It was 2011. I still have the Rodin Olio Lusso bottle I first ever owned. After the fashion assistant had placed a telephone order at Barneys, a messenger brought the oil to her office. The assistant pulled out the rectangular box from the box and removed the white dropper. She then applied the oil to her face. It was a surprise that oil could be used on your face. (Like many people in the years preceding the face-oil revolution it broke me out), but I was also shocked that $170 was being spent on a product that had a starting wage of $30,000 per year. My medicine cabinet was mostly drugstore products, despite having a consistent skin care regimen in high school. My mom would occasionally buy me Clinique or Caudalie moisturizers, but I used it sparingly until the end. It stayed this way until I began working. I was also blessed enough to receive beauty products to review, including Rodin Olio Lusso which I had been eyeing in high-end boutiques, where I couldn’t afford to buy beauty products let alone clothes, since I first saw it.
Before I even got my Olio Lusso bottle, I knew all about the benefits of using face oils. But, I was not prepared for the results of using 11 powerful essential oils in a blend. My face was no longer dry and dull. Instead, my skin was soft, glowing, and hydrated, even during the coldest winter days. The formulation had a strong jasmine and green neroli scent that I could double as my perfume by adding one drop to each wrist. After finishing the first bottle, I couldn’t bear throwing away the empty one. The price tag was so high that I tried several cheaper products before finally spending $95 to buy the first one I purchased with my own money. I started with the 15ml size, then moved to the 30ml version.
Before Olio Lusso (which roughly translates from “luxury oil” in Italian), I couldn’t picture spending that much on a beauty product. But there was no doubt that this one was worth it. My skin looked and felt amazing. The act of purchasing the oil has become a form self-care over the years. As a reminder that my skin is well worth the investment and care it deserves, I would schedule my oil purchase for special occasions like my birthday or a promotion.
Linda Rodin was the first person I spoke to about all this. After creating the recipe in her own kitchen, Rodin Olio Lusso was founded by Rodin, a former fashion model and stylist. Rodin released the homemade formula in 2007 to public. It was well received by friends and clients. The product quickly gained cult status due to many factors. Not only was word of its effectiveness circulated by fashion professionals (the best form marketing), but also the sleek packaging that was the epitome Instagram gold. This was just as Instagram was embracing the minimalist aesthetic and consumers began to question the use of synthetic fragrances and parabens.
Estee Lauder purchased Rodin Olio Lusso in 2014. The company grew to include hand cream, hair oil and other oil-driven products. This acquisition saw many category additions: fragrances were added to oils (geranium and lavender), Lipsticks, lipsticks, a collection of bronzers inspired by mermaids, and an eye cream were some of the items I purchased. Although I tried many other products, none of them took off in my vanity like Olio Lusso.
Since my first introduction to the oil a decade back, many brands have brought oils to market that have achieved similar cult status, such as Sunday Riley, Vintner’s Daughter, and Drunk Elephant. Rodin Olio Lusso helped to make big-ticket purchases less like splurges and more as investments. I now prefer to spend money on products that make my skin feel the best (at least from the outside). These purchases are still a reward to me, so I limit them to special occasions. I’m also excited when they are gifted to me.
It was not surprising that Estee Lauder announced Monday that it would be closing Rodin Olio Lusso. This seemed to be another example of Estee Lauder expanding at breakneck speed into too many categories, when it should have stayed focused on what made it famous in the first place. Clarisonic didn’t announce its closure and I didn’t rush to buy face oil like I did foundation brushes. I also won’t be keeping the bottle in my bathroom. Rodin Olio Lusso was my first introduction to the idea of pampering my only skin. However, there are many other products that leave me feeling pampered and my skin looking great.
However, none of these will teach me how important it is to care for my skin. It’s been done.