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Q&A: Gemma Watts x founder Jo Auld

Described by VOGUE Australia as being “at the top of the beauty game,” Gemma Watts has been a part of Australia’s media landscape since early 2012, working as a journalist and presenter across the fashion and beauty spheres. 2016 saw Gemma launch, an editorial platform featuring the very best in Australian skincare and she recently sat down with our founder Jo Auld to discover everything there is to know about our brand new Cleansing Oil

You began to work on The Skincare Company in 2008. What led to its creation, and what was the gap in the market that you were looking to fill?

Running my busy Newtown non-surgical cosmetic business, Pamper Clinic, I was constantly searching for a very specific skincare range that met the needs of our clients. I wanted products that could be applied post dermal treatment but I also needed them to effectively perform at home, giving clients the desired results they would expect from a comprehensive cosmeceutical range. I wanted clean formulations, using clinically proven active ingredients at percentages that I could control. This way I could provide a range with outstanding results whilst reducing any risk of irritation or over exfoliation.

How does the product development process work for you? Are you constantly thinking about what will come next, are you working off consumer demand, or a bit of both?

It’s definitely a bit of both. I feel like I know what works as I’ve studied active ingredients for many years and have had the opportunity to closely monitor the use and results of our product range on my long standing clientele at the clinic. Mostly I understand what they want and expect. If the products don’t give them the desired results, they simply won’t be repeat customers.

I have always valued our customer feedback especially when it comes to new product requests. However, my mind always leads me back to the original brand philosophy – keep it active, sophisticated and simple to follow. “Will this form part of our customers’ essential day-to-day routine?” and if the answer is no, I feel this only leads to unnecessary overwhelm and confusion.

You have just launched The Skincare Company’s first cleansing oil. For those who may be new to cleansing oils, what are they and what can they do for the skin?

These cleansers have the ability to dissolve makeup and sunscreen on contact, washing impurities away so that you have clean skin prep for your active day and night serums. Oil cleansers are generally not stripping and leave the natural oils of the skin intact. I prefer to double cleanse at night and use this Oil Cleanser followed by our Daily Cleanser for a thorough cleanse in the evening.

What can you tell me about this particular cleansing oil? I understand that it contains oils including Hemp, Avocado, Grapeseed, Macadamia and Argan – how did you select these ingredients?

This product was formulated based on the incredible attributes of these natural oils and their ability to complement the list of selected actives. There’s a lot of benefits to sourcing nature’s gift of plant oils. Prior to Covid I travelled to Morocco and studied all the benefits of Argan Oil and met the most incredible and knowledgeable local maker. I was shown the arduous and time consuming process involved in extracting this liquid gold oil from the kernels. Our team carefully selected complementary and beneficial oils including Borage, Camellia, Wattle Seed, Avocado and Grapeseed working in with hero ingredients Hemp and Argan oil to bring this special formulation to fruition. This formulation has the ability to emulsify once water is added and becomes a milky lather that is super satisfying to massage into the skin leaving it silky smooth and nourished.

Is “double cleansing” of benefit to all skin types? Do we need to double cleanse?

I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity, but some of our customers swear by it. This will be an interesting product launch as we’ll see how well it is received. We’ve had plenty of requests to add a cleansing oil to our line up so I’m curious to see if our loyal consumers love it as much as predicted. People may choose to use it as a stand-alone product or use it as a pre cleanse and follow up with their preferred Skincare Company Daily Cleanser or Facial Mousse Cleanser.

A lot of people with an “oily” skin type are nervous to work oil based products into their routine. Is this suitable for all skin types?

I totally understand where they are coming from! Having suffered from debilitating acne up until my late 20’s, I was always so hesitant to have a facial or apply any oil based product anywhere near my skin! This formulation is specifically formulated and targeted to ensure it’s noncomedogenic and can be confidently used without having to be concerned about leaving the skin greasy or clogged. I think people with oily skin underestimate the dangers of continually stripping the natural oils present in the skin. They attempt to mop up the excess oil by using stringent cleansers but in fact, that makes it worse and the skin makes more oil to compensate. Hemp Oil has so many incredible anti-inflammatory benefits and comes with a comedogenic rating of zero so it certainly won’t clog your pores but will instead leave your skin renewed and refined.

How do we work the Cleansing Oil into our routine? How do we select a cleanser with which to second cleanse?

Post Oil Cleanser you can choose our Daily Cleanser which is our cream cleanser that’s has AHA & BHA exfoliants in it for a thorough cleanse without leaving you feeling dry, or our Mousse Cleanser if you prefer a more rigorous clean using natural papaya fruit extract for exfoliation. Both are aimed at gently exfoliating the skin so it is cleansed without being harsh or using stripping solvents.

Can the Cleansing Oil be used morning and night?

Yes, this versatile product can be implemented in both your AM & PM routine. For me personally, I use my Daily Cleanser in the morning and double cleanse in the evening using our Cleansing Oil to help dissolve SPF and makeup and then follow with my can’t live without Daily Cleanser. It’s super important not to complicate your routine though. Our 3 cleansers are interchangeable and everyone has different concerns and preferences. What’s most important to us is that our consumers have a choice and are confident they are getting a cleanser that has been formulated with consideration to both its efficacy and the ingredients that have been incorporated into it.