Tag Archives: Beauty My Way

Beauty My Way: Annie Tevelin

I think you’re really going to give a hoot about today’s 312 Beauty guest. Annie Tevelin is the founder of SkinOwl, a line of pure and simple skincare. You may know her from her buzzed about Beauty Drops – little vials of skin care salvation – and if you don’t, allow me to introduce you. She’s a stunning beauty and a force of enlightenment –  I’m ready for her Ted Talk already. I picture there being a meditative group beauty steam mid-session. Annie’s guidance on how we can take small steps for bigger change in our lives is like a permission slip for us all to not be so hard on ourselves. I hope you connect with what she has to say as much as I do. And, if you also have a weakness for cute pups and pinky nude lipstick recommendations, you’ll be satisfied.

Annie Tevelin SkinOwl

What was your career like before you started Skin Owl? Was doing makeup on music video sets as exciting as it sounds?
I think I had a lot of amazing jobs, but I never felt like I had a career. SkinOwl was the first time I actually felt like I found something I wanted to do for the long haul. I was a film major in college, so moving to Los Angeles was always part of my plan. I was lucky to work with some of most incredible musicians and actors and directors during my time in that business. I feel blessed for the experience, because it ultimately led me to the world of beauty and eventually starting my own business.

You’ve built Skin Owl on a platform of selfcare, which feels really supportive. How did you land on that concept?
I think sometimes we teach what we must learn. I’ve made it my life’s work to help people, be it friends, family or strangers. I feel what people go through on an almost cellular level, which at the end of the day can be as exhausting as it is exhilarating. SkinOwl was a way for me to give back to myself while accepting that part of myself. To follow my dream in starting my own business is selfcare. To use my own handmade skincare is selfcare. To put healthy, results driven skincare into the hands of OTHER people is also selfcare. You help yourself when you help others wholeheartedly. I figured if I needed a little extra love and pampering, so did other people. There’s something beautiful about giving yourself what you need first so that you can really be there for others.

SkinOwl Candles

How do you suggest we all get to loving ourselves a little more?
I think people have this idea that change has to be grandiose to mean something. “I have to lose 20 lbs.” Or, “I need to change my job.” To me, loving ourselves is about taking baby steps; putting one toe in the water and seeing how that feels. Small changes with time can have a very big impact on your life. Loving yourself is about setting yourself up for success, not failure. If you want to quit smoking, it’s less about “I’m never smoking again,” and more about “Maybe I’ll have one less cigarette today.” It’s giving yourself the proper time to process your challenges and successes, so that you feel your life wholeheartedly.

Can you change your skin overnight?
Absolutely. Can everything you can’t stand about your skin change overnight, I’m not too sure about that. But I have experienced life-changing results with our Beauty Drops overnight. I have also dramatically changed the way I FEEL about my skin overnight. And that’s what really matters. A glimmer of hope and faith that your skin can get better is Kryptonite.

SkinOwl SkinOwl Monkey Pup

What are the ways you unwind? Any morning or night rituals?
I love hanging with my pup, Monkey, going for drives or going on walks with him around LA. Unwinding for me is about doing really simple things – changing my scenery often, cooking, taking a long shower, and steaming. I am obsessed with facial steaming. SkinOwl’s Beauty Steam has changed my skin and my outlook. It’s five minutes I get to spend alone, in silence, focusing on my breathe. I swear I feel like a different person when I’m done. Clearer, more alert, and definitely more relaxed.

What gets you through the tough moments?
I feel blessed to feel loved and accepted by the people I surround myself with. My husband, my friends, my family. They are there unconditionally. To listen, to push me, to tell me things I don’t want to always here. They are loyalty and love, in a nutshell.

SkinOwl Annie

Your eyes and smile stand out so much in every photo – what are you putting on your lips and lashes?
Wow, thank you! I use Eyes of Horus Mascara every single day. I have a lot of lashes and they are long, but I have no volume. This mascara gives me everything and I love it. As for lips, I’m a lip liner girl first, then lipstick. Stains are my go-to finish these days, as I’m awful at remembering to reapply. I love all of the bright lip tars from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I love mixing beet juice with a little lip balm, it’s my perfect poppy pout color. My everyday color is Vapour’s Siren Lipstick in Chere.

SkinOwl Neck+

What are you working on right now for Skin Owl? Any dream launches that you’re secretly making that you can share?
We are so excited to launch our Neck+ Concentrate domestically. We launched it exclusively with Cult Beauty, based out of London, in April, and it has been bananas. It’s an area that goes unnoticed a lot of the time. It’s great to create something green AND super effective for that area. We also just launched three candles – High Tea, Gardenia, and Currant. They are absolutely intoxicating. And the vessel they are in is so feminine. They make me happy. We are currently working on something else, set to launch in September. I won’t give away too much, but it’s pretty cleansing…

Thanks, Annie!

Beauty My Way: Kahina’s Katharine L’Heureux

Kahina Giving Beauty

My gateway into the skin healing world of face oils was argan. There weren’t many around marketed for your face and face alone about six years ago. Now, it’s widespread. One of the early adapters of argan oil – maybe thee founder among indie brands – is Kahina Giving Beauty’s Katharine L’Heureux. Katharine works closely with the Berber women of Morocco to ensure that not only is she making the highest quality products but doing so while protecting the natural, human and cultural resources that help make it happen. I think it’s awesome that her business is founded in supporting and protecting women and she is also bringing Moroccan beauty rituals to us in really luxurious and special ways. Beldi soap, anyone?

For any of us that think we know the path we’re on, I hope you’re as energized as I am by Katharine’s story of personal and professional transformation from PR girl to mom to beauty globetrotter. Life is unexpected but it’s the connections we make throughout it that can change everything.

Kahina Katharine L’Heureux

What was life like pre-Kahina for you?
My life pre-Kahina was very different from what it is today. I had an early career in public relations, but became a stay-at-home mom in New York City in 2001 when my children were young. I rarely traveled except to our family vineyard in the Napa Valley. Now, I have just a twelve year old at home (the other two are in college), I travel 1-2 weeks out of every month and am busy with the day-to-day operations of Kahina.

How has travel impacted your life? Do you view the world differently?
Travel has enriched my life in so many ways, and given me a perspective on the world that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It has been especially enlightening to spend so much time in Morocco, a Muslim country and meet lovely people I have come to know there. I am fortunate to have had experiences that help me see beyond political rhetoric and to have made good friends that allow me to see beyond simplistic labels.

kahina traditional extraction processThe Berber women extracting argan oil

What beauty traditions and rituals have you learned from other cultures that you now practice?
When I discovered argan oil on my first trip to Morocco in 2007, I was unaccustomed to using pure oil on my face, which I have since learned is a traditional practice in many cultures. Now, I can’t imagine going without it. I am most intrigued by holistic beauty rituals incorporating regional ingredients and traditions passed down through generations. In Morocco, these include argan oil, prickly pear seed oil, rhassoul clay, rose water and beldi soap. Not only do these natural ingredients work, their farming, harvesting and production techniques help to preserve centuries-old knowledge and traditions while supporting rural populations. The awareness of the history of these ingredients and the people behind them enriches my own beauty experience.

What makeup and haircare do you bring with you on trips?
I keep it really simple when I travel. Argan oil is my best friend for giving me glowing skin and making my hair more manageable. Makeup is minimal, usually our Kahina Lip & Face Balm and sunglasses. If I want something a little extra, I’ll wear a little lipstick (Ilia) and mascara (W3LL People). For shampooing, I use Acure Organics.

kahina Essaouira fortress wallsFortress walls of Essaouira, Morocco; namesake of Kahina’s Essasouira Perfume Oil

Kahina Perfume
You just released a new perfume oil inspired by the Moroccan coastal city of Essaouira. What is the story of this scent and what you wanted it to convey?
Essaouira is a very laid-back beach town on the Atlantic Coast 2 hours outside of Marrakech. The charming port town colonized by the Portuguese in the 1500s has been attracting poets, scholars, craftsmen and artists for centuries and remains a dynamic center of art and music today. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley both famously spent time there, making it a big draw for music lovers and giving it something of a hippy vibe today. I love how many worlds collide in this small town, which combines European and Moroccan influences, while maintaining its low-key beach vibe. In Essaouira, we wanted to emulate this breezy, exotic and somewhat sophisticated flavor with rose, geranium, lavender, sandalwood, petitgrain and blue tansy essential oils.

Is there a moment in Kahina’s history that stands out in your memory?
Kahina has been such an amazing adventure since it began almost 9 years ago, with so many stories and lessons learned along the way. I’ll never forget my first, order of argan oil from a cooperative. I had no experience in international commerce. I was dealing through a translator with women who only spoke Berber, so we couldn’t communicate directly and they had never shipped their oil to the U.S. before! I ordered 20 liters of oil and had it shipped via the Royal Moroccan postal service. I didn’t even get a receipt or tracking information and assumed it was lost. Three months later, I received a call from the post office at our house in Ulster County New York saying that a suspicious looking wooden crate nailed together was there with my name on it. I am amazed it ever arrived. My name and address in the US, scribed by these women, were barely legible, literally scrawled on the wood in black ink. The US Postal Service earned my respect that day. Of course, things are a bit more buttoned up at Kahina now.

Thanks, Katharine!

*photos 1-4 provided by Kahina

Beauty My Way: LURK’s Anne Nelson Sanford

It was three summers ago that I found myself squeezed in the James Corbett Salon in New York for a green beauty event.  One of the many lovely women I met that night was creative soul and perfumer Anne Nelson Sanford. She was cheerfully introducing everyone to LURK, her line of perfume oils that she blends and pours by hand. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful petite glass bottles with gold ball-shaped caps. I took notice of how lavish, intricate and unique the scents were. I loved that LURK was so feminine in appearance but not necessarily in smell.

Anne continues to push the boundaries of fragrance. Her newest perfume, LURK OM 011 uses oudh oil distilled from an evergreen that grows in south Asia. It’s said to be aphrodisiac and can deeply affect emotions (bow chicka wow wow!) I’m always so curious to know how a perfumer thinks about scent so I asked Anne to tell us some stories. Naturally, she describes the connection and feelings tied to fragrance in a way that completely moved me. She also shared a pretty awesome foundation tip that I am going to try immediately. And, we should probably collectively admire Anne’s stellar shoe game.

LURK Anne Nelson Sanford

Have you always had a curious sense of smell?
Yes, absolutely, I would also say that I also have a very acute sense of smell and that created a lot of curiosity for me at a young age. Early on I was profoundly impacted/moved by scent and very drawn to the evocative nature of fragrance. Scent obviously drives my creativity in almost every way and I am endlessly inspired by it. It doesn’t have to be classically beautiful, the odd or curious really opens up so much for me and that olfactory sense is incredibly primal. I think I am just incredibly reactive to it and I allow it to permeate my thought process. Scent is powerful and evocative, of all of our senses it is the most primal and I am very tuned in to that. Our sense of smell is also very tied in to our emotions and how we feel about those around us.

What are your strongest scent memories?
My strongest scent memories are of my grandmother and her beach house as well as of my mother’s closet. All of the incredible smells of the ocean, the surrounding plants and citrus trees always remind me of family and of love and of those that have passed away. It’s really beautiful. I also used to spend hours playing with my mother’s makeup, fragrances and clothes. We are polar opposites but I am incredibly inspired by her. Her style, her look, image, etc. All of those things play into emotion and our relationship and scent is a huge part of that.

LURK perfume

What is the significance and meaning of LURK?
I feel fragrance shouldn’t be broadcast and is something that should be “lying in wait” so to speak. That’s the very definition of LURK. Definitely not in a menacing way, it’s something unexpected that one finds or experiences as they get to know another person. Scent is intimate, powerful and evocative and is part of the journey we go on in life, getting to know people and experiencing our surroundings. I also have a pretty off center and slightly dark sense of humor so I find the nature of the word LURK to be funny and a bit entertaining. Scent creeps and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can also ambush us for sure. I mean this in a way that is fun, hilarious, sensual etc. Like when you have a crush on someone and you get close enough to experience how they smell and then you’re hooked, in love, can’t get enough or… the complete opposite. We attach so much emotion to scent in a way that we are not always conscious of, scent is evocative of feelings, memories, etc., and that is always lurking around in our subconscious, our memories and hearts. We remember what our friends smell like, our grandmothers, lovers etc. and when we catch a fragrance in the breeze we can instantaneously be reminded that person or of a specific time in our lives. I love that aspect of scent and fragrance. It’s always lying in wait to bring us joy, passion, comfort, sadness etc. There is so much stored up in those experiences of scent, it’s really beautiful and powerful and it definitely LURKs.

LURK Beauty

How do you decide when a perfume is complete – when it smells “good?”
When it’s reactive. What I mean by that is when the fragrance starts to create deeper reactions in whoever is wearing it. When we can’t stop smelling the fragrance because we want to see where it’s going to go next. When it really starts to move beyond the point of smelling good and starts to travel and become evocative, reactive and exciting. That complexity and living nature of a perfume is when I decide it’s complete.

What makeup do you wear on a daily basis?
I go back and forth between RMS and W3LL People. I absolutely love both brands and my go to products are RMS “Un” Cover-up in 33 and 22, Lip2Cheek in Smile and Eye Polish in Solar. I also love to mix W3LL People Altruist Foundation Powder with Laurel Whole Plant Organics Balance Facial Serum to create a super moisturizing liquid foundation (the results are amazing). I also love W3LL People Universalist 1 for cheeks/lips.


How often do you switch up your perfume?
Constantly, I absolutely love perfume so I am always trying something new. I love wearing fragrances by other perfumers as well (especially if I know the person). To me – and I think most perfumers – fragrance is art so having the opportunity to experience beautiful creations is a gift and it adds so much to each and every experience.

The million dollar question: where should we be applying perfume on the body? Why?
Be sure to apply your perfume to “hot spots” or areas of the body that are the warmest. Don’t limit application to just the inside of the wrists and the neck, apply to the small of the back, the belly, the back of the neck, the back of the knees and the ankles. Areas that are warmest help to transmit the scent very gently and in a very intimate way. When we move or are close to someone our natural body heat will allow the scent to be perceptible.

Thanks, Anne!

Beauty My Way: Vive’s Alanna Gregory

We are a subscribing society. It’s never been easier to access everything you need or want. Remember when I discovered LOLA?  Exactly. It’s not totally wild and crazy to have a monthly subscription for blowouts. In fact, it’s a pretty spectacular concept and one that pays off if you are a regular blow dry away from home girl. I met with Vive founder Alanna Gregory when she launched her blowout on-demand subscription service in Chicago last month. There’s already 60+ Chicago salons signed on as part of the platform so great hair days are literally at your fingertips whenever – and as many times as you want each month – you need.

I knew it was going to be an awesome chat when I first sat down and commented on her shiny manicure and she says excitedly, “Oh, thanks. I usually do nail art, it’s my thing – I want to be an Instagram nail art star!” Of course, she was joking but it made me laugh. And, to her credit, her creations (she loves NY’s Paintbox!) are pretty awesome.

Vive Alanna Gregory

Where did the idea for Vive begin?
It was about two years ago. I was working on Wall Street and for me – for anyone really, beauty should be something really fun that you enjoy. It’s supposed to add lightness to your day. And it wasn’t that way for me. My job was super stressful and I just wanted to breathe that sigh of relief you feel when you sit down in a salon chair. I wasn’t finding that, there were  too many stumbling blocks. Either booking-I really had no schedule, was always booking last minute and couldn’t get an appointment –  and because it was so last minute, I’d be trolling through Yelp reviews. I never knew if I’d find a good place or come out looking like a poodle. I wanted to remove those stumbling blocks. That’s where Vive started.

Was it always Vive?
It was always Vive but what I call vive 1.0 and 2.0. Vive 1.0 was bringing a stylist into you homes. I think there are a lot of companies in every city that now do that. We tried everything: men’s and women’s haircuts, blowouts, makeup. I think we tried men’s shaving. Updos. The thing that actually stuck was men’s haircuts – I think it was a great idea, but just not the business for me. I did it for about nine months and learned there were problems with it and, bottom line, not what our customers really wanted. You want someone washing your hair, to get out of your home for a specific reason because the salon experience can’t really be replicated. So I decided to pivot the business at that point.

Vive Blowouts

Why Chicago?
Right now, we have about 6,000 active users in New York. We started offering new plans so it’s not just unlimited blowouts but also a 2 and 4 pack. We saw that people wanted options based on how they used the service. We’re a startup so we’re still testing. There were a couple of reasons for Chicago. We wanted a major market. We looked at dense environments and similarities to NY.  Chicago is similar in that regard. From a tech perspective, it made it applicable. Chicago is great, too, because of what we know about our early adopters. They’re tech and startup enthusiasts. Women that are interested in media, work in advertising, PR. Chicago has a lot of that as well. It’s a budding startup city. We call our users “Vivs” and we thought we’d find some “Vivs” in Chicago!

Vive Startup

What is it like running a startup?
You work more, but you enjoy more of what you work on. I think you can control who you work with and your culture. That’s a big thing at startups. It’s really fun – I think everyone, even our developers, did a customer score ticket. And our sales team also does marketing. And everyone pitches in and rolls up their sleeves. We have our really amazing days and we celebrate those. And then we have a really hard day. It’s about believing in the product you’re building and it’s something that people love. We’re lucky – it’s good for our customers and our salons.

How often do you get a blowout?
Uh, probably once a week! My hair is really curly.

Do you use other subscription services?
I’m obsessed with very few things. Netflix is one of them. And I am very inspired by Amazon. I think they are brilliant. I used to do Blue Apron. I know the founders – I think their company is awesome.  But once I started my company, there was no more cooking for me! There’s Green Blender – basically, Blue Apron for smoothies. But again, I don’t have time to make my own. I’m more on the go. I spend my money on beauty and transportation.

Vive Alanna Gregory Nail Art

I knew it…the nail art aspirations were your tell! What are your beauty indulgences?
I’m obsessed with skin. I have a really embarrassing skincare regimen. There’s a new thing called Skin Laundry in NY – it started in LA, I don’t’ know when they’re coming to Chicago! But, basically, it’s laser skin facials. And they are amazing. Like life-changing. I do skin masks a few times a week. Epicuren, I really like their seaweed masks. And Tula, they launched exclusively on QVC. They have a great mask!

What are your makeup staples?
I do wear makeup but I’m basic. My go tos are underye concealers, eyeliner and a little bit of cheek. I use OCC. Anything that is touching my eyes – I use organic. I’m transitioning to more natural makeup but I will make an exception with my lipstick.

What is your “power” lip?
I have five! NARS Orgasm Lip Gloss for everyday – always in my bag. It literally goes with everything.  There’s also this Tarte color I just got (it’s in my bag) – Elite. Bite’s Lip Crayon in Leche is really good. I like nudes a lot. Unless I’m going red and I’ll use MAC. I think it’s Russian Red? I have another NARS hot pink one – Schiap. Both the lipstick and the gloss and if you do the two together, it stays really well.

Anything standout from your visit to Chicago?
I had sushi at Kaizan – it was amazing!

All pictures from Alanna Gregory