She Started A Natural Skincare Company To Help Her Daughter Heal.
We all have a different path in life. Some people are born knowing exactly where they will land, others wander enjoying the view. Then, there are the few that dig in for the long haul and take the road less traveled. Regardless of where you land, your journey is unique and fully customizable. It is one of the reasons that I love interviewing the change makers in the clean beauty industry – everyone has a special “why” and a different road taken.
I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to introduce the thoughtful powerhouse that is Andrea Pierce Naymon of OY-L Natural. But, I think that the title really says it all.
With a career that started in pharmaceutical and anesthesia machine sales, I’m not sure that anyone could anticipate Andrea’s next two career moves. The business savvy sales-woman made a complete life change and became a fashion buyer, where she excelled for over 20 years. Andrea traveled to New York four to six times a year visiting showrooms and buying “everything from Vince to Dolce and Gabbana.” Exciting and something that most girls would dream about – absolutely – but, there is so much more to her story than high powered positions in difficult industries.
Andrea is also a mother to two beautiful girls (and arguably the most important job of them all). Her passion project and one of my favorite skincare brands, OY-L Natural, grew from her love for the girls and a need for change.
How did OY-L Natural start?
“OY-L was born because my youngest daughter became very sick her junior year in high school. She started having seizures and fainting spells. We spent 2 years in and out of the Cleveland Clinic and finally after a tilt table test she was diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). This Is a chronic Illness that Is triggered by a virus (Epstein Barr Virus) that causes tachycardia, stomach issues, fainting, lower blood pressure and fatigue to name a few. Her blood volume lowers and she needs IVs or a lot of salt and water. So with having to sit In the Cleveland Clinic for months and years, I started to read labels and horrified by what I found. Were these chemicals affecting my daughter’s health? I turned her old play room into a lab and started making products that were clean and plant-based.“
When Andrea and I first started speaking, we connected over Epstein Barr Virus and it’s often debilitating symptoms. There are many strains of the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and they frequently manifest in different ways. Over the years, EBV has caused my body an incredible amount of stress and pain. I began suffering from chronic mono/chronic fatigue at the age of 21 and years later it morphed into chronic pain (fibromyalgia symptoms). One of the things that I learned over the years was how products (skincare, makeup, shampoo, you name it), food, and household chemicals can create an unnecessary burden on your immune system.
The OY-L Natural products were incredibly appealing to me because of the simple, clean nature of the ingredients. When I tried the body butter for the first time (one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE PRODUCTS EVER) the quality of the ingredients were undeniable. My dry, dry skin, went from a cracked draught ridden desert to a soft, hydrated texture that I had never seen.
The quality of your products is undeniable. Can you tell me more about that process?
“I work with a very reputable oil distributor to make sure I have quality products. Once, I settled on my core products, Manuka 20+ honey, hemp seed oil, pink Himalayan salt and lavender essential oil, I needed to put together a formula that complemented these ingredients. I try very hard to find Ingredients that are sustainable like meadowfoam oil, which is non-comedogenic and acts as an antioxidant to the other oils.“
As I mentioned earlier, the OY-L Natural skincare products are in a league of very few (especially for the price point which is affordable $20-$65). When you try Andrea’s natural Exfoliating Manuka Mask for the first time, you will understand what I mean. It feels like a fruit puree for your face – good enough to eat, yet thick, sticky and effective at both exfoliating and cleansing. And, the ingredient list is outstanding. Take a look for yourself.
Ingredients: Manuka 20+ Honey, Wild-Crafted Honey, Abyssinian Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Frankincense Oil, Organic Rose Petals, Organic Lavender Buds, Colloidal Oatmeal, Rosehip Oil, Blueberry & Cranberry Seeds, Rosehip Extract, Willow Bark Extract.*
* (taken directly from the website)
I mean, don’t those ingredients just sound heavenly? I can tell you that they are also INCREDIBLE. As you all know, I do not take my skincare lightly and the more natural the product the better. So… naturally, I had to ask Andrea the next question.
Do you have a favorite ingredient?
“My favorite ingredient is Manuka honey! This Is truly a gift from the bees and Mother Nature. It’s so pure and natural. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, does not clog pores, can balance your skins pH, a moisturizer, helps heal troubled skin.
Because my daughter needed to consume a lot of salt, I did a lot of research on that too. White table salt Is bleached and processed at such high temperatures, there is really not much beneficial to it except for taste. Pink Himalayan salt comes from ancient sea beds in the Himalayans and it is not processed. It is pink because of the 84 minerals it contains. These are mineral our body needs. I use it in cooking too because it tastes just as good as “bleached” salt.“
As someone who has spent years trying to understand why my immune system was so weak, I really appreciate Andrea’s attention to detail. Even something as simple as salt was thought about during formulation – I mean shouldn’t everything that we incorporate into our lives come with an added benefit?
So much of what we eat has been stripped of most/all natural benefits, or it is picked, pulled, and sourced at such a young age (or unseasonable time) that it doesn’t have time to develop to its full potential. This chain of events means it is increasingly difficult to get the vitamins, minerals and energy that we need from the food that we eat. What does that mean for us? It means that our bodies /immune systems will struggle to thrive in this environment of chemical overload without a conscious effort to supplement it.
Most of our health issues come from the gut, viral overload, and/or a depleted, struggling immune system. Skin issues are no exception. But, certain ingredients give back to the body and help it heal. Andrea found this to be true when she shared her first product with her sister-in-law.
So you had the idea for cleaner skincare products, what did you decide to introduce first?
“After giving a jar of my first product, Body Butter, to my sister-in-law, she called to ask me what was in it. She told me about the horrible eczema she had and was taking all kinds of topical and ingestible drugs for It. When she scratched her legs, they would bleed. After using it for a week, it was gone and her doctor couldn’t believe it.“
One of the reasons that I love clean beauty is that in the really great products there are really great ingredients. Those ingredients have the ability to help people heal, like good food. What have some of your proudest moments been with the company?
Those are some incredible moments. I would have been over the moon too! It also says a lot about you that one of your top moments was changing your sister-in-laws life.
I would love for everyone to get to know a little bit more about you. (For anyone who follows Andrea, @oylnatural on instagram, you may noticed a theme of adorable french bulldogs and succulents.)
“I do have some favorite hobbies: I have 3 succulents gardens! They give me such joy to look at my plants and rearrange them with candles and knickknacks.
I also like to repurpose old furniture! I like to find new ways to us them and make them new again. I’m very crafty and a wizard with spray paint!
I have 3 rescues, 2 cats and a French bulldog. You might have noticed my love of animal in my Instagram. They give me such joy and love and I can’t wait to get home to snuggle with them.“
Speaking of babies, your daughters are all grown up. Where are your daughters?
“My daughters are gone, one lives In Sweden and the other In Seattle. I miss them terribly. But thank God for Skype and computers!“
No kidding – those are some long distances. You took a huge leap of faith with starting OY-L Natural and I know that your family has helped support you along the way. How does it feel owning your own business?
“Being an entrepreneur is not easy. There are times when I want to go home and crawl into bed. It’s a 24/7 job with so much to learn about supply chain, marketing, regulations, employee issues etc. In the beginning, I did it all, even mopping the floors. Decisions have to be made and then you second guess yourself…. original capital runs out and then you bootstrap.
Investors call and then they need tons of paperwork or your revenue isn’t enough for them. (I’m talking it needs to be in the $5 million range, OY!) Women have a hard time getting capital because I don’t think most men understand the size of the beauty market. I would always say, ‘If I had invented a cool golf club, I wouldn’t have such a hard time getting capital.’“
I know that starting OY-L Natural was a huge undertaking and that it’s been worth the risk, investment, time and effort. It’s really an honor to be sharing your story and to watch you change the industry through spreading your mission and creating amazing, clean skincare products. From the outside, it all looks so effortless.
“When you have passion for what you are doing, you adapt and carry on.“
What a powerful message about perseverance and passion.
I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention my must-have products from Andrea’s collection – and I would be lying if I didn’t say that you really will want everything. But, if I had to pick a few….
OMG AND THE MANUKA MASK. How could I forget that???? Oh dang, and the kits…. The Be Well Kit and the Travel Kit. Okay, just go shop. Andrea has been kind enough to give my followers a discount code for this month. Shop the link below and use TARA20 at checkout.
Click the links above to go directly to the product or head to OY-L Natural Website for the full product list.