Uma Oils: Facial oils to treat all skin conditions, from the damaged and reactive to the dry and oily

Uma Oils: Facial oils to treat all skin conditions, from the damaged and reactive to the dry and oily

Elixir of life

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @umaoils

Oils are a fairly contentious subject amongst the beauty community. Some avoid it like the plague — often with an impressive lineup of mattifying, oil-absorbing, and oil-repelling products to counter — while others embrace it, praising their potent yet gentle formulations that deliver long-lasting effects for skin.

Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils, sits solidly between the two. "I think the first thing to understand is that not all oils are created equal," she told Buro.. "Think about your skin: it actually is hydrophobic. It is made out of oils. So, it is natural that it is drawn to oils. But because of limited understanding, people tend to dismiss oils entirely."


It is precisely these misconceptions that Holecek seeks to dismantle. Starting, of course, with the inception of her very own luxury organic oil line befitting (and used) by Ayuverdic royalty. Gracing us with her presence at Net-a-Porter's beauty presentation, she schools us in all things slickl: from oily complexion don'ts to the ideal skincare routine for healthy, radiant skin. Attention, piqued.

Let's cut to the chase: are oils really the best idea for Singapore's hot and humid climate?
People tend to dismiss oils — especially in this weather — as they find them to be comedogenic, where they clog pores easily. Butthere are beautiful, non-comedogenic oils that can actually help in this weather. For instance, when we are acne-prone, the skin produces less of something called linoleic acid. This makes your sebum stickier. Therefore, more clogged pores and more acne as a result. Guess what? Rapeseed oil has a high content of Omega 3 fatty acid that actually helps thin the texture of the oil on your face.


So, in environments like these, I recommend using something that protects, controls, and manages in the day. Perhaps something like rapeseed oil, and maybe a little tea tree and clove thrown in for bacteria disinfection. Then use something very restorative and pollution-fighting at night, such as pomegranate oil.

How are the two different?
Well, both are a zero on the comedogenic scale and are absorbent and light, though they do feature different nutrient profiles. Pomegranate contains a lot more punicic acid than rapeseed, which is more collagen-boosting. 

What is the biggest skincare misconception you'd like to shed light on?
The concept of over-drying skin. Keep in mind that your body is constantly evolving so it tries to counteract when it feels that it is being stripped. Therefore, over-washing your face makes your skin produce more oil. Thankfully, it is a mindset that is slowly and surely changing. Now, people seem to know that oilier skin needs protection — with good oils — and a different care regime rather than trying to take every drop of oil from it.


What kind of skincare routine would you recommend to someone just starting out with oils?
It is about being in harmony with your environment and equipping your body with the tools to continue existing in a healthy state when it is thrown off balance. Like, air-conditioning. It is a necessary evil that you have to deal with, and I recommend sort of a two-two punch; protect and balance in the day, and then nourish and restore at night.

The air in the city can be quite polluted. Any tips?
Add clay-based masks into your routine to really draw out the pollution and impurities. I like clays, aloe vera and turmeric to disinfect the skin. Then, there's the idea where you should mix up your water-soluble and oil-soluble nutrients, like a toner or a spritzer that features your vitamin C and antioxidants, followed by a great oil-based moisturiser that brings in that vitamin K and vitamin D. 


What are some skincare practices you think people should cut down on?
There is a clear distinction between exfoliating for success versus exfoliating in a way which is just damaging for your skin. The overuse of acids and retinols thins the skin overtime, which causes ageing as it is less capable at protecting itself from sun damage or oil loss. The end result is, hence, more dryness and wrinkling.

Should we give up on exfoliating entirely?
No. I recommend exfoliating, but more towards the natural methods available to us. It can be as simple as using a fresh, clean washcloth every time you wash your face. Or using something like steam or a little bit of warm water instead, or using nut powders and oatmeals. Also, apply sloughing motions instead of acid or very rough exfoliators to get dead skin off.