To meet Jasmine Urzia, owner of Radiće Apothecary, is to love her. Perennially cool, unassuming, passionate, and don’t even get me started on her style (or her adorable pit bull, Bruna). The thing about Jasmine though, is that sort of praise has no significance to her. She has no interest in the commercial beauty world or self-promoting. Her products, literally all made by her hand, are what she wants to speak for her instead of all the peripheral fluff.
And speaking of fluff, that is one thing her products most definitely are not. Radiće translates to root in Italian, which seems exceptionally fitting as the majority of organic herbs (lavender, rosemary, thyme, and sage, as well as lemon and orange tree) helm from Urzia’s garden in Tuscany that has been in her family for generations. Strong roots indeed. Her grandmother Lillian was a pharmacist in Rome, creating beautiful lotions by hand. She ignited the passion within Jasmine, who then went on to spend years studying natural pharmaceuticals and working as an herbalist to become something of a cream-whisperer.
Besides what runs rampant in her garden, she makes sure that nothing that she buys is refined. For instance, the African shea butter that plays a sizable part in many of her products would be considered pretty gross to the average consumer of pretty, white, sweet-smelling butters that saturate the shelves here in the US. Urzia specifically looks for the “green, dark smelly one—the ugly one.” That is where the real transformative power is. “Why,” she stressed to me “would you want to make a cream with chemical vitamin A or vitamin E when you can use the real ingredients?” Just a little food for thought.
I’ve been using Radiće now for a few months and let me just say—that glow, though. Achieving this level of cherubic illumination usually takes a mid-January, last minute, all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic. Alas, I haven’t been so lucky this winter, so Radiće it is. The Black Currant Cream (with a consistency that's more serum-like and begs to be patted on damp skin as the ultimate moisture sealant) is comprised of potent blue chamomile (a powerful anti-inflammatory)—ideal for tackling ruddy, red, very dry, and even rosacea-affected skin. I like to blend a little of this one with a couple pumps of the Myrrh Cream for my own customized skin soothing, anti-aging potion.
I’m sure you’re like, “myrrh, how old school,” Like 2,000 B.C. old school. You have no idea. Jasmine explained to me that to make this little vial of cream, “you take the resin and put it inside an amber jar, top it with olive oil and leave it in the sun for at least two months. After that, the oil smells amazing and is full of potent myrrh.” That right there is pretty much the antithesis of everything 2015, and I love it. No instant gratification—just products with integrity.
I’ve been topping my now plump and bright face with a little of her Soothing Ointment, by warming a pea-sized dollop between my fingers and patting around my eyes, my mouth, and any irritated or dry patches. I’ve even been known to slap a little on a dry cuticle or two. That glow I’ve been talking about could not have been achieved without a little help from her “70 percent honey and totally edible” Honey Mask that fights the good fight against dull, sallow, chronically dry winter skin. Urzia believes that extractions are too harsh and “you can clean your skin with masks.” Thankfully for us, she now does by-appointment facials in New York (from the comfort of your own apartment) where she slathers and massages you with essential oils, masks, and creams for two hours of pure bliss. Looking in the mirror after my first session, I had a total flashback to entering the world at 7:25pm, December 16th, 1986. Yep, that kind of glowy.
Jasmine prefers to keep a close bond with her customers, which is why there isn’t an e-commerce component to her website. You can email her directly for a more customized experience where she will choose products for you or to set up a facial. Alternatively, she sells her products at stores like Min New York, Northside Pharmacy, and Beautiful Dreamers in the states, as well as more exotic locales such as Casa Violeta in Tulum, Mexico.
Jesse Breeden is a Brooklyn-based writer. Photographed by Tom Newton.