Napa Valley’s premier holistic esthetician, Cindy O’Brien, has spent many years behind the scenes creating the formulas for every LIV + GRACE skincare product. With a powerful mix of clinically proven and highly effective non-toxic ingredients blended with rich botanicals, LIV+GRACE proves that using clean ingredients doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Healthy Living + Travel leaned more about Cindy and what makes her company a unique and valuable player in the natural skin care industry.
HLT: You’ve been involved in health care since you were 13, helping your father in the dental industry. What was one lesson you learned during that time that has helped you in your work today?
CO: My dad was a renaissance man in the dental field. He didn’t always follow the consensus of his colleagues. He taught me to pull back and look at the whole picture, basically introducing me to holistic health. He taught me how everything in the body plays off each other to create a person’s total well being.
HLT: When did your interest in holistic health begin to shift into skincare?
CO: I think it all started when I was getting serious about becoming pregnant with my daughter, Grace. It didn’t happen as easily as anticipated, which got the wheels turning even more. I started looking closer at what I was eating, drinking and ingesting. My goal was detoxification, which included my skin care products. Believe it or not, I had never really thought too much about topical products. If I did, I probably would have thought twice about being a make-up artist!
HLT: We are absolutely loving the Goat’s Milk Hydrator. It feels like liquid cloud going onto the skin, and absorbs almost instantly. The Anti-Inflammation oil also feels natural on the skin, regardless of skin type. What makes these products so adaptable?
CO: As an esthetician and ingredient junkie, I have been serious about clean, adaptable products and ingredients. To me, it is kind of like cooking; mixing the wrong ingredients can ruin a whole dish or even an entire meal. I have also learned that combining certain ingredients together can cause oxidative damage and toxicity to the skin. I get very detailed regarding the benefits and pitfalls of each ingredient, and how they work together to create just the right lotions and potions to heal and boost the health of your skin.
HLT: How does packaging play into the quality of the skin care products and the LIV + GRACE SKINCARE brand?
CO: This is a very important question. I see a lot of waste in the personal care and beauty industries. So much of the packaging goes right into the garbage after it is opened. Since I am a true environmentalist, I’m inspired to use less packaging and plastics in LIV + GRACE skincare. I try to use high quality recyclable glass as much as possible. I even use Miron Glass from Europe because it works like a natural filter and blocks the visible light which accelerates the deterioration of raw ingredients. What makes it most unique is that it only allows the violet rays of the light spectrum, acting like a natural preservative by extending the life of the product and its potency. It is kind of an extra insurance for my natural skincare. This allow me to use less preservatives, if any, and still provide excellent results and a good shelf-life.
HLT: All of the ingredient lists of the products are impressively clean. What is the formula-development process like for natural skin care? Is it challenging to omit some of the chemicals and additives?
CO: Natural skincare can be considerably more expensive to develop, which often is a huge factor for big brands and mass produced skin care products. It is much easier to exclude Mother Nature’s ingredients because they are “living ingredients” and can have slight changes how they behave and a shorter shelf life, which can mean a big loss for those that don’t do small batch productions like we do. Each year brings a different growing season and generally different odors, colors and viscosities of raw ingredients. We experience this first hand with our Napa Valley wines, and how they can differ from year to year. As you have living ingredients, you also have results from something free and alive, so to speak. Personally, I think this is where all the gold is–in living ingredients.
HLT: What does your morning and evening skin care routine look like now that we are transitioning into winter?
CO: I try to keep thing as simple as I can. I start with cleansing with Damage Control Cream Cleanser, which keeps my skin moist, but clean. I follow up with applying Brightening Anti-Oxidant Serum in the morning, and wait for it to dry. Then I press Super Seed Oil into the driest areas o my ace, neck, and décolletage.
I finish off with the Goat Milk Hydrator and an SPF during the day, and a few drops of Rescue Hydrate if I am going to Tahoe or the desert. In the evening, if I have a little spot on my face, I use the overnight spot treatment at the very end of my regimen before hitting the pillow.
I am carrying around a lot less when I travel now too because LIV+GRACE SKINCARE has travel sizes for my gym rats and jet setter clients.
HLT: Can you tell us about any new products you are working on?
CO: Yes, I am working on a booster for my Brightening Anti-Oxidant Serum. It will pump up the BAOS with vitamin C, making it a triple threat to the larger, more stubborn dark spots on your face.
HLT: What skin care product can you not live without when you travel?
CO: The Goat Milk Hydrator is an absolute must! It works on almost all skin types, and can be pumped up with one of my facial oils or made into a lotion by adding a little bit of water in one hand and a small amount of the GMH in the other, creating just the perfect lotion. Plus, it’s so concentrated, you can go on a trip for three weeks with just a travel size!
HLT: Where can readers purchase your products?
CO: Right now, my products are most easily purchased off our website, livandgraceskincare.com. I am also looking to partner LIV+GRACE SKINCARE with luxury spas, med spas and and high end esthetics studios throughout the United States. You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.