Learn about the Oil + Water vision, the story of the company and its founder, Erika Martins, and the meaning and symbolism behind the brand name.
ABOUT Oil + WATER
Oil + Water is founded on my vision of a simpler, cleaner, more natural approach to skincare. The company grew out of my own fascination with creating natural alternatives to conventional skincare products. Over countless hours of research and experimentation, what started as a personal project slowly evolved into a brand that I hope can change how consumers think about skincare and ultimately how they feel when they use skincare products.
In keeping with my philosophy of a beautifully simple and well-crafted line, I personally hand make all Oil + Water products in small batches out of my home studio in Brooklyn, NY. I source only the highest quality raw materials available and craft each recipe to include only a small number of select ingredients. I never use any preservatives unless absolutely necessary, and all of my products include a best by date, much like anything you would buy at the grocery store. I use raw and unrefined plant oils and butters for maximum benefit to the skin, and choose organic, fair trade, wild harvested, and food grade options whenever possible.
The selective approach that guides Oil + Water does not stop with sourcing of raw materials; it extends to all aspects of the business and their impact on both personal and environmental well-being, including product packaging and order shipping. I carefully consider and select all packaging to be as environmentally friendly as possible (either reusable, recycled, recyclable, or compostable), and I never include any unnecessary or redundant components. I use 100% cotton label stock for all of our product labels, as cotton is a sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable natural fiber. I also choose shipping boxes, tape, and packing materials to be either biodegradable or recyclable.
Overall, Oil + Water strives to be a brand that carries its philosophy through to every last detail. I am relentlessly dedicated to providing an honest, high quality product and a healthy choice for your skin, your mind, and our planet.
My family emigrated from Brazil when I was 3 years old and settled in the Bronx, where I spent the majority of my childhood. The building we lived in was located on a corner and flanked by long, narrow yards along the side and rear. These outdoor spaces became the center of my world of play as a child, and despite their small size they were filled with lush surprises: three robust fig trees and two petite raspberry bushes bore delicious summertime fruit; tulips, roses, and fragrant carnations blossomed in a few unexpected spots; my grandfather would visit from Brazil and plant tomatoes and other garden vegetables, and my mother cultivated an abundant supply of refreshing peppermint for cooking. Delectable peaches would fall from our neighbor's tree onto our garage roof and my dad would rig up various tools to reach the recently fallen ones from our 2nd-floor balcony, where I would then spend hours eating juicy slices while immersed in my latest book. The sights, smells, and tastes of these myriad natural things fueled my imagination and invigorated my senses as a child, and offered me a quiet oasis amid the busy city.
Now many years later, after returning to New York, I find that the same affinity for the sensual pleasures afforded me by nature in my childhood has now fueled my passion for natural skincare. I find the textures, scents, and colors of the various oils, butters, clays, herbs, and botanicals I use to be absolutely intoxicating in a deeply therapeutic way. And while the emotional and intuitive aspect of my practice is of utmost importance to me, I find that crafting skincare recipes allows me to exercise both halves of my brain; as an architect, I am deeply creative while also having a propensity for science, logic, and technical problem-solving. Designing my own skincare line has allowed me to merge these two modes of thinking, while making healthy, honest products available to others so that they too can find the natural pleasures in their day-to-day.
"OIL + WATER"
The meaning of the name Oil + Water is two-fold. In the most fundamental sense, it symbolizes distillation and reduction; oil and water are two elemental substances that in their most basic states are both pure, fundamental to life, and inextricable from their natural origins.
Oil + Water also represents the marriage of two worlds that don’t always seem to mix; our often hectic, increasingly urban lives can separate us from the natural world that sustains us. I’ve learned that oil and water can and do mix, and are in fact the foundation of skincare in its purest sense, and in the same fashion, Oil + Water hopes to bring nature seamlessly back into every lifestyle, combining the very best of both worlds.