At the beginning of August I posed a few questions to you- one of which was about organic beauty products. I was ready to make the switch for my skincare regime, and wasn’t really sure where to start. After a resounding “One Love! One Love! One Love!” I decided to give their line a try. That’s really where my love affair started. After ordering a few samples of their products I was completely hooked. I now look forward to my morning and evening skincare routines (and actually feel like I’m doing something good for my face). Their cleanser is the most gentle face wash I’ve ever experienced, they’ve helped me discover the magic that is skin serums, and their waterless beauty balm has blown my mind- a product that can clean and moisturize your face ?!? Amazing.
I was so in love with their products, I had to learn more. Where did this all begin? How do you make natural beauty products? And why does a beauty balm not make my oily skin break out? Nosy me, I reached out to OLO founder, Suzanne Leroux, with a few questions that she happily agreed to answer. Discover how she transitioned from law to beauty, the secret to why OLO’s coconut oil based beauty balm actually clears your skin, the story behind her husband’s equation for a better life (“consume less + spend less = freedom”) and more after the jump!
Where does your passion for beauty come from?
I have always loved beauty products-it was always my first choice for a treat. I absolutely love the textures, scents, packaging and the way I feel after treating myself to a beauty treatment or new product. Over time, I found that I wanted to learn more about ingredients and how to make these products with the highest grade and healthiest ingredients available. In fact, the day my husband called for our first date was the same day my first set of essential oils for a course in aromatherapy arrived. Over the next eleven years, I studied aromatherapy, herbology, holistic skin care and created natural beauty products. It became so consuming that my husband suggested I pursue my passion full time.
You transitioned from law to entrepreneurship in the beauty industry. What was that transition like? How did you make the entrepreneurial jump?
I did what was expected of me throughout college and law school. After I passed the bar, I allowed myself to indulge in my real passion-creating beauty products. I loved mixing concoctions and learning chemistry and alchemy along the way. After my two children were born, I really allowed myself to explore my creativity and to try new things. The transition was easy for me. My parents ran multiple businesses and I have been exposed at an early age to the highs and lows of business ownership. My husband (an attorney) joined One Love Organics this past spring and we both are excited to pursue opportunities outside of the practice of law. I am however truly thankful that I have legal experience as we encounter legal issues on a weekly basis.
Where does the name “One Love” come from and what lead you to specifically want to develop an organic, all natural, beauty line?
I created One Love Organics to offer a simpler approach to beauty. After the birth of my two sons, I felt an overwhelming need to simplify everything, including my beauty routine. I wanted to get back to the essentials. For me, the essentials needed to be effective, pure, safe for my whole family, of the highest quality and serve multiple purposes to earn a spot on my bathroom counter. For example, I dreamed of a cleanser that was great for my face that I could also use in the tub with my babies. I imagined a moisturizer that worked not only for me, but also my husband and my boys. As I studied formulation and ingredients, I learned that pure plant oils, rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, are vital to well being, health and beauty and are perfect for all skin types. So I based my formulas on pure plant oils and that is how we came up with the name One Love Organics. Our products are inclusive-everyone can use them.
As someone with naturally oily skin, I never in a million years thought a beauty balm would actually help clear my skin. How did you come up with this product?
I absolutely have oily, acne prone and very temperamental skin. I also live in a very humid environment (we are on a barrier island, St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia) and my skin was always quite irritable. During my studies, I learned something that was quite groundbreaking for me: water-based products, like lotions, creams and moisturizers, by necessity contain emulsifiers. Cosmetic emulsifiers are usually (soap-based) surfactants. When used in cleansing gel or shampoo, emulsifiers do not pose much of a problem because they are washed off during use. However, when moisturizing is the goal, water-based/emulsion preparations tend to interfere with the natural restorative function of the skin. The water-based ingredients in the product evaporate, while the oil-based ingredients are absorbed, leaving the emulsifiers on the skin’s surface. These alkaline, soap-like substances then combine with the lipid content of the skin, removing precious oils the next time we wash, as well as disturbing the natural pH balance of the skin, leaving it more susceptible to microbial growth.
Once I learned this, I knew I needed to find a different way to moisturize. I studied plant oils in depth and learned that they deeply nourish, strengthen and balance all skin types. Plant oils are the best choice for oily and acne prone skin. The strong bactericidal properties of lauric acid, a nutrient found in virgin organic coconut oil (the base of our Skin Savior Waterless Multi-balm), helps to create an antiseptic layer on the skin that discourages the growth of acne. The most basic cause of acne is excess sebum coupled with the presence of bacteria. Coconut oil discourages overproduction of sebum by providing natural moisture to the skin, while the high lauric acid content helps to fight surface bacteria. The U.S. National Library of Medicine actually highlighted lauric acid, which is found in coconut oil, as a potential alternative treatment to replace antibiotic therapies used to treat acne. I have seen the biggest improvement in my fussy, breakout-prone skin since I eliminated water-based products that contain preservatives, fragrances and emulsifiers.
One Love is a family business! And you have two kids. How do you balance your work and your family?
It definitely has roots as a family business! When I started working on formulations, my children were babies. My husband worked 12 hour days so most of my initial feedback and help came from my two sons. I would hold up my hands to test scents and they would smile or wriggle their nose. I got a lot more nose wriggles than smiles in the beginning. Their favorites are Skin Savior Balm and Easy Does It Cleanser. It is not always easy balancing a start-up with a family. I will admit that we eat yogurt and fruit on many nights. It doesn’t all get done but I try to focus on important things like giving them my undivided attention so we read, play, listen to music and have long tuck-ins in the evening.
One Love’s got its mainstay products, but you also just recently came out with a line in partnership with Elizabeth Dehn of Beauty Bets. How do you grow the business while continuing to stay on brand?
We are absolutely passionate about making products. That is the basis of our business and it is what makes us unique. Most companies hire a third party manufacturer but we wanted to be intimately involved with the process, ingredients and the final outcome. So we put a lot of time, effort and resources into building a great facility where we craft each piece we sell on St. Simons Island, Georgia and we love it. I think it is a natural extension for us to team up with experts to create the most exciting, highest quality products on the market. Working with Elizabeth has been really good for the business and our customers so we think this is a natural way to grow our brand and our operations as skincare artisans-which is our true passion and the heart of what we do. Look out for more exciting things to come!
I love your husband’s equation for a better life: “consume less + spend less = freedom” Is there a story behind that?
Yes! My husband and I practiced law together for 5 years before we had children. When we had children, we did it like we do everything-with gusto! Suddenly we had a busy law practice and two babies. We were completely overwhelmed and wanted to find our “key” to life. We read The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs and it was very inspirational for us. The book shares the principles and joys of living mindfully. Janet gave up a law career to simplify her life. We learned that living simply is not about being frugal, living on a tight budget, a minimalist aesthetic or denying pleasure. Rather, living simply is about being fully aware of the choices you make and the life you live and seeing the relationship between the two. So there is less. Less clutter. Less debt. Less stress. But also more. More joy. More freedom. More of the things that really matter. It became the basis of our line, which we were working on while reading this book and experiencing a transformation in our thoughts. Chase absolutely wanted to offer a solution rather than what he calls “smoke and mirrors”. We created One Love Organics to offer a simpler approach to beauty. We focus on a few supreme products, not up-selling a medicine cabinet full of mysterious jars. Women have really responded to and appreciate our honesty. Favorite quote from Janet: “Simple living is about living deliberately. That’s all.” - Janet Luhrs
Thank you so much, Suzanne! All images courtesy of One Love Organics. Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post- I simply love the brand.