It’s so popular that it’s referred to by its acronym (GoW) and famed as a natural alternative to The Ordinary. Here’s what all the fuss is about, and why the UK launch offers up something different – by Anna Hunter
Budget, ‘one note’ skincare looks to be setting the tone for sought-after beauty industry launches currently. While skincare sales were up by six per cent up across the board in 2017 according to the NPD Group, and continue to grow, it’s low cost, no frills, concentrated ingredient based ranges and brands that are having a particularly hot moment. From Beauty Pie’s ‘members club’ approach that allows you to tap into the likes of peptide rich serums and retinol spiked moisturisers from a fiver to the now cult status of The Ordinary, brands that capitalise on powerful actives and keep packaging, marketing and general frou frou to a minimum are, somewhat ironically, garnering a lot of public attention, whether from Kim Kardashian in the case of The Ordinary, or Reddit and global beauty forums worldwide with today’s case in point.
Garden of Wisdom, or GoW to the brand’s global devotees, is by no means the new skincare company on the block. Founded by two skincare enthusiasts in Arizona over a decade ago, GoW’s USP is potent, cruelty-free, natural ingredients at thrifty price points, without common skincare additives such as alcohol, silicones or soya. While the packaging has recently been redesigned in line with GoW’s exclusive UK launch at Victoria Health, the aesthetic is basic to say the least, there’s no glossy Instagram presence and the brand’s website looks (and functions) like a tech relic from the mid 90s. So what’s all the fuss about? We asked Victoria Health co-founder and pharmacist, Shabir Daya, who worked with GoW to evolve formulations ready for the UK launch, what sets the brand’s offering apart from the crowd, and why it’s caused such a stir in Reddit threads.
Word of mouth
It’s the grassroots beauty forum response that really got GoW off the ground, as Shabir explains:
“The feedback from customers using GoW serums in particular has been one of exceptional textures even though they are simple ingredient formulations. GoW has been around for many years and the buzz is based around the fact that the products work effectively for a reasonable price.”
Victoria Health’s first “own brand” skincare
Shabir had a hand in finessing the GoW offering for the exclusive UK launch, from formulas, ingredients and concentrations to the bottles. Here’s how and why he tweaked the range:
“The brief was simple- the products had to have minimal ingredients so as to allow the actives to work. The pH of the acids had to be adjusted so as to not irritate the skin too much and yet they still had to perform their roles of exfoliation and of enhancing collagen production with repeated use. Moving forward we will continue to develop and refine the formulas.”
The most popular GoW product to date
Just what has the Reddit crowds all of a flurry?
“The Niacinamide Serum, £9 for 30ml, is a bestseller and with very good reason. It works to regulate oil production, calm inflamed skin, tackle age spots and hyperpigmentation, enhance collagen production and boost ceramide production, which strengthens the outer cell layers ensuring healthy skin barrier function. These are just some of its benefits – almost every skin type and concern would benefit from the use of Niacinamide Serum, including sensitive and hypersensitive skin types.”
With the range starting at £9, going up to £20 for the Multi Peptide Serum, it’s certainly accessible, and while one ingredient won’t target all of your skincare needs, stocking up your dermatological arsenal for not very much money will hit the spot for most.