As a teenager, OASIS Founder and Chief Beauty Officer Hildra Gwee was riddled with skin issues.
She started having redness and anger pimples that couldn’t be cured despite the many spot treatment products she was using. In fact, using more skin care products made her skin problems worse.
For the next 18 years, she “did everything she could” – from steroid creams to antibiotics, to bi-weekly facials – but nothing worked.
After trying virtually every chemical she could get her hands on, she decided to give herbal remedies a try. Inspired by the natural skin care books her husband gave her, she started researching online to find out more.
The couple then traveled to France and sourced as many organic ingredients as they could bring back to Singapore so that she could begin her experiments.
It all started with the creation of a face oil, which gradually made her skin more balanced, less oily and generally more comfortable.
After creating her first skincare bundle for herself, she wanted to make natural solutions available to anyone who wants to minimize chemical addiction. This led to the birth of OASIS in 2018.
Build a beauty kitchen
Hildra sees her space as a beauty kitchen more than a store, as this is where she makes fresh beauty products, much like a bakery or a kitchen.
When Vulcan Post visited the Beauty Kitchen located in CT Hub along Lavender, we were greeted with the scent of fresh flowers and whiffs of pure vegan oils.
The kitchen island is the focal point of the point of sale, and it is also where Hildra mixes her concoctions and makes organic skincare products several times a week.
Although she runs OASIS and is its sole head of beauty, she has also had a full time job in banking for the past decade.
“I’ve always been interested in direct-to-consumer businesses, but I didn’t think I would start one myself, especially not when I was 34 (when I started OASIS),” said Hildra.
Now 37, she has sought to create products to help clients solve their skin care concerns as well. The entire business is built from the ground up – from product formulation to the highly engaged retail experience that OASIS delivers to its customers.
“We see ourselves as an alternative way for customers to consciously consume while remaining accessible within our price ranges,” Hildra said.
Not just another beauty mark
OASIS products are all about sustainability, naturalness and, of course, problem solving.
The brand sources its ingredients directly from farms and distilleries, and works with selected artisan producers who systematically perform microbiological tests on all batches of their extraction to ensure purity and effectiveness.
95% of the brand’s ingredients come directly from France, which has very strict laws guiding skin care companies. As an animal lover, the brand is also careful not to import ingredients from laboratories that practice any form of animal testing.
Its product formulations are also targeted for sensitive skin types, which is why Hildra only uses food grade ingredients that are gentle and non-irritating.
Since the brand was founded three years ago, it has expanded beyond skin care to the full range of personal and home care.
The solid shampoo canes are one of the brand’s bestsellers. They are intentionally shaped as such, so that they provide a good base for rubbing hair into, while the grooves on the side allow for better grip.
Hildra told Vulcan Post that it took her over 50 iterations to perfect the formulation of the solid shampoo. She had to experiment with tenaciously with the ingredients until she got the right mix of lather, grip, durability, and scent, along with many different shapes for the shampoo.
“With each iteration, I gain knowledge about how each ingredient reacts with each other,” Hildra said.
Shampoos come in a wide variety of flavors – from ginger to rose and thyme to lemongrass to blue peas – each flavor targeting a specific pain point.
For example, ginger solid shampoo was created to combat hair loss issues. Hildra had to do extensive research into the natural remedies that have been used over time to reduce hair loss and strengthen scalp health before she found the recipe for it.
The formula contains a high concentration of Amla, Nettle, Indian Hydrocotyl and other nourishing herbs to stimulate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. Each shampoo is also rich in organic essential oils of ginger and lemongrass to promote blood circulation and strengthen hair from its roots.
Besides the solid shampoo, another bestseller at OASIS is Instaglow Beauty Oil. Deluxe Facial Oil Serum features a formula that purifies the skin and strengthens its barrier.
The key ingredient is Chaulmoogra, which has been shown to be effective in the treatment and repair of acne, eczema, atopic dermatitis and other related skin problems.
It is blended with an organic and fair trade argan oil base, and also contains geranium to soothe irritation as well as vetiver to heal scars and promote skin firmness.
Like solid shampoos, the serum is also made in the beauty kitchen by Hildra.
The natural beauty products industry is growing
Since the creation of OASIS in 2018, its turnover has doubled year after year.
The brand has also seen its customer community grow dramatically, showing that more and more people are choosing a more sustainable way to consume personal care.
While there is still a lot of education to be done to get people to consider vegan and sustainable alternatives, Hildra has seen people become more receptive to the idea over the years.
Besides the beauty kitchen at CT Hub, OASIS also opened a physical retail store in Joo Chiat.
At the store, customers can bring their own jars, bottles and containers to purchase OASIS products by weight, and even customize their own shower gel. Since starting its filling service in May 2019, the brand has seen a significant increase in the number of customers returning to the store to refill instead of buying new bottles.
“Being sustainable is not practical, and our challenge is to make it easy for our community to fill and reuse their containers,” said Hildra.
Hildra told Vulcan Post that she has many plans for OASIS in the works, including opening a few more stores in other neighborhoods and expanding to another country in the region.
“My hope is that the natural beauty industry grows in Singapore and that consumers are more and more aware of what they are using,” she added.
Featured Image Credit: OASIS
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