REVIEW: Leo Oil & Interview With Dena Smith

By Nina Haines
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If you follow anyone in the skincare and beauty community on Instagram, then you’ve probably heard of Leo Oil. Started by Dena of @leowithcancer, Leo Oil is a blend of Rosehip, Meadowfoam and Blue Tansy and is sold for $46 on her website (but she also gives you the recipe so you can make it yourself!)

Besides supporting a female owned and run small business, I decided to buy Leo Oil because of all the INCREDIBLE tagged photos of people wearing ~only~ Leo Oil. Their skin looked luminous, clear, without redness. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know that I’ve struggled with rosacea, sensitive skin, and texture. I thought Leo Oil could be the answer to my skincare prayers, and I was not let down. 

The oil is thick (you only need TWO drops, unless you want to bathe your face and decolletage in its glory), smells amazing, and replaces my moisturizer as the summer heat rolls in. After I put it on, my skin appears glowy and less red. Typically, I use a serum beforehand and then apply it to the high points of my face and where I need moisture (thanks Katie Jane Hughes for the tip!) 

One thing I will say it gave me a reaction after I applied BR Lotion P50 – so don’t mix it with acids and patch test it before mixing it with other products (essential oils can be tricky sometimes).

I got the opportunity to interview Dena herself about Leo Oil, see our conversation below!

Nina Haines: What about Leo Oil makes it different than other oils on the market? 

Dena Smith: Nothing! Except maybe it’s less. There’s this idea of acceptable toxicity – like we are all in contest to get to the greatest dose of something good. Sometimes things are better in Balance, and these three ingredients in this ratio are just beautifully balanced and balancing for the skin.

NH: What was the moment when you decided to sell Leo Oil? 
DS: What felt like the millionth time someone asked me what that green thing was I used in my story and I sent them to the blog recipe and they were like, “this is hard!” So I threw up a poll, would you buy this from me? Enough people said yes that I priced out a single bottle, and it all just unfolded beautifully from there. Wow, I say the word beautifully a lot.

NH: You have your recipe for Leo Oil up on your blog. Why do you think sharing this information is important? 

DS: I think there are the parts of skincare that are luxury and then the parts that are essential. Balance, healing inflammation, freedom from rashes, those all seem more like health care than a luxury.

NH: What is your skincare routine, and how does Leo Oil fit in? 

DS: Oh man. If you want to know you have to follow my Instagram. It changes daily based on what my skin needs. The things that never change – cleanse with Micellar water, I travel so much that the PH changes in the water make my skin go nuts. Then in the am I use Melanie Simon Serum C, Leo Oil, and Glossier sunscreen. At night I do the same micellar water, then sometimes serums (love the ones from ordinary to mix and match) and then my prescription aczone, neocutis eye cream, and Leo Oil. If I need extra stickiness, like for the texture, I’ll mix the Leo Oil into the LXMI Nulotica Melt. Oh and I use the Ziip and the nuface 4x a week, and I do the Tatcha purple mask. That stuff is amazing.

NH: What have been the best reactions to Leo Oil?

DS: All of them, but my favorite is when people send me pictures of themselves in nothing but Leo Oil. They look gorgeous. I love makeup but it should be fun, not to fix some construction of how we aren’t the way we are supposed to be.

NH: What struggles have you faced starting this business?
DS: Keeping it in stock. And my own control-freak nature. I want to touch every bottle myself. I know I need to let that go soon!  
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