Sometimes a beauty brand comes along that will change the way we look after our skin and alter our expectations of the products we want to use to make us look and feel better. Sometimes a company comes along with a new philosophy that makes all other brands seem dated and elite. Fusing beauty with brain-power, and with a focus on inclusion, welcome to new brand Wǒ, by Beauty Consociare, a collective of beauty industry experts, which really feels like it is ticking all these boxes.
The premise is all-inclusive skincare, tapping into the latest science but with a heart that is rooted in holistic well-being. The idea is that you use an intelligent, online skin diagnostic tool to build a bespoke regime, taking into account all skin types, and based on a of a 15-product portfolio. What’s more, it is suited to everyone from all ethnicities, something that has been lacking historically in the development process and final offering at many big brands.
Wǒ was developed after extensive market research with people from multiple and mixed ethnicities. In fact, while this may seem timely, given the current focus on ‘inclusion’ issues in the media, this focus has long been the premise over the two-year development (so this is not a case of jumping on a bandwagon here). More than anything else, this focus – while setting it apart from other brands (in a good way) – just seems to me like a sensible business decision. After all, it turns out that mixed-ethnicity is the fastest growing UK ethnic group. In 2016 there were 1.25m people in this group in the UK and it is estimated to be 2m by 2020. So launching a beauty label in 2020, you would frankly be silly not to focus on this.
“Traits in your DNA are one of the key factors that influence how your skin behaves,” says Karen Lee-Thompson CEO and founder of Wǒ. “This is even more so if you have mixed ethnicity, as you inherit a more complex make-up. We believe in helping everyone to connect with themselves and to better understand their skin’s needs, whoever they are, wherever they are from. With Wǒ, we wanted to create a skincare brand that everyone can use, that offers flexibility for modern lifestyles. We want people to ‘Embrace Unique’”.
The ’embrace unique’ tag is, in fact, inspired by an ancient Eastern philosophy of self-improvement and balance, with the brand’s name meaning ‘I’ or ‘myself’ in Mandarin.
Building on this, the idea is that each customer takes a diagnostic tool which considers age, ethnicity, lifestyle, diet and environment. Once completed, it instantly provides scores related to eight skin concerns, followed by products tailored to the individual.
So how does this all work, and what does this mean, in practice? First of all, you log on to wearewo.com and take the five-minute diagnostic test. This will give you a tailored result consisting of a Daily Base – mine is the Revive Oil and there is a choice of four. I love the innovation behind these ‘everyday skincare’ products (which come in gel, cream, balm or oil textures, depending on your skin type). They are all genius three-in-one, multi-functional formulas which cleanse, hydrate and condition in one step and which you can use to suit you.
Your results also throw up a choice of Power ToniIQs, (there are 11 to choose from) and these are high-performance, lightweight essences formulated to deliver actives quickly and effectively. Mine are the Wrinkle Fighting Essence, Skin Tone Brightening Essence and Eye Contour Perfecting Essence.
What’s more, this forward-thinking approach is also applied to packaging – with the products all coming in practical, measured one-use doses, which means less wastage (you use every bit) – and allowing the formulas to remain fresh every time. These are also perfect for travelling, equalling less weight in your baggage, and meaning you can take exactly what you need when you go away, without the hassle of being weighed down with excess products. They are also really good for in transit, on the plane, for instance, or for overnight stays while on the move.
I also love the textures of each – they feel thoroughly modern and useable, and in fact, this has also been a focus of the brand, with the products being made and researched in Switzerland and Korea, two countries known for their advanced and quality take on skincare.
So, let’s start with the Revive Oil. This is an extremely light oil with a luxurious texture, and is made with a blend of six precious oils and plant extracts (such as antioxidant-rich Raspberry Plant Stem Cell Extract and Omega rich oils 3, 6 and 9). It brings instant relief to dry, stressed-out skin. It feel glorious to use and is also very adaptable, so it can be used for cleansing, soothing and smoothing – whatever your skin needs at a given time.
I’ve been using it as suggested: which is to tap half the content into the palm of my hand and starting with a first cleanse by massaging the oil gently over your face. Wipe it off with cotton wool pad. Then use a little more of the oil for a second cleanse, rinsing with water. Finally, you can use the remaining essence to hydrate your dry face (there’s surprisingly a lot in the vial), and skin is left velvety-smooth and radiant.
You then follow up with your choice of Power TonIQ, such as the Wrinkle Fighting Essence, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and prevent the formation of new ones. You can use this in combination of other Power TonIQs or on its own. I’ve been using this around my eye and mouth area, where I have the most lines! It contains a high-performance blend of wrinkle-fighting peptides and natural plant actives that work on multiple levels to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. That’s the science bit! But, in short, skin looks firmer and smoother after just a few days.
I’ve been using the Skin Tone Brightening Essence in conjunction with this and it is an instant skin pick-me-up. Skin looks brighter and more even in tone due to the super-fruit extract from the Wild Kakadu Plum, which is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C, together with a Tomato Plant Stem Cell Active. These botanical skin brighteners help to revitalise dull skin and reveal a smoother skin tone. You simply pat it on – I’ve been using it all over the face – and it sinks in instantly.
Finally, I’ve been patting on the Eye Contour Perfecting Essence, which is made with a cocktail of botanical actives to help to reduce the appearance of dark circles and de-puffing tired eyes. It also contains nourishing hydrators to smooth, firm and tone the skin around the delicate eye area so you look more ‘awake’ and youthful in no time at all!
A final word on the environmental ethos of the brand, because you may be mistaken for feeling like there is a lot of plastic waste with the process of mono-dose vials. In fact, the company has this in mind and says that: “As a result of mono-dose packaging being lightweight, this reduces our carbon footprint within our product cycle, as well as the journey from getting our products from us to your doorstep. What’s more, all of our packaging is recyclable, with 80% of our packaged products (e.g. all of our Power TonIQs and the Revive Oil) are made from up to 80% recycled plastic! We consciously decided that we could accept to be different, our packaging didn’t need to look perfectly white and perfectly glossy – we didn’t add any additional varnishes, making the continued recycling a cleaner process.”
“The packaging we use to deliver the products direct to your door are also fully recyclable. We don’t use any unnecessary secondary boxes for the product, helping to minimise unnecessary waste. Measured dosage and a diagnostic with proven accuracy, in recommending the right product, means less overall wastage of unsuitable products and resources.”
Forward-thinking, kind to us and our world – it’s not just a pretty face.
*This review is based on press samples