The power and glory of Yayo. Megan Beardsmore gives the lowdown on why Yayo is so god damn good
by Matthew Haddon-Reichardt on Apr 11, 2020
Across the globe tattooing is going into lockdown. Covid-19 has forced artists to shut up shop and put down their tattoo machines. It’s a very depressing situation. So in an effort to generate some positivity I spent an afternoon on Skype chatting with Yayo skin care guru Megan Beardsmore to find out what makes Yayo’s products so damn good.
“I’ve had my own skin care business, for over 6 years now, creating and formulating natural skincare from my shop in Sheffield. I met Kirk back in 2016 when he owned his own tattoo studio a few doors down from my shop. He arrived in my doorway one day and proposed the idea of making a natural vegan tattoo balm, asking if this was something I could do. Of course, I accepted the challenge; hence Yayo tattoo after care was born. We have barely looked back since that day.”
With all this doom and gloom it’s nice to break my social lockdown by chatting with someone so positive. Megan clearly loves what she does.
“The original recipe and flagship product was originally called Sigma Prime, which is the same Yayo prime that you see today. It was a good month of work in progress to get the original recipe pinned down. It wasn’t just the recipe that needed to be formulated it was the method of setting I created too to give the butter its soft consistency. I also had to work out how to do large batches and the equipment needed to do this. Working with Cocoa butter can be tricky it has a habit of becoming grainy after setting if not treated gently and cooled down slowly.”
"Of course, I accepted the challenge; hence Yayo tattoo after care was born."
I always use Yayo to heal my tattoos and one thing i love about it is the smell. I ask megan how come its smells so god damn good.
“That would be the essential oils. The main essential oils we use are Tea Tree and Lemongrass. These are two very popular essential oils and are perfect for the use in tattoo aftercare. Tea Tree comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree native to Queensland, Australia. It has been used as a traditional medicine by Aborigines for centuries. The leaves are crushed, and the oil inhaled to relieve coughs and colds or applied directly on to the skin. Tea Tree oil contains several compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi. This ability makes it the perfect ingredient to help heal tattoos by preventing any infection within the tattoo while it’s healing hence. The healing properties are why we use it in our Clean tattoo aftercare as well as our Steel, our piercing solution and in Chill our laser aftercare serum.”
“Lemongrass essential oil comes from the Cymbopogon grass which grows in Africa, Asia and Australia. The heavily scented grass contains Citral as one of its main natural components with the ability to fight bacterial infection with its antimicrobial action. The lemon scented grass also contains the compound Limonene a real powerhouse component, shown to reduce inflammation within the body and the skin when applied as a balm or oil. This was the perfect ingredient to add to our Clear tattoo after care as well as our Juice Green soap and Magic Foam. Its ability to reduce swelling and inflammation during and after a tattoo was noticeable from the first active dermatological tests we carried out and ensured its use within our products from there on.”
We use Vegan non-GMO soy wax as a natural emulsifier to bind all the ingredients together.
The first thing I noticed when I used Yayo Prime was how silky smooth it is. I asked Megan how she achieved such a beautiful texture.
“The wonderful smooth texture of our balms comes from a couple of ingredients we use and the method we adopt to get that silky soft feel. We use Vegan non-GMO soy wax as a natural emulsifier to bind all the ingredients together. This plant-based wax has a soft creamy texture with great scent holding qualities. It’s a natural moisturiser that has the ability to create a natural barrier on the skin, supporting the skins own barrier to heal following the trauma caused by tattooing. It sinks into the skin with ease and allows the skin to breath while it heals, plus it doesn’t clog needles.”
“We have developed our own specific method of cooling our formulations to prevent grains developing in the balms. Grains can develop when using coco butter and shea butter as the fats within them cool at different temperatures meaning some of the fats cool very quickly creating small fat balls. This leaves a gritty texture in the balm. These balls will melt on the skin but its not pleasant trying to rub these in when your tattoo is already a little sore. The key is to heat the ingredients slowly and gently and cool quickly.”
Megan’s job sounds like a cross between chemist and wizard. I ask how she goes about selecting the scents for Yayo’s products.
“There are always new scents arriving at Yayo HQ. The whole team plays a part in selecting the scents we use for our products. I have to rely on the rest of the team as Kirk has literally no sense of smell at all. The first port of call on a scent is usually an essential oil with a specific function for the skin, or combination of oils to create the scent and affect we are looking for. So, when we developed the first Tattoo signature range, we were looking for oils that were antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and skin safe. Therefore, we ended up with classic Tea tree and Lemongrass for the Clean and Clear. We also use several fragrance oils in our seasonal collection and Candy stencil fluid. Sometimes trying to pin down a specific scent using essential oils alone is quite difficult, so we turn to these to allow a diverse range of scents to suit our customer’s wants and needs. We only use quality safe fragrance oils suited for use on the skin, so they smell great, while complimenting the amazing skin healing ingredients we use in each product.”
"The lemon scented grass also contains the compound Limonene a real powerhouse component."
With Megan in lockdown I ask if she is using the time to formulate any new Yayo products.
“There are always new products being lined up for all our lovely customers. As soon as one is released, we are working away like busy beavers in the background, planning for the next. I can’t tell you much or it will be a huge give away. What I can tell you is we will be looking to be using a little more CBD within our range to add in some extra healing power for your tattoos. We will also be branching out in to more of a general skincare range, not just for all you tattooed folk out there. We are looking at skin care for the body, face, bath products and much more. So, keep your eyes peeled for more fantastic products from us very soon.”
A final thought from the author: "I don't just use Yayo because I work for the company, I use it because it really is the best. Love and care goes into every pot of Yayo and I'm proud to put it on my skin. If you want the best then use the best; use Yayo."
Yayo... its a family thing.