Ari Serrano-Embree, Owner, Oakland Surf Club


"My name is Ari Serrano-Embree [@arianase], and I live in Oakland, California—where I grew up—with my husband, Max and 2-year-old daughter, Coco. We own a shop downtown called Oakland Surf Club, a surf lifestyle shop with a gallery where we host music and art shows. We just celebrated the shop's two-year anniversary, so that's exciting. We opened it when I was nine months pregnant and the last couple years have been both crazy and a lot of fun.

When I found out I was pregnant, I started paying way more attention to every single thing I put in and on my body. I started reading all the labels and threw out a ton of products with ingredients I didn't recognize or couldn't pronounce. I was so sensitive to fragrance I couldn’t even use scented Dr. Bronner’s, so I switched to the Baby Mild Unscented version and I still share the big size with Coco. A lot baby products are made with so many chemicals, which I really wanted to avoid if possible. I only use organic products with Coco, pretty much just Dr. Bronner’s and Fat & the Moon, which is a brand I found through Etsy. My favorite product of theirs is the All Salve—it must be made out of fairy dust because it heals everything from diaper rash to scrapes to super dry hands. I always have some in my purse. And I'm still on the lookout for the safest sunscreen to use. We recently switched to the Coola Baby Mineral Sunblock, but might try the new Honest Company Sunscreen because it has the best rating I've found.

I've recently become more self-conscious when playing around with beauty because Coco likes to watch and copy me. She is always asking for my ChapStick and when I'm putting on makeup, she likes to pretend she is, too. I don't want her to grow up thinking that makeup is necessary. I want her to have a healthy relationship with beauty and have confidence in herself. But nowadays, I find myself using beauty as a way to relax. Having a skincare and makeup routine feels both luxurious and necessary. Now I find a lot of my products at Whole Foods because I know they'll be pretty natural and I'm there a lot anyway—but I do use a couple of products that I just don't ask questions about...

I only recently started washing my face. I use Earth Science Clarifying Facial Wash everyday. Then I moisturize with Skin Trip Mountain Ocean Coconut Moisturizer, which I've been using since the 7th grade, or Clarins Broad Spectrum 50+ Sunscreen for Face Wrinkle Control Cream. Sometimes I'll add a couple of drops of Odacite serum to whatever I'm putting on my face, and the Acai Rose Facial Concentrate smells so good and makes me feel like I am glowing. Then I'll spray Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Believe the hype—it is so refreshing. I carry the travel size with me and always feel better after a quick spray.

I'm also a coconut addict—I put it in my hair, wash my face with it, put it in my daughter's baths, and slather it on my body. The RMS Coconut Cream is the best one I've tried—my husband and I both use it. RMS is actually some of the only makeup I use—it's so foolproof to put on, which is nice because I'm lost when it comes to brushes. We sell it at the shop and it does so well. The Living Luminizer works on all skin tones and gives the perfect dewy glow. I did recently start using the CK One Color Brow Pencil + Gel Duo in Wily Brunette. I don't know all the ingredients but I know it is super easy to use and makes my eyebrows look fabulous and my face look done, even with nothing else on.

I'm mixed, so my hair is very thick and course. There's a hair salon next to the Surf Club so I sometimes go there to get it cut or straightened, though I've been getting more confident wearing my hair down and curly. I recently started using Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream—it smells so good and actually works. My hair doesn't frizz up as much during the day anymore. Being confident and happy with my hair has been a journey—one I am still on some days—but at the end of the day I love it and am pretty satisfied rocking a top knot 360 days out of the year.

Now that I'm sensitive to fragrance, I only wear Nova Chakra. I found it at a shop in LA and fell in love. I wear it everyday now and it just makes me smell and feel so great. It's really special when I fall head over heels for a brand or product—it usually doesn't take me long to try to have it on our shelves in the shop!"

—as told to ITG

The #ITGTopShelfie series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of Into The Gloss's lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Show us your own Top Shelfie on Instagram—tag us @intothegloss, and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • ikking87

    Cutest baby of all time :-) Also I'm all over the coconut oil too
    Lovely top shelf xx

  • DGG

    First of all, you and your daughter Coco are adorable! Love hearing about your products you like. And I have tried every single organic sunscreen for kids I swear (I have 4!) and I feel like Honest works the best. We have been on a bunch of trips this summer and I've been trying different organic sunscreens and so many of them my kids get burned, especially the non-mineral ones. Honest definitely works the best, just FYI if I can save anyone the $ and sunburned kids :(

  • sashi

    The matching topknot and pout on Coco in #5 steals my heart!

  • Bella

    Your clothing style reveals a great sense of humour. You have the cutest little girl! I shall check out the Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream, it sounds like something that may have a place in my life.

  • Andrea

    First pic, where did you find those light wash jeans?!

  • Emma Hager

    I'm all about coconut, too! I love to use goods that I can cook with, as well as put on my face. It just kinda makes sense.

    Also: East Bay Represent! I miss the Bay so, so, so much. And what a great place to raise Coco, no?

  • Cate

    "I started reading all the labels and threw out a ton of products with ingredients I didn't recognize or couldn't pronounce."

    She and her daughter are adorable, but I just really wish that we could all move past this idea of certain unfamiliar ingredients constituting "bad" cosmetics. It's not that cut-and-dry. Much as we hate it, things like preservatives ARE sometimes important (i.e. if you plan on keeping that cream around for more than a week and don't want it to grow terrible bacteria). We need to be smarter about it (and it is partly the beauty industry that is at fault, for not being upfront and educating consumers about these things) instead of making wide generalizations.

    • bluesky557

      Seriously. Unless you're a chemist, there are always going to be ingredients you aren't familiar with. They're not all bad for you, and some are very necessary.

    • eastvillagesiren

      Exactly! And if I can't pronounce an ingredient, I look up the pronunciation while I do research on it ; )

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    Nova Chakra sounds positively divine! I might have to buy some now! Gosh, this makes me miss the Bay so much :(

  • Kate

    I love this shop! Thanks for featuring her. They do such great stuff, shows and art openings, and are SO freaking friendly for such a cool trendy shop. And they always have my Fat & The Moon deodorant cream. Yay Oakland!

  • Nina

    Pretty baby and pretty Mama! I'll have to check out the shop, looks cool! Babyganics makes a a great sunscreen stick that doesn't have any nasties in it. For a superpower sunscreen La Roche Posay's Antihelios is surprisingly low on the nasty list. I'm gonna have to try Fat and the Moon! Thanks!

  • Lourdes

    What are her sunglasses?
    Coco is the most precious little girl!

  • Aubrey Green

    ahh, such a beautiful baby :).

  • Nicole Rivera

    Great TopShelfie! What an adorable, happy baby, and I love how unique her style is. Her philosophy is perfect when it comes to choosing beauty products.

    I will second Oribe's Supershine moisturizing cream. I have the frizziest, thickest hair you can imagine and it definitely works miracles.

  • Genevieve

    Oakland! I love Fat and the Moon too, although I have found it's important to keep their stuff in the fridge and that even so its shelf life is pretty short.

  • eastvillagesiren

    Excellent response. Thanks for your well-reasoned, thoughtful opinion.

  • Amanda

    So, she is about all natural products but uses still uses Chapstick? Read the ingredients in that stuff...

    • vicki

      For real!!

    • Ariana Serrano-Embree

      I say Chapstick like I say Bandaid, sorry if this was confusing! It's not a brand I use personally. I do love dr. hauschka lip care stick or waxelene. And I also will use the all salve on my very dry lips. Hope this clears that up!

      • Amanda

        Definitely! :) Thanks for replying.

  • Rachel

    I love Ariana's style - and Coco? Too cute! You keep doing you, girl!

  • Restless Blonde

    I love this TopShelf and the pics, Coco is soooo cute :)

  • coffeetoo

    I love posts like these. Toothpaste doesn't grow on trees.

    it reminds me of people freaking over GMO food. Hello, world! All modern produce is GMO! You know what cross pollination does? it genetically modifies your food.

  • KimberC.

    love the shop. I'm a Oaklander too. Congrats on your 2 year anniversary and continued success!


Dr. Bronner's
Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Baby Mild, 32 fl oz
Fat & The Moon
Fat & The Moon Baby Moon All Salve
COOLA Suncare
COOLA Suncare MineralBaby Organic SPF 50
ChapStick Medicated Skin Protectant External Analgesic Lip Balm
Earth Science
Earth Science Clarifying Facial Wash
Skin Trip
Skin Trip Mountain Ocean Coconut Moisturizer
Clarins Broad Spectrum 50+ Sunscreen for Face Wrinkle Control Cream
Odacite Acai Rose Facial Concentrate
Odacite Wild Carrot Serum
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
RMS Raw Coconut Cream
RMS Living Luminizer
ck one cosmetics
ck one brow pencil & gel duo
Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream
Nova Chakra