Victoria Odia: The Botanist Redefining Skincare

Odia is the founder of the beauty brand, VSP BOTANICS. In this interview, Odia, who holds a degree in Botany (Plant Science), and two diplomas in Esthetics Chemistry and Esthetics medicine respectively, reveals how she is exploring her knowledge in botanics in creating healthy and high-performing beauty products. She also speaks on potentials of the beauty industry as well as need to pay keen attention to the skin. Excerpts.

What motivated you to venture into making beauty products?

Curiosity did, I have been wondering what makes up the creams and soap we bath and apply daily.

What makes soaps foamy, How do spots and discoloration disappear from the skin after applying creams on them?

These were some of the questions I needed answers to and overtime I pushed to studying and making out researches for myself. My findings were becoming interesting to me.

Furthermore, My botanical studies helped me understand how great of an alternative plants are in skincare.

Fruits like Beet roots, Cucumber, Avocado, Carrots are rich in antioxidants, utilizing these plants as ingredients for soaps and creams helps sustain the skin and prevents damages unlike steroids.

What number one thing should every woman know about her skin?

Well, caring for one’s skin should not be limited to only women. We all live in a skin and should be concerned with how well to care for the skin we live in.

It is crucial to know that our skin is just as delicate as our mouth.

We are picky with the things we put into our mouths; same caution should be employed with the skin.

Any toxic item applied on the skin will have it battered, hence the need to carefully select our beauty products.

Some of the terminal challenges people face today is due to some noxious body products they must have used in the past.

Everything we eat, drink and apply on our skin goes into the blood stream; it is only smart to use non-steroidal and safe skincare range.

Do you believe any woman can have great skin, or do you think genetics play a big part in determining skin quality?

Absolutely yes. Genetics is a huge determining factor to how attractive one’s skin can be.

Our skin type; oily, dry, combination or normal, are entirely drawn from our genetic formation. Just like our weight and height, our genes help to regulate skin’s cell production, telling the body to create new skin cells as the older cells die. These processes are faster in some human than it is for others; Hence, the need for some ingredients in skincare, as they have tendency to imitate the hormones in humans, making cell regenerational process seamless and achievable.

Ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C work to neutralise free radicals, to boost production of elastin and collagen for more supple and radiant skin.

The pandemic dealt a huge blow to businesses across the globe; how did you manage?

Honestly, COVID-19 is one outbreak no one was prepared for. It came with a huge blow, but thankfully, technology helped to ameliorate the downturns it brought to business. In the wake of the pandemic, we were able to fully embrace social media, emails and text messages as they were our saving grace. Communicating with existing and potential customers turned out seamless with the use of these tools, which aided sales and clients’ retention.

What do you do to constantly stay on top of your game?

We are consistently innovating and implementing projections from existing and potential customers in ensuring we are serving the healthiest and safest beauty range there ever is.

There’s always something in the pipeline at every point in time. Currently, we are working on ‘sunscreen’ and ‘hand lotion’ waiting to be launched before the end of this quarter and they both promise to be game changers. Sunscreen should be worn by everyone as they provide protective coating to our skin against uvA and uvB rays. This is a great step towards preventing sunburn which further degenerates into skin cancer.

The hand lotion contains anti-aging and moisturising ingredients to keep the skin from drying out. Remember the first sign of aging begins with the hands. If your job requires that you wash your hands very often, we would strongly recommend you always apply hand lotions.

Every brand has a target market; what’s yours?

VSP BOTANICS products are designed for everyone, as our range of products cut across individuals at varying age groups. We have products for toddlers, kids and teenagers; body care products for men, women and even aged ones. It is imperative to note that these products are formulated for all races as well.

What particular kinds of skincare products do you focus on?

We have a wide array of products, from treatment to maintenance. We have the acne treatment product for persons dealing with breakout; this set of products are designed to effectively treat cystics and hormonal acne. We also have the Aloe Vera mouth solution for treatment of bad breath, dental plaque and teeth discolouration, as well as treatment products for hyperpigmentation, cellulites, psoriasis and virtually all skin blemishes.

Do you think the obsession to be fair-skinned can get to a dangerous level?

It has hit and even exceeded the dangerous mark already. Today, people go overboard to modify their skin colours.

There is a huge number of folks craving fairer skin today; which has given the Nigerian beauty market a pseudo-tag “Bleaching industry”. It is sad to see that if you tell anyone that you are into skincare, the first thing they get to think of is that you sell bleaching products. I make bold to say that skincare transcends beyond this notion, our skin health is vital and should be treated as such.

There is this light skin supremacy syndrome being embraced by the society; this has brought about self- complexity and insecurities, making young ladies to sought for skin bleaching.

I have seen events hostess talk about how they lost their chances to light skinned ladies during auditions, so many ladies who want to impress their men by going lighter, and so much more.

However, I want to categorically state here that you can be as attractive in any skin colour.

What would be your advice to anyone who wants to make the most of any skincare product?

Stay consistent. This is one of the challenges for a lot of persons as not everyone can stay true to a routine. To see a product work, you must make it a point of duty to stay put. This applies to every other aspect of our lives. If you want to see the effect of your medication, you must stick to your doctor’s prescription. You crave a fit body? Keep up with your exercises. Consistency makes all the difference.

Furthermore, it is of essence to note that our skin is a manifestation of whatever is going on internally. So, feed your belly with fruits, infuse vegetables into your diets, get quality sleep at night (eight hours of sleep is recommended), and your beauty products will have a smooth template to work on.

Get the greens. Make a conscious effort towards eating plant-based meals at least twice weekly. They are wholesome; your health will benefit greatly from them. Prune your tongue into accepting cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, lettuce, rosemary, parsley, etc. Make whole meals with them. They have enough fibers and vitamins for everyone. Eating healthy is a big flex in building up your body defense. Drink enough water; at least three litres a day.

Look out for products with anti-bacterial properties. Moroccan brightening soap is strongly recommended in this regard as it contains witch-hazel and tea tree oil. Both of which are anti-bacterial power house.

What stands you out?

Transparency of ingredients. This is one of our core values. We believe that individuals should be aware of what they are taking into their body because it will help them to make an informed decision. Whatever skincare products you put into your skin is only as good as the food you eat, as they all go into the bloodstream. So, it’s only fair that you know the safety and toxicity of your beauty products.

Who inspires your brand internationally?

My all-time idol in the beauty industry is Eugene Schueller founder of L’oreal.

Sir Schueller has successfully built a super solid brand that is currently outliving him.

L’oreal is one of the world’s biggest beauty brand constantly evolving and innovating globalised beauty items.

To think that its founder is long gone is totally inspiring, I totally admire the succession plans that brand has designed.

This is the kind of brand we are working on building for VSP BOTANICS.

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