Hi Green Beauty lovers,
My name is Andrea and I am the founder of OY-L. I wanted to tell you what inspired me to start a natural skincare company.
My daughter became very sick during her junior year in high school. It started with a bout of Mono that would not go away. There were days when she couldn’t even move or get out of bed. I took her to a bunch of doctors that had no idea what was wrong with her. She would have a seizure-like fainting spell and I can’t even tell you how terrifying that is to watch!
I frantically called the Cleveland Clinic and asked for a consult, but in the meantime, she had another fainting spell and hit her head on the fireplace. That was so frightening that we called 911 and an ambulance came and took her to the ER. Her blood work was a little off, so she was admitted to the Clinic.
So many doctors, so much testing, a surgery, and even the subject of Grand Rounds–still no diagnosis. We started treating her nutritionally, and that’s when I started looking at the labels on everything we ate, put on our bodies, and used around the house. I was horrified by what I found. Some of these products were toxic, carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, and full of parabens. I researched these ingredients and thought, “There must be a better way. This is not healthy and do we really need these kinds of chemicals to take care of ourselves and our children?”
I started tinkering around with plant-based oils because I thought, “I am a mom and I am going to fix this.” As it turned out my daughter was diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). POTS is not a skin disorder but a chronic illness caused by dysautonomia. What that means is, our body takes care of certain functions like heartbeats and blood flow by itself, but with POTS, it’s not automatic. Normally, when you stand up, the blood from your legs shoots up to your heart and brain. With POTS, it takes longer for the blood flow to move, so your heart starts beating faster, and sometimes you faint or get very light headed. We found this out after a tilt table test. My daughter was strapped to a table and hooked up to many machines. As the table started tilting up, her heart stopped for 11 seconds. That was difficult to watch, but she was surrounded by doctors and nurses. That was it, after all of the tests, this was the definitive diagnosis for POTS. Now that we know what it is, we have a better idea how to treat her and are not so worried that it was a heart problem as originally thought.
To make a long story short, I continued with my formulations and had them all verified and stabilized by an MD cosmetic chemist, and then OY-L was born.
Because my daughter was required to consume a lot of salt to increase her blood volume, I did a lot a research on salt and again was inspired to find something better. Table salt is processed and bleached. Yes, bleached. I found pink Himalayan salt that was mined from ancient sea beds and contained 84 minerals. That was much better to use. I incorporate it into my products and only use it to season food. I also give back 15% of my salt product sales to Dysautonomia International, an organization that does much-needed research on POTS.
The other main products I incorporate in my formulas are medical grade Manuka 20+ honey, hemp seed oil (no CBD or THC), and lavender essential oil. These amazing ingredients do wonderful things for your skin, but I will cover those in another blog post.
So, I left my job as a fashion buyer (although I still have my foot in that door) to make OY-L, a brand of clean and green beauty. I wanted to be transparent with my products so people could actually know what is in them and feel confident in using them. I also wanted to make sure they were effective so customers would keep coming back. It is so heartwarming to read the reviews and hear how our customers love the products. I have had customers tell me that their husband noticed how good her skin looked. Once, another brand’s esthetician asked her what products she was using….now, that’s a compliment!
Now for an update on my daughter: She has learned to live with POTS. After missing 40+ days in high school from all the tests and admissions, she graduated with honors and received a merit scholarship to her university. She has had to Uber herself to the ER in Boston a couple of times when she feels sick and needs an IV. Her friends take good care of her and always go with her to the hospital. Because she is majoring in International Affairs, she travels all around the world every other semester. She has caught malaria and worms from the food in Uganda, gotten sick in Kenya, been healthy from all the great fruits in Thailand, and been pretty healthy in Chile. She even hiked Patagonia by herself for 10 days. She recently came home from a week in Iceland and seemed in good condition, but tired from her travels. Ugh, she is killing me! But, she is grown up now and knows how to handle her chronic illness. She is one of the lucky ones because there is a chance that she may go in remission and her symptoms won’t be as severe.
I call myself an empty nest entrepreneur! No matter what your age, whatever your passion is, make it happen!