In an effort to learn more about natural skincare, we consulted Justine Kahn, founder of Botnia and the owner of the Skin Remedy Spa in San Francisco. After years of developing individually tailored skincare routines for her clients, Kahn developed Botnia to address specific issues of skin health that she saw over and over. Wanting to address these concerns from a scientific perspective – how do plants work on and interact with skin to naturally reduce issues – Kahn hired an in-house, Stanford-trained plant biologist to partner with her on the formulations. The result is an amazingly well crafted line of skincare products that are simple and gentle and work wonders to balance and rejuvenate skin.
"I tell my clients all the time, 'when your skin is in balance, it will look healthy'. The skin is the largest organ of the body and readily absorbs what we put on it – so the first thing to do is to avoid synthetic chemicals, strong fragrances, and stripping ingredients. Next, remember the holistic aspect of the body – diet, sleep, exercise, alcohol, smoking and so on will all affect the skin and can negatively impact its health. And the skin is a remarkably resilient and self-regulating organ but it can also use a little help taking care of itself! By finding a skin regiment that is gentle and targeted to your specific needs, you can really feed the skin and encourage these natural processes."
"When returning the skin to balance the first step is figuring out what type of skin you have. After cleansing, take a good look in the mirror. Run your fingers along the perimeter of your face and across your T-zone. Does it feel tight? Oily? Are there bumps and congestion? Do you see redness, flaky patches, or shiny skin? If your skin is experiencing some of these extremes, I always recommend seeing a professional esthetician who can offer more guidance and work with you to help bring your skin back into balance."
"For most folks though, simple skincare is best. In general, I recommend a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and nighttime serum as part of the daily routine, plus a mask that can be used once a week. Consistency is the key – find what works for you and stick to it as much as possible. Also, learning the best methods for using your products will help them to be more effective. For example, spend a full minute washing your face, really massaging the cleanser into your skin and stimulating it. This will help to drain the lymphatic system and increase cellular turnover. A free and super easy mini-facial every night! Most people don’t spend enough time working products into their skin— you really want what you’re using to be absorbed so your skin can benefit from all the nutrients that we put into them."
"With Botnia products, and natural, organic skincare in general, there are fewer preservatives (and fewer ingredients overall). This means that it’s best to use your products consistently and regularly so that they’re replaced within six months of opening – especially for creams or water-based products. Oils are more shelf-stable, so the time factor isn’t quite as important. I often tell my clients to write the date of opening on their actual bottle as a reminder. It helps that we make Botnia in small batches, so it stays as fresh as possible."
"Since Kindred Black has built a curated list of organic, environmentally-friendly skincare brands who create such gorgeous products, I organized some recommendations by skin type. I hope it inspires you to listen to what your skin is telling you and try something new!"
Photos courtesy of Botnia Skincare.