With their minimalist formulas and avoidance of many ingredients in makeup that can be problematic for those with sensitive skin, Omiana is a brand for the most discerning woman who wants clean makeup that performs and also won’t irritate their skin. Omiana achieves this by omitting commonly problematic ingredients such as titanium dioxide, mica and boron nitride, so women with the most sensitive skin will be able to find products to suit their needs. Also on their ‘never’ ingredient list are talc, bismuth, coal tar, nanos, tin oxide, micronized particles, parabens and many more. Omiana takes pride in their fully disclosed ingredient lists so customers are never left wondering exactly what is in their formulas. Omiana is also certified by both PETA and Leaping Bunny.
In addition to being ingredient savvy, Omiana is also first and foremost a family-centered business. They are a privately held, family-owned company, that caters to a small niche clientele who are looking for a wide variety of safe and high performing cosmetics. They pride themselves on always remembering that there is a real person on the other end of an email or phone call, and they operate on a strategy of putting heart, not profit, at the center of all that they do.
In addition to providing helpful and friendly customer service, they take their family-first stance a step further by providing their employees a “classroom” to bring their children with them to work. This room is filled with books, piles of compostable diapers, toys and comfy couches for nursing moms. They believe in harmony between work and family, and they certainly take the steps to provide their employees this incredible benefit.
The Greenly Guide is so excited to share with you more about this company on the blog today. We had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Lauren, founder of Omiana, and to ask her a few questions about her company and their products. Please read on below for our full interview with Lauren, a wonderful discount code plus a chance to win some of Omiana’s fabulous products!
The Greenly Guide: Can you share a little about your story and how you first became interested in using natural and non-toxic beauty products?
Lauren: My mom’s family is Mennonite, straight from Germany, so we (my sister, cousins, and I) spent a lot of time helping husk corn and riding horses on the farm. I think that environment kept my head health-geared from a young age. My grandma wouldn’t keep sugar in the house, for example. Just honey, and only once in a blue moon would she let us use it! It’s always been a lifestyle for my family and me. My sister and I delved into makeup when my mom, who did not stay within the Mennonite circle, let us; we have always enjoyed makeup and considered it an art form.
The Greenly Guide: How was Omiana born? What inspired you to start your company to create safer cosmetics?
Lauren: Omiana came about during my first pregnancy. I was looking for a line with numerous safe options; there are a lot of amazing pure lines out there, but sometimes their shades and finishes seem limited.
The Greenly Guide: Is there a special meaning or significance behind the name Omiana? How did you decide on this name for your brand?
Lauren: My [then small] team and I actually cycled through a few names, but the trademarks didn’t go through! Omiana (“ah-me-ah-nah”) is a name my toddler helped me devise, ha-ha! We polled a good deal of our loyal customers, too: they seemed to agree it’s a memorable, ‘clean’ name.
The Greenly Guide: Omiana caters not only to those looking for cleaner beauty products, but to those with specific ingredient sensitivities as well- can you talk a little about the ingredients you have omitted from your formulas and why?
Lauren: It may sound odd, but even avoiding coconut oil is a biggie within Omiana. We certainly use it, and a lot of us love it, but it would probably come as a surprise to many how some skin types are sensitive to this ingredient. Ditto for beeswax, castor oil, even zinc oxide and other oxides. Chromium greens, ultramarines, mica … some colorants, colorants that have ‘iffy’ research findings. There is inconclusive research, pros and cons, to virtually every ingredient out there, though, so when we source, we are diligent to be sure it’s the safest option among its kind. For example, Omiana’s iron oxides are not coated, are not micronized, and are certainly not nanoparticle. Our zinc oxide is high-micron; our beeswax is kosher, cruelty-free … the list goes on and on. Every ingredient has a strict sourcing process.
The Greenly Guide: When creating products with natural and non-toxic ingredients, what challenges have you encountered and how have you resolved these issues in your formulas?
Lauren: One thing we talk about a lot with our manufacturing team is what we call the ‘preservative battle’ … we can make an amazing pH-balanced formula that passes safety tests but then have a savvy team member or even customers (we enlist some very loyal customers in early product creation) want or not want a preservative because a preservative can offer ‘extra security’ yet some are sensitive to them or don’t like a moderate EWG-rated ingredient (e.g., a “3” over a “0” or “1”) — on the other hand, some are sensitive to or disapprove of herbal preservations systems … they might not want an herbal preservation system only in a mascara because if it gets contaminated because it’s opened and closed so much, that’s awfully risky, being so close to one’s precious eyes. It can be a catch-22 … so we opt to offer a variety of formulas.
With the care we put into formulations and ethical, legal, customers’-right-to-know full ingredient disclosure, it can be so disheartening seeing companies mislabeling in effort to win customers in the ‘natural’ segment. We have seen this with mom-and-pop shops that might not understand strict labeling mandates, and we have seen this with big companies — I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, but an example is a company claiming an anhydrous (no-water) formula, with numerous extracts, yet their extracts are suspended in water. Or not disclosing an ingredient combination because it’s trademarked. It can get a little frustrating as consumers ourselves and caring about other consumers’ right to know what is honestly in their products.
Omiana is full of young women and mamas: we shouldn’t have to choose if we want to have a career or be a mom. Merging the two is what is natural in our case. -Lauren, founder of Omiana
The Greenly Guide: As a mom myself, knowing that family is at the core of Omiana is so inspiring. I love that you have given your employees access to a ‘classroom’ in your offices so moms can bring their little ones with them. So amazing! As this is definitely not the standard, can you explain why you decided to offer this incredible feature at Omiana?
Lauren: Thank you so much for caring; We have two men who are in our warehouse, and my husband is our COO, but other than that, Omiana is full of young women and mamas: we shouldn’t have to choose if we want to have a career or be a mom. Merging the two is what is natural in our case. These little ones, our future, are our driving forces: seeing my babes’ faces and getting to plop down to feed them — it’s why I work so hard, and I know many women who are the same way and would prefer this. Totally not judging anyone who prefers otherwise, but this is a great set-up for us here. We have to keep kiddos away from manufacturing and order fulfillment, of course, but fortunately that’s quite separated. Our ‘classroom’ area, as we call it, is neat. It’s modern and comfy with lots of learning centers and is downtown Columbia, Missouri, so there are fun little organic cafes and other local businesses surrounding us.
The Greenly Guide: Let’s talk about your products – what was the very first product created at Omiana, and is it still in production today?
Lauren: It was Omiana’s loose powder, and you bet, it is!
The Greenly Guide: For someone who is new to your brand and wondering where to start, can you share some of your current best-selling products?
Lauren: Omiana’s mineral veil really flies off our shelves. It’s simple and silky and really helps allay the appearance of pores, lines, and imperfections. Also, it sort of surprises me how well the baby bum powder does! I love this so much. Normally clay is an awesome ingredient, but it made me a little nervous with my newborn, so we formulated without clay, even, and no cornstarch … I think moms really appreciate all its omissions. A little secret — you can totally use this as a dry shampoo, too : )
The Greenly Guide: What brings you the greatest joy through owning Omiana?
Lauren: Two things: the experience it provides my family and remaining as bonded as we are and the connection I and other team members get to establish with our amazing loyal customers. We have heard so many stories about triumph over illness; healthy pregnancies; landing-the-job, Omiana getting a tiny role in these stories. It’s just awesome hearing how Omiana plays a part in lives, even if it seems small. Augmenting our natural beauty through fun colors and ingredients — it’s an art form and a way we get to connect with people.
The Greenly Guide: Can you share any exciting plans or new products that we can look forward to in 2017?
Lauren: We are working on at least one new mascara, more foundation choices, and eye shadows! Also you will see more in our ‘holistic’ section: Beauty and health go hand in hand, so offering EMF protection, essential oil-fragranced lead-free soy candles, and much more really excites us and hopefully our supporters, too.
Interested in trying some of Omiana’s Products?
You can find many of Omiana’s amazing products on Amazon. Check them out here.