Shen Beauty’s Jessica Richards

When Jessica Richards discovered there was “no beauty in Brooklyn” she set out to open Shen Beauty, a haven for organic, natural, undiscovered beauty lines that has now become one of the hottest shops in the borough. With the winter upon us and travel, weather, and holiday foods all wreaking havoc on our skin, we could think of no better time to speak to one of our favorite beauty business owners. Richards told us her skin has glowed since she cut out meat, and shared her tips for keeping your skin healthy while traveling…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day? 

My ideal food day is to start with a homemade smoothie that I make every morning with my kids – strawberry, banana, raspberry, mango, pineapple, Fage plain yogurt and a little kale or spinach. Then I add The Beauty Chef Glow powder and Phylia Fulphyl. Afterwards, a stroll to Cafe Pedlar for an Almond Milk Matcha Latte or two!

Next, it would be to fly to California and have lunch at Zinc with my Mom in Laguna Beach. The salads are the best. For dinner, it would be with my boys at Nobu in Malibu with an amazing bottle of saki.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines? 

The morning routine can be rushed trying to get the kids off to school, especially since I always oversleep. The first thing I do is walk downstairs to my fridge and spritz myself with Aura Spray. This sets me up for a good day. Then I check on the kids and make lunches. After that, I quickly wash my face with May Lindstrom Honey Mud and then spritz with either May’s Jasmine water or Pai Lotus & Orange Blossom Affinity Toner. The Lotus root is one of the most expensive ingredients and to keep it “alive” – like Pai does – is extraordinary, thus making it”living water.”  The next step is to use either CE Ferulic Acid or Phloretin CF followed by Metacell and then Leland Francis Facial oil or Pai Rosehip facial oil. To top it off I use Elta MD UV clear 46 sunscreen, which I carry around everywhere and apply all day long!

The nighttime routine is my favorite because it gives me time to treat myself after the kids go to bed. First order of business is to light a candle in my bathroom. At the moment I am obsessed with Shiva Rose. Then I run a super hot bath and dump in way too much Himalayan Detox Bath Salts, which is like a bath version of organic Valium. After a long day, it’s amazing! I quickly jump in and get my face wet and then I put on the Aurelia Rose Mask which is incredibly hydrating and makes my skin glow. This mask makes my skin tone look so even. After I get out of the bath, I use the May Lindstrom Blue CocoonShiva Rose Face Balm, and any other super greasy product to layer on my face. For my body, I use Shiva Rose Venus Body Oil or Amber Body Cream. Then I watch Narcos or Ray Donovan and go to bed.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I think it’s incredibly important to get the blood flowing and the body moving, even though I can’t say I do it all the time. My goal would be to go to SoulCycle Monday, Wednesday and Friday and yoga on Saturdays. In reality I go to SoulCycle twice a week and don’t make it to yoga. I do always feel so much better after I work out.

As far as diet goes, I have seriously cut my meat intake down to almost nothing, which has shown a major difference in my skin – that mixed with taking The Beauty Chef products! My two favorites are Glow, which I add to my morning smoothie, and Hydration (especially after too much drinking the night before). I also try to eat as healthy as can be. Like most people say…eat the rainbow. I try to eat mostly vegetables and grains and spend a good amount of money at Juice Press on the Raw Hummus Wrap – maybe my favorite thing on earth.

What are five to ten tips to fight dry skin with the change of the season? 

1. Make sure to exfoliate; you need to turn over the cells so that your pores don’t get clogged. I love the Pai kukui nut and jojoba bead exfoliator.

2. Use a dry brush on your body before the bath or shower and when you get out use a body oil and a lotion on top.

3. Use luke warm to cool water on your face as to not dry it out – which really cold water will do.

4. Oil, oil, oil for hair, body and face…it is the most effective moisturizer. My current obsession is the Pai rosehip seed oil.

5. Try to do a moisture mask at least three times a week.

6. Keep Pommade Divine with you at all times for hands and extra dry patches that can occur. This is the ultimate healing balm.

7. I use Love and Sage lip balm to keep my lips supple and hydrated. The packaging is super cute too.

Could you give us some gift ideas for beauty lovers? 

Fornasetti is forever and always my favorite gift for anybody! I also love giving the Himalayan Detox Salts by Therapie. These are great for men or women and even great to put in the bath for little ones to calm them down in the evening.

What are three products always in your bag?

Elta MD UV Clear 46Pommade Divine, and Therapie by Roques O’neil Aura Spray

Your can’t-live-without hair products…

Phylia [de M,]. They are life-changing in the most incredible way. I cannot live without them. Also my colorist, Simone Mangano, is life-changing and will never get rid of me.

Any homemade beauty routines? What are they?

I don’t have any homemade beauty routines as I prefer to stick to the experts, but I do love using coconut oil – the organic one from Trader Joe’s – in my bath, on my hair, on my skin and all over my boys after they get out of the bath. It’s the easiest, cheapest thing to grab from my kitchen ever!

What’s the best eye cream? The best mascara? 

The best eye cream/gel is Amanda Lacey Illuminating Eye Gel. Containing trace amounts of mica, it reflects the light, making you appear to have no black circles. Plus the puffiness goes away, as it’s a gel. It just always makes me feel prettier.

The best mascara is the Eyeko Rock Out & Lash Out. I absolutely love the brush; it’s supposed to be shaped like a guitar, but the formula really works on me and everyone I suggest it too. It thickens and lengthens at the same time.

What foods are best and worst for your skin?

The best foods for your skin are going to be any with Omegas – like salmon – and food with essential fatty acids, like an avocado. 

The worst foods are anything fried, starchy or sugary. Just think about how bad it really is and how it will come out through your skin. Dairy also tends to be problematic for some skin.

How do you upkeep your skin while traveling?

Hydration is key for travel, so loading up on water is really important, but I also love a good rosehip seed oil (Pai Bioregenerate is my favorite) and a moisture mask (Aurelia rose mask) post-flight. If skin tends to get oily while traveling, I love a clay mask post flight and light exfoliation. This will help regulate the sebum production as well. If you are going to do both make sure to exfoliate first, then use the mask followed by a light moisturizer for rehydration and moisture.

What are some spots you love to eat and drink in Brooklyn? What should we order at each?

Wilma Jean: Order fried chicken with buttermilk dressing. Though I am now avoiding meat, this is irresistible!

Lucali: Order Margarita pizza, a staple in my household and a take out for us at least two nights a week.

Brucie: Order homemade sourdough bread and any homemade butter they have. The one that tops the list is coffee butter.

Convivium: For my anniversary, I love to start with octopus then move onto the homemade burrata and the steak for two.

Al Di La: I order the farro salad and Casunzei (red beet and ricotta ravioli).

Dover: Order Tuna Tartar.

Bar Bruno: The fish tacos are so good!

French Louie: Order the grilled trout.

Henry’s Local: Order the whole milk latte.

Café Pedlar: Order the Almond Milk Matcha Latte.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato in beauty right now? 

I have to say I think beauty oils are a current obsession for everyone.

For a guide to Jessica’s neighborhood, check out Kerry Diamond’s guide to Carroll Gardens. Shop the ten best beauty products, as chosen by our tastemakers. Read about how to work Argan oil into your beauty regimen.

*Jessica Richards, photographed at Wilma Jean in Brooklyn, NY by Danielle Kosann. Jessica wears a Rachel Comey top and Proenza Schouler skirt and shoes