By Mary, CN Body Care Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor
The secret is out: beauty really does come from within. What we choose to eat everyday affects our health internally, and will be displayed externally (#nofilter). Hydration levels, the liver’s ability to cleanse accumulated toxins, and especially increased levels of inflammation due to diet and lifestyle all affect skin conditions. And it’s safe to say that most of us are looking for youthful radiance and resilience when we talk about our skin needs.
Shannon of Noel Herbal Skincare is a local aesthetician and practicing herbalist. She uses her knowledge of plants to help her clients find balance with topical, hands on treatment in her studio, as well as take home advice to apply once they leave the comfort of the spa treatment they’ve received.
There’s something really magical about using the plants around us both internally and externally to treat our body holistically, and Shannon does just that. Below is a recent interview with the skincare maven herself, including some invaluable advice and insight into her personal and professional practice.
You’ve been a skincare therapist for over 10 years, what has been the biggest change in skin care during that time?
Good question! The skincare world is constantly evolving, and often times can feel overwhelming. For me the biggest change has been the advancement of new technology & machines that perform various actions for the skin. They have their benefits, but I believe a personal touch is much more beneficial to the overall well being of a person resulting in happy balanced skin. Nourishing ourselves from within reflects how we look on the outside. I like to take care of the person as a whole, and create a space of healing & connection. I feel that nature is all the science I need, and that true healing begins from within. In a world where computers and machines are taking over I want to stay true to personal touch and connection.
As plant lovers, we have a deep understanding that health and beauty start from the inside with what we put in our bodies. Do you have a few foods or plant allies that you have a certain connection to in this sense that you could tell us more about?
Yes I could not agree more. I eat lots of fresh veggies, fruits, fish, & healthy fats. Learning more about my skin over the years, I have found the crucial importance of healthy fats. Omega 3’s help to balance the production of sebum which is the oil in your skin. Avocados are wonderful for this and happen to be one of my favorite foods. I could eat them with every meal :)
For my plant friends I really love burdock root & marshmallow for their affinity to the skin. Burdock root is a wonderful blood cleanser, which helps to clear those unwanted toxins. This is extremely beneficial for anyone who is struggling with chronic skin issues like acne, eczema & psoriasis. It is also loaded with prebiotics helping our gut flora. Our gut health is so important to our overall health so anything to help support this is highly recommended.
I see so many individuals whose skin is compromised due to a lack of hydration to the skin. I love marshmallow for its extreme moistening effect to the body. It is a demulcent meaning that it can carry water into many types of tissue in the body. Marshmallow is wonderful for anyone who doesn’t hold on to water very well, myself included. They may drink a lot of water, but do not retain it. Marshmallow helps the water stick because of its mucilage and mineral content. Also really great for anyone dealing with gut inflammation, which is an all too common issue.
What is the most common skin complaint you hear from your clients and how do you address it?
The most common complaint that I hear about is; clogged pores (acne) and aging skin that has lost its luster. Clogged pores can be a result from improper use of products, diet, & dehydration or all of the above. I help clients learn about healthy anti-inflammatory foods, and herbs that can help soothe & heal the gut, & clean out toxins that may be resulting in skin related issues, and also educate on healthy products to maintain their skin with at home.
Aging is inevitable and also a very personal experience. As we get older, the skin’s natural shedding process slows down which causes a buildup of dead skin cells resulting in a dry, dull, even sometimes flaky appearance. A good exfoliation is important for our skin’s health. It allows for better product penetration and gives you a healthier more vibrant appearance.
Do you have any special self care or skin care rituals you make time for each day, or each week?
When I am not running back & forth to Cambridge Naturals :) … I always no matter how tired I am, will wash my skin before bed and when I wake up in the morning. I include a combination of serums & a moisturizer. I love using hyaluronic acid, it’s such a simple but amazing ingredient that I find it really helps my skin stay healthy and hydrated. I also love using Niacinamide, which is vitamin b3; it’s great for cutting & working through sensitivity. Once a week I make a mask with herbal tea. I love French green clay so that is usually the base, and the tea infusion with a bit of honey is the rest. It’s really nice because I get to enjoy a cup of tea and also see how the herbs work on the skin.
What has inspired or continues to inspire your own beauty uniform?
I think herbs have really inspired me to take my skincare practice to the next level. I have always believed in a holistic practice, but now having the foundation of being a practicing herbalist I am better able to guide my clients on a healthy path. Plants and helping clients find their own personal “happy state” is what continues to inspire me.
If you could offer one piece of advice to those inspired to adopt a natural skincare routine, what would it be?
I would say to anyone wanting to adopt a healthy regimen to become aware of safe ingredients vs. toxic ingredients. A product label can market itself as anything, but after reading more into the list of ingredients you may find something that says it’s “all natural” may in fact be harmful to our bodies. Lots of ingredients that are on the product shelves in my opinion are outdated and not safe. Really familiarize yourself with reading a list of ingredients and not the headliner of the product that gets your attention. Make a commitment to yourself and keep it simple ☺
And lastly, what are your top three favorite Cambridge Naturals products?
Ahh there’s so many making this is extremely tough! I love the Evan Healy Wild Carrot eye balm, Sun Potion (Reishi), & the Bach flower essences. I also really love Heart Grown wild face serums; the ‘Veil of Love’ is magical
Thank you so much for sharing your beauty uniform with us, Shannon! Noel Herbal Skincare is located at 689 Somerville Ave in Somerville and Shannon is now offering 20% off new customers first treatment when you mention this post! For updates follow @noel_herbals on instagram.