About a week after I started using Avoila’s Nourishing Face Oil, I took the risk of visiting a friend I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic. After carefully greeting each other without hugging — which is still so counterintuitive, she commented on the brightness and freshness of my skin. Running a magazine that focuses on skincare means becoming a guinea pig for all sorts of toners and serums on the regular, so much so that sometimes it takes me a couple days to differentiate the impact of new products in my routine. But I didn’t have to figure which product was responsible for the shift, I’d already seen it within a day of trying the Avoila oil.
Using this unusual, relatively new face oil, with the main ingredient derived from avocado oil, I saw an overall difference in the brightness of my skin within twenty-four hours. Typically, when I add a new serum, it takes three or four days, or even a week for me to notice anything. With Avoila, it felt instant. Like nearly every skincare product we feature, Avoila is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, silicones, perfume and color — all synthetic chemicals that lots of major brands use in skincare products, all of which are terrible for both your skin and the environment. This blended face oil is also vegan, certified organic by Oregon Tilth, and cruelty-free. Oh, and it was also created by two women who are in their forties and fifties, who had whole careers before launching their brand. Don’t let anyone tell you entrepreneurship is only for the young.
“If your gut tells you it’s time to create something and give it everything you’ve got, then I think you have to embrace that, whether you’re 20 or 70,” founders Kristy Hunston and Grace O’Sullivan explained over email. “Our brand was born out of the need to create a product that didn’t exist for our personal needs that was rooted in values we stood for — clean, plant-based beauty. Discovering the skin miracle that is avocado oil was the wheel that set the process in motion.”
Both veterans of the advertising world — with O’Sullivan working in pharmaceutical advertising — the two women both turned to alternative methods to deal with stress and skincare-related concerns. As someone who had suffered from eczema since her teen years, O’Sullivan turned to avocado oil during one particularly bad breakout when she had nothing else around, and quickly realized that it was helping her dryness and irritation like nothing else had. When she compared notes with Hunston about the dearth of clean skincare products, and mentioned this effective new ingredient, the idea for Avoila began to emerge.
“When Grace was conducting her own research from her kitchen pantry, it was not a shock that Avocado Oil was the super skin food, too,” the pair explained. “There’s a reason our organic avocado oil is the “hero ingredient.” It moisturizes and nourishes, and supports the formation of new skin cells. Unlike other oils we researched, it has the ability to penetrate skin cells down to the mitochondria with the suggestion that it can improve the function of the cell.”
On my end, as I began to incorporate the serum into my routine, I noticed the worry lines in my forehead that I absolutely hate began to soften. Overall, the texture of my skin got softer, lighter, and plumper, and the thick, brown herbaceous oil seemed to help depuff the dark circles that had flared up during the pandemic. Unlike lots of other serums, the oil is a thick golden color, not clear, and it took about ten minutes to sink into the skin, not sucking in quick like some others. The extra time it took to seep in gave me more time to notice how it felt on my skin, and once it was settled, I didn’t really feel like I needed to put on my usual moisturizer.
Drawing on their shared background in healthcare marketing, and expertise in vetting and developing products, Avoila’s founders spent considerable time testing and researching every ingredient that went into their nourishing face oil. They settled on ingredients that would bring lasting hydration, skin-repairing qualities, and provide a pleasing, aromatherapy essence — and from my experience with the oil, all of these elements are definitely present.
“We leaned on that expertise, reviewing studies and white papers (long-form research reports) for each ingredient individually, as well as seeking out the right experts to help with formulations and ingredient sourcing,” Hunston and O’Sullivan explained. “We wanted to be confident that our ingredients were functional, well-known, and well-regarded in plant-based skincare. We also tapped into the holistic beauty space to find our own balance between clean beauty and scientific research.”
As the founders set to work studying the properties of avocado oil, they learned that some studies have shown it helps to relieve inflammation and may work to heal skin that’s wounded, irritated, sunburned, dry, or flaky. Other studies found it accelerated the healing process by promoting collagen synthesis, aka slowing the aging process, and another found it beneficial for those who struggle with psoriasis. In their personal use, the founders also saw it reduce eczema and rosacea.
Along with avocado oil, other key ingredients in the Avoila blend include other clean beauty favorites like rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil (which is high in unsaturated fats and helps with regenerative processes), grapeseed oil, camellia seed oil, kalahari melon seed oil, and vitamin E. They also add rose geranium, grapefruit and vetiver essential oils for aromatic notes — probably what’s responsible for the strong herbaceous smell I mentioned earlier. At $72 per bottle, the price point of Avoila can be a little intimidating, but when used correctly — only a small drop-sized amount is needed to cover the whole face — the bottle will last for daily use up to six months.
And as we learn more about clean beauty and how natural oils balance and heal the skin, the need for a multi-step, invasive routine has begun to shift. Like I mentioned, once I began using this serum, my moisturizing cream felt a little irrelevant. It was able to double up for at least one other product in my routine, and it functions like a holistic product that reduces the need for other treatments.
“After we started using Avoila ourselves, we quickly found that our skin didn’t need much else,” the founders noted. “It actually set us free from the need for other products like tinted moisturizer or powders. We believe that there is a shift happening in the beauty space toward less products, more sustainable options and less ingredients. The truth is that multi-step, multi-product skincare regimens of the past that so many of us thought was the gold standard in skincare is a myth. Less is actually more.”