The natural hair movement and this greater ingredient-conscious generation have spawned a shift in the way beauty products are being fragranced. Whether more personal care brands are offering fragrance-free options–no synthetic this, essential oil that–I’m having an ambivalent reaction to it. Well, it’s really one scent in particular that smells offensively artificial: sugar. I have a hard time fathoming why any adult would want to smell like Little Debbie Brownies. Why, girl? Like third grade Lip Smackers all over your body? Confectioners sugar makes great for funnel cake, but not a human who graduated from the sizing chart of Gymboree.
When I hear aromatherapy, my mind immediately goes to bath products. Salts, scrubs, and fuzzies all come to mind, but I never considered my skin care routine. Without realizing it, I’ve always categorized aromatherapy as a luxury. It’s something you do when you have the time or it’s reserved for when you’re exhausted. Never did I consider using skin care products that were made with aromatherapeutic benefits in mind until I learned about VEE+CO.
Introduce yourself & why you do what you do.
My name is LaVita Johnson Spears, also known as Vee to many people. I am a creative who has a strong passion for using natural products to take care of myself and my family. I am the owner and artisan behind the VEE+CO small-batch apothecary line. I pride myself in providing good vibes through a holistic approach.
Describe what sets VEE+CO Apothecary apart from other skin care brands.
VEE+CO is unlike other skin care brands, because my mission is to not only provide healthier ways to take care of the body, but also to provide benefits that affect the spirit and soul in a positive way.
What does it mean to have indigenously-sourced ingredients?
I am very passionate about using the best ingredients in each of my products. Indigenously-sourced ingredients means that I source all of my oils and plants from their native country or region whenever possible.
Your site says, “My line is created with effect in mind and not fragrance.” Tell me more about this.
It is important that my customers understand that while I hope they love the fragrance–and most will–what I seek to accomplish is to create products that will foster wellness in individuals. Each combination of oils, whether it be in an aromatherapy roller or another product, is blended to provide the best possible results. This may include mental health wellness, physical wellness, or any combination of the two. Smell is seldom my first thought when blending.
What drove your interest in aromatherapy?
My interest in aromatherapy began out of personal need. I grew up with a rare bleeding disorder that prohibited me from using traditional methods of taking care of myself physically and mentally. I quickly began researching alternative methods and learned that a holistic and natural approach would be the key to having a true quality of life. After having children, I developed a desire to find more natural ways to address their health needs as well as learning deficits. Once I learned how permeable skin is, it made it that much easier to work towards creating a line that benefited the complete person both inside and out.
Did you have any negative experiences with skin care products in the past?
Thankfully, I have not had any personal negative experiences with skin care products in the past. I do not have extremely sensitive skin and because of my personal needs, I rarely used products that contained harmful ingredients. In contrast, my daughter has had negative experiences, which prompted me to focus on creating a line for those with sensitive skin.
What skin care concerns does Vee + Co. Apothecary address?
VEE+CO’s main focus is on the benefits of aromatherapy to the body and mind. However, many products in the VEE+CO line help to address skin care concerns like smoothing problematic areas and reducing the appearances of scars and blemishes. VEE+CO also purifies and tones the skin. Several products in the line support healthy circulation with immune-enhancing benefits. The overall goal is to support healthy skin and hair while balancing and enhancing mood.
Getting into the Mix
Cleansers: Which would you recommend for oily or dry skin?
Each cleanser is suitable for oily, dry, or combination skin. The ingredients used boost benefits for all skin types.
Red Sandalwood Cleanser: The description says this is suited for sensitive skin. How do you define sensitive skin?
VEE+CO defines sensitive skin as being skin that is easily affected in an adverse manner to the use of products. These reactions may include breaking out in rashes, blotchy skin, itching, or stinging in response to products.
Rice Water Cleanser: What are the benefits of rice water?
Rice water helps to improve circulation and ease inflammation. It also offers a cooling and soothing relief while helping to renew and improve the skin’s surface.
Clarion Cellular Recovery: What do you usually say to a potential customer who is wary about putting oil on their skin?
Oil is a natural product of our skin. Most individuals have oily skin because they strip the skin of its natural oils; the skin then works that much harder to produce oil. A little goes a long way, so just a few drops massaged into the skin will allow for the higher concentration of ingredients to work their magic.
Koffie Replenishing Serum: The description says it helps to maintain a healthy immune system. Can you share more about this?
Several of the essential oils and ingredients in Koffie work to not only keep the skin balanced, but also keep the body’s immune system healthy and well-functioning when absorbed into the skin.
Body Caviar: How often do you recommend using this and how long does the product last?
VEE+CO Body Caviar can be used from head to toe. I would recommend 2-3 times a week on the face simply because it is an exfoliant and the skin on our faces is the most sensitive to exfoliation. Regardless of how often the Body Caviar is used, the results are noticeable.
Do you plan to expand your face collection?
I definitely have plans to expand the face collection. The Red Collection has been a work in progress. Customers can expect to see a toner, oil, and soap to be released in the near future.
Share your skin care regimen.
My skin care regimen is fairly simple. I use VEE+CO Red Sandalwood Foaming Cleanser, tone my skin with VEE+CO Red Sandalwood Toner, and follow up with Vee+CO Clairon Serum. I use VEE+CO Body Caviar daily.
What’s on your vanity and what’s in your purse or travel bag?
On my vanity you are definitely going to find some homemade facial cleansing wipes, coconut oil, vitamin E, loose powder, finishing spray, and a few crystals for the good vibes. Realistically, I try to pack light so the essentials you will find on me at any given time are Chapstick, Helichrysum oil, clear lip gloss, eye drops, a finishing powder, and my travel kabuki brush.
What are your best sellers and what are your favorites?
Currently, my best sellers are Wanderlust, Mellow, Zensation, Red Sandalwood Cleanser, Faith, Tisane, and the Body Caviar. My personal favorites at the moment are Wanderlust and Yo’Om.
Where can we find Vee + Co. Apothecary?
Product can be purchased online and at local urban markets in South Florida. On social media channels you can find VEE+CO at Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
What skin care tip do you live by?
Remember that what you put on the skin goes into the body, so be mindful of your choices. Let the skin breathe. Believe in using the best possible ingredients. Chances are if you can’t pronounce it or if it needs a lot of preservatives to keep it shelf stable, then you should limit how often or how much you’re using it.
Anything coming soon?
Yes! Definitely the rest of the Red Collection alongside a new release of lip butter.