wild harvested, and food grade ingredients.
- Good for cell repair and detox.
- Small batch, artisan quality.
- Unisex and good for all skin types.
- Toxin free and environmentally friendly packaging.