TABLE TALK WITH JEN KATEHOS
Jen was nice enough to take the time to join us as our first feature of our "Table Talk" series here at Skin by Livstid. During our conversation she takes us through how see got started and why, some of her passion points and a few peeks as to what is to come for her and her wonderful Vegan line.
If you would like to visit her site and grab some of her popular products you can clink the link below.
SO.......LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING:
SKIN BY LIVSTID (SBL):
How did Little Owl Soap begin?
JEN KATEHOS (JK):
Little Owl Soap began after a search for some craft Holiday gifts in 2005. After successfully creating glycerin soap bars from an online recipe, I wanted to learn more about making pure soap, the old-fashioned way. Traditional soap is created by using sodium hydroxide or "Lye" to turn water and oils into soap. A process called "saponification."
The following Holiday season, my entire wish list consisted of all the equipment I would need to make “cold process” soap, including my goggles and gloves, a digital scale, and a stainless steel pot. Making my first batch of cold-process bar soap was a thrill! There was something magical about taking three types of ingredients (oils/butters, water, lye) and turning them into something entirely new. Soon, I started making more soap than I could use. Eventually, my husband and I decided that it was time to start sharing, and thus, Little Owl Soap was formed.
WHY VEGAN OR ORGANIC?
Little Owl Soap is Vegan. Why do you think vegan products are so important to the skin care industry.
I see it as addressing environmental and sustainability issues, a way to maintain the conditions in which humans and nature can coexist harmoniously.
In the movie “Jurassic Park,” the character of Dr. Ian Malcolm, perfectly portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, admonishes the creator of the park, saying, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.”
So true, I love that you just quited Jurassic Park! Can y'all tell we came up in the 90's?!!
Yesss!!! Jen starts humming the intro song to Jurassic Park and we both break into laughs.
We are thankfully coming out of a phase in cosmetics, where we were using certain ingredients because we could; not because we should.
Take for example, Petrolatum
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MORE THAN SOAP
You started out with soap, how did your products grow into more of a focus on skincare too?
In short, I branched out into skincare because of customer requests.
In creating my soaps, my bars ended up containing excess luxurious oils and butters that did not turn into soap, this improved the moisturization, mildness and lather. However, many of my customers reported to me that they were using our soaps on the faces! Formulated for use on their bodies only, I wanted to create products to fill this new demand.
Oh wow they loved your soap that much!
Thankfully yes! Once this interest was piqued, combined with my background in esthetics, I started my research and nothing could stop me.
Your body oils is one of our faves. How does it work?
Well, lotions are basically oils + water + an emulsifier — as we all know, oil and water don’t mix, which is where an emulsifier comes in, to keep the oils and water together and creamy and lotion-like.
Our body oil is simply the moisturizing, hydration-sealing oil portion of lotion, and it should be applied directly after a shower or bath, when your skin is soft and still wet.
I make our body oils with pure essential oils and highly-penetrating, quick-absorbing, and non-greasy oils like Abyssinian oil and Rosehip seed oil.
What I love about body oils is that because they don’t contain water, they are supremely concentrated.
As a result you get a great product that lasts a longer period of time. My husband and I will share a four ounce bottle, and it will last us two months!
SPECIAL THANKS TO JEN KATEHOS OF LITTLE OWL SOAP FOR BEING THE FIRST IN OUR SERIES OF TABLE TALK HERE ON SKIN BY LIVSTID.
SKIN BY LIVSTID (SBL):
And how did you come up the name and logo?
JEN K (JK):
The tetradrachm was an ancient Greek silver coin, and the tetradrachm of Athens was stamped with the head of Athena on the obverse and, on the reverse, the image of the Little Owl (Athene noctua) with a sprig of olive. The Little Owl was sacred to Athena, the Greek goddess of, among other things, wisdom and handicrafts.
SKIN BY LIVSTID PRODUCT FAVES
Petrolatum, or what most people know it to be as, "petroleum jelly" or "soft paraffin", is derived from a by product of oil refining.
Amusingly enough, it can be argued that petrolatum is 100% organic, because it come from the earth. ahha!
Laughs out loud. Yea I sure everyone would be mortified by that stretch of the truth, although technically true none the less.
I know, I know, I kid. But anyway, the process of refining petrolatum into a cosmetic product was discovered in the 1860s by a chemist named Robert Chesebrough.
For Chesebrough, petrolatum was the business, figuratively and literally. He patented the process and stated making the all famous product "Vaseline."
Despite its current reputation, petrolatum is actually an excellent skin protectant and is considered safe by the FDA (read more here!) Thus, we've been using petrolatum as a product and ingredient since roughly 1870!
However! Index finger up to emphasize an important point! petrolatum is derived from non-renewable sources, and that's icky. Time has come for us to ask ourselves whether we should keep using these kinds of ingredients. Luckily many of the ingredients we used to use in the beauty industry, can be produced from renewable plant sources, and the industry has begun to reduce its reliance on petrolatum and other petroleum based ingredients.
Excellent point. We as an industry and as consumers are moving to a more mindful way to extract the beneficial ingredients we want in cosmetics in a more thoughtful way.
It's not just about what is good for ourselves, but it is also about taking care in advancing ingredient sourcing in a way that is socially and ethically responsible, for the future.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Do you have a favorite product?
My absolute favorite facial product is our Rosewater Toner. Toners and mists are often overlooked in skincare, but they help to even out porosity and prepare the skin to absorb the active ingredients in serums and moisturizers.
Our Rosewater Toner is made with aloe leaf juice, glycerin, and light, delicately scented rosewater.
We love toners too! I am constantly telling clients its the easiest step to incorporate and it has an instant effect on your skin.
So what's next for Little Owl?
I’m excited to continue to bridge the gap between “natural” products and science.
Currently, I am experimenting with a hair oil, but some of the other products I’ve been formulating lately exceed the scope of Little Owl’s bath and body focus, so don’t be surprised to find a skincare-focused sister brand in the near future!