Everybody has her madeleine. Mine is the magical balm that my first yoga teacher, a woman named Lili, used to massage into her students’ shoulders and temples as we lay still on our mats at the end of class. Fifteen years later, I no longer recall her face, but I can still summon the notes of pine and mandarin she smoothed into my skin, and the dreamy feeling that came over me each time she did.
For reasons I cannot pretend to understand, the tradition of instructors turning into masseurs during savasana has more or less died. As a conciliatory gesture, perhaps, yoga studios have taken to stocking wonderful balms and salves and oils for students to purchase and take home. These all-natural products are often hand-made and come in appealingly lo-fi packaging that makes it hard not to view them as the ’90s zines of the contemporary beauty world. My collection of vials and jars is there for me when I am having trouble falling asleep or, as has been the case more recently, calming down after looking at Twitter. Below, five small-batch skin-care companies worth bending over backwards to find.
Former jewelry designer Lorenza Pintar’s three-year-old line is marked by its luxurious simplicity, with unfussy packaging and faintly sweet-smelling products. The most popular item is the glow-conferring Face Oil (made with rose-hip, argan, and apricot-kernel oils), while the Elixir Supreme (shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter) is a near-magical, deeply moisturizing balm that transforms from powder to liquid consistency when rubbed between the palms. “I use it on my hands, feet, and elbows, and I also rub it on my hair,” Pintar says.
JUSTBE SKIN LINE
“I call myself a skin chef,” says Negin Niknejad, whose products aren’t just organic—they’re edible. The New York City–based healer and facialist creates her line by hand in her studio in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. Niknejan is a favorite among fashion and art insiders, as well as Schuyler Grant, director of Kula Yoga Project, a cluster of popular studios that now carry the products. The Nourishing Body Oil is a fruity olea-based potion; Naked Skin Oil is an almondy version that is like liquid (low-sugar, mind you) marzipan. The one item Niknejad doesn’t make by hand is the Rose Water Mist, which is sourced from local farmers and makes for a divine post-Vinyasa ritual. “Rose water is super-uplifting for the spirit,” Niknejad explains.
When Angela Shore was starting out as a professional healer, she mixed oils for individual clients. Now Shore, who divides her time between Los Angeles and New York City, mixes them for the masses. Her line of more than 15 beautifully packaged (see: feather) and thoughtfully crafted essential oils is sold at cult New York City store CAP Beauty. The anti-inflammatory Parutka blend is designed for yogis’ aching joints, while the Atman blend contains Holy Basil and Palo Santo and is recommended for positive energy. Shore suggests a daily practice of copious total-body “oiling,” and has just introduced super-concentrated roll-on scents for when you want a touch of serenity on the fly.
Myofascial body worker Lauren Haythe sees her clients, who come to her for help with pain and posture, in a space located in the back of Kula Yoga’s new Soho location. Now her muscle-healing products, The Rub and The Soak, are sold in the front—and The Rub has inspired a 30-minute bodywork class that meets every day of the week. The Soak, a blend of Dead Sea, Himalayan, and Epsom salts, is meant to ease cramping and relax muscles. The Rub, a balm containing spearmint, cedar, and wintergreen oils, works to increase circulation and alleviate pain.
SAHAJA ESSENTIAL OILS
“My passion for essential oils is a bit untamable,” says Sahaja Douglass. “I self anoint from the moment I wake until I go to bed.” The L.A.-based erstwhile psychotherapist and owner of an animal-care service that catered to celebrities (former clients include Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant, and Melrose Place creator Darren Star) now completely focuses on the healing blends she makes at her home in Topanga Canyon. The latest mixture, Shiva-Shakti, is a limited-edition collaboration with acclaimed yoga teacher Shiva Rea. The unisex oil contains jasmine, rose, and blue lotus—a mix Douglass calls “divine love essence.”Read more at:www.queenieau.com | celebrity dresses