Skin Care Q & A with SkinOwl Founder Annie Tevelin
15 years ago, Tevelin was a makeup artist working with a face full of makeup on the East Coast. After relocating to Los Angeles, she experienced some major acne flair up with the change in weather. “Going from East Coast humidity to weird, dry LA weather, my skin totally freaked out. I was like a walking Proactive commercial, it was so bad.”
Visiting the dermatologist and throwing away money on dead-end skincare products became a recurring and never-ending nightmare for Tevelin. “Everything that was being sold to me was bs and just wasn’t working- it was always like ‘try this topical benzoyl peroxide or go on Accutane!’
In a pursuit for knowledge and answers, Tevelin decided to go back to school. She enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA and went on to receive a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry.
Soon after completing the program, Tevelin put her expanding knowledge of ingredients and formulations to good use: she took to her kitchen and begin experimenting with potential concoctions to help out her skin woes. In the meantime, she also started a private Facebook group for fellow acne-sufferers and those in search of proof-is-in-the-pudding products.
Under the pseudonym “SkinOwl” (Tevelin’s alter-ego), she began answering friend’s skincare questions and dosing out a ton of advice and product suggestions. In less than a year, her Facebook group grew from 6 people to 1600 active members, the Geranium Beauty Drops were born in her kitchen and SkinOwl got a landing page. The rest is history.
Today, SkinOwl is stocked at green beauty hubs like Credo Beauty, The Detox Market and Pharmaca and included in green beauty boxes like Art of Organics and Beauty Heroes.
Q & A
artnaturals:Why all natural ingredients?
Annie Tevelin: It depends on what price you want to “pay”. First of all I want to make that correction to people that think “green beauty” is expensive. You can go to Target or get on Amazon and find some of the best green beauty ever... and it is going to be very similar to regular beauty products. The green beauty industry has gotten very savvy and it’s gotten more competitive and it’s not like $130 for this serum, and it’s not all this really granola, crunchy stuff that doesn’t look pretty on a vanity. What price do you want to pay, more now or more later when you get a hospital bill for infertility or mood disorders or cancer. You can find options that are just as good as “normal beauty” products.
Artnaturals: What is your favorite natural oil and why?
Annie Tevelin: Argan. It’s the perfect oil. Argan is an interesting oil because you can have a more nutty look to it or it can look a little cloudy and that doesn't mean it’s rotten. Keep in mind that you don’t want it to smell sour- you want it to smell like a nut, like an almond.
artnaturals: What are your thoughts on serums i.e. hyaluronic, retinol, etc?
Annie Tevelin: I love them! Botanically-sourced hyaluronic acid is my favorite. Hyaluronic acid in general is usually derived from bone marrow and animal ligaments. But you can get the exact same thing when it is plant sourced.
artnaturals: Do natural ingredients even matter since we have a cell turnover rate and constantly shed dead skin?
Annie Tevelin: Your products penetrate to your bloodstream, not just your skin. So even though you might have cellular turnover, you don’t have toxicity blood turnover. And you don’t know the culmination of toxins on the blood and organs. So your skin might shed, but it’s like someone who smokes cigarettes. Then you look inside and its like that kind of thing.
artnaturals: Fall is upon us! What are some skin care tips you can recommend for the cooler season?
Annie Tevelin: I would use something different at night, Particularly when you sleep, your body temperature goes up and dehydrates you. I would incorporate a heavier plant oil or try mixing it into a lotion or moisturizer. Give yourself a bit more nourishment while you sleep. As it gets colder, facial steaming is also so good. The warmth and meditation is so good.
artnaturals: What do you consider to be the best ingredient for oily or blemish-prone skin?
Annie Tevelin: Argan oil for sure!
artnaturals: What do you consider to be the best ingredient for aging or tired-looking skin?
Annie Tevelin: Maqui berry. It is such a high antioxidant that kills off the look of aged skin. Everybody just looks younger after using it.
artnaturals: What do you consider to be the best ingredient for dry skin?
Annie Tevelin: Baobab oil. It is more emollient.
artnaturals: What are some skin care trends to avoid?
Annie Tevelin: In matters of acne, people should shy away from trying to burn their face off. I.e. doing a peel and a Clarisonic and a Retinol and an exfoliator. I would nourish and hydrate and Ph balance the skin. If you have acne, words like “calming” are what you should look for.
I am all about mixing and matching, like light treatment mixed with a peel, all of that can help. But don’t flip flop. We are always hearing about new product and we are always hearing about new treatments, it is so easy as a consumer to be like ‘I am going to go do this facial today then go to this treatment.’ Pick something you are gonna stick with and do it for 28 days and see how your skin responds. If you incorporate too many products and treatments and your skin starts freaking out, you won’t know what to attribute it to.