As you know by now HOC is not shy when it comes to sharing the best of the best in vibrant health and that is why we took no shortcuts when we journeyed to visit Stephanie Lauren Brown in the city that never sleeps for tips on how to take care of our skin when we don’t get enough! Stephanie knows how to substantially improve skin with more than fourteen years of studies in conjunction with Ayurveda, and coupled with her magic touch. She can tell just from looking at you what lifestyle your body is living and give you suggestions that give results!
Stephanie, if only all facials could be as sweet as yours. When we think of your approach to skin, the first word that comes to mind is effective. Experiencing your customized holistic facial in NYC further encouraged us to care for our skin from the inside out.
1 . Your Ayurvedic approach is personalized and natural – how did you come to find that a holistic routine was a solution that works wonders for skin. Tell us about your philosophy.
I learned from my own experience with cystic acne. I began developing acne at the age of thirteen and suffered from a pretty severe case of it for about ten years. During that time, I tried just about everything that was suggested to me, from Accutane (which I took three times) to going vegan, to microdermabrasion, and nothing really made a significant difference. I had essentially given up on ever having skin that I could feel confident about without makeup. Around the same time, I began focusing seriously on my yoga practice and discovered Ayurveda. I was so intrigued and wanted to integrate it into the bodywork that I was already practicing professionally, so I got certified as an Ayurvedic Health Educator. The year and a half I spent in that program was transformational; it was as if I was finally putting a language to information that I had known all along. And slowly, by implementing the techniques and lifestyle suggestions it offered me, my skin completely cleared up, my chronic anxiety was alleviated, and I felt more aligned with my purpose than ever before.
The holistic medical model of Ayurveda opened my eyes to not only the intricate connections of every system in the body, but to the connection we have as humans to the earth. Ayurveda is the original "farm to table" movement and proves that living in harmony with the environment around us is the truest and healthiest way to exist. We only have to shift our perspective to be able to see that our skin is just the outer reflection of our inner state of health, which includes the physical, mental, and spiritual components. You can't expect a single thing about your body to change if you don't consider all of the parts involved. I try to help my clients see themselves from a different perspective than they have before.
2. What is the first thing you notice about other people’s skin?
Because I use the skin as a diagnostics tool, I can tell a lot about the kind of lifestyle you live by just looking at your skin. Both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have specific face-mapping techniques that I use to see where you may be experiencing an imbalance internally. By supporting your body via diet, sleep, and stress reduction, the skin will naturally improve.
3. Many of us are often on the go or traveling and this deeply affects how our skin looks and feels. What is in your skin travel bag?
I try to keep it simple as I hate to lug around a huge bag so I typically have a hydrating toner and an oil with me at all times. On the plane, I will frequently mist my face and then massage in some oil to trap the water into the skin. And if it's a long flight, I'll layer on a nice thick layer of moisturizer on top to make sure I don't get too dry! I also keep a balm of some sort to use around the eyes, lips, and on my hands.
4. What is your daily skin beauty regime?
This shifts depending on where I am. In the city (NYC), I always make sure to start the day with some water splashed on the face, followed by a toner, and then an oil mixed with an antioxidant serum of some sort. This helps to neutralize any free radical damage that occurs from living in a polluted city (yuck). At night, I double cleanse, using an oil first, then repeating my toning, oil, and serum application but instead using a heavier oil and a retinol serum. Then I layer on a balm. If I'm in the country (at our house in Northwestern Connecticut), then I'm much less diligent about everything!
5. Is it more important to feed your skin from the inside or outside?
Ooooo- a tough question! But ultimately, no matter what you're using on the outside, topical products are almost useless unless you're making an effort to take care of yourself on the inside via diet, sleep, and stress reduction. Period.
6. Do you have any tips for reducing redness?
If you're seeing redness in the skin, you've got inflammation, and it's definitely also happening somewhere internally, as well. Remove all inflammatory foods from your diet (dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar) and use some calming topicals to soothe the skin like pure aloe gel.
7. Who is your (sk)inspiration?
I am inspired by so many women who are using modern chemistry mixed with herbal alchemy to craft elegant, superior products. Marie Veronique, Sara Crowe of Floracopiea, and Julie Elliot of In Fiore are just a few.
8. What is the best thing for dry skin? Oily skin?
Dry skin needs hydration via water and something that can hold it in there like a hyalauronic acid serum followed by an oil and balm. Oily skin needs regular exfoliation and a lightweight oil like grape seed or jojoba to keep it balanced.
9. Do you prefer a shower or a bath?
Baths! I dump everything in the bath, including crystals and flowers. Baths make me feel like a goddess.
10. We often hear how crucial the appropriate amount of sleep is. In your opinion, what role does sleep have on affecting the skin?
Sleep is absolutely essential to hormonal regulation which affects every function of the body. If you're not sleeping well, your immune system will be compromised and you're much more likely to get sick, not to mention experience dull skin. Make sleep a priority- it's essential to your health.
11. If you could choose one makeup item to wear what would it be? Why? ( i.e. foundation, mascara, lip , eyebrow etc.)
It used to be foundation but now that my skin doesn't break out I don't usually wear makeup. A good mascara is hard to find but it's kind of my can't-live-without item.
12. T or F. It is better for your skin to wear no makeup at all.
Absolutely. Wouldn't it be so great if we didn't feel pressured to wear makeup at all? Let your skin breathe and skip it.
Article by: Karli Quinn
Stephanie Lauren Brown is a passionate Holistic Skin Therapist whose work focuses on nurturing the skin from the inside out.
After personally battling cystic acne for ten years, Stephanie understands how frustrating and self-deprecating troubled skin can be. Years of internal antibiotic use combined with harsh, chemically-laden prescription creams and aggressive facial procedures made her wonder why no one or nothing had seemed to make a substantial improvement in her skin. It was then she decided to explore what might be causing this chronic condition, and began a deep, lifelong study of the body and its processes.
Over fifteen years of studies have refined Stephanie's abilities to assist clients who are suffering from troubled skin utilizing natural ingredients and practiced techniques. She has been a working Certified Massage Therapist since 2002, and is a Certified Ayurvedic Health Educator through the California College of Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic Institute since 2006. Stephanie is also an Aveda-trained holistic Aesthetician and has completed multiple advanced body and skin therapy trainings throughout her career in a variety of healing modalities including Marma point therapy, Pancha Karma and traditional Ayurvedic body therapies, Acupressure, Reflexology, manual lymph drainage, Myofascial release, and Reiki. She holds Aesthetic Licenses in both New York and California. Stephanie combines the most effective techniques in her treatments in addition to thoughtful lifestyle coaching to assist each client on their path to vibrant health.