Since launching our Lifestyle category two weeks ago, we knew that Self Care would be an essential, core part of it- as it is so essential to our overall wellness, especially during stressful times as these. Erin Wexstten, founder and creator or Oxalis Apothecary, our newest Self Care brand launch, is here to talk about the inspiration behind her brand, her skincare routine, and why New Orleans is such a special city to handcraft her products.
Cella’s: What inspired you to start the Oxalis brand?
Erin - Skincare has always been a huge part of my life and the ritual was instilled in me at an early age from my Mother and Grandmother. They taught me to always take care of my skin and take pride in self-care. As I got older, I started really educating myself on what products I was using. I began switching to natural products and welcomed many brands into my routine and the experience was life changing, my troubled skin finally found relief. I was a fashion designer in NYC for over a decade and while I loved so much of the work, I found myself longing to fulfill my childhood passion for plants, nature, and skincare. Additionally, my father was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia in 2012 at the age of 60 and this news changed a lot for me. I started to really understand what it meant when people said “life is so short” and “you never know what lies ahead”. I knew it was time for me to spread my wings and create something that I was truly passionate about. The official launch was in June 2015 after many months of developing the formulations, creating the labels and branding, setting up photoshoots and building the website. Fast forward 5 years and here we are, still making beautiful, natural skincare - I’m so grateful for this work!
C: What is the ideal skincare routine? How do you layer your products?
Erin - We believe skincare does not need to be complicated to be effective. Quite the opposite actually, as optimal skin health can be achieved simply, but the products used must be formulated with quality ingredients. My morning routine is a Clay Mask 1-3 times a week, followed by our Rose + Neroli Toning Mist and Daily Glow Facial Serum which apply after my SPF. These products make my skin glowy, hydrated and healthy and I can easily go without makeup and feel confident, however, you can layer all of these products under make up with no excessive oil build-up. Nighttime routine is a 30 second-1 minute cleanse with our French Sea Clay + Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser. I love this cleanser - it’s a creamy, non-foaming formula, similar to what an oil cleanser but even more powerful and will never leave skin feeling tight or over-washed. You want to use the cleanser on a dry face and massage until it dissolves. I follow with more Toning Mist and I’ve been using our soon-to-be-released Nightly Renewal Serum, but more Daily Glow is perfect and it can be layered over a balm or moisturizer if you need more hydration.
C: What types of ingredients do you choose to use in your products?
Erin - ALL of our ingredients are 100% natural, sourced from all over the world, are of premium quality and unrefined and organic when suitable and available. They are rich in antioxidants, omegas, vitamins, minerals and can all be found in nature - every single ingredient is plant derived or naturally mined. We believe in the philosophy of quality over quantity and we only choose to formulate with ingredients that have a function. Zero synthetics or additives - skincare you can feel good about.
C: Your products are made in New Orleans- what makes this city great/why did you choose it for skincare product production?
Erin - New Orleans is a seriously special place and I fell in love with the city after visiting in 2014. I’d never experienced Mardi Gras, didn’t go to college here and I have no family connections in Louisiana, yet the city stole my heart the very first time I visited. I finally felt like I was home. The culture, architecture, food, community, music, it all resonated with my soul. It’s hard to describe that feeling but, if you know, you know. I was seeking a slower life pace, somewhere to raise children, be surrounded by more nature, as I grew up in the woods in rural Southern IL. The fast-paced NY/Brooklyn days served me well in my 20’s and early 30’s but, I couldn’t stop thinking about New Orleans. My partner and I visited 4 more times in 2015 and moved here at the end of January 2016. We’re proud to call NOLA home and handcraft our Oxalis products in the studio on our Broadmoor property.
C: What is your self care routine to decompress at the end of the day?
Erin - Almost every evening around 5:15pm, my partner, 15 month old son and I take a walk around the neighborhood, usually with a glass of wine, because you can do that in New Orleans! It is my favorite time of the day, being with my little family, talking about the day and checking out the new flowers blooming and neighbors' new landscaping. After dinner and bathtime and clean up, I usually enjoy an episode of a show, Facetime with a friend or take a bath. If it's a particularly beautiful evening, I’ll sit outside in the yard or front porch swing and listen to music and eat a sweet treat.
C: What does a regular day look like for you now with quarantine? Has it changed?
Erin - In a lot of ways, quarantine life doesn’t look much different for me. Since the studio is on the property, I’m able to work from the house answering emails and checking Instagram while having breakfast with my son before heading out to work. The main difference now is that my partner is home, as he was the general manager of a French Quarter restaurant and is no longer working. It’s been amazing having him home, as I had to temporarily lay off my employees and am running the business alone. It’s a lot of work and I’m back to making all of the products, which I didn’t realize how much I missed, packing orders, answering emails, etc. I miss the team and look forward to having them back here soon but for now, we are committed to safety. It’s a privilege to do this work and I am so grateful for the support of this community and to everyone ordering online, for themselves or sending care packages to loved ones. Life looks different right now but the humanity and togetherness I’m witnessing is really getting me through hard moments and days. Can’t wait to see and hug everyone after we’re on the other side of this!
Thanks so much to Erin for taking the time to share her journey with us and for creating these natural, ingredient-rich products that are quickly becoming favorites of ours.
Shop our range of Oxalis Apothecary here!