ASK THE ESTHETICIAN: ATHENA HEWETT

   

Our nature is to share our community. We always turn to the leaders in our world to expand and share their knowledge on skin and health and tour friend and esthetician, Athena Hewett, is leading the charge. Having given over 20,000 facials in her career, and written her thesis on oils, she's the expert we turn to for advice and deep knowledge about the pH of the skin and how oil benefits our outermost layer.

What is oil cleansing and what are some of its benefits? 

I have found throughout the 20,000+ facials that I have done in my career that MOST skin types, particularly the ones struggling with acne, do best when they don't mess with their natural pH AT ALL. But I have noticed that I can say this and the comment doesn't surprise people, like they have heard it before. Or rather they think they understand it because they use a "balancing" cleanser. The truth is, nothing is truly balancing except oil. Not even your 'pH balancing' cleanser.  Oil is the ONLY thing that will not disrupt our natural standing pH (our microbiome).  All cleansers that are not only made of oil, will. That statement is usually the statement that surprises people.

 

Where does double cleansing come in? Is it necessary? 

In my opinion not only is it not necessary, but it's detrimental to your skin's ability to repair itself. The whole point in using a cleansing oil is to not tamper with the pH. To let the good bacteria stay intact on the surface of your skin. To leave your natural acid mantle as it wants to be. You wipe off the oils that sit above it but leave your natural oil layer intact. Now, if BOTH of your cleansers are oil-based then go right ahead with that double cleanse!

 

When were you first introduced to the power of oils? 

I wrote my final Cidesco exam (beauty thesis) on the healing power of essential oils in 2000 but I had been exposed to the healing power of oils pretty much out of the womb. It was very present in my family. 

 

Is there anyone you would advise NOT to use oil to cleanse and moisturize with? 

Yes, that skin type exists but it's actually not so common. It is a skin type that has a pH issue. Their own pH for some reason is not optimal for the health of their skin, it sits a little too alkaline or a little too acidic, and  they cannot fight off the bacteria associated with acne on their own. Therefore they benefit from products that will make their skin a little more alkaline or a little more acidic than what they are at naturally.  Another type of person might be someone who is wanting to disrupt their surface to try to quicken the turnover of cells for anti-aging purposes. I just find that for most this can wander into the territory of developing irritations or acne and just creating more problems and that only a certain type of skin can handle pH dismantling for anti-aging purposes. These people do exist though, and they are lucky. Their skin is just tough. 

 

What do you recommend for anti-aging?  

I believe that keeping the skin balanced and moisturized with oils is the best way.  I'm of course all for helping to keep things externally beautiful with optimal internal health or little external helpers like LED light therapy and micro current therapy.  

 

There is a common concern that using oils will cause breakouts and congestion. What are your thoughts on this?  

It should be a concern because it's the truth, some can. There are many oils that rate highly on the comedogenic scale.  We choose our oils based on their nutrient dense properties but also for their very low comedogenic ratings. Anyone can do a quick google search to locate a comedogenic chart.

 

Why do you prefer oil over a cream as a moisturizer?

A cream is merely water mixed with an oil, made possible by an emulsifier. A traditional cream has less of the nutrient dense oil that will benefit your skin, just by definition. An emulsifier is the ingredient that chemically changes the structure of the two so that they can bind and these emulsifiers will also change the surface pH of the skin. In our Flora Cream Serum we don't use a traditional chemical emulsifier, we have developed a proprietary process that takes advantage of the lipidic chemistry within the ratio of hydrophilic to hydrophobic ingredients and have forced them into a cream, so to speak. This way the ingredients are not chemically changed, they remain natural.

 

THE MONASTERY SKINCARE ROUTINE 

ACNE, SENSITIVE, ECZEMA

Rose Cleansing Oil at night.  Gold Botanical Oil Serum during the day. 

 

DRY SKIN

Rose Cleansing Oil at night, Hydrosol or splash of water in the morning, followed by the Gold, and then Attar Floral Repair Concentrate. Apply the XX Rose Glycolic Gel as a weekly mask.

 

OILY

Sage Cleansing Oil, Aloe Hyaluronic Moisture Boost, XX Rose Glycolic Gel. 

 

PREGNANCY

Avoid the Aloe Hyaluronic due to Clary Sage essential oil. 

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