- Melania Zilo
Meet Sofia Pinamonti, Founder of Bamba Skin
The effortlessly cool California girl shares her skincare advice, self care rituals, and gives us a special look into the creation of her new line.
Hi Sofia!! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Sofia. I grew up in San Diego County and have lived in Southern California for the majority of my life other than attending CU Boulder in Colorado, and studying abroad in New Zealand. I have always loved skincare, but not so much the ingredients. I decided to create my own skincare products as I would know exactly what it contained, and it would help reduce my plastic waste. Once I started sharing my creations with friends and family, I realized that they truly loved all my products, and they encouraged me to start Bamba Skin!
What inspired the name behind your new brand?
The name Bamba Skin doesn’t have a specific moment of inspiration, I honestly just loved the sound of the word and the happy feeling it gives! Of course, it reminds everyone of the song “La Bamba,” which I love because it’s a song that always gives off positive energy.
How did you get your start in this industry, and where does your passion come from?
My passion for natural skincare comes from my educational background. I have a degree in Integrative Physiology, the study of how the human body systems work together. I have so much respect for the human body, it is such an amazing and fragile miracle. Once you discover and acknowledge the fragility of your own body, it creates a motivation to care for it in the best way possible. I remember the moment in my Cell Physiology class in New Zealand that I learned this life-changing fact: Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream in under 30 seconds. Looking back at this moment, it makes complete sense. Of course, our skin absorbs what we put on it, but for some reason, I had never thought about it until then. This is when I began to research further and learned how the toxic chemicals in most skincare can cause cancer, disrupt our hormones, and create countless other health issues.
Where do you find yourself looking for self-care inspiration?
I am always looking for new ways to take care of myself. I love reading other people’s journal prompts or hearing podcasts about their morning and nighttime routines. Mainly, I feel that my self-care inspiration comes from within. I like to take a moment to try and examine if anything is making me feel stressed. For example, if my bathroom isn’t as clean as it should be, I take the time to mindfully clean it with music on and eco-friendly cleaning products. Then, I take a bath in my clean bathroom with candles and a tub of vegan ice cream! If I am not particularly stressed about anything, I will think about what will make me the happiest I could be. Usually, this involves cooking or baking something delicious to share with friends and family and then perhaps enjoy it myself while watching a movie with pretty scenery! I think some of the key aspects of my self-care routines are soft, warm lighting, moving slowly and mindfully, and giving myself the time to think about what part of my body or mind really needs to be taken care of.
What has been the most challenging part of your brand journey? The most rewarding?
Bamba Skin is brand new, so I haven't found the most challenging part of my journey yet, but there have already been ups and downs! Let's start with one fairly challenging aspect: the business side of things. I have plenty of knowledge about the human body and how it works, but I have never taken a single business class. Because of this, I am learning as I go, I am sure I will make mistakes along the way, but that is all part of growth and the learning process. The most rewarding part by far has been seeing how many people actually want to buy my products and to hear compliments once they receive them! It makes me so happy to know that people appreciate what I make. I also love that I can educate my customers on the benefits of using natural skincare.
Two products that everyone needs on their shelf?
I love enzyme peels, which usually come from fruit, and they are a great way to exfoliate your face lightly! My personal favorite is the Cherry Enzyme Peel from Naturopathica!
Another must-have product is an oil cleanser! I used to use a gel cleanser, or double cleanse, first with oil followed by a gel cleanser. I feel that oil cleansing has completely changed my skin. I know many people love the “clean” tight feeling they get after a soapy cleanser. However, this feeling does not mean that your face is clean; it just means you have stripped all of your natural oils away. (Look out for an Oil Cleanser from Bamba Skin in the next few weeks!)
Your brand is plastic-free and eco-friendly, why is that important to you?
I recently have drastically cut down on my plastic use. I hate to admit that even a few years ago, I had the mentality that many others have: I felt like I was one small person whose actions would not make a difference. I thought if I used a plastic water bottle here and there that it wouldn’t matter because so many other people were doing it. Of course, I learned that I was very wrong, companies that use plastic keep using it because of consumer demand. If we (the consumers) refuse to buy items packaged in plastic, eventually they will have to come up with an alternative.
When I created the concept of my skincare line, I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t imagine introducing more plastic waste into our world. I wanted packaging that could be reused countless times, as that is the most sustainable option. I hope that people will reuse their Bamba jars to hold spices, use it as a container for their homemade jellies or nut butter, paper clips, or cotton balls...the options are truly endless. It is so important to me to show others how reducing their plastic waste can change their lives. I, for one, already feel more relaxed as a result of my low waste lifestyle, I feel like there is so much less clutter in my home, because I only buy things that I genuinely need. I hope that someone will see the opportunity to reuse a Bamba jar and realize that there is no need to buy a new plastic Tupperware as they already have the perfect container at home.
How do you pick your ingredients?
I choose my ingredients by looking for ethical and organic brands. It is really important to me that my ingredients are not only natural but come from an ethical source. For example, one of my suppliers uses its resources to help rebuild communities in Ghana! I want to make sure my money is going to a good source and that the ingredients I use for my products are of the highest quality.
What is your favorite self-care daily ritual?
This may seem simple, but my favorite daily self-care ritual is showering. My shower window lets in so much direct sun and has such an amazing breeze that it turns my daily shower into a really special experience. It almost feels like an outdoor shower (who doesn’t love those). I also genuinely love every product in my shower, most of them I created on my own, so of course, I feel like they are perfect. If I shower in the morning, it feels like a perfect reset for a new day. I also love showering at night because getting into fresh sheets when you are all clean from the shower is a feeling that is hard to beat!
Do you follow a specific diet for skin health?
I try to avoid eating dairy as I have found it almost always makes my skin break out. This is, of course, very hard to do if you have been eating dairy your whole life. I always recommend that people start slowly if they are trying to cut dairy out of their diet. I think the first and easiest step is switching to non-dairy milk. There are so many great options that I don’t miss cow’s milk at ALL! My next recommendation would be after you have slowly switched to non-dairy options, give yourself three weeks with zero dairy. After this, you can always try to introduce different items one at a time. For example, I found that if I eat aged cheese, like parmesan, my skin shows no side effects! Everyone is different, and it takes time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.
What skincare routine do you follow yourself? Do you stick to a strict skincare routine or does it change each season?
-Oil cleanse with a warm washcloth.
-Use a light toner that does not strip your skin of oils.
-Apply a Vitamin C serum for any skin discoloration.
-Moisturize with a moisturizer I created (coming soon).
-I apply sunscreen every day (this is so important).
-Oil cleanse with a warm washcloth.
-Apply carrot seed oil.
-Apply a heavy moisturizer that seals in moisture for the night (again coming soon!)
-Exfoliate with a scrub or a peel.
As you can tell from this routine, it is heavily oil-based. Many people are afraid of oil because they feel that it will clog their pores, but it will not be used in the right oils! My skin can get really dry in all seasons, so my routine stays pretty consistent throughout the year.
What are some common skincare mistakes you see?
As I mentioned above, people love to strip their skin of its natural oils. This will only make your skin more oily, as your body will produce more oil to make up for its lost oil. The most obvious mistake I would like to address is using chemical-based products... Not only will they irritate your skin, but they may also cause so many potential health problems in the future.
Any skincare tips for the summer?
I know everyone says to drink water, so I will address this quickly and move on: your skin is your largest organ, it needs water!
Next is Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen! Not only does it prevent skin cancer, but it will also keep your skin looking young and wrinkle-free. These are both year-round tips but even more important when it's hot and sunny outside!
Click here to shop Bamba Skin, where 20% of profits are currently being donated to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.