Looking Local: A Buzzworthy Beauty Line in My Backyard

Having lived in New York, and worked in the fashion and beauty industries there, I find it so hard to stop focusing on it! Beauty and fashion in NYC is kinda like a cool kids club that just seems to have it all going on, all the time. The good news is, there's really so much going on beyond New York, even beyond other big cities like LA, Chicago and DC, that deserves to be celebrated in the natural beauty space.

Case in point: Sevani Botanica. This lovely and high-end (in quality, not price) skin care line was created in Conshohocken, PA, a town outside of Philly, where founder and holistic esthetician Sheryl Lynn Gibbs gives her lucky— and limited— list of clients balancing holistic facials.

As a teen Sheryl struggled with allergies to fragrance, dyes and chemicals in products and, as a result, she started learning about botanical ingredients and holistic beauty from her Italian grandmother— way ahead of her time. Having worked for Aveda years before the brand was well-known, and having studied aromatherapy, anti-aging, herbal medicine, Ayurveda and cosmetic chemistry, she's a true leader in the natural beauty space.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Sheryl over lunch at a Philly raw food joint, and I later tested Sevani Botanica's Rose Hyaluronic Age-Defying Tonique, Serum Vitale Essential Nutrient Oil, and Phyto-Peptide Firming Face Cream. The outstanding ingredients on the label were a hint that they would be new favorites, even before I put them on my skin. Moving into fall, I especially love the face cream, with its healing shiitake mushroom, antioxidant green tea, and deeply replenishing evening primrose oil.

Below is my interview with Sheryl, on her favorite skin care ingredients, must-have beauty food (one that I personally love!), and her secret ritual for stress relief. Take note of her wise beauty words.

Oh, and New York is already taking notice— just heard that Sevani Botanica's Serum Vitale is in this month's issue of Harper's Bazaar:)

Sheryl Lynn Gibbs, Founder of Sevani Botanica

BIW: Tell me about your favorite product from the Sevani Botanica line. What's the story behind its creation?
SLG: If I had to choose one it would be the Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème.  I always love a good challenge and this was definitely one.
I loved the exfoliation and collagen enhancing benefits behind alpha hydroxy fruit acids yet many of my super sensitive clients, myself included, could not use them without irritation.  I was determined to create a product that provided a gentle means of exfoliation "less" the redness and irritation that often occurs.
To start, I combined naturally occurring fruit acids along with anti-inflammatory ayurvedic botanicals and pigment reduction including licorice root, gotu kola and neem. I added in antioxidants for free radical protection and age defense, and other botanical goodies including aloe vera to soothe and natural hyaluronic acid to offer humectant and anti-aging properties.
After a year of tweaking and testing I  finally developed a product that even the most sensitive of skin types can benefit from to mildly exfoliate, hydrate and minimize imperfections such as lines, wrinkles and age spots. The results were so positive that I utilized some of the same ingredients in my Ageless Radiance Cleanser so the skin always glows without being irritated by harsh chemicals or ingredients that strip the skin.
BIW: Do you have a favorite natural skin care ingredient?
SLG: I have many. I firmly believe it takes a synergy of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and botanical nutrients to offer the best results possible. Some oils like rosehip seed oil, kukui nut and sea buckthorn berry offer high vitamin content as well as EFA's [essential fatty acids] so I do use these (along with many other ingredients) in most formulations along with hyaluronic acid and other great anti-agers.
BIW: What's your must-have beauty food?

SLG: I would have to say lemons.  Lemons are abundant in vitamin c which is so important for immunity and cellular protection yet also so detoxifying. When we are free of toxins internally, our skin is more likely to glow vs. have to purge toxins. Many don't realize lemons contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges!  They also provide potassium, flavonoids, B1 and much more….

Acai berry, pomegranate, goji berries, kale and chia also offer a myriad of  nutrients for beauty benefits but there is nothing easier then adding organic lemon to your water daily to get started.
BIW: Tell me about the beauty ritual that you most enjoy.
SLG: This may sound silly, but while in the shower or tub, once the steam has opened my pores, I apply the Ageless Radiance Cleanser/Masque duo and massage in circular motions in an upward and outward direction.  I love a good long facial massage in the shower as it's like a mini facial. Massage is SO beneficial for the skin as it increases circulation and also assists in product penetration.  I rinse after about 10 minutes.  When I get out,  I spritz my Rose Hyaluronic Tonique, follow with the C Resveratrol Serum, Rapid Renewal Cream and then apply one of my oil blends last, using excess on my hair. I also indulge my hands, eyes, neck, and décolleté - commonly  neglected areas. I then spritz again with rose to encourage a peaceful state and sit on the floor for quiet meditation with my four kitties. The bathroom is so peaceful and now filled with all these beautiful aromatic essences.
How does that relate to beauty some may wonder?  Stress relief is an essential part of maintaining youth and overall radiance and both pets, aromatherapy and meditation offer numerous benefits to keep us healthy, happy and radiant. I may not always have the time but it's so important to make it.
If you're in the Philadelphia area and want to schedule a facial with Sheryl and Sevani Botanica products, you can reach out to her at info@sevanibeauty.com. As with all good things, her client list is limited, so availability is not guaranteed.
Have you found any incredible natural beauty lines or experts in your backyard? Share them with me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.