Natural Beauty Blogger Lola Gusman Spills Her Skin Care Secrets
A globe-trotting corporate lawyer, Lola started her blog, The Hermes Hippie, as a passion project to document her path of green beauty discovery. As The Hermes Hippie, she has become obsessive about ingredients, displaying her love of clean skin care while helping others navigate the uncharted waters of the ever-growing green beauty industry. Lola lives with her husband and young son in Brooklyn and spends her free time trying out New York City's healthy restaurants, prowling its theaters and museums, mixing up face masks and sweating it up in the front row at Soul Cycle. She spills on her favorite natural beauty products and rituals:
Lately, my life has been all about trying to juggle being a full-time attorney/mother/blogger and finding the time to indulge in self-care. I also strive to have balance between trying a million different products (both because I have to for the blog and because I am an unrepentant product junkie) and taking care not to aggravate my skin. Although this seems like a tall order, all it really takes is care, thought, and most importantly, giving myself the freedom to be imperfect.
I always dream of starting my mornings with matcha lattes and carefully crafted smoothies, but the reality is that it almost always ends up being coffee! In my coffee, I use almond milk from a local NYC brand, OMilk, which is made fresh and doesn't have any of the emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives of the supermarket brands. I also load up my cup of joe with my favorite tonic herbs from Sun Potion. I tend to vary the mix based on my needs, with the only constant being He Shou Wu, which has done wonders for my nails and hair. Lately, things have been hectic and stressful, so I've been using Ashwagandha for adrenal support and Mucuna Pruriens for help balancing my mood.
In the mornings, I always wash my hair, because it is short and tends to get a little out of control after sleeping on it. Also, washing my face when I wake up is important to get rid of the night's sweat, dead skin cells and product residue. Because my skin is not truly "dirty" though, I use light and gentle cleansers, like Yuli's Halcyon, Josh Rosebrook's Moisturizing Cleanser, or Ursa Major's Fantastic Face Wash.
My morning skincare routine is also built around face oils. In the winter, I use richer oils and always add in a hydrating serum (current favorites are Twelve Skincare Ideal Moisture Level Serum, Stark Everlasting, and Moss Healing Dew) and either a rich, hydrating cream or a balm to protect my face against the elements. In the warmer and sunnier months or when I travel to Miami, I switch to lighter oils loaded with antioxidants, a Vitamin C serum (La Bella Figura's Modern Radiance Concentrate), and Josh Rosebrook's Nutrient Day Cream with sunscreen.
I am a little obsessed with aromatherapy and flower remedies, so my office desk is crowded with sprays and anointing oils from Lotus Wei and the Elevate Aura spray from Modern Ritual. I don't know if it's magic or the power of scent, but these potions really help to ground, center and energize me. In the afternoon, I make a Gynostemma Tea with Sun Potion's Cordyceps Powder for a boost of energy and Brain and Beauty Dusts from Moon Juice. On the rare occasions that I allow myself a cup of office coffee (don't judge—the struggle is real), I replace creamer with Sun Potion Tocos: it's delicious and good for my skin.
In the evening, I like to unwind by making a tonic tea with Sun Potion's Reishi Mushroom and Astragalus Powders, Zenbunni biodynamic cacao and coconut butter (CAP Beauty is ridiculously rich and delicious). I have to be honest, though: I wind up just having a good old glass of scotch on many evenings!
If I have the energy, I might use a face mask. There are a few premade masks that I always turn to, including La Bella Figura’s Healing Mask, Mahalo’s Pele, True Botanicals Exfoliating Mask and Leahlani’s Mermaid Mask. However, my favorite is my own concoction, which I make to specifically cater to my skin. I do this by mixing a dry, powdered mask from one of my favorite brands with some Wedderspoons Manuka honey, a few sprays of a face mist, a few drops of a face oil, and either Tocos or chlorella (fabulous for nourishing and oxygenating the skin). I'm not really into DIY, so mixing up my own mask is reserved for when I want to indulge my inner alchemist.
Before bedtime, I double-cleanse to get rid of the day's grime. I don't usually wear makeup, but life in New York City leaves enough gunk on my face to give any cleanser a workout. I have a bit of a cleanser obsession, so I tend to mix and match from any of 20 or so different cleansers. Maybe I have a bit of a problem?
Night is the time for serious skin care. It's when I use retinol or other resurfacing serums (True Botanical Retinol Serum for Sensitive Skin is a favorite), rich eye treatments and serums, active-filled balms, and overnight creams. The actual product lineup varies based on my mood and my skin's needs, but it tends to be pretty involved (I started making Instagram posts showcasing my nighttime routines and usually have trouble fitting all the products in the frame). One thing does remain constant, however: Regardless of what I feel like, how tired I may be, how late a night or how much my head is spinning, I always, always wash my face. It's the most important skin care advice I can give: whatever else you may do, make sure to wash your face before going to sleep. Your skin will thank you.
The final component of my beauty routine is my workouts. I was never athletic and hated working out until I discovered SoulCycle a couple of years ago. Yes, yes, I know: I am that girl. And yes, SoulCycle is culty and expensive and very New York, but it has completely changed my relationship with my body. I love feeling strong and fit and being able to run up subway steps, instead of dragging my carcass around like dead weight. It’s also true what they say about endorphins giving you that magical glow. It can be hard to find the time to squeeze in a session, but I always make sure to go at least three or four times a week. A sweaty, rocking ride with my favorite instructor, Janet, is a mixture of a workout, a visit to a shrink, a session in a steam room, and church. Our lives can get so crazy and overwhelming, I think it is crucial to make time for the ritual or indulgence that brings you joy. It’s my recipe for happiness and good skin.