Can you please share with the AILLEA audience a little background about yourself, both personally and professionally?
I grew up in Washington, DC, and attended college and medical school there as well. My husband and I moved out to Carbondale, Colorado in 2005, when I had finished my residency, and our first daughter was two years old. After ten years of practicing emergency medicine, I was frustrated by trying to practice good medicine inside a broken system. I wanted to connect with people in a positive way, empowering them to contribute to their own health, but that’s tough to do in the ER setting. I loved the work, but after having a second daughter and losing my mom to cancer, I started percolating about how to make a change
What was your inspiration when initially launching the Osmia brand?
I took a class making soap at a local ranch, and something changed in my brain. The combination of chemistry and art was fascinating, and the process made me think about all the ingredients we use on our skin every day. After practicing emergency medicine for a decade, I’d seen countless cases of eczema, dermatitis, and unexplained rashes. The more research I did, the more I connected the dots: common ingredients in our personal care products might be contributing to our skin and health issues. After a couple more years of research and product development, I launched Osmia with the intention to help people use healthier ingredients in their daily lives—with much more joy, and much less impact on the planet. Every email I get from a customer whose skin has healed because of our products makes me practically well up with tears! And knowing that our products, when they wash down your drain, are doing no harm to plants or other animals is invaluable to me.
Where did the name 'Osmia' come from?
The word anosmia means the inability to smell—something lots of folks have experienced during the pandemic. When you’re pregnant you have hyperosmia, where you can smell things from miles away. Parosmia means an altered sense of smell. I plucked the word Osmia to mean a sense of smell, or more broadly, a sense of life. By savoring the little daily movements that make up your days, you can go from living mindlessly to living mindfully, and the difference is life-changing.
Why was creating a clean / conscious beauty line important to you?
Because it’s the right thing to do for humans and the planet, and it’s the only way forward. We can’t ignore the impact of our behavior like it’s the 1950s anymore. We have to make better choices in an effort to undo some of the harm we have done; cleaner, safer ingredients and environmentally considerate packaging need to become the new normal. We do obsessive homework on sustainable sourcing and packaging, and are committed to constant evolution in those areas. We make most of our products in-house, and we plant a tree for every order—we’ve planted over 87,000 trees in Colorado so far!
What are some of the hero ingredients featured in the Osmia collection?
I believe aloe is a miracle plant. It’s hydrating, soothing, anti-inflammatory, and promotes healing, moisture retention, and collagen production. It’s the main ingredient in our Purely Simple Face Cream and Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser, and it’s beneficial for every skin type—not many ingredients have a resumé like that.
What is your personal favorite Osmia product?
Probably the Black Clay Facial Soap, because it saved my skin, and has now saved a LOT of other faces. I have a condition called perioral dermatitis, which is really tricky to manage. The Black Clay Facial Soap is a little dose of black magic when it comes to skin prone to dermatitis, eczema, and acne.
Can you share any pro tips for how to use your favorite product (or any product(s) within the collection)?
I love the Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser as a mask! The combination of chamomile extract, honey, and glacial oceanic clay cleans skin deeply but leaves your face feeling super soft and plump. I leave it on for about five minutes and then gently wash it off in the shower.
What are your favorite non-Osmia products or brands at AILLEA?
Oh, so many! Captain Blankenship, Innersense, Josh Rosebrook, One Love, Organic Bath Co, Tata Harper, and Ursa Major to name a few!