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Organic Facialist Athena Hewett's Tips For Healthier Skin


Confused about organic skincare?! Cool, same. The organic game is a crowded one, and surprisingly shrouded in mystery. Not because holistic facialists are particularly secretive or a coven of witches or anything. No, it's just that there are so many different opinions that it's hard to feel like you've got a straight answer about anything from ingredients to technique to how often you should be washing your face. It's tiring! And you just wanted to treat your face with some respect.

Well lucky for you, you've got a digital appointment (right this very second!) with San Francisco-based facialist Athena Hewett. She's the founder of very aesthetically pleasing line Monastery. (Like Herbivore? You'll love this.) Her mission is to make your skincare routine a little simpler so your skin can be healthier sooner. Relax, this is going to be easy. Refreshingly easy. Now lean back and imagine Athena telling you...

You can't overwash your face.

As long as you're using oil. "With cleansing oil, you actually cannot over wash your skin because you aren't changing the pH or stripping the skin of its healthy acid mantle," Athena explains. A perfect tip for the summer, when you may be tempted to wash your face every time you approach a sink. Maybe do it twice in one setting—once to take off makeup and surface grime, and once to cleanse the skin and get all that muck from getting too deep in your pores.

But you don't have to wash it in the morning.

Dealer's choice. It's a relief to hear, particularly if you're prone to redness and a morning cleanse brings that out in your skin. Some reasoning: "In our opinion the face doesn't get dirty enough while we are sleeping. We don't wear makeup or SPF while we sleep so there is no need to." Try it! See what happens.

You probably have dry skin.

At least somewhere on your face. "90% of people have dry skin," Athena explains. Which doesn't mean you don't feel oily sometimes (or all the time). "Dry skin only means that the oil is not easily passable between your pores and the surface of your skin," Athena continues. "For this reason, dry skin typically gets congested and irritated, too. So it's important to keep the surface of the pores as clean as we can, to allow the oil to flow freely and balance the skin." Hence, your double cleanse and your preferred method of exfoliation on a regular basis.

Red raspberry seed oil is the new celebrity ingredient.

We'll let Athena explain this one: "Red Raspberry Seed Oil actually belongs to the Rose family and is jam-packed with linolenic, oleic acid, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. It has the highest level of antioxidants of any other oil and although we cannot claim that it protects from the sun, it does have a higher natural SPF of any other oil, including carrot oil. This oil is very hard to extract as you can imagine because the seeds are so tiny but a new extraction process has made this super food more accessible recently." Sounds great. Start looking for it on ingredient lists immediately.

For the love of God, go on a product cleanse.

You know it's right when a skincare line founder is telling you this. Takes confidence, you know? "This may sound crazy but my product cleanse is so extreme that it also includes water," Athena says. So...no water on the face. "Not only water-based products but plain water itself. If you absolutely must put water on your face use distilled water. Water on the surface of the skin is drying and the water that comes out of our faucets and showerheads can be even more drying because it has so many extra purifying chemicals in it. If you can't imagine that water could be bad for your skin, imagine putting a piece of wood out on your deck, untreated. What does water do to it? It dries it out. The skin is the same. But if you coat the wood in oil, it will hold up a lot longer. A lot of clients come to me with acne and are desperate to get rid of it. I send them home with the Rose Cleansing Oil and tell them to check in with me in a week. It's all about the oil. It works almost every time."

—as told to ITG

Photos via Instagram.