The road to clean beauty with Joanna Ryglewicz
The road to clean beauty is not always a straightforward one—Oio Lab and UKVIAT founder Joanna Ryglewicz started her career path as a lawyer. Her story, like many others in the beauty industry, started with the need to build something different and raise skincare to a new standard. After years of research and a deep dive into the science and traditions of plants, Ryglewicz turned her energy to entrepreneurship, founding Oio Lab followed by UKVIAT. Loved by celebrity facialist Joanna Czech (Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Jennifer Aniston) and many others, her brands have become synonymous with science-backed clean beauty.
Name: Joanna Ryglewicz
Company: Oio Lab & UKVIAT
Tell us a bit about your journey in the beauty and wellness industry.
For the last 15 years I gained experience in many different industries. I studied and worked as a lawyer, simultaneously distributing french pharmacy skincare products in Poland. But I always had a passion for the science behind health & beauty. Oio Lab started mostly because I wanted to investigate the ingredients and formulas that I found intriguing. On the other hand, UKVIAT was developed with a mission to offer affordable, natural skincare products that help to raise environmental awareness and support plant-friendly Foundations. I definitely not only use, but expand my business experience daily.
Can you describe what your wellness and beauty routine looks like on a typical day?
I aim to do something for my skin, spirit and my mind daily. My schedule can get very hectic at times so I do my best to introduce a small routine that is there most of the days. Being systematic is the key to effectiveness – no matter how advanced your skincare is - without daily routine you cannot expect to see results. My self-care ideally starts with a 10 minutes Kundalini yoga exercise, followed by my skincare routine and ends with a hot bath and a good book in the evening.
Skincare wise, right now I use our Supercharged Glow Serum in the morning followed by calming adaptogenic facial emulsion THE FOREST RETREAT. I also like to add a few drops of one of our oils to my tinted moisturizer. To finish with a pop reviving colour, I use our Eye and Cheek Colour Balm MELTING BLUSH where sun would naturally hit my face.
I am a huge advocate of a two-step skincare routine consisting of a gel-serum and an oil or moisturiser. In the evenings, I use a Multi-Dimensional Hydrating Facial Serum AQUASPHERE - we have confirmed that after 7 days of regular use, the level of skin hydration increases by 49.5%. As the second step, I follow with the Brightening Facial Oil With Vitamin C THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT. We use an ultra-stable vitamin C derivative that stays extremely potent.
As an entrepreneur who no doubt has a million things on her plate, how do you maintain balance in your everyday rituals?
I aim to take time to relax in the evenings. I love to take a bath with Epsom salts and enjoy my evening skincare routine. Then I spend time with my sons, cuddling, talking and reading to them. When they go to sleep I unwind while reading the books that I find fascinating. I read a lot and I tend to reach for many books at once – at the moment I find reading about personal growth, quantum physics and ancient and alternative medicine the most interesting.
What’s your advice for busy humans struggling to find time to connect with nature?
Listen to your heart. Every one of us has different boundaries and needs. Personally, I go for walks with my dog in the nearby National Park to reconnect with nature. I love forest bathing. I think it is important to have your heart open to be able to spot the small signs or red flags your body is sending to you daily - and to act upon them. My experience is that many of us know what’s the best way to reconnect with nature, we just need to find a space to calm down and follow our intuition.
We’re so impressed with the effectiveness of Oio & Ukviat. What was the process like to develop these formulations?
I think what makes us different on the market is that we produce everything in-house, in our own lab, in small-batches. Our quality criteria are very high and reflect our own subjective standards. During the process of choosing the right technology and ingredients we check literally everything: from how plants are grown, whether preservatives are used in the extraction process, the temperature and method the raw materials are extracted as well as the organic standards met - each of these elements is important to us. In a way, the companies we work with undergo a natural selection – as after all the questions asked just a handful is left (laughs). Respecting our Planet is also very important to us. During production, we not only choose environmentally-friendly extraction methods, but also minimize the use of plastic and invest in planet-friendly packaging. We also put a lot of effort into making our formulations both natural and pleasant to use. It took over three years for our in-house scientists to develop a unique methodology of preserving our formulas - based exclusively on substances of plant origin. In the testing and development process, we are also very proud to collaborate with scientists from the leading Medical Science and Life Science Universities in Poland and independent, private laboratories.
Which ingredients are you loving right now and why?
Our aim is to use natural ingredients and get the most out of them through innovative, clean science. At the moment, we are very much into mushrooms, natural hormones, adaptogens and ingredients that help to counteract the effects of stress hormones on the skin and boost mitochondria activities.
I must admit we are constantly researching and my nose is stuck into books a lot (laughs). We are also vigorously following and researching the impact of blue light on our skin and health and experiment in the lab with various ferments. Those are the most fascinating ingredients we formulate with right now.
Ukviat’s purpose-driven mission is one of the most lovable things about the brand. How did you decide which organizations to partner with?
We decided to start cooperation with local Foundations that we can actually connect with on a daily basis. We support MARE Foundation that helps to cleanse marine ecosystems, Meadow (Łąka) Foundation that acts to revitalize biodiversity and support wild bees and the Forest Forever (Las Na Zawsze) Foundation that we plant biodiverse forests with. It is important to be in direct contact with the people behind the Foundations. To illustrate, Forest Forever is run by a group of passionate individuals who want you to understand what biodiversity is before you actually start working with them - and I love that. We also discuss transparency, because we want to put numbers to sum up our actions.
What are some issues you see in the wellness industry and how do you think we can solve them?
I think it is crucial to shift the mindset from revenue-driven companies to mission-driven ones. I am an enthusiast of incorporating even the smallest changes towards greener solutions, yet so many of them come with a price tag many companies are not willing to pay. We are passionate about switching to greener solutions whenever possible, often not looking at the cost. This standpoint has been one of the driving forces behind developing another brand of ours - UKVIAT – a natural skincare solution, with natural ingredients, simpler formulations and lower price for the consumer. The aim is to spread our values and hopefully be able to act on a greater scale one day. At UKVIAT every product supports a different environmental cause – for example the blue serum helps to protect marine ecosystems, while the yellow one supports wild bees. Taking care of our Planet is incorporated in the brand DNA.
It is important to stop thinking about the finances of the company as a leading decision-influencing factor. We believe that finances are a natural consequence, a side-effect of providing good quality products and services. Of course, we do plan our costs and act within a certain framework, however, we would rather not do something at all, than do it in contradiction to who we are. We are not necessarily growth-driven, we’re mission-driven.
It is important to remember that once the demand for the pricier, yet cleaner solutions increases - their price will naturally drop – and this is where companies could really get together and make a difference. One shall not be afraid of changes. We tend to be afraid of the change itself, yet it often turns out we do not have much to fear in practice, but have so much to gain on a global scale. We need to cooperate to smooth the transition into greener solutions. And this is why transparency is so important – it makes cooperation much smoother.
If you were a plant, which would you be and why?
I would be a psilocybin mushroom (laughs). Research shows that magic mushrooms may rewire the brain to ease depression, anxiety and more. The kingdom of fungi keeps fascinating me. I think we have a lot to learn from these organisms, about interconnectedness, the idea of non-duality, oneness and so much more.