An exclusive interview with the woman who designed skin care that forces you to drop in and feel your life…
Though we have never met in person, I know that Sarah Villafranco has been gifted with a generous and soft soul. She grew up with her parents and brother in Washington, DC, and lived within the same five-mile radius for 32 years. “When I went off to college at Georgetown University, it was pretty anticlimactic — I think I said, ‘Okay, see you guys this weekend!'” She stayed at Georgetown for medical school, and then completed her training in emergency medicine at George Washington University. But things were about to change. Drastically. “Despite having lived in DC my whole life, I was somehow given a Colorado soul. When I first visited my brother out here, I knew I would end up in these mountains. I just had to finish my residency, marry the guy of my dreams, and convince him that we should uproot our whole lives and move west. And that’s just what I did.”
Now, she lives in a town of six thousand people just outside Aspen, Colorado. “We have two daughters, two border collies, and an absurd number of bicycles. I make time for a run, a ride, or a ski most days of the year, and I feel insanely blessed to be surrounded by such breathtaking natural beauty. I’m traveling more for the brand, so I squeeze every drop of happiness out of my time at home with my beautiful family and friends, and my awesome crew of colleagues at Osmia.”
Ahhh, Osmia Organics… a breath of fresh air for the skin. Osmia uses only the best natural and organic ingredients when it comes to soaps, perfumes and skin care, and each Osmia product is made with the “utmost attention to its scent and aromatherapeutic benefit.” Keep reading to learn more about Sarah and Osmia. (Perk: she includes the Osmia products she can’t live without and shares some of her own wellness routine tips.)
How did you land on the idea for Osmia Organics? Why should we all be rushing to add Osmia Organics to our beauty routines?
After ten years in the ER, I started to see a trend that still disturbs me: so many people taking their health for granted, and so many doctors prescribing pills instead of encouraging healthier habits. I started to wonder how I could make a broader, more basic impact on health, and empower people to choose their health on a daily basis. Around that time, I had my second daughter, lost my mom to cancer, and took a class making soap — a trio of events that created the perfect storm I needed to change my career path.
As for why you should change your beauty routines to include Osmia? The list is long, but here are the top reasons. First, you’re absorbing what you put on your skin, so it’s as much of a conscious health choice as what you’re eating every day. Second, what you use on your skin affects your health, your family’s health, the health of your unborn children, and, over time, the evolution of our species and many others. Third, and this is the yummiest reason, because Osmia products are designed to make you drop in and feel your life, as well as leave you with gorgeous, glowing skin.
Tell us about life before that airport ‘a-ha’ moment. Have you always been a proponent of natural beauty products?
I have always loved lotions and potions, but synthetic fragrances give me headaches and make me crabby! I had started to gravitate toward more natural products, but the transition became more intentional when I started having babies and lost my mother. (Those, by the way, are the two biggest reasons people switch to natural skincare: babies and cancer. But, why should it take a precious, new baby or the loss of a loved one to spark the switch??)
I also had a condition called perioral dermatitis that sped up my transition to clean beauty. Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and synthetic fragrance aggravate the condition. When I created products without those things and saw the results, I was pretty fired up to help other people heal their skin as well.
Do you have any advice for people who are trying to make the leap into natural beauty?
Of course I do! It’s not the typical advice, but it makes a lot of sense. Start by switching from body wash and lotion to an organic bar soap and body oil on wet skin. The skin of your body (from the neck down) makes up 91% of the surface area of your skin, which means that 91% of whatever you’re absorbing through your skin comes from products applied to the body. So, if you’re trying to decrease the chemicals you’re exposing yourself to, it really comes down to simple math.
Tell us about your own daily wellness routine – any favorite products/tips/tricks?
One of my favorite tricks is using body oil on wet skin. It doesn’t make sense to get out of a shower, dry all the water off your skin, and then apply a lotion that is 70% water and contains emulsifiers and preservatives (even if they’re natural, they’re not as natural as a pure botanical oil). Instead, get out of the shower, and slather a gorgeous body oil on sopping wet skin. Inhale, and enjoy the aromatherapy as you air-dry.
How does the Osmia Organics range fit into your beauty regimen? Do you have a favorite product from the assortment?
Our Black Clay Facial Soap travels with me everywhere. I feel like it should have “magic” as a listed ingredient, and so do those who swear by it. (Dead Sea mud is probably responsible for much of the magic!) The Spot Treatment can make a blemish run and hide overnight — especially helpful if you have an important meeting the next day. And the Recovery Salt Bath has been my salvation for sore muscles that need some love!
What’s next for Osmia Organics?
My hope for the next few years, in addition to sharing and selling our beautiful products, is to get in front of more people and share my knowledge with them. I feel lucky to bring a medical degree to the field of natural beauty, and I love bringing my blend of science and passion to people who are learning about healthy living. I want to help create more educated consumers who hope to contribute to their own health and to that of the planet. When we are greater in number, we will see greater change.
We often think of beauty as a surface quality – how do you nurture your inner beauty?
Our tagline is “return to your senses,” and I try to live that philosophy in every way I can. I get outside and move my body, treasuring the sensation of a pounding heart and gasping lungs. I get on the floor to nuzzle with my dogs. I hold my daughters in my lap whenever possible, even though they don’t really fit there anymore. I notice the taste of my wine, or the way my lovely husband moves as he pours our coffee in the morning. I drink up the Colorado air. And I constantly challenge myself to practice more kindness, more forgiveness and more love. Because in the end, the way you have lived your days — rather than what you have achieved or attained — is what will amount to a life worth living.
+Wonderfully said. Thank you, Sarah!
Follow Joanna on Instagram.