Comfortable in Your Skin: About & Beyond Skin Food

For December, Something Different

This season was marked by time spent with so many artists and artisans: some colleagues, some customers, some to whom I am customer, those who are friends new and old, and those who helped me with my own plans for Balbec and generally inspired me. For all of their extraordinary work and generous spirits, this poem by Dylan Thomas.  Below is a picture of a farm at the end of my road. It isn't his Wales, but I love it just the same.

 Happy New Year Everyone! 

Holding Space for Sleep

Holding Space for Sleep

Sleep, soft and deep—rich with dreams, shredded by nightmares or dreamless. How much do you get? How much do you need? How much do you value it? 

Whether your concern is saving your skin through the adequate release of toxins, relieving stress and inflammation, pulling away from the edge of irritability that is the hallmark of poor sleep, slowing down the aging process, treating acne, wrinkles, or peace of mind, sleep is a good place to start, because even small changes in habits can make a significant difference.

Energetic Wrappings: We're Making the Experience Better

Energetic Wrappings: We're Making the Experience Better
We are introducing better packaging etiquette. You know our lovely eco-felt envelopes? Well now, each time you receive one in the mail to keep your cleansers and hydrosols cool and fresh, you will also find an envelope stamped and addressed back to us. Unless you wish to keep your eco-felt envelope, you can place it (along with the twine if you wish) in the addressed envelope and mail it back. I'll keep it for you for the next time, repair it should it so require, and send it back to you with your next order, with another stamped envelope--and a $5 credit toward any oil of your choice--to use or accrue, it is entirely up to you. I know my customers are environmentally conscious and don't need an economic incentive, so please don't think of it as such, but rather as a way of using our collective resources more efficiently.

Queeny Kingly Rose

Queeny Kingly Rose

 "Fame is ultimately but the summary of all misunderstandings that crystallize about a new name"  ~Rilke Rodin

Rose is not a new name for the flower that is always a rose despite its name, but the name "rose" repeatedly renews itself to every  breakthrough that holds the idea of the flower in its imagination.  

There is natural and there is studied, but when it comes to rose both apply. It is one of the most diverse plant families, and most roses, including the old roses-- damasks among them--are feats of engineering, made by crossing different species of rose to create new roses or by whizzing out a molecular plan on a computer and then putting some compounds together for another rose fragrance...a disembodied ghost.

Risk Your Microbiome to Smooth a Wrinkle? Run.

Risk Your Microbiome to Smooth a Wrinkle? Run.

"The press briefing for October’s Clinical Cosmetic Reconstructive Expo in London was delayed – there had been another death. A cluster of journalists gathered on the mezzanine while below them visitors filtered past signs for She Lase and Zero Gravity Skin and a stand for a company called Eurosilicone that claims to have been “Empowering women for over 30 years”. At the far end of the conference hall, a woman was having her jawline enhanced with fillers in front of a rapt crowd; the Safety in Beauty stand was empty."  

"Rear View: The Big Business of Bottoms", The Guardian 11.18.18

Skincare and Beauty Junkies--Then and Now.

Skincare and Beauty Junkies--Then and Now.
Here's a satirical poem by the Italian poet Luigi Pulci from 1472 about beauty supplies required by the 15th-century young and glamorous Nannina de Medici and the ladies who orbited her court. It is a fun, if exaggerated (and yes, misogynistic--but before you write me about this, the poem dates from 1472)  historical perspective to those of us who have tried, are willing to try, or at somewhat curious about a lot of products and techniques that might raise another's filled in and/or threaded eyebrow. 

ASMR and Your Skin

ASMR and Your Skin
If you are reading this, it is unlikely that you are experiencing ASMR. If you were experiencing the perceptual condition now known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, you would be in a better place, tingling away from your head down your spine in a hypnotic golden bubble.  If you could hear the keys of my keyboard click as I type, it might be enough to send you into the experience. As I write and think about ASMR I can't quite get there. For me, writing, reading, and talking require a kind of focus and engagement that dissolves or makes impossible the outside-of-time quality of ASMR.

Cleansing & The Microbiome

Cleansing & The Microbiome
"Finally one day, our conflict reached a crisis point, and Samir summoned an emergency meeting on the forbidden terrace, where he explained to me t...

Gentle, Expansive Neroli

Gentle, Expansive Neroli
When I have the chance to meet my customers in person, our first connection is through aromatherapy. I hold up spoonfuls of our clay and yogurt cleansers for them to inhale, mist a hydrosol into the air between us  and invite them to walk into clean, soft drift. Finally I offer the bottles of our moisturizing oils for them to breathe in. I like to guess to myself which I think they might like best and offer that first. I can't say that I guess correctly, but I have noticed there are specific responses that follow certain oils. The Moisturizing oil with Neroli and Frankincense elicits an expression of relief and resonance, a recognition of something that was once close and safe and dear, but now maybe a bit far off--as if they lost track of it for a little while. Some can't help but affirm-- to themselves more than to me: "oh I love neroli", in a way that is unique for the love of neroli. And why wouldn't they?  Spectacularly fruiting and flowering at the same time, the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium, var. amara is at once the promise of joy and its fulfillment.

In Pursuit of Patchouli

In Pursuit of Patchouli
In the mid 1990s I moved to NYC from Kansas via 18 months in Seattle. I moved for graduate school and there was much to love: I could walk everywhere, the movie theaters were fantastic, grocery stores were stocked with asian pears, olives, lots of chocolate, litchi nuts, litchi-flavored gummy Japanese candy, donut shaped peaches, prepared gorgeous meals, excellent teas, portuguese rolls, fabulous coffee, and fondue in packages. I regularly called home to describe my trips to the grocery. There was opera and Summer Stage in Central Park, the yoga studio  I attended didn't cost a fortune; it was a quiet, spartan space with flourescent lighting and a curtain for a changing room. There was Body and Soul in Tribeca—a Sunday daytime dance club that my best friend attended like church. No velvet ropes, no degrading lines, no alcohol-- just a great stretch of music for dancers wearing sneakers.