When I was creating HIGHR, I did interviews with my friends and friends of friends about how they wear lipstick. I asked questions like “what’s your favorite shade”, “when do you reapply”, “how often do you buy lipstick”. All very standard questions that yielded quite similar answers.
Then I asked a slightly off topic question that I was really interested in personally - “walk me through your wellness routine”. Might seem weird, but I see HIGHR Lipstick as a wellness product and wanted to see how it would fit in within that person’s idea of wellness.
The answers I got from that question alone made me buy reusable coffee mugs, download different meditation apps, try new elixirs and workouts. The answers were always different and I realised that wellness is a personal topic and women are trying out different elements of wellness based on what they need some help with at that specific moment in time. I also realised that there is no source to explore how real people were "doing wellness”. And since there is no one size fits all answer, I started to grow more intrigued by the answers to these questions.
So this column is to share with you what I learned in these interviews so that we can all learn, grow, share together on our journey towards achieving what we all seem to be interested in - being well.
I’ll go first.
"Hi I’m Molly.
I’m the Founder of HIGHR. I started HIGHR after a 15 year career in beauty where I worked my way up from the makeup counter to the board room. I started caring about “clean beauty” way before it was ever a thing (a story for another article), and shopping for clean beauty was my first foray into wellness.
I used to change my diet based on “fads” or for certain goals (hello wedding dress), but now I’m more interested in how I can be healthier overall. I’ve dabbled in multiple wellness trends in recent years, but the wellness routine that’s seemed to be most beneficial, and stick, with my lifestyle is below.
CLEAN MORNING SKINCARE
My holy grail cleanser is One Love Organics B Enzyme Cleanser. Thank god it’s clean because I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s an oil cleanser and I wear makeup everyday, so oil is the best option to both remove makeup and cleanse at the same time. The smell is addictive - it’s such a dreamy tropical vacation smell which is the actual reason I will never switch. Any product that can do the job and make you happy at the same time is holy grail in my book.
My morning skincare routine is about smoothing, plumping, then protecting. I use the REN Daily AHA Tonic. It’s gentle in that it doesn’t sting, but it still exfoliates and helps create a smooth texture. If I have enough time, I’ll skip the REN and mask with the KORA Organics Turmeric Mask. The turmeric in it gives me a certain brightness I can’t get with anything else. Then I’ll go in with this Hyaluronic serum. Then I use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C and then moisturise with the Weleda Baby Calendula face cream that I stole from my son. I bought it for him once when he had a rash on his face but quickly realised that there's no need for baby face cream sans rash and adopted the calming, dewy moisturiser into my own routine. It's really lovely and it's... £7.99. Next I use a mineral SPF which is always changing because I haven't found one that I love yet.
I do intermittent fasting during the week. I don’t find it hard since I’ve never been a breakfast person to begin with. I use the Zero app which is like a timer to tell you when you’ve reached your fasting goal and it’s time to eat. I aim to do 18:6 everyday but I usually wind up around 17:7 (17 hours fasting, 7 hours eating), although I do however have a coffee with oat milk + stevia in the morning. It may or may not be fasting cheating, but I NEED it to be able to get the kids and myself ready for the day.
I guess you could call my diet “flexitarian”. Something happened after I had kids and I can’t digest dairy anymore. I tried to go full vegan but that didn’t go well. I learned that doing a vegan diet is a pretty serious change that requires loads of research and planning to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. I have zero time to dedicate to researching the amount of protein in legumes everyday, so now I eat fish and some chicken. I also like the meal delivery service All Plants, and I order their Udon Noodles in bulk to have on hand for easy plant-based dinners.
I’m pretty dedicated to my green smoothie. I fell in love with the green smoothie from Nectar Cafe at Triyoga and adapted it at home. My recipe is:
Kiki Health Nature’s Living Superfood green powder
Spoonful of Ashwagandha
A few spoonfuls of Cacao Nibs
1 fig (or 2 dates)
I swear the Ashwagandha in this makes me smarter. It’s also sweet enough that my kids drink it (happily) and then I feel like a good mom. Win win.
I go back and forth on supplements. I HATE taking pills so anything I supplement has to be in gummy form. I really like the MyKind Organics multivitamin gummy - they taste like dehydrated fruit. I also like the spray vitamins from BetterYou. I have a lot of these but the one I always remember to take is Vitamin D.
For any other supplements, I’d first try to find something to mix into my smoothie. Camu camu powder, instead of vitamin c capsules. The Nue Co’s powder instead of probiotics. That sort of thing.
This is a new category for me! I got sick during lockdown which was scary and I saw on Instagram that The Nue Co had a product called Defense Drops that they were kindly discounting given the circumstances. I ordered a bottle and went through the whole thing in about a week. Not sure it was the trick, but I didn't get a fever and recovered quickly. Now I have my mom on these everyday.
I consider workouts wellness too. I was a competitive ice dancer growing up so I love anything dance. I do classes with Alice Ramshaw from BBS, the Louisa Drake Method, and Charlie Ruhrmund. The endorphins you get in one dance cardio class is insane, and at the end I always look like I just took a bath with my clothes on. It’s crazy cardio while dancing to Britney Spears. SO good.
I also did Nadia Narain’s pre and post-natal yoga at Triyoga through both of my pregnancies and had a consistent practice going for a long time. When my youngest son was about 2, I switched to using that time to do more cardio which seems to help me more with stress, but I think I’ll go back to yoga at some point. I believe it’s all about finding what works for you at that particular time, rather than going all in on only one form of exercise.
CLEAN NIGHT-TIME SKINCARE
For night-time skincare, I cleanse with One Love again, then use REN again or I’ll skip the REN and use an acid mask. The one I love is GOOP’s Instant Facial. There’s nothing else that works like it. It pretty much burns my face off and I love it. (The redness goes down in 5 minutes.)
If it’s not an acid mask night, I’ll then layer in my retinol alternative. Right now I’m using Bakuchiol from Herbivore. I'm going to finish the bottle and then re-evaluate. I *may* go back to the real deal retinol and am currently looking for one without BHT.
Sometimes I'll use my HA again, and then my trusty baby moisturiser. Once that settles in, I’ll put this face oil on top to seal everything in. I love that it's a single ingredient step to my routine so I don't need to worry about things like phenoxyethanol overload. *Note - phenoxyethanol is "safe" at 1% of a formula, but if you're using 4 products with phenoxyethanol a night... you see where I'm going with this. It gets tricky.
I’m a really bad meditator and can’t keep my mind focused on relaxing for some reason. So I read to meditate. It gets me to put my phone down and concentrate, which helps me fall asleep faster."