The skin, the largest organ of the human body, often serves as a first impression. It is used to gauge the age, health and attractiveness of people. What we put on and into our bodies has a direct effect on the skin. The more I discover the chemicals lurking in beauty and skin care products (check out the Skin Deep database by EWG for more information), the more I seek out companies demanding change by being the change.
Aenon’s is a Los Angeles-based natural skin care and grooming brand by Queenie Wang. The company, which is inspired by traditional herbal remedies and modern science, seeks to bring clean, chemical-free beauty products to the market. Aenon’s supports mindful consumerism and practices integrity in its production. It utilizes raw and natural ingredients sourced from small farms and vendors, creates its handcrafted goods in small batches, and produces formulas meant to be long-lasting and effective.
I had the opportunity to talk with Wang about her company, read the interview below…
Tell us a little about yourself. When did you launch the company and was there a particular moment you remember deciding to just “go for it” (please share)?
I’m originally from New York City, where I worked in the visual arts sector (something that has helped enormously when it comes to design and packaging). In 2012, I moved to Los Angeles and the excessively dry climate made my skin dehydrated and prone to break out. None of my existing skin care products or routines worked for my skin. On top of that, I have sensitive skin so finding the right beauty products has always been a challenge.
One day, when I was cleaning out my bathroom drawers, I was surprised at how many beauty products I’d accumulated. That process made me look into the ingredients more closely and the more I learned about what’s used to create these products, the less I wanted to use them. This learning process encouraged me to experiment with natural alternatives, which led me to study folk medicine, herbalism and modern skin care science to create my own line.
For someone who has never tried your products, what product would you suggest as an introduction to the brand and why?
Everyone loves Aenon’s facial toners. They’re alcohol-free and can be used throughout the day. The Immortelle Toner is definitely the most popular. It has exceptional anti-inflammatory and restorative properties and is great for fading acne scars. I have a hard time keeping them in stock! Another product to try is Aenon’s face oils — I like to think of face oils as undiluted, all-natural versions of traditional moisturizers.
What significance does the name Ænon’s have to you and how does it relate to what your company offers?
I’ve always loved names that contain a ligature — two letters combined into a single one, like Æ. In Greek, Aenon means cloud, fountain or spring, so it seemed perfect for a line dedicated to natural beauty, refreshment and renewal. When I was brainstorming names, I wanted a name that has a unisex appeal, and was also broad and versatile enough to eventually include fragrances and home accessories. Aenon’s fit the bill!
What is one of the first beauty/skin care tips you ever received? Do you still follow today?
I know it’s a cliché, but that’s because it’s true: Drink lots of water! Whenever I don’t drink enough water, my skin suffers and it’s noticeable. My skin becomes duller and I even break out! Though it’s one of the oldest tips I’ve heard, I have to remind myself of it constantly, and make sure I stay hydrated, especially in Los Angeles’ dry climate.
What is your favorite product currently available in the shop? What product is most popular among your buyers?
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I think I have to go with the Palmarosa Bath + Body Oil. It’s light and absorbs instantly, plus the smell is amazing! Everyone who’s used it says they’re never going back to lotion again.
My best seller at the moment is my Mint Cooling Mist. Summer is almost here and the Mint Cooling Mist provides relief from hot sticky weather while also helping to keep your skin hydrated. It’s also great for after the gym or beach!
What have you learned about yourself through being a business owner and what is something significant you have learned about skin care?
Needless to say, starting a business is extremely difficult. From label design to product creation to photography — I do everything myself and that can get overwhelming at times. While it’s great to have control over all these aspects, it’s also a lot of work and you have to struggle not to lose sight of the end goal. Throughout this entire process, I’ve learned that it’s OK to take a break and set a proper schedule for myself to help regain focus.
Something I learned about the skin care business is that labels are misleading. What I used to think was a “good” ingredient is simply a cheap filler and brands that I thought were “natural” are far from it. Every year, we see countless advertisements promoting revolutionary new ingredients or some sort of technological breakthrough in skin care science, but most of it is just marketing hype. That’s why when I formulate my creations, I use ingredients with benefits proven by unbiased science, combined with traditional remedies that people have long prized for their healing and restorative properties. At the end of the day, skin care products and routines should be simple and they shouldn’t cost a fortune. I think people also have to be realistic when it comes to their skin care choices and know that no matter what product they use, achieving truly healthy skin has a lot to do with diet and nutrition.
You emphasize minimalism in your branding — what two types of skin care products (toners, cleansers, masks, serums, oils, etc.) do you think every person could benefit from using?
Minimalism to me isn’t about restriction or limitations, rather it’s about stripping away the extraneous. From production formulations to my routines, my entire line adheres to that standard. All of my products are natural and versatile so you can use them together or incorporate an individual product into your existing daily care routine. My routine may not necessarily work for others … some people require a five-step program and others may just use a cleanser and moisturizer. It’s all about what works for you. If your skin needs an extra boost or two, then by all means find the product that can help you address those concerns.
The two types of products I think people could benefit most from using are a soap-free face cleanser and a good sunscreen. Most people think that if their cleanser doesn’t foam or leave their skin feeling squeaky clean then it’s not doing a good job. But those face cleansers are also formulated with detergents that strip away your skin’s natural oils, and are too harsh to use on your face. A good cleanser is not supposed to leave your skin feeling anything but fresh. Your skin should feel completely normal after you’ve gently towel-dried your face and you should never feel like you have to reach immediately for moisturizer.
And sunscreen…well that should go without saying: Always use sunscreen, even on rainy days!
Do you have any plans to expand your product list in the near future or any other exciting projects in the works that you can share?
Yes! I’ll be adding a home collection featuring GMO-free soy wax candles in three different scents. I also plan on revamping some of my existing products. One thing that I love about my work is keeping up with the newest research and trends. I’m always learning and improving, which enables me to keep creating better Aenon’s products.
Have you tried Aenon’s products? Would you be interested in doing so? Let me know in the comments!