By Dominique Koudsi.
All photos courtesy of Megan Schwarz.
In today’s world of selfies and Kim Kardashian make-up tutorials, it’s easy to start seeing beauty through the lens of an Instagram “filter”: as something no longer in the eye of the beholder, something for the Megan Foxes of this world, something synthetic and common. But at Handful of Salt, beauty is a lot more incongruous. It’s the vestiges of ink on a printer’s hands from his vintage letterpress, it’s 3D washi lamps crafted from molded paper, it’s tanned leather notebook covers, and the way clay bends when it dries. And now, thanks to the fabulous Megan Schwarz of Seed to Serum, we’re seeing the beauty in beauty products again: artisanal skincare and cosmetics that don’t just make us look and feel beautiful, but that are beautifully made, too. With a monthly column already underway, Megan joins the Handful of Salt team as our inaugural craft beauty writer and expert. That means you can look forward to a beauty routine that is anything but.
When we think about the intersection of craft and design, beauty products and skincare aren’t always the first things that come to mind. But we love how you are changing that perception. What kind of difference does going artisanal make in a beauty routine? First and foremost, the quality and purity of ingredients in artisanal beauty products far exceed their conventional counterparts. We’re talking organic, wild-crafted, local ingredients that are meticulously incorporated into exquisite, small-batch oils, balms, and butters. The individuals at the helm of these small, but mighty, businesses truly put the customers’ needs and desires first. (In fact, you will find a burgeoning bespoke market if you dig a little.) People want to know what is in their skincare and makeup but also why. Mainstream beauty just cannot offer satisfactory answers.
Additionally, artisanal brands are using packaging and design as ways to distinguish themselves in this growing category. I challenge you to find anything more charming than Miron glass!
What inspired Seed to Serum? How has it evolved over time? After reading the book No More Dirty Looks, I became fascinated (okay, obsessed) with natural skincare. I found myself spending countless hours every day researching face oils and cleansers. Sadly, there were very few reviews on these products, so it was difficult to know what, if anything, was worth my money. As with most things, though, curiosity got the best of me and I purchased the products anyway. Luckily, I fell in love with most everything I tried! Encouraged by my husband, I started a blog to share these “holy grail” finds.
What started as an outlet for reviewing products has quickly evolved into a platform for launching new lines, sharing my crazy, new holistic endeavors, and everything in between. Natural, artisanal beauty is a community more than anything and that has been my greatest discovery in starting Seed to Serum. Fellow bloggers and readers challenge and motivate me every day.
What’s the process you go through when reviewing/testing out new things? What do you look for in a product? I like to incorporate each product into my daily routine and use it for at least two weeks before writing a review. Sometimes this is difficult because there are so many products that I want to try, but it’s important for the overall health of my skin and to provide the most honest review possible.
I look for a lot of things in a product, namely performance, ingredients, and packaging. The product has to be memorable. It seems like every company has recently released a face oil, but it’s the rare few that truly feel inspired. I look for those extra touches—herbal infusions, flower essences, etc. These elements are what make a product special.
What are five objects that define you?
1. Water Bottle: I carry my water bottle with me everywhere. I am prone to dehydration headaches so maintaining adequate hydration is essential. Plus, it’s key for inner health and the healthier you are on the inside, the more you will glow on the outside!
2. Passport: Traveling is a necessity in my life. This past year, I was fortunate to travel to Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Colorado, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Italy. This year luckily brings San Francisco, Barbados, New Orleans, Paris, Los Angeles, and who knows what other spontaneous weekend adventures. What can I say—I’m addicted!
3. Face Oils: These were my gateway into natural beauty and I still find a way to incorporate at least two into my daily routine! I like to think of face oils as a daily vitamin for the skin.
4. Vitamix: This recent holiday present has quickly become an everyday essential. I make a killer green smoothie in this miraculous machine every morning.
5. Sunscreen: I am sun-phobic. So if you want to find me on the beach, just look for the lunatic slathered in sunscreen under the obnoxious sun hat!
And obviously, I have to ask: What favorite products do we all need to get our hands on right now? This is always the most difficult question for me, but here goes:
R. L. Linden Thousand Petals Beautifying Mist: You have never smelled anything as gorgeous as this hydrating toner. (Also, the soon-to-launch Time After Time Frankincense Restoring Serum is spectacular. Be on the lookout!)
May Lindstrom The Problem Solver: This mask will change your skin in one use. I’m certain it must involve witchcraft of some kind.
De Mamiel Seasonal Oils: These limited edition oils have me looking forward to the start of each season many months in advance. Each oil is hand-blended and perfectly unique. (The Salvation Body Oil is breathtaking.) There is nothing like these on the market. (More from Megan on the De Mamiel Botaniques range here.)
Pollen & Wax Velvet Repair Crème: This cushy night cream is the absolute best! A thin layer of this potent formula is all you need to eradicate dryness, redness, and flakiness.
Province Apothecary Protecting + Restoring Face Balm: A light layer of this over your entire face prior to make up in the morning provides lasting hydration that even the most drying heater can’t mess with. (More from Megan on Province Apothecary here.)
RMS Beauty: The “Un” Cover-Up, “Un” Powder, and Sublime and Sacred Lip Shines are staples in my daily beauty routine.
Kjaer Weis Mascara: The best natural mascara I’ve tried thus far. No flakes, no smudges, and it’s REFILLABLE!
Captain Blankenship Perfumes: My favorite natural perfumes are courtesy of this fantastic, under-the-radar line. I am particularly enamored with Wolf Moon and Jaune.
Seed to Serum: www.seedtoserum.com