Oils have long enjoyed cult beauty status. Analysis of ancient Egyptian cosmetic jars reveals that they used over 21 different types of vegetable oils, with the historically skin-aware Cleopatra favoring olive and sesame oils. Facial oils have benefited from Olivia Rodrigo’s popularity levels over the past decade, sales of prestige skincare oils reached 58.5 million and increased 22% in 2015 according to the company. NPD market research. You can trace the trend to Linda Rodin’s jasmine infused Olio Lusso and Josie Maran’s argan oil-based brand, both founded in 2007. A second wave of hugely popular oils in recent years includes True Botanicals. , Vintner’s Daughter and In Fiore, all sharing very clean and consciously. – source ingredients as their unifying factor.
Not all facial oils are created equal, especially if they are from natural sources. Not only do the chemical components differ depending on the various botanical species, but also on the place of cultivation of the plant, the conditions under which the plant is grown, the way and time of its extraction and then its formulation; all this affects the properties and effectiveness of vegetable oil.
Today’s increasingly aware consumer cares deeply about these details not only because they impact product performance, but our planet as well. Le Prunier is a young oil company that seems to tick all the boxes and respond to this particular moment of sustainability. Founded by three sisters who recycled organic plum byproducts from their fourth generation family farm and created a surprisingly simple oil that is truly a skincare wonder. The proprietary blend of plum grapes is an excellent source of antioxidants, polyphenols, fatty acids and vitamins. It is very absorbent and weightless on the skin.
At first glance, she looks like most other beautiful oils in the clean beauty market, but once you open the bottle and smooth your hand a bit, you realize she’s in a league of her own. After using it for a month, I can attest that the oil reduces fine lines and gives a luminous quality that I can usually only achieve with a little bit of highlighter. The heavenly scent reminiscent of Spanish turrones is a huge plus.
Thanks to the quality of the product and the great buzz on social media, this brand founded by women is on the verge of doing great things. We sat down with co-founder Allison Taylor to discuss Le Prunier’s sustainability practices (it involves goats), brand expansion, family dynamics and more.
What do you think sets Le Prunier face oil apart from other facial oils?
Our oil is grown, harvested and pressed entirely on our century-old family farm in Northern California, which operates as the largest producer of organic plums in the world. We have devoted years of research / clinical studies exploring the undiscovered benefits of plums and are able to oversee the entire life cycle of our ingredient on the farm which makes the end result extra special. Our proprietary oil blend is a natural UV sunscreen booster, it is 8 and 6 times more potent than argan and marula oil in defending against hydroxyl radical damage and is extremely rich in antioxidants, which helps to strengthen the barrier of your skin. We like to say it’s gentle yet potent and perfect for even the most sensitive skin types.
Can you give me details of the brand’s sustainable development practices?
Our family has been committed to environmentally friendly farming practices and sustainability for decades. In 1985 our family made the decision to switch to organic farming practices, so my sisters and I were raised to value those principles and always knew we were going to build this into our business when we launched Le Prunier. Our plum beauty oil is made from 100% recycled plum kernels that were previously farm waste. We use a revolutionary wastewater filtration system called BioFiltro which helps us recycle water for irrigation. We also use cover crops to enrich the soil and promote biodiversity, and then at the end of the harvest, we allow 2,000 goats to roam the orchards and eat those cover crops rather than relying on heavy machinery. All of our facilities have been solar powered for 15 years and we are very happy to now offer carbon neutral shipping on our website with 100% recyclable packaging.
What challenges, if any, have you encountered as a result of Covid-19?
In November 2020 we saw a huge increase in sales essentially overnight thanks to a certain celebrity / influencer posting on their IG account. The post took place organically and without warning, so in just a few short weeks our activity increased 10 times as we rapidly approached the holiday season during a global pandemic. While it was incredibly exciting, especially in a time when things seemed so uncertain, it also presented challenges as we were forced to adapt quickly. We rapidly increased our on-farm manufacturing capabilities by investing heavily in machinery, changing fulfillment centers to accommodate order volume, and expanding our team to better manage the overall workload. In the midst of that, we have sold all over the world and have amassed a DTC waitlist of over 25,000 people that I’m happy to say we were finally able to fill. The past 6 months have seemed like a surreal roller coaster, but it has been the most incredible period of growth for the brand and we are extremely grateful to be in this position.
Are they planning to increase production or expand the line?
Absolutely yes! We have been very focused on scaling production over the past few months on the farm and are ready to launch our next product this summer, which has taken almost 5 years to develop. We can’t wait to share it!
Favorite part of working as a family? What do each of you bring to the table? Challenges?
The favorite part has to be the inherent level of trust that exists and of course there is no one we would rather celebrate our victories with other than family. We are a small team so there is a lot of overlap but Jacque is doing R & D / Product Development, Elaine oversees Operations / Customer Service and I manage DTC / Sales / Marketing.
What other sustainable / organic beauty companies do you think bring unique offerings to the clean beauty space?
I’m a huge fan of unmanageable beauty companies like Seed and Moon Juice because I’ve always believed that this is how you really get to the root of most skin problems. I really think this is the future of beauty. Credo also always leads the way for innovation and higher standards in the clean / organic beauty world which we greatly appreciate.
Other products that you think work well with Le Prunier?
Our oil pairs well with so many products as it is a single ingredient and is extremely light / sweet! We love adding a few drops to our moisturizer for added benefits and / or applying it directly to cleansed skin, then using a jade roller to penetrate more into the skin. It is extremely versatile and we always recommend that you apply as the last step in your routine in addition to other serums etc.