A company after our own heart, KINN – a start-up organic lifestyle brand started by Sophie Lavabre-Barrow and her mother (Marie) which aims to provide you with easily accessible products such as Organic skincare and Plant Based home care products. We sat down with Sophie to find out more about her daily lifestyle routine and her inspiration behind starting KINN.
What’s your morning routine?
My typical morning consists of a hot water/green tea with some lemon juice and ginger, I don’t usually tend to eat breakfast but if I do it’s a boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt or some fruit. I check my emails and make my to-do list for the day and reply to anything urgent. Depending on how busy my day is looking I either try to head to the gym after this, or I leave it until the afternoon.
What does your average day look like?
Making sure I actually do plough through my to-do list. I try to spend at least one hour a day at the gym and then I head to the shops and pick up some food for dinner. I like to cook all of our meals using fresh and organic ingredients and I always try to make sure to get some fresh air during the day. Come evening I like to relax with my boyfriend or have a bath and read.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever given and received? This can be on anything!
I think some of the best advice I have been given is that I shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking I can do everything, it’s great to reach out for help, to learn from others and admit when you are stuck on something. It’s amazing the people you meet and how far forwards you can go when you reach out.I’d say the best advice I have given is that if you’re always waiting to get everything perfect, you’ll probably achieve nothing, perfection is an illusion you’ll always be chasing. I believe fully in jumping into the deep end and learning as you go!
How would you describe your personality in three words?
Curious, travel bug, ambitious.
How would you describe your lifestyle in five words?
Lucky, family, love, travel, work.
What is your career highlight to date?
For me, it would be being interviewed by Stella Magazine about what it was like to launch my own business and to work with your mother. That and launching my business of course.
What inspires you for work/in general?
I’d say I have many different inspirations for life and work in general, I’m inspired by my parent’s lifestyle when I was young, there was a lot of hard work but also a lot of travel and freedom, parties and friends. I like the idea of being in control of my own time and how I choose to use it and who I choose to spend it with, it’s one of the big reasons I wanted to work for myself.
During your career, what have you learnt about the business of beauty?
My company is more lifestyle based with a range of body care and home care products. I would say that I am no expert on beauty, but I would say that I have learned a huge amount about what goes into a beauty product and how product development really is a long process.
Which five websites are always in your browser history?
Mr & Mrs Smith, Google Translate (for the documents Zurich city insist on sending out in German), Sky Scanner, House Seven, Net-A-Porter (to plan my sales hit list!)
How important is it that your beauty and homecare products are ‘clean/green’? Where do you think the ‘clean/green’ movement is headed?
For me this is a top priority and one that is really non-negotiable, I was so happy when they finally banned microbeads (hello, why is it ok to wash little plastic balls down the sink!?). My family have always chosen to use as natural as possible products and a lot of my family in France have farms, so I’ve seen how food gets to the table and I do not want to be a consumer of the factory farming, heavy chemical laden process, ever! I hate the idea of animal testing and see no place for it in the modern beauty and homecare world. I think as more and more people become aware and have access to the information from behind the scenes of the homecare and beauty world that there will be a rise in consumers looking for products that align with a more eco-friendly and natural approach. The health trend towards food is only getting bigger and bigger and I think that homecare and beauty are still behind in some respects.
What products would we find in your washbag and handbag? Please name at least three.
I’m absolutely terrible as I hardly wear make-up, I only carry organic lip balm and organic hand cream (it varies month to month) in my handbag. In my wash bag you’ll find Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner that George Northwood introduced me to and Susanne Kaufmann Eye Fluid Line F and KINN Organic Body oil.
How important is it that your diet is ‘organic’? What’s a typical meal for you?
This is very important to me, I have been brought up to choose organic food wherever possible and I always cook from fresh. A typical meal for me involves either salmon or chicken and a lot of vegetables and salad, but I also love making quesadillas when I’m feeling lazy and a home-made soup is always a winner! I’m not the biggest fan of cooking so I try to vary what I make so I don’t get bored of making the same thing every night, I’m always trying out some vegetarian recipes as meat and fish in Zurich is very expensive.
What homecare products do you swear by?
My own products of course! But the KINN kitchen spray and KINN washing up liquids are my favourite.
What’s your best life hack and why? This can be on anything!
Always book your holidays/trips/flights/care hire in privacy mode on the internet!
What are your hopes/dreams for your brand within the next 12 months and 24 months?
I’d love to see the brand grow and to bring out more products, I really want to tackle and focus on the eco cleaning market as I feel there is still so much we can do with our products. In 24 months I’d love to see KINN available in more places across Europe.
What advice/top tips would you give to someone wanting to launch their own brand? Please explain.
Network. It’s not a word I like to use, but really it’s so important that you get out there and meet people, don’t be afraid to discuss your ideas and reach out to those in the industry who are already killing it, quite often they are great and helpful people who want to see the industry grow, and if one person can’t answer your question they’ll almost always be able to point you to someone who can help you find the right direction.
What would you say the key(s) to your success so far is and why?
Hard work, passion, a sprinkling of luck and getting ourselves out there meeting and talking with others in the industry.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
I currently live between two countries as my company is based in London, but my boyfriend is based in Zurich. When I am staying with my mum in Surrey, I like to relax with the dogs on the terrace (she has a beautiful garden) with a magazine or a book and on Friday’s I like to add wine to the mix. Now that the weather is heating up in Zurich, I’ll either head down to the lake and sit with a book, but mostly I just enjoy when my boyfriend gets home from work and chatting with him, maybe playing cards or watching a movie, we currently don’t have a TV which I like as it encourages us to not just turn into comatose vegetables on the sofa.
HIIT session or yoga?
If it’s a class, it’s Yoga all the way!
Coffee or green juice?
Green juice, I think I drink coffee maybe four times a year!
Heels or trainers?
A tough one, I love my heels, but you’ll find me in trainers most days.
Lipstick or lipgloss?
Neither, I only ever wear lip balm. I only wear lipstick when I’m going to a ball and I’m properly dressed up, and even then my rule is to either have a dramatic eye make-up, or to wear lipstick, never both!
What’s your failsafe outfit for an important business meeting?
Black skinny J-Brand jeans and a nice silk shirt with a blazer.
Who is your celebrity style icon and why?
I don’t have one, I don’t really follow fashion or celebrities and I like to wear what I think looks good on me… my wardrobe is pretty much black with a few colourful items thrown in for summer.
What’s the last book you read/TV series you finished?
I recently re-watched Game of Thrones. I’m always reading and usually have two to three books on the go, but I recently finished reading Brave New World by Huxley, and The Girls by Emma Cline.
Visit the KINNSHIP blog HERE…
Summer’s here. It’s time to hop a flight to the Amalfi Coast, or Tulum, or Bali—somewhere with clear water, sandy beaches, and a very weak wifi connection.
You work hard to cash in your vacay time—and you deserve to put on your email autoresponder and soak up every last minute of it. But if you’re relying on air travel to get to your destination, you might have an unfortunate guest crash your precious time off: jet lag.
Jet lag manifests itself in so many different ways, both physical and mental. Think fatigue, bloating, insomnia, irritability, digestive issues, and general stress. None of the symptoms are fun on a normal day, let alone on your dream vacation. And then there’s the damage that dirty airports and pressurized air cabins can do to your complexion. We’re talking dehydrated skin and clogged pores galore. You want to come back from your break looking like a refreshed, glowy, and relaxed supermodel—not like you’ve been to hell and back again trying to make it through customs.
It’s possible to make it through all of your summer travel looking great and feeling even better. It’s all about fighting the dreaded jet lag bloat; and with the right products, foods, and supplements, you should be just fine. Keep scrolling to get the skinny on how to beat jet lag and keep your skin looking fresh no matter how far you travel this summer.
What Causes Jet Lag?
You’ve gotta know the enemy in order to properly defend yourself. Jet lag, or desynchronosis, is a temporary circadian rhythm disorder that often occurs when a person travels across time zones. The body’s internal clock is disrupted, and major symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, bloating, anxiety, malaise, and emotional disturbances.
When a traveler crosses a few time zones, the body uses natural cues like sunlight and an eating schedule to try and acclimate to the appropriate time. But because travel is disorienting for the physical body, it can take a few days before all the natural processes even out and become normalized.
Jet lag is usually worse when moving from west to east because travelers lose hours of their day. If you’re traveling from New York City to Mykonos (hi, take us with you?), you’ll lose seven hours of your day. Meals, sleep, and bathroom schedules will all be pushed by seven hours, which certainly messes with your routine and your body’s ability to adapt to a new place.
Travelers also tend to underestimate the toll that airports and planes have on their wellbeing, too. Stressful security checks, unhealthy airport food, and omnipresent air conditioning can wreak havoc on the most resilient complexions. If you’re prone to breakouts, touching grimy bathroom doors and tray tables and then rubbing your face can exacerbate acne. And even if you are getting sleep on the plane (or in the airport) it’s likely not high quality zzz’s. Rest is incredibly important for cell turnover and skin recovery—in fact, regeneration happens three times as quickly during sleep as opposed to waking hours.
Feels like everything is working against you when it comes to gorgeous skin while traveling? Fortunately, that’s not the case. When you know what to do to combat jet lag, you improve the chances that you’ll enjoy your time off … and that when you do land back at home, you’ll still be rocking that “I-just-spent-a-week-without-conference-calls” glow.
5 Steps to Prevent Jet Lag
Try to Land in The Evening
If possible, try to book a flight that lands later in the evening at your final destination. Your goal is to basically hop off the plane and jump into your hotel sheets—getting sleep is the best way to acclimate to a new place. If you’re totally topsy-turvy when you land, grab a little something to eat. A light meal that’s rich in carbs will trigger serotonin release, and that can help you fall asleep more quickly when you do finally get to bed.
Before you retire, try giving yourself a light peel treatment. We love the Fresh A Peel Multi-Acid Resurfacing Peel because it’s gentle but effective. The peel will obliterate any dry skin or dull skin that may have happened as a result of air travel and makes it easier for your skin to drip up a rich moisturizer like our Plant Profusion Night Cream. The plant stem cells in our night cream will encourage cell turnover and recovery, so you’ll get more bang for your buck as you sleep even if your REM cycle isn’t as long as normal.
Your skin is one of the major organs involved in eliminating wastes and impurities from your body (and the largest organ at that), mainly through perspiration. Sometimes, if your system is overwhelmed, your skin may develop issues to compensate (hello….congestion!), and try to get rid of these impurities.
A skin detox seeks to help the skin to get rid of the body’s waste products, which can, in turn, help your skin look and feel better.
Some days our skin is extra dull or breaking out, especially after long flights, and we know it’s because we slept in our makeup, ate too much bad food, neglected our skin after beach days, or all of the above. If any other part of your body isn’t functioning properly, from your gut (too much junk food) to your brain (too much stress), it can show up on your skin because your pores get clogged up when trying to compensate for the other incorrectly functioning systems in your body.
Dr. G’s tips for giving your skin and body the detox that it needs:
*Drink more water
*Cut out the junk
In addition to practicing healthy lifestyle choices, it’s important to use products that have essential detox properties for mitigating congestion in the skin.
Dr. G has created a signature Detox ComplexTM, a proprietary blend containing White Horehound, Acai Palm Extract, Date Palm, and Gotu Kola; this specialty complex boosts the skin’s self-defense system and works to protect skin from environmental stress, pollution and free radical damage, which can result in premature aging.
Centella Asiatica Extract – Gotu Kola
- Main functions: Centella, also known as Gotu Kola or Indian Pennywort (Centella Asiatica), is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents that is used for treating premature aging, wrinkling, or for sores and wounds. It is also used to prevent the formation of scar tissue because it promotes healthy tissue formation. The active components in Centella are the triterpenes: asiaticoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid. Centella modulates the development and metabolism of connective tissue, improving the synthesis of collagen and other tissue proteins. It also shows a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.
Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract – Acai Palm Extract
- Main functions: anti-oxidant + anti-inflammatory
- Main functions: astringent, antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory
Marrumbium Vulgare Meristem Cell Culture – White Horehound
- Functions: protects, repairs, removes (toxic oxidants)
“What is so special about Goldfaden MD and, specifically our Detox Collection, is that we create products that specifically target skincare concerns that my father, a dermatologist of 40 years, has seen over and over again. We aim to create solutions like the Detox Hydrating Gel daily treatment, which boosts the skin’s self-defensive system, improves overall skin appearance and mitigates breakouts to support a flawless complexion”, says Lisa Goldfaden Vice President of Marketing.
Inside the nucleus of every cell, from skin cells to brain cells, there are tiny organelles called mitochondria. These are the essential powerhouses that produce the energy needed for normal cell function and survival. The decline of mitochondrial function caused by free radical damage is often associated with aging. Antioxidants that has been proven to fight the effects of aging and provide essential protection to our complexion. We had a chance to get the 411 from Dr. G on how and why it’s so important to incorporate anti-oxidants into our diet and skincare regimen.
What are the benefits of antioxidants?
Antioxidants come in many different shapes and sizes, including foods, topical plant derived antioxidant actives, to name a few, but the quality they all share is that they are able to neutralize free radicals, preventing them from damaging the body – both internally and externally. Free radical formation is normal. Plants, animals, and humans produce free radicals all of the time. Our bodies have defenses against free radicals, but when the strength of these defenses are outweighed by the amount of free radicals themselves, they can cause lasting harm, and even cell death. That’s why incorporating anti-oxidants into both your skincare and foods are crucial for obtaining a youthful existence.
Why are they essential for skincare?
Research has been substantiating the benefits of super potent antioxidants for a long time and they are absolutely essential for the skin for both the protecting and nourishing skin properties that they contain.
Antioxidants not only help combat and protect the skin from the toxic elements that are the leading cause for the visible signs of aging (photo-aging, sagging, loss of elasticity), but anti-oxidants in all forms also contain various enzymes, nutrients and vitamins that can help to revitalize the skins texture and tone and also calm irritated skin.
Can antioxidants in food have a similar effect on your skin that skincare has?
Overall wellness and healthy-looking skin certainly requires more than just incorporating topical treatments. So much of what we see on the outside (in terms of a healthy-looking complexion), is a result of how healthy we are internally.
In the same way that anti-oxidants help to fight free radical damage to our skin cells caused by environmental stresses on the skin, ingesting anti-oxidants (*mostly come from fresh fruits and vegetables) they help prohibit and also prevent the oxidation of harmful molecules that can form in the body. If free radicals are left to roam freely within the body, it can lead to a wide range of illnesses.
What are the best sources of antioxidants in food?
Fruits, vegetables, seeds, tea, and legumes.
We see free-radicals thrown around as a buzzword, what are they and why are they harmful?
Cumulative exposure to toxins in the form of ultraviolet rays of the sun, pollution and environmental stresses (smoke, UVA/UVB rays, pollution, etc.) produces free radicals that can damage the sensitive lipids, proteins and DNA in your skin cells. This environmental-induced damage to your skin can result in gradual loss of tone, wrinkling, discoloration, increased redness, and even cancer. Topical treatment with green tea polyphenols has been shown to help prevent the DNA damage that leads to skin cancer and to support the general health and long-lasting beauty of your skin.
What are your favorite sources of antioxidants and why?
Fruits and vegetables of course, but uniquely, Red tea (also known as Roobis) contains some of the most potent natural antioxidants known for protecting your skin from the free radical damage that can cause aging. These include vitamins C,E and beta-carotene. Red tea is known to possess 50 times the antioxidant capacity of green tea due to a high concentration of a special enzyme called superoxide dismutase(SOD for short), a major scavenger of free radicals. The combination of these natural vitamins and enzymes found in red tea aids in promoting new skin health after the removal of dead and damaged cells, giving your skin a smoother, brighter, and healthier appearance. In addition, red tea also contains a number of powerful polyphenolsand flavonoidsthat help heal and rejuvenate the skin.
One of the most common questions Dr. G gets asked is, ‘when to start using an anti aging regimen?’.
“By the time your mid 20’s roll around, collagen production has already started slowing down. Collagen is one of three structural proteins that our bodies produce. Elastin and Glycosaminoglycans are the other two, which we will get to. Collagen is responsible for providing tissue and organs strength. As we age collagen is produced less and tissue begins to disconnect thus creating wrinkles, dryness and sagging skin. Elastin also plays a big role in aging, although not as plentiful in the skin as collagen, it is still important. Elastin is responsible for stretching abilities and ‘snapping back’, think of the word ‘elastic’. Once elastin starts to diminish, skin will look saggy, sunken and limp. Glycosaminoglycans are responsible for keeping collagen and elastin supported in the cellular space.” Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD
If you missed the mid 20’s starting mark, do not worry. The good news is it is never too late to start an anti-aging regimen!
Dr. G created a proprietary complex named PURFLORA, found in our Plant Profusion Collection , that includes ingredients which tackle many of the signs of aging. Plant Profusion is an anti-aging collection that is made up of plant stem cells and other supercharged anti-oxidants. The specialized complex, PURFLORA, combines a potent blend made up of Raspberry Leaf Extract, Comfrey Stem Cells, White Tea Leaf Extract, Garden Crest Sprouts and Birds of Paradise Extract. The benefits result in skin tone and texture improvement, overall brightness + reduction of unwanted pigmentation, increase of the skin barrier function and an overall hydrated glow.
If you are already on a Goldfaden MD regimen and are ready to start using superior anti-aging targeted products, Plant Profusion can be easily incorporated. Focusing on intense skin rejuvenation, hydration and brightness, we created a serum, eye cream, neck cream and night cream. While the new collection was created to enhance the core collection, there can be some confusion in the beginning. Below are a few questions you may be asking yourself.
Q & A with Dr. G
Can I use The Supreme Serum with Fleuressence oil?
No. Fleuressence is an oil and the new Supreme Serum is oil free. Our suggestions is to use Fleuressence during the day and Supreme Serum at night. Or use one every other day. For intense anti-aging benefits Supreme Serum should be used at least once a day.
Can I use Bright Eyes + Energetic Eye Cream together?
Yes. Bright Eyes can be used during the day or during warmer months. Energetic Eye Cream is richer in texture and contains caffeine (de-puff) and Quinoa for its proteins and riboflavins (help to rebuild thin skin). Bright Eyes targets darkness and puffiness and Energetic eye Cream targets them as well in addition to rebuilding the thin eye area skin and encouraging collagen production thus getting rid of line and wrinkles.
Why can’t I use my neck creams on my face and vice versa?
The Lifting Neck Cream was formulated with specific ingredients (peptides and pink grapefruit oil) to target sagging thin neck skin, along with the horizontal bands and hyper pigmentation that can appear with age. The neck also tends to be drier than the face and needs more moisture. However, people make the mistake of using neck creams that are too heavy-when all they need to a medium weight neck cream. Your neck doesn’t absorb in the same manner the face does, so less is more when it comes to the neck.
We hope you love Plant Profusion as much as we do!
Amy’s greatest joy in her floral work is to use her years of formal training, vast industry experience, unique visual aesthetic and passionate sourcing of the best materials to bring each of her clients’ vision to life. She accomplishes this through listening to clients needs and we have that first hand experience as she recently created the florals for a recent event (see below, as they are STUNNING!).
Her studio mantra is “nature first” as she takes great care to design within the seasons and uses locally grown flowers whenever possible. Hence, why we took an immediate attraction to her and her work.
We had a chance to talk candidly with Amy about balance and how she manages her thriving career and busy life.
Last thing that you do before you goto bed, is?
The last thing I do before I go to sleep is usually deep breathing to relax my body and prayer. I like to fall asleep in a place of gratitude and replaying the day with the mind set that whatever it was that I did, it was enough and tomorrow will have enough troubles of it’s own. For so long I would l fall asleep concerned that I didn’t do enough that day and living in scarcity is so damaging to getting real rest.
If you suffer from chronic pain or health issues, you’ve probably considered (or been told to consider) acupuncture or even something more basic as in Chinese Medicine. Eastern alternative medicine is a healing medicine, merged together with the wisdom of the east and the knowledge of the west, offered for those seeking out wellness, healing and longevity. *Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. In a session, the “needle” is used to stimulate specific, powerful sites (acupoints) along meridian lines, which is though to promote healing throughout the body’s various systems and realign “balance” within the body. Acupuncture has been successfully used to treat pain, PTSD, arthritis, chronic stress, addiction, insomnia, digestive disorders and much more.
VIE HEALING was created by Mona Dan: Acupuncturist, herbalist, tea lover, traveler, mama, holistic lifestyle leader, and passionate health educator. VIE HEALING represents a holistic lifestyle that goes far beyond health fads, juicing and quick fixes.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Mona to talk about balance and how she achieves it daily.
Mona Andoot Dan
What is your definition of Balance?
Balance for me is feeling at peace with whats expected of me and what i’m doing. Living in the moment, feeling present but excited about the future!
First thing you do when you wake up, is?
Snuggling and bonding for 15 minutes with my son Zac, without thinking about what the say ahead has in store or will require of me.
Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?
Shower or bath. Every. Single. Night.
How do you balance life + keep wellness top-of-mind?
Through incorporating my rituals: my supplements keep my nervous system chill, and i always slow down for tea in the morning and evening and evening and baths. These self-care habits keep me in check throughout the day.
What are your tips/advice for people to create balance in their life?
Finding a few activities that can take 1-20 min a day that reminds them of the little things in life they enjoy!
Peel, exfoliate, treat, hydrate, control, pH balanced. Does this sound like your brain when dealing with your skin? The struggle to balance skin no matter your age can be daunting. The goal is to improve tone, texture, firmness, softness and hydration. So, what is pH balanced skin and why is it so important?
The skin has a very thin protective layer on the surface called the acid mantel. This layer is comprised of sebum from sebaceous glands and lactic acid and amino acids (from our body’s sweat). The ideal ‘balanced’ level is around 5.5, slightly on the acidic side. So how do we ensure proper balance? Correct products and ingredients, paying attention to your climate and listening to your skin’s signals.
Exfoliation + Cleansing
Cleansing or washing the face should happen at least once a day if not twice. Upon waking, washing the face will remove the residue from applied night treatments and regimen. If you choose to cleanse in the AM, make sure to use a cleanser that won’t strip or dry the skin. Cleansing the skin at night is crucial! No exceptions. The skin is exposed to many pollutants from just stepping foot outside your home. Soot, car exhaust, sun, second hand smoke and many other pollutants wreak havoc on the skin leaving a layer of dirt and free radicals. Makeup also needs to be removed no matter what. Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Clogged pores will lead to break outs and or rashes. By cleansing at night the skin is ready to receive and absorb any applied serums and creams.
When we talk about ‘cleansing’ we need to include exfoliation. Everyone should exfoliate their skin two to three times a week, unless they suffer from rosacea or eczema, in which case use an enzymatic exfoliator. Depending on the season and climate, exfoliation can be increased or decreased. Both manual and chemical exfoliation is recommended and dependent on results desired.
Listen To Your Skin
Over cleansing is never recommended as it strips the skin of natural oils which can cause an over production of oil/sebum and thus a breakout. However, this is highly dependent on what type of cleanser (ingredients) being used and skin type. If you are oily and using a gentle gel based natural cleanser, like our ‘Pure Start cleanser’, you can’t really over cleanse. If you are typically dry or sensitive you have to be careful what types of ingredients you choose. Stay away from astringents, acids, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. If your skin starts to feel dry or stripped, gets irritated or flaky, listen to the signs. Over cleansing and under cleansing can both cause-unbalanced skin.
Climate + Environment
Balanced skin can also be a result of the climate and environment lived in. For example if you live in a cold climate, exfoliation should decrease during cold, dry months. Likewise, cleansing and antioxidant protection should increase in urban settings to battle pollution and free radicals.
Dr. G tip:
Pollution releases microscopic particles or free radicals that can go deep into the skin and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. The outcome is loss of elasticity (wrinkles and sagging) and Hyperpigmentation (dark spots).
The Balancing Ingredients
Balancing the skin is a dance between the right amounts of exfoliation/cleansing as mentioned above and the ingredients, which deliver the soothing, nourishing hydration and softness back to the skin. Dr. G has created an all in one mask, The Skin Balancing Mask for this exact reason. A botanical-rich treatment mask which features a multi-peptide and enzyme blend that refines pores and helps to improve skin elasticity and increase collagen production. Ginseng, Honey, Flower Extracts, Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E infuse moisture, vitality and nourishment back into the skin.
When it comes to health and wellness, we all need to learn a thing or two from LA-based, Jessie DeLowe. Jessie has an impressive pedigree of talents – Certified Yoga Instructor and Art Therapist Jessie De Lowe provides life-enhancing, enriching, and enlightening experiences to clients across the globe (and a new mom to a gorgeous baby girl, to boot!). We had a chance to sit down with her in an candid Q & A you don’t want to miss.
Jessie De Lowe
Manifestation happens when you align with your true, highest self, and are able to experience reality from that expansive, abundant lens. Your perceived limitations are lifted and your energy flows effortlessly, yet intentionally, towards whatever you choose.
Where does your glow come from?
My glow comes from love, nature, and deep appreciation for simple day to day pleasures.
What does your typical Beauty Routine look like?
I take a glorious shower every morning to wake up all my senses, always ending with a refreshing cool rinse. I use Playa natural hair care (shampoo and conditioner), exfoliate my body and then lather on True Botanicals body oil. For my face, I am obsessed with Goldfaden MD eye cream and Vintner’s Daughter Face oil. I use a tinted sunscreen by Well People and then RMS living luminizer for extra glow.
How do you balance work, mom, wife, life (tips / rituals)?
I make sure to take time for myself, taking care of my body and my own needs so that I can be a well of positive energy to offer others. Regularly practicing yoga is the ticket for me. Luckily I have chosen a career path that lends itself well to living a balanced life and I am really grateful for the way my work and personal life so seamlessly coexist. I have been able to include my daughter Amelie in some of my work lately which has been so much fun and I hope to continue more of that.
My husband Brian and I prioritize each other and our relationship before all else— even before our daughter, because if our union isn’t super strong then that is going to negatively effect everything else. We have at least one date night every week and are both really present for one another, expressing gratitude regularly and never taking each other for granted.
What was the last book you read?
These days I am obsessed with cookbooks!! I am determined to be an incredible chef like my own mom, so I have been studying! I just got this book “Once upon a Chef” and the recipes look awesome.
On a tropical beach with my family, in and out of the warm ocean, eating fresh fruit and fish tacos, massages, yoga, outdoor bath tub, lots of kissing and snuggling. Watching the sunset while drinking a beautiful bottle of wine. Amelie sleeping peacefully through the night. Bam.
When you need to destress what is your go to?
Aromatherapy (lavender) and the ocean!
What is your favorite room in your home?
My bathroom might be my favorite. It has a large meditation area that used to be a cedar tub. Its funky and fabulous.
What advice can you offer new moms?
Get outside as often as you can. Sometimes leaving the house feels like a daunting task, but I found that Amelie was always so much less fussy once she got some fresh air. And it makes you feel less isolated and more like yourself.
Best advice anyone has given you is…?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. First thing you do when you wake up, is? Say thank you for another day. I have a gratitude practice every morning where I lay with one hand on my belly and one on my heart and just appreciate the blessing of a brand new day. I visualize the day unfolding and set my intentions for what I would like to attract and what energy I want to radiate throughout my day.
Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?
Tell my husband I love him and thank him for loving me.
Any tips/advice for people looking to start their own business that you’ve learned along the way?
If you want to start something, start telling people! The more you talk about it, the more opportunities for it to come into fruition will arise.
Andrea Faulkner Williams co-founder and Head Mama of Tubby Todd Bath Co.
Why Tubby Todd?
My husband, Brian Todd, was the biggest baby ever born in the San Jose Hospital (11 pounds… ouch!) When he was born the nurses called him “The Moose” because he was so big. Years ago we had been working on formulas but weren’t sure if we really wanted to launch a bath soap company (mainly fear was holding us back!) and then one day he came home from work and said, “We are going to start a children’s bath soap company and we are going to call it Tubby Todd!” And I was like, “Yeah we are!” It was one of those pivotal moments we both remember.
How many baths per week?
I find the number of baths per week I take has significantly decreased as I have added more children into the equation. I still get to sneak one or two in a week. Because… priorities.
What does your typical Beauty Routine look like?
I try and wash my face both morning and night, moisturize and use the Goldfaden Elixir. Sometimes I fall asleep before I wash my face and so the next morning I use your exfoliater to make up for neglect. If I go two nights of falling asleep without washing my face I put on your mask.
How do you balance work, mom, wife, life (tips / rituals)?
What was the last book you read? I’m currently reading “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I know, I know… three years after everyone else. But I still cry every single time they talk about putting it all on the line and starting their business together. Shiplap and soap don’t have much in common, but our stories feel similar in so many ways about working together as a couple.
Hmmm. Sleeping in. Hiking outside, getting a few hours of work done in the morning and then doing something with my kids we both enjoy (like going to the pool, or to the beach) and then at night we get a babysitter and we go out. Let’s just say I sneak a nap in there too.
When you need to destress what is your go to?
I have written in a journal since I was 12. I try to spend a few nights a week meditating and writing feelings and lessons learned down. I have always had a lot of feelings (maybe more than I’ve known what to do with, ha!) and my journal is a safe place to put them all and make sense of things.
What is your favorite room in your home?
My favorite room in my home is my kids room. We have a chair in there that we bought when I was pregnant with my first child. Every single night we all pile on it and read books together. The kids poke me in the ribs and beg for more books and I tell them to go to bed but, those are for sure my absolute fav mom moments.
Favorite Tubby Todd product?
Ummmmm it’s always changing but I’m currently so obsessed with our All Over Ointment. Every single day we receive hundreds of testimonials of how our Ointment has changed the lives of the families who use our products. It’s like the Windex of baby products–works on everything.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My babies. And that is the best part of my job. The best thing I can do for our company is spend time with my family. A lot of my inspiration also comes from other female business owners. I spend a lot of time talking to other women about their social strategy and creative process, I always come way so jazzed and full of ideas.
First thing you do when you wake up, is?
Ugh. These kinds of questions are so embarrassing because they highlight what a lug I am. I dream of being the type of mom who’s dressed before her kids get up, but every single day one of my 3 kids or our 2 month old puppy wakes us up. And it’s always like a screaming in my ear, or a jumping on my back, type of awakening. So, the first thing I do is probably tell them to be quiet, or roll out of bed and get them breakfast to get them to be quiet. And, if I wake up on my own the first thing I do is check Instagram and try to take of any emails I need to get out. Because, mama gotta take care of business.
Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?
Say a prayer. My husband and I try to pray together and then I pray on my own. See, I HAVE ONE GOOD HABIT. Thank you for ending on this note.
Lunya is reinventing sleepwear for women, by women. Their collections are made up of advanced fibers that some specific sleep problems – hot sleepers, cold sleepers, etc. Each piece is designed to work together and meet the individuals sleeping needs. We love everything and the fabric just melts you. We sat down with founder, Ashley Merrill, to find out more about her inspiration and what it’s like to balance work, life and kids.
GFMD: Why Lunya?
Ashley: I could relate to the problem because I was someone who was wearing my husband’s shabby old clothes in an effort to be comfortable, so I was passionate about solving it. I had a strong vision for what I believed was possible and felt there could be a great business to be had in solving it well.
GFMD: Where does your inspiration come from?
Ashley: We’re inspired by women. By who they want to be, what their lives look like, how they live, etc. Our designs celebrate women’s bodies by trying to make them comfortable in thoughtful ways (smooth seams, stay put straps, etc), flatter them (as women we always put on the clothes and make sure we FEEL our best with them on prior to releasing them), and that work with how they live (cell phone pockets so you have your hands free, clothes that can transition in and out of the home as needed, etc).
GFMD: What does your typical Beauty Routine look like?
Ashley: Arcona face wash, Vintner’s Daughter Serum, and Skin Clinical Lotion on top, essentially i use a mild cleanser and try to lock in vitamins and moisture. As for makeup Im pretty minimal. In a big day I will softly line my eyes with dark brown shadow and I will top with Benefit They’re Real mascara.
GFMD: How do you balance work, mom, wife, life (tips / rituals)?
Ashley: I try to think about life in the macro vs on the day to day so I don’t make myself crazy – though I still do lol. I look at my whole life as a pie graph of time and goals. I think about how much I want to give to the different slices and realistically when that needs to happen and then I try to allocate my time somewhat in that way. When I think about buckets like: travel, kids, relationship, friends, career, and community, I can evaluate what really matters and make decisions from that place. As an example, my husband and I travelled a lot prior to kids and we will get lots of that later in life but kids and career are timely and at this point in my life they dominate my time. I think this is ok and it gives me some peace about saying no to friends and other things that I would be interested in for the short term. Balancing between husband, kids and career is a moving target and I wish I knew the right balance. There is no perfect solution but I do my best to correct when things feel off.
GFMD: What was the last book you read?
Ashley: I wish that I could say some fabulous Historical Fiction because I love those but generally I dont have a lot of time so if I do read it tends to be business related. I recently read Insanely Simple and found it to have some killer marketing insights. I loved the metaphor they used for clairity of message…. If someone throws one ball at you then you catch it but if they throw you three balls at once its hard to catch any. It was powerful point about being simple with your message.
GFMD: Perfect day…is?
Ashley: Waking up to two kids in great moods. Heading to work and feeling the energy and passion of the team when they are in sync and working well together. Then I would workout at lunch… maybe even go for a run along the beach (we work close to the beach). Then I would work a little more and then pick up my kids from school Hang with them for snack and then maybe have a little time to myself for art, organizing, or whatever. Make dinner (I love cooking) and then have a family dinner. This isnt my actual life but Im happy that my perfect day and my actual days arent miles apart. I hope that means Im on the right track 😉
GFMD: When you need to destress what is your go to?
Ashley: I find TV these days to be so quality and immersive that its great to transport me out of a stressful situation. I love Handmaids Tale, This is Us, The Americans, etc.
GFMD: What is your favorite room in your home?
Ashley: The living room because it has amazing windows. Oddly its a room Im rarely in. Perhaps it also appeals to me because its kind of a novelty for me to be in it?
GFMD: Favorite Lunya product?
Ashley: This changes often but I love the Lunya silk robe right now. Every silk robe looks the same and we were determined to build something better. I think we really landed on something special and it looks great in and out of the home.
GFMD: What advice can you offer women in the workplace?
Ashley: Find a company you love where you think you can add value and work every day to do that. Every company will have its pros and cons but focus more on what you can do to make a difference than on all the things the company could do better. You will be happier, more empowered and more valuable to the company.
GFMD: Best advice anyone has given you is…?
Ashley: Be the change you want to see in the world. I dont recall where I heard this but its basically my life motto at this point.
GFMD: First thing you do when you wake up, is?
Ashley: Read my email. I know that virtually every wellness blog says this is a bad Idea. What can I say, Im a flawed person and I love knocking out email first thing int he morning while my house is still quiet.
GFMD: Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?
Ashley: Put my cold feet on my husband so he can warm them up. I dont know how men can run so much hotter but its like sleeping next to an inferno.
Sharing in our passion for ingredients and high-quality products, we sat down with Angela and Evelyn, co-founders of our favorite organic baby food delivery company, Yumi, to learn more about the importance of food, their inspiration and daily lives.
Angela: When I was pregnant with my daughter, I learned about how important nutrition is during the first 1,000 days. It was really eye-opening to read all these clinical studies that showed how every bite matters during this window, and can have long-last effects on their physical, neurological and metabolic development. During this time, I was also baffled by the lack of of innovation in the baby food space. The market really hasn’t changed in decades. The options at the grocery store just fell short in every way. What they were calling “meals” were full of sugar, or fructose, and had been sitting on the shelves for months if not more than a year — it just didn’t feel right.
Most important food group(s) to begin with and when with babies?
Angela: Starting babies with vegetables, instead of all fruit, is so important in terms of establishing your baby’s taste preferences. Fruits have many benefits, but if a baby starts off eating only fruit purees, their taste preferences are going to lean towards the sweeter side, which can cause problems down the road when you’re trying to get your babe to eat their veggies and other whole foods.
What does your typical Beauty Routine look like?
Angela: I try to keep things really simple, especially in the mornings when I am rushing to get the kids fed, dressed, and out the door. I splash my face with lukewarm water to rinse the night away, then slather on some of my favorite moisturizer from La Mer, which also has SPF 50.
In the evenings, I’ll use Goldfaden’s “Doctors Scrub” which makes my skin feel baby smooth. I’ll follow that with a hydrating serum from True Botanicals – it really calms my skin after a long day, and the relaxing scent gets me in the mood for sleep. I also rub a bit of my favorite balm from Nucifera on my lips and cuticles (…pro tip, this stuff also doubles as a great antidote for a diaper rash!)
If I’m going into an important meeting or have dinner plans, I try to glam things up a little bit and add in a few coats of a go-to-mascara, I have a few from Lancome and Estee Lauder, and a lip stain. Right now Yves Saint Laurent’s Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain is in high rotation.
How do you balance work, mom, wife, life (tips / rituals)?
Angela – It’s a constant struggle, but I try to just focus on one day at a time. On Sundays, I always look at my schedule for the week ahead and prioritize where I’m needed most. If there are family functions or appointments I need to take with my kids, I’ll adjust my workday to accommodate; and conversely, if I have a particularly hectic work week or have to travel, I’ll try to squeeze in lots of quality time with the family.
I don’t think it’s ever possible to perfectly “balance” all the things that we as moms have to juggle in life. I do the best I can to maximize my time at work and at home, and if it starts to feel like one thing in particular is draining a lot of my time and energy, I’ll take a step back and try to reset. Someone once gave me a great piece of advice, which is: follow the things that give you energy. If you are dragging yourself to a workout class or social event simply because you feel like you ‘have to’, but it feels miserable, reevaluate how you could be spending that time. Conversely, if you feel drained spending too much time cooped up at home and feel like you need to be out in the world, traveling, socializing, exercising…then make it happen! Find what brings you positive energy, and lean into that.
What was the last book you read?
Angela – “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. It’s all about reshaping your perspective on what it means to live a happy life, how to build grit, and it helps you prioritize the things that truly add value to your life. It was recommended to me by a few friends, and I have to admit the title itself grabbed my attention right away.
Evelyn – “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. It was fascinating to read such intimate details about the beginnings of Nike, and all the trials, tribulations, sacrifices he faced in order to build a successful brand. As an entrepreneur now myself, I can identify with so many of those tough decisions he faced in those early days, and there were countless takeaways that I can take and apply to running our company today.
Angela – ok here goes:
Both of my children sleep in until a reasonable hour, and I magically wake up before they do
I have enough time to prep and cook an amazing healthy breakfast, and we all have time to sit and enjoy it as a family
I had already packed their lunches the night before …check!
I have time to get showered and dressed at my own pace, and my skin looks perfect so I skip makeup completely
Everything is clicking at work; our customer base is growing, employees are happy and all deadlines for the day are met with a breeze
I have time to hit a Barry’s class and get in a good sweat
I make it home in time to give the kids a bath and put them to bed
I cook dinner with my husband Angus and we enjoy it with a bottle of one of my favorite red wines
When I check my emails before bed, they are all friendly messages and there are no fires to put out
So basically, a day in which there is just always more time! 😉
When you need to destress what is your go to?
Evelyn – for me, I always find that if I can reset my diet and find time for a workout, I feel instantly less stressed. No matter what kind of day I’m having, if my diet is clean and I’ve had a chance to sweat, I know that I can tackle any issue with a clear, focused head.
What is your favorite room in your home?
Angela – I love being in the kitchen; it’s truly the heart of my home and it’s where everyone tends to gravitate. I am happiest when my family and friends are gathered around the island, sharing stories and enjoying good food together.
Favorite Yumi Recipe?
Evelyn – I love our Mango Tango blend. It’s a mix of really delicious ingredients like chia, coconut milk, flax, dates, banana, cinnamon and mango – it not only tastes delicious, but the balance of nutrients gives me sustained energy all morning. I grab one almost every day, following my morning workout.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Angela – I’m inspired everyday from the personal messages we get from our customers – women who tell us that our product has changed the way they think about feeding their baby and has made their lives so much easier. Even on the most challenging days, when I feel confused and sometime question everything we’re doing, hearing that positive feedback always brings things back into perspective and reminds me why we built this company in the first place.
First thing you do when you wake up, is?
Evelyn – take my dog Raja for a walk and catch up with my team on Slack.
Angela – my kids get up before me, so I usually wake up to little voices telling me they are ready for breakfast! The first thing I do is give them a kiss and start getting them ready for the day.
Last thing you do before you go to sleep, is?
Angela – I try to catch up on the news of the day and usually read the New York Times cover to cover. I know most people don’t like to read the headlines right before bed because it stresses them out, but since my mornings are usually so hectic, I actually find it relaxing to catch up on all the news before I officially end my day.
Evelyn – Read in bed with my fiance with our silly puppy, Raja, cuddling at our feet.
People have been taking better care and are more focused of their facial skin but a face that looks youthful paired with a neck and chest that show the signs of sun damage and photo-aging can make people look unnatural and ‘done’. The truth is, one can always tell someone’s age, but looking at their neck and hands – two areas that are constantly exposed and often forgotten about. Discover the science behind how the neck ages and tips on how to reverse skin aging.
We sat down with Dr. G to get the 411 on how to properly care for our neck.
Why does the neck area age so quickly?
The neck skin is not attached to any bones, and therefore will be one of the first areas to display the pull of gravity. That also means that it is aging both vertically and horizontally causing sagging and lines all over. The neck is often forgotten when it comes time to protect the skin. The neck is exposed to elements such as sun and environmental pollutants.
What’s the look that every 40-something woman and over wants from her neck? The look of tight, taught, even toned and hydrated skin. No discoloration, dehydrated, crepey skin or horizontal bands.
Is there a celebrity poster women for a good chin and neck?
What can we do at home as part of a daily routine?
Start with exfoliation (I always recommend to my patients our Fresh A Peel as it exfoliates, brightens and hydrates in one) to rid the neck area of dead skin, dirt, debris and as a rule of thumb, try to remember to extend your facial treatments down through the neck and decollate area. Incorporate neck cream that contains anti-aging ingredients and was developed for the neck area. When choosing a neck cream look for peptides, hydrating lightweight oils (remember we don’t produce oil on the neck, so the skin often gets dehydrated quickly), and ingredients that offer brightening and DNA repair. Wearing an SPF on the neck and chest area is a must everyday. We also look down a lot (at our computers and phones), which causes more wrinkles. Try and place your computer higher up on your desk and hold your phone up when texting or reading. Always stand up straight as good posture can help prevent wrinkles.
Why is the skin there so very tricky?
The neck has no pores, hair follicles or sweat glands, therefore doesn’t produce oil like the face does, making it susceptible to dehydration. The skin of the neck and chest are is thinner tissue than the face and is damaged more easily. Many people ignore the neck forget that it is exposed to the elements. The sagging and crepiness is due to loss of collagen. Discoloration may be present due to sun damage or hormones and can range from speckled darkness to redness and uneven tone.
Is it better to use dedicated products or can you just use your face creams?
If it is better to use dedicated ones why please? Dedicated neck products are recommended. Do not use anti-aging face creams on the neck. The neck is more delicate than the face, has no pores and cannot absorb many of the ingredients in facial products. Always apply the cream in an upward motion. Never pull, tug or rub the neck skin.
Any tips such as for example wearing sun screen on your neck?
When protecting or restoring the neck, always extend your exfoliation treatment down to the neck and décolleté area. Incorporate a neck cream with ingredients that target discoloration, dehydration, tightness and cell turnover such as peptides, amino acids, oil of grapefruit and birds of paradise. Always wear an SPF or cover the neck area when outdoors as this will help to mitigate discoloration. No one is too young to start protecting the neck area!
The skin is the body’s largest organ and research proves it capable of absorbing up to 60% of the ingredients in the products we apply. Many synthetic ingredients have been recognized to cause skin irritation and may lead to damaging effects longer-term.
We hold very high standards in terms of choosing ingredients and formulations that are not harmful to our health and that are known to cause skin irritants. And most importantly, we are completely transparent about our formulations.
Our products couple scientific expertise and nourishing active plant cell extracts to restore and improve the appearance of aging skin and are made without harsh synthetic ingredients. Our commitment is to create safe, yet effective products that utilize the most effective and innovative naturally-derived, result driven ingredients from around the globe.
“All of our products are made without harsh synthetic ingredients; we are committed to create safe, yet effective products that utilize the most effective and innovative naturally-derived, result driven ingredients. Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden”
Created to deliver glowing results for all skin types, these potent-packed products work to reveal a refreshed, youthful and radiant complexion. Each Goldfaden MD product is developed naturally in the US with a quality guarantee: powered by plants, dermatologist tested, organic and natural ingredients, paraben-, petrochemical-, mineral oil-, alcohol-, silicone- and gluten-free, no animal testing, 100% vegetarian, hypoallergenic and free of artificial colors and fragrances.
Here is a breakdown of some key ingredients where we substitute natural alternatives:
Natural alternatives to commonly-used chemicals
Goldfaden MD alternative: Carotenoids which are found in plant based foods. We use carrots. Pluses about Carotenoids are the stabilization of the product is better and they aren’t as harsh, which is better for sensitive skin.
Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a chemical, also called “benzene-1,4-diol.” (Benzene is a known carcinogen). It’s a type of phenol, which is just a fancy name for a certain class of chemical compounds that are similar to alcohols. Illegal for over the counter sale in many countries.
Goldfaden MD Alternative: Alpha Arbutin. Alpha arbutin is derived from the bearberry plant, specifically from the leaves. Alpha arbutin suppresses the pigment in the pigment producing cells as opposed to killing the cells, as hydroquinone does.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid can be derived from rooster combs, made synthetically in a lab or from a vegan source.
Goldfaden MD vegan alternative: We extract our Hyaluronic acid from sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have the additional advantage of having high levels of magnesium. The mineral magnesium is essential for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the body. Many people struggle to get adequate amounts of magnesium in their diet; this is largely because the typical Western diet has low levels of magnesium.
Chemical dyes: Link directly to skin allergies. Studies have found a breast cancer link to red 04 dye.
Goldfaden MD alternative: NO dyes whatsoever, we allow our products to be the color nature intended them to be. As for fragrance, we use only natural fruit extract when it is present in an ingredient.
Dimethicone: A manmade toxic synthetic pigment and silicone-based polymer. Dimethicone sits on the surface of the skin and doesn’t allow it to breathe, causing irritation. Using Silicone-based skincare products also inhibit the actives from penetrating into the skin, which reduces the treatment amount in the actives.
Mineral oil: Petroleum-derived oil that suffocates the skin and is considered “comedogenic,”which means it can clog the pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads.
Goldfaden MD alternative : Squalane from olives (vegan) form. Not to be confused with Squalene which is usually derived from shark liver oil but may also come from plant sources such as olives. The main reason Squalane is used is because it has a much longer shelf life and more stable in formulating.
In our modern, plugged in, checked out giant world we are constantly striving to find happiness. The brain controls happiness with its intricate symphony of hormone balance. After reading a study, which showed children laughed an average of 300 times per day, while adults averaged around 20 times per day, we dove deeper to find out if laughter really is the best medicine.
What happens when we laugh?
You may notice that after you spend time with a child or an animal or you have a good belly ,tear inducing laugh with your bestie you feel happier and less stressed. This is not a coincidence, this is your brain on dopamine. Dopamine is the ‘feel good’ and ‘calming’ hormone in the brain. Laughing naturally produces dopamine! Laughing also turns off the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much Cortisol results in high blood pressure, excess belly fat, insulin sensitivity and lowered immunity).
- Relaxes muscles in the body
- Releases endorphins
- Decreases stress
- Increases blood flow
- Can help with pain reduction.
Find ways to increase laughter by spending time with friends or doing a favorite hobby. Get outside and into nature. Even watching a funny movie can help. Just laugh-It is the BEST medicine.
We enlisted our dear friend Ada Polla, CEO of Alchimie Forever, to shed light into how important and impactful women friendships can be.
My friendship with Lisa Goldfaden started a couple of years ago – and after finally meeting her, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t met much earlier, as in may ways we are work twins.
When Lisa asked me to write a guest blog post for her, how could I say no? She told me it didn’t have to be on skin care – and so instead, I want to write a few lines on women’s friendships, and asking for help.
Many could say that Lisa and I are competitors. After all, we both have skin care brands that are positioned at the intersection of dermatology and nature (hers), aka clean and clinical (mine). We sell to many of the same boutiques and spas. We could hate each other, bad mouth each other, and refuse to help each other. But instead, we do the opposite.
I use her products (my favorite is her Fleuressence face oil). When I hear of an account looking for an innovative brand, I recommend hers. She does the same – actually it is thanks to her that you will find Alchimie Forever at Fusion Apothecary in Manhattan. We share industry stories. We tell each other how awesome we are. We lift each other up. There is enough skin in the world for brands to be friend (side note: I feel the same about Sarah Kugelman of Skyn Iceland).
I am a strong believer that women helping women is good for the soul, for the industry, for the world. I love helping, and I love being helped. But I didn’t used to – in particular the latter. When I started in the industry, I knew less but thought I knew more, and I saw asking for help as a sign of weakness. I would do this on my own, by myself. Sometimes I didn’t even want the help that my family provided. I am now older, and wiser, and clearer on a few things:
- I can’t do it alone.
- I can’t know everything about everything.
- Asking for help is a sign of strength.
- Being helped is as important as helping others.
- Strong women lift up other women.
- And Alchimie Forever products and Goldfaden MD products layer beautifully!
I’ve always had a contentious relationship with sleep.
When I was diagnosed with an unknown form of epilepsy (a seizure disorder) at 17, I was given a lifetime prescription to pharmaceutical drugs and the gift of a neurologist-sanctioned excuse to get a full eight hours of sleep a night.
My doctors stressed the importance of getting regular sleep—physical fatigue and emotional stress exacerbate the symptoms of epilepsy—but frustratingly prescribed me a medication with a main side effect of insomnia. Ah, the irony.
I spent many years staring into the dark as the clock ticked through the night, my mind refusing to rest.
This double-whammy of a problem—seizures and permanent under eye bags?!—lead me to eventually stumble upon meditation and mindfulness practices. After practicing full-body meditation on a regular basis, it became clear that my body was desperately trying to communicate with me … and I was not paying attention. But slowing down and listening helped me hear what my body was trying to say.
Although I wasn’t a perfect meditator (I often go days without sitting), I noticed my epilepsy symptoms went away when I did indulge in a few minutes of mindfulness a day. So did my insomnia. The improvement in my wellbeing was remarkable. Mindfulness gave me a clearer overall perspective of the world, which helped me take everything a little less seriously and have a little more empathy for other people. Perhaps most importantly, I learned exercises that allowed me access to my subconscious mind, which in turn made me far more creatively inspired and made me less anxious. I became a better version of myself mentally and physically.
But before you get to thinking that I’m some ego-less Buddhist monk, let me be honest: I didn’t tell anyone about my weird new habits. Even though I was performing very well at work, present in my relationships, and pretty dang happy, I was worried people would raise their eyebrows at my experiments.
Then something really wonderful happened. As part of my work as an editor, I began to interview female leaders in an attempt to understand how women can change the paradigm of what it means to be a ‘female leader’ in this modern age. And I was surprised to find that the best leaders I interviewed—the ones who really walked the walk and talked the talk—all had a spiritual practice … like me. And they were a bit nervous to reveal that aspect of their personality, even though it clearly played an integral role in why they were such incredible leaders … which also resonated with me. When asked, they made it clear that they wanted to connect with like minded women who understood where they were coming from.
After seeing this pattern emerge too many times, I created oh holisticism, a collective of women interested in exploring the intersection of holistic living, mindfulness, esoteric healing, conscious leadership, entrepreneurship, and fun. Today, we count ourselves at over 1,500 members across the world.
I’ve learned a lot in the past few years while on this path, but hands down, the most important tool that I’ve learned over the past decade of experimentation is what I’ve come to call the Awake/Unconscious exercise. Whenever I revisit it, my creativity knows no bounds and I notice an elevated sense of mental clarity, and I can immediately see which areas of my life need more attention.
The practice is inspired by psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s theory of the subconscious mind. Jung believed that the subconscious (or unconscious) mind impacts the actions of our conscious, waking mind. Essentially, our unconscious influences our perspective, logic, awareness, emotional intelligence, and feelings. It’s the root from which everything else grows.
If we can tap into the insights of our subconscious mind, Jungian practitioners believe, we can access our true depth, potential, and genius. No big deal.
Here’s the tricky part: Jung stipulated that our subconscious mind is constantly trying to communicate with the conscious mind, but the two essentially speak different languages. This is because the subconscious is buried deep within our psyche. It’s tough to access, and even more challenging to communicate with. One way Jung suggested we translate what the subconscious is trying to tell us? By looking at our dreams.
Jung’s work and research led him to believe that our unconscious mind communicates best through dream imagery. While we’re asleep, the psyche can run wild and truly express itself. When I first read this, I was so annoyed. I’ve never been one to recall my dreams. For so long my insomnia prevented me from even sleeping, and now I’m usually so tired at night I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember my dreams.
So I found a solution—a way to channel my subconscious without having to keep a dream journal. In the 10 minutes directly after I wake up, I write. You know that sleepy time when you’re half awake, have morning breath, and are still kind of dreamy? That’s when your conscious mind is waking up, too, and taking the steering wheel from your subconscious. If we’re lucky, we can tap the transition and use that time to allow the subconscious to communicate.
I am constantly STUNNED by what ends up coming out during this quiet time—some of my most creative ideas or intense feelings have been ‘accidentally’ revealed to me during this 10-minute exercise. It’s amazing for when you’re stuck on a problem, feeling stressed, or just want to get clarity on a situation. Here’s how it works.
- Fall asleep. Get 8 hours. Wake happy.
- Immediately after waking up, grab a pen and paper. Don’t check your phone or technology.
- Begin writing. Don’t even think about it—just allow your pen to float across the paper without judging or inhibiting yourself. This is the most important aspect. Do not try to think of what to write or go back and read what you’ve written mid-sentence. Allow your subconscious to take over, even if you just write jibberish! Just don’t let your pen leave the paper. You can draw or you can write. Get in flow.
- If you have specific questions, write them down the night before and answer them in your Awake/Unconscious state.
- Stop when you feel ready. You can do this exercise daily, weekly, monthly! Whatever.
Like all things, the more you do this exercise the easier it gets. And it’s so easy, you can do it from bed! You’ll likely find that you’ll look forward to this practice, because it’s so interesting to see what the subconscious reveals.
Superfood Maca powder is derived from the Peruvian Maca root. Maca contains twenty amino acids, most importantly glucosinates (found in broccoli and cruciferous vegetables). This wonder powder should be a staple in everyone’s diet. Mostly known for it’s libido and fertility boosting abilities (for both male and female), this powder is also effective against menstrual cramps and hot flashes during and before menopause. Maca also helps to balance hormone levels and thus with mood swings, increases physical and mental energy and may even be responsible for decreasing skin sensitivity in extreme climates.
Maca powder looks similar to cinnamon and has a cocoa nutty taste. We recommend blending it into your morning smoothie, adding it to a acai bowl or mixing it in with tea. Just in time for Valentine’s day, try this dessert to get your love’s juices flowing!
Maca Love Jar
2 cups chocolate coconut milk
1 cup frozen pureed acai
1 frozen banana
¼ cup of cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons of Maca powder
Blend milk, fruit and maca together until creamy
Pour into two separate mason jars and place in the freezer for a few hours
Remove jars and top one side with cocoa nibs and the other side with coconut
Sick a straw in and enjoy !
Waking up looking refreshed requires more than just the absence of under eye darkness or puffiness, the skin tells the story. To understand better what actually happens to our bodies and minds while we sleep and why it is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, we sat down with Dr. G to get the scoop.
What controls sleep?
Hormones play a major part of healthy sleep. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland and helps to regulate the sleep wake cycle. Human growth hormone or (GH) is released during sleep and hence it’s name, helps to regenerate and grow healthy cells. Studies have shown that ingesting oral melatonin before bed can increase growth hormone by over 150%. As melatonin levels decline with age, only minuscule amounts of the small quantities produced by those suffering from sleep problems actually reach the skin. Ingesting melatonin before bedtime is extremely effective in getting the hormone levels back in balance and delivering a healthy sleep.
Other studies have shown that going straight to the source and applying melatonin directly to the skin may allow those suffering from insomnia to benefit from it’s rejuvenating powers, not only for restoring the appearance and texture of skin, but also in getting a good night’s sleep.
What ingredients should we use night and why?
The restorative power of sleep is vital for rejuvenating and repairing the skin and is controlled by the hormone melatonin. Melatonin production increases and peaks around 2am, so applying a night cream before bed enhances your skin’s ability to rest and reset. Wearing anti-aging products at night allows skin to absorb all the nutrients and ingredients while being in a relaxed state and out range of UV rays and pollution.
During the nighttime hours, the skin springs into action to repair itself back into balance through a restorative and renewal process.The most potent anti-aging ingredients to look for in a night cream include: Retinoids, Peptides and Melatonin. The efficacy of melatonin as a topical agent also offers a promising avenue to enhance the skin’s nightly repair cycle.
- Retinoids attack hyper-pigmentation, stimulate skin to generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, increase radiance by reducing pore size, safely exfoliate and increase cell turnover .
- Peptides encourage skin cell growth and collagen production. Peptides are made up of a string of amino acids held together by tough bonds of nitrogen and carbon that act as messengers to send out signals which tell the receptors on your skin cells how they should perform. A few of the most beneficial peptides include palmitoyl pentapeptide-3,which is a peptide that triggers a natural heal-and-repair response that stimulates the development of collagen and elastin, encourages new fibroblast growth, and increases the production of skin cells. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a powerful wrinkle-reducing peptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles.
- Melatonin plays a key role in rejuvenating skin by stimulating the growth of major skin cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin, which provide structural support for the skin. Melatonin has also been shown to be effective against skin aging. It has powerful antioxidant properties by quenching mainly hydroxyl radicals, the most damaging of all radicals.
What can we do to ensure a good night’s sleep?
Set yourself up for success by making your bedroom into a successful sleeping area. Sleep with your head slightly elevated can help with fluid retention in the facial area. Fluid retention occurs while we sleep because we are lying flat and circulation can be affected. Excess sugar, salt and alcohol will add to fluid retention. Consumption of all these pollutants can escalate swelling and puffiness to the eyes and face. Try to avoid alcohol before bed as it leads to uneven sleep rhythms in the brain as well as fluid retention.
Top tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature
- Silk pillow case-softer and less absorbent than cotton-silk won’t dry skin out and also causes less pulling and tugging if you’re a face sleeper
- Wear earplugs to ensure silence
- Noise machine- used to calm babies and help them sleep, noise machines can be beneficial for falling asleep as well as staying asleep
- Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and keep your phone/tablet out of the bedroom-blue light interferes with sleep
- Eat plant based high fat foods with dinner to stay satiated and balance blood sugar while asleep
- Wear an eye mask -keeps light out