Jasmine Garnsworthy, Founder of The Buff Skincare
These days, the most stellar and shout-from-the-rooftops good products come from the experts. And no, not just the scientists sitting in the back of a laboratory-- the artists, stylists and editors who actually use them. That's why we fell for Jasmine Garnsworthy, a beauty editor and writer at the forefront of every burgeoning trend known to womankind. She used her beauty prowess and years on the job to first solve her own battle with skin issues, and then arm others to do the same-- all with a chic, personalized flair with her creation, The Buff. If you've ever wanted to dip your toe in the luxurious world of beauty oils, but afraid you'd just end up with clogged pores and a shiny forehead-- this one's for you.
Can you share with us your journey to starting The Buff?
I’ve worked as a health, beauty, and fashion journalist—with a focus on natural beauty—for many years and in 2016 finally made the leap to freelancing. Around the same time my obsession with natural beauty deepened after switching to an all-natural routine transformed my own complexion. I decided to launch a customized natural beauty line, beginning with some of my favorite products: facial and body oils.
How does customizing each body oil change the product or results?
There are a few ways body oils can be customized. Like face oil blends, the essential oils that are selected for each skin type have totally different properties. Some are great for scars and stretch marks while others focus on hydration or soothing itchy skin. Anyone with specific sensitivities may need to avoid certain essential oils, which we discover during the ordering process and factor in when tailoring a customer’s blend.
What kinds of oils do you use and why?
The Buff draws on a library of about 30 carrier and essential oils! Jojoba oil is one of my personal favorites—I use it daily. Jojoba is ultra-nourishing and hydrating, and very closely mimics the skin’s own natural sebum (which means it absorbs very quickly—no greasy residue!). Geranium is an amazing essential oil; it’s lightly antibacterial, calming, can tone the skin, and speeds up cell renewal to help with signs of aging or scars. Customers with acne-prone or oily skin love jojoba, clary sage essential oil, lemon essential oil, and argan oil, which can help balance out your skin’s oil production.
What is the biggest myth about oils you want to debunk?
Oh, so many! As someone with hormonal acne I know from experience that ultra lightweight oils (like jojoba and argan) will not trigger a breakout when used correctly! I actually love applying both to help with blemish-related redness and to clear acne-related marks and scars. Some people also believe oils will leave their face looking shiny and feeling greasy. If this is the case, you’re using too much: A few drops is all you need. Facial oils should absorb within five minutes and if they don’t, you’re either using the wrong type or applying far too much.
Are there any downsides or types of oils you should stay away from?
We have a lot of nervous customers come to us saying they tried coconut oil on their face and it caused a breakout and left their skin feeling super-greasy. Guys, don’t put coconut oil on your face—please!! It’s extremely occlusive and does not absorb well. Stick to lighter, dry oils like rosehip, argan, maracuja, or jojoba on your face and leave coconut as a treatment for your hair.
(image via The Buff)
How do your facial oils differ from your body oils.
We tend to use “dry" oils like rosehip on the face as they absorb more quickly than others, while you can often look to thicker, more hydrating body oils like chia seed for leave-on body products. When selecting the concentration of essential oil in a blend, a formulator needs to consider the various dermal limits that are safe for face and body products. For example, some essential oils (like lemon) can only make up two percent of a leave-on facial oil blend, but four percent of a body oil.
We also select essential oils based on each customer’s skin type, and obviously that differs between face and body! Ylang ylang and Jasmine are commonly used in body oils, while geranium, rose, lemon, chamomile, and frankincense are effective face oil ingredients.
You started a business in an already populated industry. How did you make sure The Buff stood out?
Customers are responding really well to the customization element and being able to tailor a natural product to their own needs. This is definitely something we’re going to focus and build upon.
What does your morning/night routine or ritual look like?
I’m not great at sticking to a routine–my priorities and schedule change fairly regularly. Right now most mornings I make eggs and a green smoothie while responding to customer emails on my phone. If I’m working from the home office and don’t have meetings in the morning I avoid putting on makeup and just wash my face with water and apply a little oil. At around 9:30 a.m. I meditate (most days!), and then get started at my computer.
In the evening my skincare routine is a little more thorough. I take my makeup off with an oil cleanser (it dissolves dirt like magic), then use a cream cleanser. I either apply a hydrating serum or Vitamin A serum next and then use a facial oil. Some nights I just apply oil straight to my clean skin and use a little eye cream. If my skin’s feeling congested I use a charcoal mask for about 20 minutes after the oil cleanser.
What inspired you to take the plunge into natural beauty?
In my 20s my skin exploded in painful cystic acne, and it didn’t respond to medications and prescribed ointments. After a few months I decided to cut all the topical creams and antibiotics out of routine and just use simple, natural products like oil cleansers and charcoal face masks. While also cleaning up my skincare routine I followed a microbiome diet and sought advice from an herbalist about ways to address the underlying hormonal causes for my acne. My skin cleared in three weeks, and I haven’t looked back.
(image via The Buff)
What advice do you have about incorporating oils into your beauty routine.
Whatever you apply first to your skin is generally what’s most absorbed, so we recommend applying oil directly to clean skin. However if you use a serum or moisturizer you can apply that first and then lather on the facial oil as a final layer. A couple of drops of facial oil to your foundation will also give skin a dewy, fresh finish.
What tip do you have for people who have either just started a business or who are looking to become entrepreneurs.
Running a business is still very new to me, but there are a couple of early lessons I’ve learned. I regularly lean on other female founders for advice and support, and am always blown away by how forthcoming and willing to share they are. I try to be equally open and happily hand over contacts and information that could be helpful to others. Starting a business is hard, and it really helps to surround yourself with likeminded women from the beginning.
What have you learned most about yourself since starting your own business?
Starting a business has brought out both the best and the most flawed edges of my personality. I’m definitely more focused, single-minded, and wiling to make personal sacrifices for the good of my business than I ever thought I could be.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want everyone who comes in contact with The Buff to walk away more educated about what they're putting on their skin, and feel empowered to ask questions and dig deeper to discover just what ingredients are safe, clean, and effective in treating their specific skin concerns.