In 2010 I really focussed on deeper detoxification - inside and topically. It started with foods. Then next came topical products. That was a slow transition, and took a lot of time before I’d trust that Shea Butter would be enough to hydrate my skin. Or that oil(s) would actually provide anti-aging benefits, so I wouldn’t end up looking like a haggard hippie. Aside from finding the right shampoo and conditioner, my largest struggle was deodorant. Because I was detoxifying SO much inside, odor was releasing and nothing natural did the trick. I had a small basket full of anything organic and natural that my healthfood store(s) had to offer. I tried them all.
Then miraculously I was introduced to Soapwalla deodorant. Literally, the clouds parted and harmonious music chimed. FINALLY, something that worked all around! The concept of using a butter texture also really intrigued me. Then my boyfriend, at the time, tried it. And it was enough to combat really sweaty art days in his hot studio. We became full converts. I’ve since had the opportunity to fall in love with their face serum and activated charcoal soap. But more than anything, I fell in love with the founder, Rachel Winard, upon visiting Soapwalla's Brooklyn studio this past February. And now you will too.
I started experimenting in the kitchen about 13 years ago when I was going through the protracted process of being diagnosed with systemic lupus, an inflammatory chronic autoimmune illness that manifests in a number of ways but nearly always includes sensitive skin.
I tried everything on the market at the time that said it was ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ or for sensitive skin and found – to my dismay – that most of those claims were downright false and that my skin was getting more and more sensitized. Out of sheer desperation, I decided that I should just start making my own skincare products. I went into my kitchen and opened my cabinets and said “okay, if I can put these ingredients in my body, I should be able to put them on my body.” My first products were the Lavender and French Clay Soap Bar and Restorative Face Serum, as those were the products I desperately needed to calm my skin down.
The Soapwalla line grew with me — whatever product I needed, I created. I perfected the line over 7+ years and premiered it December 2009.
PURITY & SOURCING
That’s a huge chunk of my job – ensuring we’re working with the best farmers and producers, those with like-minded principles. We use food-grade ingredients whenever possible, which has been so much fun for me to explore. I have personal relationships with our suppliers. I know their prime growing seasons and when a crop does particularly well. Our batches vary based on what was blooming when the bees pollinated the plants. It’s been such a gratifying part of this experience, learning and understanding cultivation.
INGRIDIENTS & PRODUCTS
My absolute all-time favorite ingredient is jojoba. It looks and acts like an oil but is actually a liquid wax -- of more than 350,000 identified plant species, jojoba is the only one which produces significant quantities of liquid wax esters that are nearly identical to the sebum that our skin naturally produces. I use jojoba wherever I can J It’s found in our oil-based products (Restorative Face Serum, Luxurious Body Oils and Resilience Pregnant Belly Oil) as well as our deodorant creams. It’s a potent wound healer and anti-inflammatory. It’s a truly magical substance.
I’m also SO excited about chia, baobab and echium oils - the powerhouse ingredients that are showcased in our two newest Luxurious Body Oils. These three oils are high in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acids, Vitamins A, B3, C, D, E and F, and the minerals phosphorous and zinc.
Chia seed and echium oils are widely considered to be the richest botanical source of omega-3 fatty acids found in nature, offering more than flax seed or fish oil. These fatty acids work to encourage the formation of collagen and elastin, which support skin structure and shape and discourage sagging and bagging.
Baobab seed oil, rich in Vitamins C, D, E, and F, improves skin elasticity and combats early signs of skin degeneration. It is excellent for all skin types because the oil is easily absorbed into the skin without clogging pores or leaving a film.
Spring is about gently exfoliating and moisturizing the skin. Those of us who live in cold climates have just come through wind- and air-chapped season, with the heat blowing full blast indoors and the frigid air blowing around outside. My recommendations are pretty simple for pampering the skin:
*Daily exfoliation with a dry brush right before your bath or shower (I recommend this year-round).
*A long soak in the tub with high quality bath salts.
*When you get out of the bath, don’t full dry off – to damp skin, apply your body moisturizer of choice (I prefer oils to lotions).
*Apply a moisturizing, healing facial mask once a week.
*Drink lots of delicious hot beverages (I have a nightly hot cocoa ritual) and eat high-fat foods (avocados, nuts, good quality oils) each day.
I’m obsessed with all things dinosaur and Lego! We have probably 30 dinos (many are my childhood toys!) staged around the production studio, including a flying pterodactyl and a large T Rex hand puppet.
We’re also building out a Lego installation at the studio right now, which I’m super excited about.
DIY SKIN REMEDY
Full-fat plain yogurt (I prefer coconut yogurt – either Anita’s or homemade) as a delectable facial mask. The acids gently break down dead skin cells without aggravating skin the way that some peels can. This gentle exfoliation not only helps create a natural glow and prevent breakouts, but works to diminish the appearance of fine lines and gently lightens sun spots.
Gently wash face with appropriate cleanser and tepid water. Rinse, then add your yogurt mask (you can add essential oils or hydrosols or a light exfoliator such as oat flour if you’d like, but I prefer straight yogurt) to your face, neck and décolleté in upward sweeping motions. As your face heats the yogurt it might feel like it’s sliding a bit down your face; I recommend reclining, closing your eyes and relaxing while you treat yourself.
After 10-15 minutes, gently rinse off and follow with an appropriate facial toning mist and moisturizer.
ONE DAY IN BROOKLYN TO-DO’s
Since we only have one day, we’d have to start with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge followed by a stroll in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Make sure to check out Jane’s Carousel by the water. Head over to the nearby Transit Museum as well – it’s one of my favorites.
Afterward, walk over to Atlantic Avenue and check out GRDN, a green oasis in the middle of crazy Brooklyn. Right next door is Mile End, a fantastic Montreal Jewish deli with yummy eats. Grab a quick coffee from Konditori on Smith Street, then head over to Eastern Parkway and take a look at Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Central Library (since you’re there, grab a slice of pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds). Next door is the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and you’ve timed it perfectly since it’s nearly the Cherry Blossom Festival! Afterward, head over to Chavela’s for some of the best Mexican food in the borough. If you aren’t pooped, swing by James in neighboring Prospect Heights for a nightcap.