Our ethos is that skincare is an act of slow self-care - a grounding, mindful ritual providing balance in your morning and calm in your evening.
I'm a pessimist and love a good argument. If this idea were newly presented to me, it would be met with a sharp snarky exhale, a wry smile, and an onslaught of comments and questions.
First of which, why should I believe? This idea feels a bit high brow and disconnected; I'd lump it in with celebrity 20 step morning routines featuring aesthetic smoothie bowls. I'm often rushing to get ready for my day - this idea may fit for some but not for me, at least not at this stage of my life.
The second question would be, does your brand actually believe this? It feels like an easy out, a low investment (time, money, care) way to claim some distinctiveness without having to earn much of anything.
The response would start with some context about what the idea promises and does not -
This idea is a piece that may add some wellbeing to your life, not a solution by itself - mindfulness in whatever form can integrate to the core blocks of family, friends, community, medical support, economic wellbeing, good nutrition, fitness and others.
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of the present, observing what thoughts arise and pass. Engaging in the practice allows us to explore our mind over time - being aware of thought patterns and observing thoughts with less attachment. That's the promise.
So, let's begin with question #1: why should I believe?
Let's picture what this change may look like -
Let's say it's any Tuesday morning, you frantically silence your alarm, prop yourself up and are met with a ghost quiet. A blank stare out the window, as you wait for the rest of you to wake. As you roll out of bed and hobble over to your bathroom - your mind feels hazy, mixed with dreams, a quiet mix of soft emotions, and oddly enough a song stuck in your head.
You look in the mirror and see the outline of your pillow on your cheek, sunken in eyes, and disheveled hair. Instead of a sense of recognition and energy when viewing your reflection, there's a wait. A waiting for something, a conscious intentional thought, a spark of direction - something. But you continue to wait.
In the meantime, you run through the routine. Brush teeth. Shower. Face wash. Serum. Moisturizer etc. etc. Throughout this race, familiar thought patterns move through you - some pleasant, some neutral, some anxious - but all familiar.
By the time your clothes are on and you're ready to leave the door, your mind has run a gambit and you've run through 5 familiar routines without a question or hitch.
That's the morning, that's the start of this day and countless others, that's the direction of your mindset, and that's how you approach the uncertain world.
Now, let's present an alternative -
You wake with the same haze - odd song stuck in your end, weird blend of emotions - and the same face when you look in the mirror, disheveled and beige in energy.
But, when you reach for your face wash you recall that quirky brand - their aesthetics, language, feel, but most importantly the belief. Maybe, just maybe, you exhale - deep and intentional - welcoming the inhale and deciding to focus on the minutia.
You observe the way the product lathers in your hands, your hands gliding across your cheekbones, the brushing of the counterclockwise movements met with blood rush - the gentle aroma of geranium and bergamot - before long, you recognize new small, practically insignificant, sensations but decide to give them a new type of attention. The same thought patterns arise during this morning practice, but you've established an intention to observe them in a healthy manner rather than being all-encompassed by them.
That's it - that's the direction of your mindset, and that's how you approach the uncertain world - present, aware.
Scientific studies analyzing mindfulness' relationship with anxiety, depression, and mental resilience are still nascent - meaning more work must be done before a lay-person like myself can blanketly claim its efficacy. That said, a meta-analysis in 2021 of 26 studies (2) found that mindfulness-based programs can increase self-compassion in nonclinical populations. Self-compassion - defined as extending compassion to oneself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering - has been shown to correlate negatively with depression, anxiety and stress.
Whether the narrative or the emerging science sparks your interest, I would encourage anyone to try this belief for a few weeks and see if it fits you.
Now, question #2: does the brand actually believe this?
This brand joins an industry packed with products of whatever function or price you could need. Our perspective was if we couldn't bring something of new, genuine value - we did not want to launch a brand and contribute to meaningless consumption.
While researching it was clear that while saturated, the industry underperformed on sustainability and was not really thinking about what role skincare could play within wellness at all. We could create pressure as an outsider.
Sustainability is a bit obvious, but why wellness?
Well, we spoke to over 50 friends, and there is something base about having 'good' or 'bad' skin. 'Good' skin gives many the confidence to go about their day as fully themselves, while 'bad' skin caused some people to disengage from their day. When asking what being 'fully' themselves meant, many responded with 'I'm not so in my head' or 'I'm more confident to say and do what I want' - a lot of sentiments that aligned with the definition of being present / mindful.
As someone with vitiligo, the promise of 'good' skin is something I would've killed for when younger, but now it rings a little hallow. 'Good' skin is a function of gut health, lifestyle, genetics, and skincare - pieces that are not always easy to control. Why not be a brand that facilitates the mindset as opposed to just a function? Why not build a brand and products that represent a key part of a process - a daily process reminding that person to slow down, engage in the present, and 'be yourself' today - 'good' skin be damned.
So, we truly believe we can represent a reminder, a signal, a gentle ring to practice mindfulness in this one small act of self-care with the hopes that the intentional act of presence may bleed into other aspects of your day.
Now, I'd like to highlight how that belief has been actualized in our work -
First, the bottles. Inspired by Japanese Zen gardens, where the act of tending to the garden and raking gravel is an act of meditation - this pragmatic, simple view of mindfulness inspired the bottle design. Quiet, understated, and minimalistic while holding character. Our goal is to have the façade of the bottle serve as a gentle visual daily reminder to slow down and find retreat in this simple, beautiful practice.
Second, the aesthetic language. Our visual inspirations are a diverse set from historic brands, film, art and more - some influence from Jil Sander and Chanel editorial work in the 90s, Hitchcock coloring from the 60s, Terrence Malick's framing, the playful editing of La Nouvelle Vague in works like Breathless, color from Harlem Renaissance paintings like the works of Jacob Lawrence, and more that I hope to delve into over time. While a wild concoction, the desired effect is meaningful minimalism. Meaningful minimalism to us means visual content that is focused on one subject at a time in a deep narrative manner - think of depth, texture, quiet frames, playful editing between concepts, rich colors, and filmic grain. Less is more, until more is more. Everything to breath the same feel - presence, self-love, warmth etc. - without waste.
Third, advertising language. Over time, we aim to partner with different authors on this blog and our social media that can educate or provide a personal perspective on the holistic approach on health that impacts your skincare. As touched on earlier, your skin health is driven by gut health, lifestyle, genetics, and skincare. However small, maybe one of these articles or pieces of content can introduce a concept or practice that adds value to your wellbeing.
This belief on its surface feels lofty and difficult to explain. But we believe - we believe there are a group of you out there that either embody this now or want to - that an act, however small, when made reverent can be a beautiful grounding ritual engaging presence and setting the mind in an intentional direction. Maybe its crazy, maybe its valuable for you. Try it.
Let us know what you think -
Thank you for your time and attention
- Artwork created on Midjourney AI
- Golden, H.L., Vosper, J., Kingston, J. et al.The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Programmes on Self-Compassion in Nonclinical Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Mindfulness12, 29–52 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01501-8