Emma Allen of Everyday Oil Talks Vogue, Big Business and Why You Don't Need To Wash Your Face

Interview by Jefferson Ellison, done in Partnership w/ AVLtoday.

The beauty industry is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the market today. Valued at over $500 billion, it's no wonder big conglomerates continue to release new B2C businesses and collaborate with influencers and celebrities alike. But what about those who take the traditional route?

What about products that are created out of need and that grow out of genuine interest rather than ROI and large investments from Wall Street? Do they stand a chance? Emma Allen thinks so. At only a few years old, Everyday Oil is giving big skincare a run for their money and proving that traditional methods are still good business. In a world where everything is led by influencers and seems to be a get rich quick plan, it's nice to know that you don't need to be a Kardashian to get recognized by the heavyweights. How did Everyday Oil begin? Everyday Oil began really as a personal project - I wanted to take care of my skin, wanted clean products, and kept buying overpriced skincare that didn't work. When I read the ingredients list I felt like I was missing something.. I think we have been marketed to for so long that we take for granted that we need all of this weird stuff to take care of our skin. I started to look deeper and got interested in active ingredients and oils and ancient skincare methods. I was already really interested in health and wellness, and I started nerding out reading scientific journals on oils and skincare and trying different oils and blends for myself. Over the years I came up with Everyday Oil, but it wasn't called that, it was just something I was making for myself. Tell me about the process of creating your own product? It was interesting, because I never set out to create a skincare product or something to sell. Because it was just for me, and I'm a perfectionist, I just refined it over years...When I had something that worked really well for me, I started sharing it with friends and family and realized that this was something that worked for a lot of people, that filled a need for others like it had for me. When I decided to make it a product, I really wanted to put something out into the world that could be used and afforded by as many people as possible, I wanted to create a staple, utilitarian product. How I used and interacted with the product was different than any products on the market. There weren't any products that existed in skincare that were like that, utilitarian, all-purpose, unisex and there also aren't a lot of products that are high quality, at as low a cost as possible. It isn't a gangbusters business model, we live in a culture of squeezing every drop of profit, so you see a lot of cheap ingredients marketed as luxury products. I had created the sweet potato and kale of skincare, just simple, quality things that are good for your skin, body, that work. In making it a product, I tried to think of my customer as a friend - how would I treat a friend? That is still our philosophy today, we try to maintain that mindset. There wasn't a roadmap for creating a product like this, so it was just an authentic communication, not a marketing strategy.

If I’m not mistaken, your brother works with you. Have you always wanted EO to be a family business? Yes, I have a big family and my baby brother works for Everyday Oil, he is actually twelve years younger than me but we have always had a fun relationship. I took him everywhere with me as a kid, he was my bud. I never knew Everyday Oil would grow to be what it is today, but the cool thing about the way things have grown is that it's just been really grounded and organic - the product and process are part of my life and my belief systems, and my family being part of it feels normal to me. I feel really lucky he works there, he is a bright spot in my life and always has been, so it's cool we get to hang out everyday. EO is not gender-specific? Do you find that men have a harder time grasping the concept of high-quality skin/body care? I worked to make sure that Everyday Oil came through really neutral and not gendered. I think that in general, men and more masculine people want to treat their skin really well, but feel uncomfortable with how (female) gendered most skincare is and "male" skincare generally seems really heavy handed and smells intense. Why does it need to be either? We all have skin that needs taking care of, gender is a construct, and it felt very obvious to me that Everyday Oil as a product should be for everyone. I wanted to offer something that anyone could feel comfortable using, and that was a beautiful experience, along with being super effective. How does EO delay the aging process (asking for a friend)? Well, most skincare is based on the idea that we need to strip our skin's natural oils (face wash), then use a (mostly synthetic) moisturizer. The first way that Everyday Oil is anti-aging is simply that it stops the disruption of the skin's microbiome that most skincare inflicts, while keeping skin hydrated. Beyond simply not doing that harm that most skincare does, Everyday Oil has so many incredible properties - there are many scientific studies that have been done on these ingredients showing that the antioxidants protect skin cells from damage, reinforce the skin's natural barrier and elasticity, protect against ultraviolet light, increase circulation to the skin, and even boost cell production and reduce fine lines and age spots. My research when developing everyday oil was entirely based on reading scientific journals on oils then trying them out - so it started from that same question - how can I balance, hydrate and protect my skin from aging? EO eradicates the need for face wash. This is truly a mind-boggling concept. Can you tell us how and why? Yes, there are properties in the oil that actually cleanse the skin, detoxifying the skin with anti-bacterial properties as well as properties that help regulate the skin's production of oil. The power of plants! I think the real answer to the question requires us to question our understanding of what it means to be "clean." Just as we are understanding that the microbiome in our gut is actually key to keeping us healthy, we need to understand that our skin has a microbiome as well. Our skin does quite a good job of regulating itself, and destroying that microbiome daily with soap is damaging our skin and causing problems, we are continually removing our skin's natural barrier. Everyday Oil balances alongside the skin's natural oils, bringing cleansing, healing, nourishing and hydrating properties. So the company is called Everyday Oil, but do you actually need to use it every day to see results? I always tell people, use Everyday Oil or use nothing, haha. If you don't use Everyday Oil every day, just use water on your facial skin on the days you don't use it. Once your skin is in balance, it should be able to handle having nothing on it at all. The thing to keep in mind is that many people use all kinds of things on their face - sunscreen, make-up, there are environmental toxins everywhere, we are in the sun and drying our skin out in chlorine. So, Everyday Oil is meant to help counteract all of that and give your skin a helping hand. The less of that you are doing, the less you need. Using it should feel more than utilitarian, though - I think that rituals of nurturing ourselves, our skin, our bodies, are important from an emotional standpoint and can be really grounding.

You’ve been featured in Vogue, Goop, NYT, and others. How were you able to reach such high-profile clientele like Maggie Gyllenhaal? I was pretty surprised about all of that myself, honestly, haha. I have never hired a PR firm or had any professional help with marketing, but I did live in NY for a long time, so I have a lot of friends in the industry or adjacent who have helped me out a lot. I left Asheville after high school and lived in NY for all of my life until three years ago, when I moved back here to set up the company better. All of that just came through friends using it and sharing Everyday Oil. Maggie Gyllenhaal found it in a boutique we are carried in in NY and shared it on her own. It was so kind of her. I have always loved her as an actress so that was super exciting. The number one way that Everyday Oil is promoted is through word of mouth. It really does work, so I have found people are excited to share that with their friends and family, just like I was, and that is really inspiring and energizing for me. How did you react when you saw your feature on Vogue? So happy! I am always so happy and grateful about that stuff! What’s next for EO? Will there be face masks, sugar scrubs, serums, etc? I am still the biggest minimalist and am probably the only company to continually tell you to buy less stuff. We will expand the line, but only from a place of need. There are a few products in the works that I am excited about. Also, I am a real perfectionist, so everything takes a long time. I won't release anything that isn't perfect and necessary, and don't believe in that way of running a business! Skincare is always trending and an incredibly crowded market. What makes your product different than the other brands? What are you all attempting to add to the market? Most skincare is created because someone wants to start a business, they want a piece of the skincare market. 99% of skincare on the market is created by the same big companies who formulate and manufacture off-the-shelf skincare - many products on the market from different companies are actually the same product sold under a different company name, maybe scented slightly different, etc. Most of those formulations have low quality ingredients with a small percentage being higher quality or "actives." The margins are huge, and a lot of the innovation is simply in marketing techniques. Everyday Oil is sort of anti beauty - we offer something that no one else does (well, people are starting to copy now, honestly) but it came from a place of curiosity and discovery...and the intent was to share something helpful with the world. I think by staying true to that ethos and trying to innovate from that place, I hope we can continue to provide something people simply can't get from that very crowded market.

For more information on Everyday Oil, visit their website: https://everydayoil.com/