Let’s see – My name is Elysse Hannah, I’m a California girl through and through. I have a huge passion for clean living and a huge heart for helping others become the best versions of themselves. When I’m not working long (but incredibly fulfilling) hours for Wabi-Sabi Botanicals, you can find me with an Organic juice or smoothie in hand, shopping small, online businesses and planning my next big adventure!
What inspired you to create Wabi-Sabi Botanicals?
I’m an addict in recovery – it’s really hard for me to admit that sometimes. There’s a huge amount of stigma attached to the word ‘addict’. In 2013, I was in a lot of pain – emotional, spiritual pain. I was having brutal anxiety attacks. I was unhappy, I was insecure, and I felt a huge disconnect – from other people, from my own life, like I wasn’t ‘part of’ anything. My Dr. prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication and shortly after I began taking it, I was abusing it. I was unhealthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. I reached a point of desperation and became willing to try something different. I reached a precipice – either go on sabotaging my life, my body, my spirit – or recover. Not only from drug abuse – I needed to recover from my negative perception, my self-centered fear – the very root of my inner pain. One year into my recovery, I discovered the clean beauty movement. I learned about the toxins hidden in traditional products. Something in my spirit awoke. Self-care, being kind and compassionate to self, has been such a therapeutic part of my journey – I started creating simple, natural products at home and began to use my own creations to take loving care of my skin and my self. My passion deepened, my formulas evolved, my knowledge expanded – and I decided to share my creations with the world, in hopes of enriching other women’s self-care rituals, inspiring others’ self-love. That’s really what these products have been for me – an expression of self-love, a commitment to self-care, and a way to share with others something that has brought me so much joy and healing.
What’s your favorite Wabi-Sabi Botanicals product?
They are each special to me, but my current favorite is the MULA Amazonian SuperMask. I love the mindful routine of mixing up a fresh MULA mask, smelling the raw Cacao, molten clays, and exotic Amazonian superfruits. It’s such a luxurious, multi-sensorial experience, not to mention the results are touchable and visible.
What’s the biggest skincare mistake you’ve seen?
One of the most common skincare mistakes, one I’ve definitely fallen prey to in the past, is over-cleansing. There’s this general belief that washing your skin, usually with soap or soap-based cleansers, is good for your skin, especially if you are acne-prone or if your skin tends to be oily. The truth is that soap-based cleansers actually disrupt the skin’s natural balance, strip the skin of natural, necessary sebum, and impact the skin’s natural ability to heal and care for itself. In fact, over-cleansing can do a lot of harm – for example, disrupting the natural pH balance of your skin actually perpetuates inflammation and irritation. Stripping the skin of it’s natural sebum actually causes your skin to compensate for that loss by overproducing sebum, resulting in even oilier skin. If you must wash twice a day, try a gentle cleanser in the morning or even just warm (but not hot) water, and an oil-based cleanser at night. This type of mindful, non-irritating cleansing allows your skin to flourish the way that it’s naturally designed to.
What’s your skincare ritual?
My skincare ritual varies – I have a huge appreciation for other clean skincare lines and love to explore new products. At the same time, in order to truly test the efficacy of a product, you have to consistently use it for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Currently, I do a gentle cleanse in the morning with Josh Rosebrook’s Complete Moisture Cleanse and prep with JR Nutrient Day Cream. At night, I’m in much less of a hurry, removing makeup/cleansing with Moss Skincare’s Beurre Celeste, usually applying a mask – either my MULA SuperMask or DEVA Glow Mask – then mist my face with a pure, Wildcare hydrosol, apply either my AKALIKO Radiance Nectar or Laurel’s Sun Damage Repair Serum (or both!) and finish with my BUDHI Eye Nectar. On weekends, I have more time, so I really pamper myself.
What are your rules when it comes to looking for and using non-toxic skincare/cosmetics?
For me, it’s all about the ingredients. The availability of Organic, Wildcrafted and Ethically or Sustainably Grown raw ingredients is absolutely vast and so it’s really hard for me to justify using a product that’s not those things. Quality is everything. I’d rather pay more for a product composed of high-quality ingredients, then pay much less for a larger product who’s ingredients are natural, but questionably low quality. It’s also important to me to look at the brand’s practices – their ethics, their consistency, their story.
Your beauty must-haves?
My beauty must-haves are: Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream, JI In Touch Highlighter in Complete, JI Pressed Bronzer, JI Pommist Hydration Spray, ILIA Lip Crayons and Lip Gloss. My skincare must-haves are the products I mentioned in my current skincare ritual, along with Tata’s Resurfacing Mask.
Any beauty secret/tips you’d like to share?
Remove your makeup right when you get home! Let your skin breathe. It’s so simple, but it really does make a difference. Also, if you don’t absolutely have to cleanse twice a day, try cleansing with just warm water and a konjac sponge in the morning. It feels wonderful and provides the lightest, most gentle exfoliation.
Your products have some very unique ingredients; how did you go about selecting them?
I’ve done an insane amount of research on and experimentation with my ingredients. I love ingredients that have a long history, have been used for centuries. Ingredients that have a story. I also love ingredients that have a clinical history, as in they’ve been clinically tested and proven to have topical skin benefits. I really make friends with each ingredient. I get to know each ingredient’s texture and color, aroma, topical and overall health benefits. Then I combine my favorites with others that will complement and/or enhance them. I strive to make each product a multi-sensorial experience – I want it to look beautiful, to smell beautiful, to feel beautiful, to provide you with beautiful, real results.
How has going organic and non-toxic changed your overall health?
I’ve completely changed my lifestyle over the past 3 years. I quit drinking alcohol, I quit the anxiety meds, I quit sugar, I took up yoga, prayer and meditation, I became much more conscious of the food I eat, I replaced every toxic product I had with a clean one, I started supplementing my diet with holistic supplements. Sure, I imagine that I’m physically much healthier than I was a few years ago. The greatest impact, though, has been on my emotional and spiritual health. I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt when I started this journey. Today that’s not the case. My perception has changed, my attitude has changed, my behavior has changed. I have never been so humbled and yet so proud of myself. I have never been as self-assured and self-loving as I am today. Wabi-Sabi Botanicals has been a huge part of that. Today, I care for my spirit first and foremost, and the other parts of my self and my life naturally reap the benefits and are so much healthier as a result.