As we get ready to launch waterless skincare brand, Vemel, we take a deep dive into the truth behind your average beauty products. We’re talking product efficacy and real solutions for people with sensitive and easily irritated skin with Vemel’s founder, Agi Miel. Here’s what being a waterless skincare brand is all about.
What is waterless skincare for those who don’t already know?
Waterless skincare isn’t a new concept, it’s been around for years. But if you look at your average skincare label, you’ll find “aqua” right at the top. That’s because brands have to list their ingredients in the order of volume.
Water generally makes up the majority of skincare products, but water doesn’t absorb into the skin, and it gets in the ways of the other powerful, active ingredients in there.
What inspired you to set up Vemel as a waterless brand?
Our main aim was to focus on results. If your product has around 80% water in there, you can’t benefit from it that much. It’s about education too, there are lots of misleading labels and confusing terminology in skincare.
For example, a product might market itself as containing raspberry when it only has about 1% of that ingredient in there. At a glance, you’d miss that. Our products don’t contain water, and they only include the ingredients you see in plain English on the label.
Even products like serums can contain water. That’s why we always make oil-based rather than water-based serums to keep the efficacy high.
What kinds of ingredients do you champion in your products?
We use ingredients that are unique and formulated for specific results. They are organically farmed or wildcrafted, which means they’re from natural sources, like clay for instance, which is farmed from nature rather than “grown”. And we don’t use harsh actives like retinol, which can cause reactions.
We also choose things that won’t clog or irritate your skin, and that just deliver the goodness. They are all easily absorbed too. For example, mango butter is an ingredient we love, because it delivers the nutrients but doesn’t sit on the skin like shea.
Aloe vera gel is another interesting example. We initially wanted to use it, but you get it in gel or liquid form. To keep it fresh preservatives and alcohol are needed which irritate the skin. So, we decided to use it in maceration form, which avoids these issues and keeps it waterless too.
How does being a waterless brand tie into other environmental strategies, like being organic?
The reality is that many brands claim things like “vegan” and “organic” and they are not true. We can see from speaking to new clients that problematic skin is a huge trend now. They try what they believe are organic products and still get reactions.
We always used genuine organic ingredients to make our natural skincare products, which are farmed organically, and produced organically, because they deliver better results. They don’t react with skin like non-organic products can.
Take something like eczema and using colloidal oats for instance. People with eczema often try things like colloidal oat baths, which are meant to soothe, and still, get reactions. This is because they are not truly farmed organically, and the chemicals are reacting with their skin.
It’s about being kind to the planet too. Being 100% organic is part of how we do this. We also only use glass, because no matter what, plastic is never truly recyclable. New products only ever use a percentage of recycled plastic, and if your empties aren’t rinsed properly, they are disregarded.
How do you formulate your products and hit all those markers, like being vegan and cruelty-free?
It’s not hard at all! All these things tie together as far as we’re concerned. Some people don’t realise that vegan ingredients may have been tested on animals, and cruelty-free products may have ingredients derived from animals in them.
In our minds, if you want vegan products, you won’t want to have them tested on animals! So, being both vegan and cruelty-free is an obvious step. There are enough wonderful ingredients from nature, so it’s easy to find these and stay in line with these values.
How important is transparency to you as a brand?
We feel it’s important to educate people on what skincare terms and accreditations mean so they can choose products that fit with their ethical values.
We don’t want to mislead people. That trust and transparency are at the heart of everything we’ve done since day one. That’s why we always label everything in plain English, so people instantly understand what’s in their product.
We are clear about why we don’t use certain ingredients too. That’s why we don’t use essential oils. Right at the beginning we considered it, but we learned that it could burn the skin if it’s not diluted, it can cause hyperpigmentation, and it’s harmful to aquatic life. That’s why you have to put a hazard sign on your label if they’re in there. All those things automatically ruled essential oils out for us immediately.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give consumers who’d like to make a conscious choice in their skincare for both their health and the planet?
To learn to read the labels on your skincare products. You can’t make a conscious choice without that.
If your label says something like 80% water, there’s little room for the good ingredients. And if you care about animals and the planet, choosing vegan and cruelty-free and organic or wildcrafted ingredients is key.