How Organic Farming Led One Woman to Create a Clean Skincare Line

"My whole life is dedicated to teaching and living a lifestyle that is all organic."

For Rosalina Tan, living a fully organic, clean, and sustainable lifestyle isn't up for debate.

As an organic farming pioneer in the Philippines, Tan has long been an advocate for sustainable practices in her industry (way before there was a market for clean beauty), and ironically, it's how she ended up getting into skincare.

"I eat organic, I breathe organic, I speak organic, and I think organic," she shares with InStyle. "This is actually how I then discovered one of the most wonderful gifts of nature: the pili tree."

According to Tan, both pili and elemi oil can be extracted from the tree, and each have a slew of anti-aging and skin nourishing benefits, which is why she started Pili Ani with her daughter Mary Jane.

Here, we spoke with Tan to find out more about the benefits of the plant, what clean beauty means to her, and how sustainability goes beyond just being mindful of harvesting practices.

What is your definition of clean beauty?

Clean beauty for me is anything that is not going to harm your skin and comes from a natural, unaltered source, free from any toxic or harmful ingredients. For me this also connotes authentic beauty that is unaltered or modified because beauty is something that radiates from our inner being. That inner beauty is reflected by a healthy body that is nourished from clean and natural ingredients. What you eat is just as important as what you put on your skin.

Tell me more about your history with organic farming. How did this become a staple for your family?

When I saw firsthand how pesticide content was actually part of our regular consumption here in the Philippines, I then learned that the pesticide content was actually way higher than the maximum allowable consumption for people and this scared me. My eyes were opened and I realized that I couldn't stand still without thinking of how I could find a solution and actively change this "norm" in our country. I decided that I had to be part of that solution and have since then embraced my journey and made it my lifelong goal to really study and understand organic farming. My whole life is dedicated to teaching and living a lifestyle that is all organic.

What are some of the key benefits of pili and elemi oils for skin?

Our rare, precious, and potent pili oil comes from the pulp of the pili fruit, which is rich in antioxidants and moisturizing properties. Pili nuts, which are a superfood snack, are hailed as a superfood that have higher mineral content and antioxidant benefits than other nuts, so you can just imagine this on our skin. Elemi oils come from the sap of the Pili tree and have lifting and firming properties. These two amazing oils both come from one source so you can imagine the great synergy of these oils together.

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This brand supports local farms and also has a partnership with Save Our Soil. That said, what does sustainability mean to you?

For Pili Ani, sustainability means making certain that there is long-term availability by protecting the circularity of the cycle. From taking care of the soil that bears the trees, it's important to make sure that we don't harm the trees as well during harvest and that we continue to plant more trees each time. It's also important to educate and make sure that farmers understand [how] to take care of this precious treasure. We do our best to make sure that they are well compensated by affording not only their basic needs, such as food and shelter, but to make sure that they are given the opportunity not only for themselves but most of all for their children. This is why we have partnered with the Save Our Soil Foundation and have founded the Pili Literacy program as well to grant scholarships for the farmers and their families. Not only have we created a new and sustainable livelihood but we have also paved the way to discover a new skincare treasure that has been hidden in a remote region in the Philippines.

What do you think is your staple product? Why do customers love it so much?

Our staple product would most definitely be our Pili Ani Ageless Concentrate face oil. Not only is it such an amazing product, but it also has the highest concentration of our pili and elemi oils. It moisturizes, improves fine lines and wrinkles, and lifts and firms your skin — and our claims have been clinically tested. The reason our customers love it so much is that it's non-greasy, featherlight, and is absorbed easily by our skin. This is an oil that is self-adjusting and a lot of our customers say it feels like magic. It gives me so much joy to hear the amazing feedback we have received for this product and I'm excited for everyone to try it.

pili ani

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From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space.

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