GOW – The Brand
#TheBrand | Garden of Wisdom
Sophisticated serums at affordable prices, it’s no wonder this modest skincare brand boasts a cult following. Here’s what you need to know about GoW: By Bridget March
In our new regular feature #TheBrand, Bazaar’s digital beauty director looks into an exciting and efficacious brand taking the beauty industry by storm. First up is Garden of Wisdom, or GoW as it’s known by digital devotees.
The Arizonian-based skincare brand is far from new, but its exclusive UK launch at Victoria Health means we can access it like never before. Shabir Daya, pharmacist and co-founder of Victoria Health, worked with the skincare experts that manufacture the brand to repackage and refine the formulations for our market. The results of which only launched last month but have already become firm favourites with industry insiders.
Unlike most beauty brands causing a buzz, in GoW’s case it has nothing to do with clever marketing (digital or otherwise), or it’s Insta-presence – which, actually, it pretty much rejects. Their own website is pretty prehistoric. So how come the cult following?
- Why everyone’s buzzing about it
It all started with Reddit skincare forums, which – in the beauty sphere – makes for word of mouth at its most powerful. Celebrated for its efficacy, the cleverly formulated serums were found to really do what they said on the tin.
While the skincare enthusiasts behind the brand have been busy making it for well over a decade, GoW feels very 2018. Straightforward skincare with focused formulations are having a moment. From the Salicylic Acid 2% Serum to the RetiStar Retinol 1% Serum, for example, they’re straight-talking and results driven. And they’re cheap.
Deciem’s affordable brand The Ordinary helped popularise this positioning in skincare, but while GoW falls into a similar bargain price point, the line feels easier to navigate with less science speak. New brand The Inkey List (launching in August), seems to be taking a similar approach by keeping costs low and technical talk more minimal with a range of hero ingredient led formulations. This current approach appeals to most –from the product novices to the skintellectuals.
- Who else endorses it
Some influential voices in the online beauty communities have given major shout-outs – and not #spon ones – to GoW, cementing the consensus of the forum chat that’s been going on between skincare junkies for years.
Nadine Baggott, beauty journalist-cum-skincare guru and YouTuber for grownups has called the Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, “the nicest Vitamin C Serum I have ever used”. The quality of the formulation, texture and packaging for a mere £10 clearly blew her away – despite having all the high-end brands at her fingertips.
British make-up artist Wayne Goss, who boasts 3.3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, dedicated a video to GoW titled: ‘The ultra affordable skin brand you’ve never heard of! And it’s amazing!’. No big deal.
- Why we approve
Personally, I find it GoW refreshing on many levels. Going against the grain for modern marketing, including a rejection of social media-friendly packaging (there’s zero millennial pink here) helps it cut through the noise for me and think of the formulas.
Victoria Health say that: “Garden of Wisdom serums incorporate the least number of inactive ingredients allowing the actives to work more effectively than many other serums currently available on the market.” The strength of actives present in their serums are simply, yet cleverly, formulated to encourage skin balance while changing the specific concerns you have.
- The best buys
You don’t need the lot, but there’s a serum for all skin types and concerns, and Shabir Daya offers suggested regimens on Victoria Health should you want guidance.
The most popular product to date is the £9 Niacinamide Serum which is said to suit-all. Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a celebrated skincare staple with a whole host of proven anti-ageing benefits.
My personal favourite is Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid. Housed in an airless pump to prevent oxidation – very significant – it’s my hyperpigmentation prevention strategy and is swiftly becoming my new favourite antioxidant serum.Don’t just look to GoW for serums, though. There’s the fuss-free Daily Cleanser, £12, suitable for all skin types, and various nourishing oils (think cold-pressed rosehip seed and argan) for around the tenner mark.